Pay Your Bill

By Pam Dewey • social distancing, coping with covid, staying connected with family and friends, staying in touch with family, staying in contact over long distances, maintaining relationships over distance • May 21, 2020

Not being able to see the people you love is hard. But there are ways to stay connected. You may have tried sending a text message, making a phone call, writing an email or chatting through a video app.

Here are a few new ways to connect and have a little fun with your family and friends.

Mail a hug to a loved one

Have your kids or your partner (no ages limits here!) lie down on a large piece of butcher paper and trace the outline of his or her head, arms and upper body on the paper. If you don’t have any large pieces of paper, you can always tape small pieces together. Then decorate the outline with crayons, paint, markers, glitter or whatever you have on hand. Cut it out, and add a message to the back. Roll or fold it up, and put it into an envelope. Mail it to a loved one or friend — whoever needs a hug!

Get together to play a game online

You can download a variety of apps for games like Clue, Scattergories and Scrabble GO on your mobile device. These games can be played with people all over the world or a private game with friends and family.

Video streaming app Houseparty also has several games you can play with friends. Jackbox Games offers a variety of games for 1-8 players, which you can stream on a smartphone, tablet, video game console or computer.

Join streaming music shows with your friends

If you follow any bands on social media, you have likely seen many are doing streaming performances. Musicians are performing on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, so check in with your favorite artists and then invite a few friends to join you for a streaming party. Local radio station The Current also has a virtual gig list that it regularly updates.

Do a virtual scavenger hunt

Looking for a boredom buster? Consider hosting a virtual scavenger hunt for your friends and family. Send out an invitation, and pick a video app for your hunt. Make sure everyone has the app, set a time and wait for everyone to join.

You can create your own scavenger hunt list or download one here or here. You may decide the first person to come back with the item gets 5 points, the second three, or maybe the first person to come back gets one point and wins that round. Or perhaps you don’t want to keep score at all.

Host a Netflix streaming party

Netflix has launched Netflix Party, which allows you to watch movies or tv shows with friends online. It synchronizes the video and adds a group chat feature. You just need a Chrome browser to access it.

Do a virtual escape room together

The Peters Township Public Library created a Harry Potter-themed digital escape room. It’s free, and you work alone or with a group to escape each room by finding clues and solving puzzles.

There are also many other free escape rooms that are kid-friendly and free, like Cinderella Escapes, the Minotaur’s Labyrinth Escape Room and Rescue Baby Yoda. You can play these alone or as a group.

Though you may not be able to see all your family and friends right now, you can still reach out and have a little fun with them. Remember, we can all get through this together.