From virtual bake offs to pub quizzes: six fun video call ideas to try with your friends over Zoom

Video calls are the new going out, so here are some ways to have online fun with your loved ones

Naomi and her husband Doug Hassebroek enjoy a happy hour and cheers friends and family from their home using Zoom to connect digitally at the end of their first Friday working from home due to concerns over the rapid spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., March 20, 2020. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs
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In the age of Covid-19, video calling is the new going out. Being able to catch up with our friends and family in real-time through our phone and computer screens has become a lifeline for people in self-isolation, with applications like Houseparty and Google Hangouts allowing us to video chat with multiple people at once.

However, Zoom has fast emerged as one of the best apps for video calling thanks to its function that allows you to call up to 100 people (yes, you read that right) at any one time, with free chats able to last up to 40 minutes.

The app is widely used among businesses around the world as a conferencing tool when workers are based remotely. But since social distancing measures have been put in place around the globe, many people have been turning to Zoom socially, too.

If you are looking for some fun ideas for your next Zoom catch up, here are six ways to liven up your calls…

Pub quiz

If you haven’t tried this with your friends on Zoom already, what have you been doing all quarantine? There’s nothing quite like a pub quiz for a few hours of fun and useless facts, and Zoom is a great way to do it alongside friends and family the world over. You can select one person each time to be the quiz master, or, make like me and my friends and each draw up 10 questions to host your own round. Or, if that sounds like too much hard work, sign up to websites like myquiz.org where you can select a quiz to do together in real time. Make it more fun by saving up prizes for when self-isolation is over, you could come out of it with plenty of IOUs.

Virtual dinner party

Diners join together through Zoom for a virtual dinner party. The National 

It might sounds like a strange one, but we can confirm virtual dinner parties are awesome. Choose a meal to eat together, or pick a theme that each household has to build a menu around, and talk each other through your dishes when you sit down to dine. Once the food is ready, the socialising is much the same through the screen as it would be around a normal table, you'll just have to make do with a virtual "cheers" instead of a real one.

Charades

An oldie, but a goody. Charades is a great way to pass the time, and you can play it without any equipment. Just come up with a TV show, film or book, and act out the title to your fellow Zoom-ers without saying anything. It’s a game that stands the test of time, even in this new world of virtual socialising.

Virtual book club

If you and friends have found yourselves reading a lot since spending more time at home, why not launch a virtual book club to share your favourite reads with each other? Whether you just want to discuss new books you have found, or co-ordinate what you are reading in traditional book club style, it’s a great way to spark interesting discussion and connect with like-minded friends, making a usually solitary pastime social.

University of California, Berkeley Professors Lisa Wymore (L) and Greg Niemeyer look at the Zoom screen showing students in their online Collaborative Innovation course in Berkeley, California, U.S., March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Nathan Frandino

Themed nights

If you just fancy having a Thursday night catch up at the end of a long week, why not add a little fun by setting a theme for your video call. You might have an old fancy dress lying around from parties gone by, or just like the idea of getting dressed up after a week spent in loungewear. Regardless, getting dressed up for your Zoom date will make you feel like you are heading for a proper night out socialising, and will be a nice break from those same old comfies.

Have a bake off

If baking is your thing, why not set your laptop up in the kitchen and have a bake along with loved ones? You could each take it in turns to choose a cake or dessert, and follow the recipe step-by-step together. Not only will you be able to help each other through with any questions or problems, you’ll be able to enjoy the big reveal as you pull your cake out of the oven at the same time. And the best part? You won’t even have to share.

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