Virtual Gatherings During Quarantine

Parties are on hold for the foreseeable future, but people are still finding unique ways to celebrate everything from kids’ birthdays, to weddings, to boozy Sunday brunch. With Zoom, Houseparty, WhatsApp, and a slew of other apps cranking out digital meeting features, it’s becoming easier than ever to stay social while distancing. Here are some top picks for hosting all kinds of virtual get-togethers.

1. Kid’s Birthday Options: Children with quarantine-time birthdays are getting the short end of the stick this year, but fun options are emerging for celebrating with friends at home. Sky Zone, the trampoline park franchise, is offering free 20-minute virtual parties with options to tip the host, who guides kids through fun dance moves and active games with each other over video chat. Character companies such as American Immersion Theatre and Los Angeles Princess Company are offering low-price video visits from Disney princesses, superheroes, and other costumed favorites. Don’t forget to decorate your background and maybe send virtual attendees a goody bag with festive hats and noisemakers.

2. Book Clubs: While catching up on some reading is a great way to spend alone time during quarantine, it can also help us have the kind of stimulating conversation that many of us may be missing right now. Start a casual book club with friends by picking any book and meeting once a month over Zoom. The best way to keep this engaging is by sending everyone some thoughtful questions before meeting.

3. Game Night: Of all your video conferencing options, the Houseparty app is the best way to simulate a fun night with friends. Free in-app games allow up to eight people to video chat and play games such as Trivia, Heads Up!, and Quick Draw. Missing your retro board games? Pogo.com offers games such as Monopoly and Scrabble you can play virtually with friends for free. With a cheap game package, Jackbox Games also offers virtual, funny games to play with friends using your TV or desktop and phone. And you can always easily play games such as trivia and charades simply over Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Facetime, or any video platform as long as one person has idea cards!

4. Dance Party: Kids are spending their time learning TikTok dances and adults can join the fun, too! Try video chatting with friends while watching a funny choreography how-to video, Zumba workout, or Hip-Hop class online. It’s a great way to laugh and spend social time without the awkward video chat silences and reap the benefits of a workout buddy from quarantine.

5. Craft Night: You may have enjoyed BYOB Paint Nights pre-quarantine, so why not try it virtually? Plenty of companies are offering video paint nights, and YouTube has a slew of free beginner painting tutorials. Order a few paints, paint brushes, and paper from the craft store, pour a glass of wine, and get crafty with friends!

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