Virtual friends around a dinner table

Inside Out: 10 Virtual Activities to try with friends & family during lockdown.

Everyone these days has been forced to learn new and creative ways to keep in contact with loved ones and to keep ourselves occupied during lockdown.

Whilst many of us are making use of apps such as Zoom and MS Teams for quizzes and occasional get-togethers, there are many other activities you can try with friends and family during this latest lockdown.

Here are 10 online activities you should consider;

1. Gaming

Lockdown restrictions have provided the perfect excuse for gamers who would never normally step foot out of the house anyway to now play guilt-free.

For those with a computer or console, playing a game with a friend who may live just down the road or 5,000 miles away is as simple as clicking a button.

For those of us who are not big fans of traditional video games, or simply don't own a console, you could try your hand at multiplayer games that are available on most phone app stores.

There are thousands of games to choose from, including classics such as FIFA Mobile to new favourites including Words with Friends and Among Us.

2. A Netflix Party

Netflix Party allows subscribers to stream TV shows and movies simultaneously with friends and family

The extension on Google Chrome also includes a chat facility which allows users to talk to one another, or you can also have a video or voice app working in the background for those who are more tech-savvy.

It is particularly useful for virtual parties, as it synchronises the show or film for everyone with a link, and so if one person hits the pause button it will pause for all others too.

3. Cookery classes

Many have taken up cookery as a hobby, with lots of us showing off our newly-found skills in the kitchen by posting pictures of freshly baked bread, cake and biscuit creations.

Making cooking a shared experience has never been easier with video calling apps such as Skype to help you and your friends bake together.

There are also plenty of online cooking classes with chefs around the world, including famous faces such as Jamie Oliver, which allow groups to join and cook together.

4. Wine and beer tasting

If you'd like to learn more about your favourite tipple then online classes with friends could make a great social event.

Some wine companies, such as the aptly-named Grape Night In, offer hosted virtual tasting sessions for groups.

If beer is your thing, you could join the Beer Bods Club which hosts live tastings on social media every Thursday night at 9pm.

For those who wish to try their hand at hosting their own tasting event, there are also plenty of online guides with tips and tricks.

5. Book club

Now is as good a time as any to relax with a good book.

There are plenty of existing book clubs you can join, but how about hosting your own over a video chat? The most difficult part will be deciding what book to discuss with your friends.

6. Exercise

The public are allowed to exercise outdoors, but why not keep motivated by working out with friends at home?

Having a workout buddy is a great way to touch base with a friend on a regular basis while staying active at the same time.

Video calling makes it easier for multiple people to exercise together, be it a rigorous Zumba dance or a chilled out yoga session.  If you're struggling for someone to join you, then many PT and fitness classes have also moved to the online format including our own local favourite, Cumbernauld based All In Fitness Scotland.   Join in the group activities online with owner Martin Murray and his clients and perhaps make some new friends too!

7. Dining

If you are living alone or are perhaps self-isolating, dinners for one will only serve to bore you even more than you already probably are.

A virtual dinner with friends or family can be fun, especially when you make a real meal of it by adding candles, best cutlery and fancy wine.

8. Karaoke

Pubs and bars may be closed but that won't stop you enjoying some covid-free karaoke.

It does require a little technical know-how to navigate between a video chat and karaoke versions of songs on YouTube, but once that is out of the way you are ready to sing to your heart’s content.

9. PowerPoint Parties

Pre-pandemic, almost nobody would have thought of a PowerPoint presentation as a fun activity.

But a rather cool feature on Zoom does exactly this.

Users can prepare a presentation about something they find interesting or care about, and present it to their friends on a Zoom call.

The main aim is for the presentation to be funny and entertaining, and the list of possible subjects is endless.

Twitter users have shared their PowerPoint party ideas online, with suggestions including Netflix’s Tiger King, “why Harry Styles is actually Mexican” and “ranking the soundtrack to Toy Story 2”.

10. Arts and crafts

There's no excuse not to get creative and make things during the pandemic.

You can challenge a friend with a DIY project using only supplies found in your home, or create a drawing challenge inspired by a topic.

If you're stuck for ideas then there are plenty of artsy challenges doing the rounds on social media, such as the Getty Museum challenge, in which people recreate famous artwork using household items and dressing up.

If you've come up with any great virtual activities that you enjoy with family and friends I'd love to hear about them!  Feel free to comment below!

As always, stay safe and have a great weekend.

Cheryl x

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