As the lockdown continues, more and more people are turning to video calling as a way to stay in touch with their friends and family. While you may not be able to physically see them in person, chatting to your loved ones via video applications is a great way to feel less isolated, and even to have some fun. There are now tons of family-friendly games that you can play during your FaceTime/Zoom/HouseParty calls to make them even more exciting - check them out!
Would You Rather
A classic game that's perfect to play over FaceTime is Would You Rather. There's no need for any screen sharing or special equipment, all you need is yourself and your imagination. How does it work? To play, you'll need a minimum of two players - though more players makes for a more interesting game. You'll each have to come up with some tough choice questions for one another - and each player has to pick an answer. For example: Would you rather only eat chocolate ice cream for the rest of your life, or never eat it again? It's a great, easy to play game that the whole family can get involved with - and makes for a great laugh when it comes to the difficult questions. Players can take turns coming up with questions, and getting to know each other more with each answer - but be careful, because the time will whizz past when you're having so much fun!
If you're having trouble coming up with questions, you can search on Google for lists of kid-friendly would you rather questions.
The Word Game
The Word Game is great for playing on FaceTime - or any video calling app so long as you have yourself and your brain! For this game, players must take turns coming up with words starting with the last letter of the word that the previous player has said. For example, if you've chosen the word 'apple' - another player must come up with a word beginning with the letter 'e', and so on. The game is lost when you can't think of a word beginning with the letter. It's a great way to get competitive and have fun under pressure whilst you're catching up with your family or friends - and one that the kids will love too! For added excitement, why not make the game tougher by selecting a category such as animals or food that your words must relate to?
A classic that everyone knows and loves, Hangman is a great game to enjoy on your video calls with family and friends. Perfect for all ages, all you need is a pen and paper and you can play through the camera. Players can take turns coming up with words and guessing them. While this game can be played on any video calling app - if you'd like to take it to a virtual level - you can try drawing on Zoom's whiteboard and screen share with each other for a more visual representation of what's going on.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Perfect for younger family members, playing rock, paper, scissors over a video call is a great way to get your little ones interacting and coming out of their shells with your friends and the rest of the family. While very simple to play, kids will be able to improve on their fast thinking skills and have lots of giggles as it goes on. Since the game is all about speed and timeliness - you'll need to make sure you have a good internet connection and a relatively high-quality level of video, but that's about it. At the end of the game, the winner is the one with the most points. Just be warned, we all know how much fun we had with this game when we were kids - so don't be surprised if they want to play over and over again!
Who doesn't love a sing-along? Thanks to YouTube, we now have access to practically any song available - so get on your video calls, pull up a song, and get playing virtual karaoke. Players can score each other out of 10 at the end of each song, and crown a winner at the end. As long as your family (or neighbours) don't mind hearing you sing - it can be such a hilarious game to play that the whole family can get involved in. Whether you're singing songs from Frozen with the kids or belting your heart out to Celine Dion - you'll be sure to have a memorable call with your loved ones. If you're super enthusiastic about it, you could even order a Bluetooth microphone so that everyone can hear your lovely voice even more clearly! (Or you could always stick to the traditional hairbrush.)
A Family Quiz
A great activity to make your video calls more fun is to come up with your very own family quiz. It's an easy to coordinate game that everyone can enjoy with nothing built-in needed whatsoever - all you need to do is come up with creative questions and get ready to get competitive. It's a good idea to come up with a scoring system, decide on whether you're going to set a time limit on answers or levels of difficulty depending on who's playing and the age groups involved. Try and get as many people in on the call as possible for the ultimate fun - and maybe even come up with a grand prize for when this is all over. Maybe the loser could take everyone out for lunch? If you wanted to, you could even make it a daily or weekly challenge, taking turns to come up with the questions - just wait and see how much fun you have and you'll definitely want to do it again.
The app HouseParty has loads of fun games, but Quick Draw has to be one of our favourites. Similar to Pictionary, players take turns virtually drawing out a word whilst the others attempt to guess what it is. You've got to try and draw and guess as many words as you can within the time limit. The game is full of laughter as you struggle to draw on your phone screen, and even more fun hearing everyone rush to get the correct answer. Up to eight people can play together, and even the kids can enjoy taking turns to draw and guess. It makes for a really fun way to break up the call once you're done catching up, and is really addictive!
Heads Up: Act It Out
Another one of our HouseParty favourites is the hilarious Heads Up: Act It Out. The game is a sort of mix between charades and heads up - the only difference being that it's slightly harder and a lot sillier. How does it work? In each round, one player won't be able to see the card they've been assigned - and everyone else has to act out the word for the player to guess. You won't be able to give verbal hints, which is where the similarities to charades come in - so be prepared for a good laugh. All you'll need to play this one is to have downloaded the app and a speedy internet connection to be able to see each other clearly.
If you love a good word search, then you'll have so much fun playing it virtually with your friends and family. You'll need to download either Zoom, Google Hangouts, or another screen-sharing enabled application - but that's about it. You can then find a word search on Google that you can all have fun completing together, or if you want to compete - you can race to finish the same one without sharing your screen and then share when you're done to claim the crown. There are plenty of free, virtual word searches online in which you can pick different categories and topics, and ones aimed at younger children who might want to play too. Alternatively, there are also plenty of online crossword puzzles that you can complete together if that takes your fancy!
Rachel grew up in Switzerland and currently lives in north-west London. She is an avid reader, writer, and a real foodie and loves discovering new hotspots and trendy places to go in the city. She also enjoys planning days out for her family, she especially loves taking her little cousins swimming and to the park. When she has some free time she loves going to concerts, baking, or visiting her family at their home in Essex. She can sometimes be found travelling a bit further than Essex and loves meticulously planning and researching a trip before heading off to explore new places in Europe and further afield.