Despite social distancing, being social doesn't have to be something to put on hold. All the joys and wonders of modern technology mean that we don't have to stop keeping in touch and meeting up with our friends and family.
Lockdown can make us feel isolated, having a toll on mental health and emotion wellbeing with the limitations put in place on making social contact with members outside our household. Especially for our older relatives or may be living alone, staying connected as a family is vital to lift our spirits and stay close to those we love most. In our age of social media, we can feel like we're in the same room as our loved ones, even if we can't physically pop round for a cup of tea.
Whether you're in the competitive mood to play games, show off your general knowledge with a family quiz, or are just purely in the mood for a chat, with the help of some of the amazing apps we've recommended below, this is all the more possible, and gives something that all the family will be sure to love too.
Connect Grandparents With Grandchildren Using Caribu
Caribu is definitely the best app to use if you're wanting to connect grandparents with grandchildren in an easy, stress-free way. It uses a video chat function so the whole family can be involved in a video call. However, the fun doesn't stop there. With children's books, games and drawing activities integrated into the app, you can have the grandparents read your children a bedtime story and draw pictures together to really strengthen those connections during this lockdown.
How to get the app? It's free and can be downloaded here in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Most suitable for: 4 +
Hold A Houseparty
Houseparty has been a popular app during lockdown and is growing fast. It allows you and your family to make video calls to each other, with up to eight people being allowed in a chat at any one time. Create your own virtual house party with your families and friends, and don't forget the snacks! It also has built-in games in the app including Heads Up. Quick Draw and Trivia if you're feeling particularly competitive.
How to get the app? It's free and available for both Android and IOS devices.
Most suitable for: 13 +
Feel Closer Than Ever With Zoom
Like Houseparty, Zoom uses video calls so you can connect and see your family members and friends via camera. As a video conferencing app it's an amazingly reliable app and very easy to use. Your kids will have great fun being able to change their video backgrounds to a virtual background of their choice too. A perfect app to engage in great chats with our families, and one that even the less tech-savvy among us can use. One great idea to use Zoom for is to host your own virtual dinner party.
How to get the app? It's free, highly accessible, and can be used on any device like laptops and tablets.
Most suitable for: 9 +
Get Competitive Using Words With Friends
If you and your family have a strong competitive spirit with games being more your thing, then why not try the Words With Friends app? It's essentially a virtual version of the classic board game Scrabble, allowing you to play against your family members and friends online. Organise your very own games night with the family and be sure to make this the evening's main source of fun! You and your children may even learn some new words in the process.
How to get the app? It's free and available on the Apple App Store and Google Play store.
Most suitable for: 11+
Have A Family Film Night With Netflix Party
If you prefer to have a more chilled out evening with your family and friends, then a family film night maybe just for you! Netflix Party is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to watch Netflix films and series at the same time together. You watch whatever film you pick in sync with each other, so you can truly make your film night an opportunity to feel connected. With an added chat function where you can choose your favourite movie character as an icon, you can all have fun together commenting on your favourite scenes without interrupting the film. For added excitement to make the night really special, why not make it a themed film event? Dress up as your favourite characters, have themed snacks and decorations and truly immerse yourselves in the viewing experience.
How to get the app? It's free to use! Just download the extension on your Google Chrome.
Most suitable for: Whatever age depending on the age rating of the film you decide to watch.
Test Your General Knowledge With Quiz Up
If you believe your general knowledge is quiz winning worthy, then why not have a family quiz night using the Quiz Up app? Quizzes over video calls are becoming more popularly used by people during lockdown. With over 1,200 topics and more than 600,000 questions, there's plenty to give everyone a chance of at least getting one question correct. Make different rounds and get the whole family involved. It's an amazing way to stay connected whilst having fun. You can even make your own quiz using the app, creating your own tailored questions that you know your whole family will love.
How to get the app? It's free and available on both Android and IOS
Most suitable for: 7 +
If a games night sounds all the more appealing, then Jackbox Games is definitely an app to download. With some fantastic party games on offer, including the popular game Drawful 2, Quiplash and Fibbage where your bluffing skills become incredibly important, there's no doubt that Jackbox will make any night fun-filled and really engager your competitive sides. Helpfully, Jackbox has also provided a guide for how to play with friends and family remotely.
How to get the app? Stream the app here and make sure you have a good internet connection
Most suitable for: 9 + with the family-friendly setting
Having loved everything art and crafts so much as a child and wanting to pursue this when she grew up, Eleanor recently moved to London from Bath to study for a degree in Fine Art. Eleanor loves exploring the city in her spare time, especially visiting galleries and seeking out new arts events to go to with her partner. When she’s not out enjoying what the capital has to offer, Eleanor is a keen outdoor adventurer and lover of all things travel, always looking for a new destination to discover.