It seems that in our current testing times we're all having to think a little bit more outside the box to still be able to enjoy our all-time family favourite activities and traditions. Sunday dinner is no exception to this. Thankfully, it's 2020 and "social" no longer requires us to sit next to each other or even be in the same room. With all the joys of modern technology, popular social apps such as Zoom and FaceTime are allowing us to host virtual dinner parties over video chat calls, meaning that we can still enjoy all our favourite dishes together whilst sticking to the lockdown rules of social distancing. WiFi has become the new dinner party table and your meal times can now be shared with friends and family members remotely. These digital meetups are wholesome, heartwarming and fun, and something that your kids can definitely join in preparing for, whilst of course enjoying the food and tasty treats too. Take a read below at some of the ideas and ways you can have a virtual dinner party that is guaranteed to give everyone a memorable time.
Use Zoom And FaceTime To Connect With Each Other
Apps like Zoom and FaceTime are becoming all the rage at the moment as a way to connect with people long-distance who we can't at the moment see face to face. In these times of self-isolation, socialising with family members and friends over a video chat is a dynamic and wholesome way to take you and your little one's minds off from being stuck indoors for the majority of the day. Being able to see all their friends faces whilst tucking into some of their favourite foods and treats together over dinner is an amazing way for your kids to really feel those all-important bonds with their playmates, during which parents can also have a catch up around the virtual table too. Due to the wonders of platforms like Zoom, you can have multiple chat windows open at once, which means the party certainly won't be short of guests and exciting conversation. It truly is a lovely way to bring everyone together as we adjust to these new but temporary ways of doing things with family and friends.
Send Out Menus
Planning the menu is certainly one of the most important parts of any dinner party, whether it's virtual or not. You and your kids can find great fun in deciding which dishes to cook for the evening, not forgetting the all-important dessert. Once this has been decided, you can have a go at designing an online menu together. Sites such as Paperless Post allow you to make fun interactive invites which you and your kids will enjoy creating so you can email it to all your guests to stir up some excitement before the virtual dinner begins. However, as this is a virtual dinner party, the fun of it is that your guests will have to cook whatever you've chosen to put on the menu themselves, so be sure to be kind and not make the dishes too hard!
Play Dinner Party Games
Dinner party games are something that all the family can enjoy around the dinner table and are a great way to prevent your little ones from getting bored once dessert has been finished. These games are becoming easier than ever before to play virtually, and one app proving popular at the moment to do so is House Party. House Party much like Zoom and FaceTime allows you to have multiple video chats with all your friends and family, but with the added bonus that you can play several games during your calls such as Heads Up, Trivia and Quick Draw. Charades and Pictionary are also brilliant ways to spice up the evening whilst all looking a little bit silly at the same time. These are guaranteed to keep the party going and something that all your kids can get involved with to make the night really memorable for everyone.
Organise A Themed Night With A Dress Code
This can be optional, but a great fun way to liven up any virtual dinner. Get you and your kid's creativity flowing by picking a theme for the night, making costumes and deciding on a playlist to play whilst you all have dinner around the table. If you and your little ones have all been living in the same cosy jumpers for the last five days, dressing up together can be a fantastic way to lift spirits and make dinner feel like a really special occasion. There's no need to spend a lot ordering costumes online either. Use it as a fun opportunity to get creative with your kids and use whatever's lurking in the back of your wardrobes. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, get the sewing machine and thread out and make your own unique designs which can almost certainly be used at a later date for any of your children's future dress-up events. Some fun options are a beach party theme, the 80s, superheroes, or as Easter is just around the corner why not give this a go too?
Cooking the courses for the night doesn't have to be something you do alone. Turn it into a joint event and get your little ones involved in the making too. Finding the perfect recipe online together, getting the ingredients and planning how to present it is something your kids will definitely be more than happy to get involved with. This is something the fun of video chat apps can help with too as you may want to involve your guests in all the cooking fun as well. Try sending out the same recipe to all your guests so everyone cooks the same dish, and then have a laugh at the results of what's been made. Get yours and your friend's kids involved by maybe hosting a mini bake or cook off before the evening to really get your little one's chef hands in gear.
Making decorations for the event can be just as fun as prepping all the food to be eaten, and just as important too. Especially if you've decided to have a themed night, getting the whole family involved making napkins, bunting and even decorating plates for the occasion is a great way to keep your little ones entertained and excited whilst you prepare the food and drinks. To make it extra special you may decide to turn the decoration making into a creative competition, involving your friend's kids too so you can see which table wins. Giving your dinner table some new life in this way is definitely something not to miss out on during lockdown.
Take The Focus Off The Food And Just Have Fun
If all this talk of having a virtual dinner seems like a lot of fun but the cooking side of the event doesn't appeal so much, you and your children can still have just as good a time but without all the fuss and stress. Why not try out a new takeaway option instead? Many local takeaways are still open for business during the lockdown, with many restaurants and cafes offering takeaway style meals delivered to your door so you don't have to worry about the food at all, but just focus on connecting with your kids and friends. This is also a great way to support local businesses during these unsettling times. Deliveroo and UberEats are two popular options, with many discounts available at the moment and free delivery making it a highly convenient and relaxing option that allows you and your family to just enjoy the night. The family tradition of a Sunday lunch is something that also doesn't have to be postponed or compromised on at this time, with many local pubs offering Sunday roast takeaways with all the trimmings. Lockdown doesn't mean you have to miss out on any quality family time, especially with the help of all things virtual.
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.