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5 Unique Ways to Stay in Touch with Friends While Social Distancing

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More Family

kids on video chat at home

We’re missing our favorite people! ❤️

Ever since the Coronavirus pandemic started in our country, engaging with people daily and getting social interaction no matter how little or much we got, is something we’re all starting to realize we took for granted. It’s become clear that we’re all looking for ways to feel connected, have fun, and still see our friend’s smiling faces like never before.

Here are 5 innovative ways to stay in touch with the people you love while social distancing:

1. Houseparty Mobile App

Perfect for everyone.

hand holding phone with multiple facetime people on screen

Price | FREE

iOS | Android | Website

Claiming to be the next best thing as hanging out in person, Houseparty ranks at the #1 app in Social Networking and is the perfect way to engage with friends when you can’t be together. And if you didn’t already know, Houseparty recently teamed up with Epic Games, creator of Fortnite and Unreal Engine, so now they’re able to help even more people connect with their friends, family, and peers.

Here’s what Erica on our team said about the Houseparty app:

“My daughter’s friends called her on her 7th birthday via the Houseparty app and it is seriously so neat!! Since then, my phone rings every 5 minutes starting at 7 AM (LOL) but it really is an easy app to navigate and have kiddos chat with their friends, help each other with school work, etc.

You can even play games on it like trivia, drawing, and more – all while you are on a video chat. My daughter was literally playing stuffed animal parties on this app with her friends and they dress up in ballet outfits and play ‘class’. It’s super fun!”


2. Netflix Party

Perfect for the TV obsessed. 

netflix tv television remote control cable save money

Price | FREE with existing Netflix subscription

Website

Netflix and chill together…from an acceptable social distance, anyway. 😉 Netflix Party is a Google Chrome extension that allows you and your friends to continue movie nights and binge-watching all your favorite shows, but in the comfort and safety of your own homes. While streaming shows simultaneously from your couches, you can also privately chat with friends and share reactions to whatever you’re watching (we bet it’s Tiger King). 😉

Note that you do need to have an existing Netflix account to join the millions of people already using Netflix Party, however, the extension itself is free.


3. Twitch

Perfect for gamers. 

hand holding a phone with twitch on screen

Price | FREE

iOS | Android | Website

Rated #6 for Photo & Video, Twitch is the epicenter of all things gaming, cooking, esports events, art, music and more! As they said themselves – if it’s worth watching, it’s streaming live including unique programming, from music festival live streams to exclusive video game events!

With this free app, you can watch live videos of your favorite games, connect with other gamers in real time with full-featured live chat, or go live with a touch and share your passion with the world! Interestingly enough, they even have a dark-mode, so when you’re going full force into the night, your late-night viewing will be even more enjoyable.

“It’s always nice to know that you can video chat while streaming your video games and have your viewers chat with you. In my opinion, Twitch TV is the best streaming system that I’ve ever used, and since being apart of the Gaming community, it has also inspired me to interact with video gamers.” – Selena ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


4. Online board games

Great for anyone! 

person holding stylist pencil with ipad on lap and feet up with exploding kittens game on screen

Game nights don’t have to stop just because you’re not allowed to leave your house. Take the party to you phone with online board games where you can still interact with friends and keep the friendly-competitions going.

As an idea, here are some top-rated games:

    • Words with Friends iOS | Android – Just like scrabble on the go! 
    • Monopoly – iOS | Android – #1 in the app store for games, but does cost $3.99. 
    • Exploding Kittens – iOS | Android – #1 card game online and the most-funded game on Kickstarter, ever! 
    • Evil Apples vs. HumanityiOS | Android – ADULTS only game that’s just like Cards Against Humanity.

More top games for iOS users

More top games for Android users

“I love playing Words with Friends against my Dad! He lives quite far from me and we don’t get to talk often, so knowing we’re constantly having friendly competitions together and engaging in some way makes me happy. Plus, it allows me to chat with him and catch up when we don’t always have time to talk on the phone.” – Holly ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


5. Zoom

Perfect for everyone and anyone! 

person with laptop on leg and zoom call on screen with multiple people

Price FREE

iOS | Android | Website

Zoom quickly became one of the top ways to communicate for friends, family, and even businesses that have recently become more remote. In fact, it’s rated #1 in customer satisfaction and the best meeting experience on mobile.

Zoom is free and totally easy to use and you can Zoom with up to 100 people at the same time. Send secure group texts, images, and audio files from mobile and desktop – just this past weekend we celebrated a friend’s birthday via Zoom and although it’s not as great as being there in person, it feels like the next best thing. I’m already looking forward to next Saturday when we do a cocktail hour with friends.

“This app is awesome because I can chat with my friends whenever I want. You can be the host of your own chat, volunteer to be the host of a friend’s chat or you can also make someone else host if you don’t want to be. The part that I really like is that if you are the host you can mute everyone and turn their video off! You can also have a virtual background which is cool and makes it even more fun to look at. You can also write a message to everyone and see as many people at once as you want.” – Bobbie ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Here are other fun ideas for your family while quarantining!

Join The Discussion

Comments 18

  1. Bunny

    Have been taking yoga classes with Zoom since my local health club is closed. So fun to “see” and stay in touch with my teachers and classmates.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      How fun! SO glad you have enjoyed your yoga class with Zoom!

  2. Jervine87

    Marco Polo app is def the best way!

    • Judy

      I agree! Never used this app before but I really like it because you get to choose when and where you want to ‘talk’. I still get to see the people, but not just in real time.

  3. Joni

    I have had really enjoyed the house party app. In fact some friends in I are having a get together tonight on it!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Awesome! Have a great time, Joni!

  4. Carrie

    One of my best friends lives in St Paul, MN and I’m in Akron, OH. We both got a subscription to Deadbolt Mystery Society. (Escape room style puzzle/story boxes.) We work on them together via FaceTime on Saturday afternoons. It’s a nice break from doing everything “on screen” and provides a little mental challenge. Nice break from the routine!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      What a great idea! Thanks for letting us know how you have stayed in touch with your best friend!

  5. kim

    Hi everyone, I was just wondering if I have an Android phone and my children have the iPhones will any of these apps work if we have different phones? thank you.

    • Jervine87

      Marco Polo works cross platform!

    • Court!

      Yes Houseparty will work

    • mommyx4

      Try caribu? Its a kid friendly FaceTime app

  6. J

    We’ve been using Marco Polo app too! Love it. Make sure in zoom we all use the settings for privacy- the news shared the hacker story. And now all the kids are bummed parents use the house party app! So funny all the adults are using apps our kids have Been using for years.

  7. Court!

    Heads up that some of the games you can play on houseparty are not kid friendly! Trivia in particular. Otherwise love the app

  8. mommyx4

    Just downloaded CARIBU an app where kids can talk to family members while playing a simple game on the app or they can also read a book together they both see what the other one has on screen just tried it out with my mother and my son last night and they both loved it

  9. melvieone

    Hello all please be careful with zoom as there is possible associated malware going on

  10. Elaine

    The free version of Zoom only allows for 40 minutes before you’re cut off.

  11. Laurie

    Wow… can’t believe writing letters or sending cards wasn’t on the list… my family has been doing it for weeks with family and friends and it has been such a blessing

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