2020 has been an unprecedented year for everyone in so many ways. As human beings, we are hardwired to seek companionship and closeness, which we have learned very clearly is important to our mental health. When you can’t feel a warm embrace in person, you’ve probably had to get creative with innovative ways to safely stay connected to the people you care about the most. Below we’ve rounded up some of the most unconventional ways to connect with your family and loved ones while quarantining.
Where to Buy: TellaBee
When you can’t be there in person to see the children of your family grow up, you can still keep track of their memories and milestones digitally with access to a TellaBee subscription! Each week, parents will receive a unique, interesting question about their little ones. Their answers and any photos they choose to upload are recorded both in a digital book and sent out to family and loved ones. For a very special keepsake, this digital scrapbook can be physically printed and mailed; it makes a beautiful way to cherish their most important moments for years to come. It’s a great way to keep the whole extended family connected with the little ones. Never miss a moment with a subscription to TellaBee.
2. Better Off Inside
Where to Sign Up: Better Off Inside
Want to capture the magic of joining your loved ones for group events all from the safety and comfort of your home? Better Off Inside offers a variety of activities to do virtually throughout the week, including a book club and themed trivia nights! Anyone can participate from anywhere in the country; you’ll even meet some new friends along the way. It’s easy– simply register on the website, decide if you want to play just with the family in your own Zoom or Google Meet video chat, or if you want others to join you (in the case of trivia), and enjoy a safe, fun, and social night. It doesn’t get much better than being inside!
3. Marco Polo
Where to Download: Marco Polo
Return to a time of old, where the person you want to chat with isn’t available so you just leave a message. Enter the Marco Polo app! It’s a video and text chatting platform with the convenience of an answering machine; let others know when you want to chat, and if you’re all available, you can take turns sharing video and chatting. If not, leave a video message so they can get back to you later! It’s a great way to simply stay in touch with the people you’re missing while you’re safe at home.
4. Jackbox Games
Price: $25+ depending on options and number of expansion packs selected
Where to Buy: Jackbox Games
From the makers of the classic trivia game You Don’t Know Jack comes the virtual solution to our quarantine boredom woes. It combines the excitement of board and party games with the ability to see and hear your loved ones while you play. All you need is a wifi connection, your cell phone, and your laptop to get in on the fun! Play competitive drawing games, trivia, word, and card games modeled after Cards Against Humanity, and much more from the comfort of home. Just grab your biggest, fluffiest blanket and ball up in that spot on the couch you’ve made an impression of your body on from all the days working and eating from home in, login to the app on your phone, join the group video chat, and get to Jackboxing!
Where to Download: Teleparty
Miss the sticky floors and overpriced snacks at the movie theater? Yearn no more with the brilliance of Teleparty! Stream a synched binge marathon of the latest, most-talked-about series with your friends and family, or catch up on old favorites. Teleparty will sync everyone’s accounts to view at the same time, and even adds a chat feature so you can discuss thickening plots and the most-memeable script lines. Whether you choose Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, or another streaming service, stay connected and current on the latest entertainment through the novelty of Teleparty.
6. Creative Cook Co.
Where to Register: Creative Cook Co.
You told yourself you’d learn to cook during the pandemic– it’s time to get registered and make it happen with Creative Cook Co.! Their virtual cooking classes are a great way to have fun over video chat, and possibly create something delicious and eye-catching you’ve never made before. There are seasonal offerings as well as general classes and lessons on meals for different dietary needs and restrictions as well.
7. Livestream a Virtual Concert
Price: Varies by event, starting at $10/ticket
View the Schedule (Updated Regularly): Billboard – Calendar of Virtual Events
Gather your loved ones around their respective TVs and laptops for a virtual concert. A wide variety of artists and groups are turning to virtual events to stay connected with fans around the world. Choose an event, encourage your friends and family to buy tickets, and tune in at the same time. Stream it at home to your big screen or a projector screen in the backyard for a socially distanced outdoor concert. The possibilities are endless on how to enjoy your favorite performers during this challenging time.
8. Do a Drive-By Parade
Price: Free, plus any decorations you want to purchase and decorate your car with
No reason for your loved ones to celebrate special events and holidays alone– organize a drive-by celebration to commemorate their special day or occasion! Drive-by birthday parties, for example, are all the rage. Simply arrange for the guest of honor to be home and available to step outside to receive their parade and any gifts your group wants to drop off. Be sure everyone captures video and photos of the event to share among each other later so everyone can get in on the fun if they couldn’t attend, or to reminisce on later!
9. Virtual Work-Out Classes
Price: Free trial, then $25+ each subscription depending on option chosen
Where to Buy: Barre3
Like the cooking, you’ve been saying for months you’d start working out now that you have all this extra time on your hands. Work-out studios across the board are now offering virtual classes for those who don’t feel safe yet to venture into a gym or studio. And what better time to start your new fitness plan than when you’re looking for ways to connect with your loved ones? Whether it’s Barre3, Peloton, or simply starting virtual running or walking competitions using the fitness tracker on your wrist that’s mostly been tracking your trips to the fridge and back to the couch, there’s something for every interest and skill level. Maybe you’re an experienced athlete or simply want to get the blood pumping a few minutes a day to stay heart-healthy, you’re sure to find an activity you can agree upon with your friends and family that will get you moving!
10. Virtual Museum Tour
Price: Free, but you may consider making a donation to the institution you choose
Where to Find Museum Options: Travel + Leisure
You and your loved ones can travel the globe in search of well-known and loved art while staying safe at home by having a virtual museum tour party! Maybe you dress up in fancy clothes as you video chat together and traverse the halls of iconic museums of the world, fit with delicious h’orderves and cocktails. Or, perhaps the little ones in your family and friend groups will enjoy learning about the most famous works of art in their PJs with some hot cocoa! Whatever way you choose to experience the greatest art pieces both at home and abroad, your crew is sure to learn something and be amazed by what they’ll find.
Though it’s different, 2020 has forced some of us into impressively creative spaces we never thought possible as we innovate ways to keep close to our family and friends. We hope you’ll try all of these ideas, and come up with some of your own, while we navigate this tough time together and we stay connected to our loved ones during quarantine.