December 1, 2021

Imagine living through a pandemic without technology. If we’d been alive a hundred years ago, that would’ve been our reality. Thankfully, when the world stopped this time around we found ourselves surrounded by tech which both kept us connected to loved ones, coworkers and our communities, near and far. Of course, it hasn’t meant that boredom has been completely vanquished or that we’ve been able to explore and engage the world in all of the ways we want to and are used to. Yet, technology has really shown us that the possibilities are endless as to what we can do at home. Here are six simple, great ways to have some virtual fun with friends and family right from home!

Pass the Popcorn

Remember the days when you’d text your friend and say – “Did you see the trailer for the new Jennifer Lawrence movie? We HAVE to go see it!” With movie theaters closed, many of us have missed the experience of sharing the laughter, tears, shocks, and frights with our friends over a bucket of popcorn. However, there is a way to have movie night and share the experience together, from the comfort and safety of your own homes. Netflix and Chrome teamed up to create a movie viewing extension called Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party). Teleparty supports Netflix, Hulu, Disney, and HBO Max. It can host up to 50 screens, allows you to play and pause across all devices, and has a chat room as well so you can share oohs and aahs with your fellow viewers. While you can’t share snacks, various food delivery apps offer multi-location deliveries so you can share a bite and make the experience that more fun!

Winner Takes All

Fun and games are synonymous, which is why game night is a popular way to spend a weekend evening. Whether you like to have your pals over for poker night or enjoy a good board game with the family, there’s bound to be a great mix of laughter and healthy competition. It’s easier than ever to play with and against your friends in your favorite video games. Animal Crossing and The Sims are two of the most popular video games now. Not into video gaming? Set up a private game of Texas Holdem on a poker website, or host a virtual mystery dinner party. Plus, many of your favorite classics are available for online group play as well like Settlers of Catan and Monopoly. There are lots of ways you can take the fun virtual that doesn’t involve an Xbox or Playstation.

Do You Believe in Magic?

When you’re spending a lot of time at home, time itself can seem to stand still. However, days and weeks and months pass, and all of a sudden it’s your sister’s birthday again, or you’re celebrating an anniversary. These big events are the moments we want to share with our loved ones, but how do you make a celebration feel special while you’re also separated by screens? Well, what would be cooler than hiring your own virtual magician to bring that distinctive affection just about? Thanks to modern digital magic, you can gather a group of friends, family, or co-workers on zoom for the sort of performance you’d expect to get in Las Vegas. From mind-blowing card tricks to amazing mind-reading, you’ll have an interactive experience that everyone will enjoy and talk about for years to come!

Into the Wild

There’s something so wondrous about the creatures of the sea, as well as the giants of African grasslands. It’s not necessarily realistic to get the real-life experience, so how many hours have you sat watching and laughing at panda videos on Youtube? Or absorbed in documentaries on jungle cats? If you’re curious to see just how a monkey behaves without knowing he’s on camera, you may enjoy checking out the virtual streams set up by zoos and aquariums. Watch polar bears, elephants, and whales. See how they spend their days and take in their magnificence as you observe the differences and similarities we share with them. Learn about wildlife preservation and how their habitats are entire ecological systems that survive and thrive through their interdependence. You can watch new babies of endangered species and even follow along with penguins as they explore and adventure in new places like shopping malls.

Explore New Worlds

Museums and art galleries are gateways into other worlds, times, and places. They are often the destinations for school field trips and travelers, and that’s because they provide us the opportunity to learn, experience, and consider the world around us and our relationship with it. Art and history tell us stories and connect us to each other. With museums and galleries around the world forced to close their doors, they began to look at new ways of engaging with the public, and so came the idea of virtual tours. Is there a museum you’ve heard about and never had the opportunity to visit? The Metropolitan Museum in New York City, maybe? Is there a gallery that’s on your bucket list? The Louvre in Paris? Have you ever been to NASA? Put on some pajamas, grab a cup of tea, and explore some of the world’s wonders right through your own screen.

Bravo, Encore!!!

So many of us miss live music and events. From concerts to festivals, who doesn’t go nuts for their favorite band rocking out on stage? Music is a powerful tool for connection, self-exploration, and reflection, and it makes us feel good. Musicians everywhere have had to cancel and reschedule tours, some, more than once. However, out of adversity comes opportunity and musicians found ways to connect with their audiences through virtual concerts. They’ve dropped new albums and you want to be the first to hear them. Artists everywhere have been scheduling virtual shows, allowing fans to support them and get a taste of the tunes they love.

When you get bored of making bread or clearing weeds from the garden, find some entertainment online. There are so many great yet simple ways to have fun and connect with friends and family with just a screen, camera and microphone, and a good wifi connection, and you can experience them all with just a click away!

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