FAMILY & PARENTING

15 Fun Virtual Activities To Stay Connected When Connecting In Person Isn’t An Option

by Karen Belz
Karen Belz has written for sites such as Bustle, HelloGiggles, Romper, and So Yummy. She's the mom of a sassy toddler and drinks an alarming amount of Sugar-Free Red Bull in order to keep up with her.

If you weren’t a huge fan of FaceTime before, you may be now. Thanks to social distancing happening worldwide, video chatting is one of our best options to connect with our loved ones during these tough times.

I’ve noticed this week that I’m one of those people who needs to continue hearing about how things are going with people I know. In a way, it makes this whole, strange situation even more real. I’ve been checking up on friends I haven’t seen in a long time and just making sure everyone’s OK. I’ve been hearing their stories, lamenting along with them, and realizing that the world is about to change. Whatever happens, we’re all in it together — even though social distancing might not make us feel that way right now.

While I think it’s amazing to keep in touch with friends, it can also be a little depressing to focus on the news. That’s why it’s important to always have a fun list of activities in your pocket. And having a smartphone makes this very easy. This is one of the best times to embrace our phones for helping us stay connected in such a hectic world.

Here are 15 things that you can do virtually in order to stay close to friends and family.

1. Play Two Truths and a Lie Through Video Chat

Sure, you know your friends. But do you really know them? Two Truths and a Lie is a really fun game that requires a lot of creativity. Group chat options include Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and Apple’s FaceTime. Since you can supposedly FaceTime with 32 people at once (which is ridiculous but also a challenge anyone should try to take on for themselves), you can get plenty of fun games going with your friends and loved ones.

2. Play Scrabble Together

The Scrabble app allows you to play with strangers as well as people you know. Not only will you improve your vocabulary, but you’ll find a fun way to pass the time. If Scrabble isn’t your thing, check out your phone’s app store for more multiplayer games you both enjoy.

3. Or Get GamePigeon

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Play all these and MORE on game pigeon!

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GamePigeon allows you to game within your text messages on iPhones specifically, and there’s plenty of fun interactive games to choose from. Remember Yahoo! Pool? They have a version that’s almost identical. There’s also Darts, Archery, Basketball, Cup Pong, and even Paintball.

4. Have an Entire Conversation Using Bitmojis

You might not have broken out the Bitmojis in a few years, but the app is still going strong and is available across platforms. There’s literally a sticker and emoji for everything, which makes it a fun challenge to see how long a full conversation lasts without actual words being typed. You can also be on the lookout for the most ridiculous Bitmoji around.

5. Create Your Own 'Lip Sync Battle' Videos

You can do this using TikTok, but it’s more fun and personal to send them through text. You can even challenge each other. Name a song you’d love for others to lip-sync and see how well they do with a time window of 15 minutes. If they aren’t familiar with the song, that’s even more fun. You can also do it live through video chat.

6. Craft Together Through Video Chat

If you’re both into knitting or crocheting, it can be really nice to share your projects with your best friends over video chat. Make it seem like you’re all in the same room together, working on peaceful projects. Or if you want, you can even make scarves and hats for each other that you can hold onto to remember these strange times.

7. Play Truth or Dare

Just make sure your dares are tame. We are, after all, working with limited resources here. You can even modify it as “Truth or Truth” or turn it into a game of “Would You Rather?” You might also be able to find an app you can use to support your game play.

8. Solve a Murder Mystery

Speaking of apps, there are plenty of them out there that’ll put you right in the middle of a mystery. A fun one is “I Am Innocent,” which also includes a lot of puzzles to keep you busy. While you can’t play it together, you can be on the same page if you download it and start it at the same time.

9. Create a Joint Twitter Account

Create an account you both have access to that’ll help you remember everything that went on during this pandemic. You can try to make it funny or just make it a private account between the two of you. When you check it, it’ll be fun to see if any new status messages come through from your friend. It’s almost like having a pen pal and waiting for the mail to arrive.

10. Give Each Other Doodling Prompts

You can do this through video chat or even send a text with the day’s “assignments.” This is perfect for artsy friends and family members who might find it hard to get inspired because of all of the bad news coming in. You can even start up an Instagram account to share some of the best submissions.

11. Create an Instagram Account for Your Pets

If you haven’t already, you can also make a joint Instagram account with all of your best pet photos. If you have a lot of dogs, cats, and other furry or aquatic friends between you, it has the potential of getting a lot of views. Or maybe you can make the Instagram account a theme. Such as, you can only post photos of your dogs wearing hats or sunglasses. Just make it fun.

12. Have a Step Competition

Remember, iPhones and some Android phones have built-in pedometers. If not, it’s easy to find an app that will count your steps. While we’re all allowed outside, it’s very tough to feel motivated on a rainy day. Challenge your friend to take a daily step competition with you. The person with the most steps by the time this is all over buys pizza and a drink for the winner.

13. Watch a Movie Together

13. Watch a Movie Together

There are plenty of great apps on your phone that’ll let you stream movies together. While it may be wiser to use a tablet (just based on screen size), it’s still possible to hang out and watch movies together just by using your smartphones. Rave and Airtime are two popular apps that allow you to stream with friends. Netflix Party also allows for group viewing and interacting.

14. Play Music for Each Other

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To make you feel my love 😍 rehearsals

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If you’re a singer, pianist, or just really good at the ukulele, make music for your friend over a video app. Plenty of famous musicians are doing just that for their fans on social media, so why not join in? Even if you’re just beginning, it’ll be a lot of fun to showcase your skills so far.

15. Have a Virtual Sleepover

Grab your PJs, some chips, and a bottle of wine. Hang out in bed and just chat with each other about anything and everything. If you’re both single, chat about people you like — or people you used to like a long time ago. Since you’ll be staying in your own room and not at someone else’s house with a sleeping bag, it’ll be the most comfortable “sleepover” you ever have.