At the beginning of lockdown, one of the few things I was actually quite optimistic about was the 'new' way of socialising.  The thought of not having to dress up, buy bad wine or have to leave the house to socialise was actually something to be joyful about.  

However, after just a few of these Zoom social gatherings, my initial enthusiasm was quickly quashed.  Banter is pointless, flirting is just embarrassing and sarcasm is met with awkward silences (to be fair that happens to me in 'real life').   Attempting to create the same dynamic that you would in a 'normal' social setting is just not possible and if you try, you will only become even more depressed than what you were before the social gathering took place.   All you have to do is watch the Steph Show or Sunday Brunch to realise why zoom conversations are challening.  

After a lovely 9th birthday party we hosted this week, I thought I would write down some full-proof games that work best between screens.  Some ideas are specific to kids, although I think that in nearly all circumstances (apart from wine tasting), games can be adapted for both adults and children.  

If it is a special occasion you can also order a surprise takeaway such as pizza to arrive at the houses at the same time, or just organise for each family to do some party food, plus all make a cake and the birthday person gets to blow out all the candles  from across the screen (just not eat the cake, which is quite frankly my worst nightmare).  

I have left out the obvious games that work well such as Pub Quizzes, Charades and Bingo.  All good ones to try.  

The other thing to point out, is that it does help to have a 'quiz/games master'.  The person that has the answers, applies the rules and generally keeps things as entertaining as possible.   If this is a family zoom gathering, try, if you can to put the 'games master' in another room away from the family that they belong to (sounds awful I know).  

Create a Team Name, plus  a Word that is used to 'buzz' in to  give the correct answer.  The sillier the better.   Although, a word of warning from me, once the party is over remember to delete it from your zoom account.  I had a serious work call this week and unbeknown to me for the whole duration of the call the name that appeared on my screen  was 'stinky bum'.  Someone hadn't removed this since the 9th birthday party had taken place!

Scavenger Hunt

Now, I have seen this work really well for kids on Zoom, but works just as well for adults. It has everyone chasing around the house trying to find the item.  It's the first person to arrive back at the screen with the item that wins.  

Ideas...Pair of (clean) pants on heads.  Piece of Fruit.   Something beginning with L.  A cook book... Shot of Tequila.  A piece of cheese.  Toothpaste...Pet.  (the list goes on and on).

Family Fortunes

Not a game I particularly love on the television, but through searching for ideas for the party this week,  I found a good link with some survey results, so everything was literally done for me.   The quiz master asks the question and the first person to 'buzz' in with the top answer wins the points, and then you carry on allowing people to buzz in with their answers until you get to the top answer.  Team with winning answer, gets the points.  (It was at this stage, that I was merrily telling everyone who had 3 points awarded and so so, but in actual fact I didn't actually write any of those points down).  I let the birthday girl choose who won the entire game at the end.  I had drunk too many Wu Wu's at that point anyway.    

I have attached the link below which takes you to the question and the survey answers, that I found. (You can of course come up with all your own answers and the joy of google is that you can probably find what would be all the survey answers)

This link includes questions such as:

  • Name a bad job for someone who is accident prone.  
  • Name an animal you can't fit in a mini.
  • Name a bad place to fall asleep.
  • Name a place where you aren't allowed to teach anything.  
  • Name something people are chased by in the movies.  

https://www.potentialplusuk.org/index.php/2019/11/18/big-family-weekend-2019-family-fortunes-quiz/

Egyptian Mummy

This may be a game you have played during Halloween, very silly but perfect for a family game across the screens.  Choose one person from the team to be wrapped in toilet roll (clearly this would be deemed to be very wasteful in these times, but all toilet roll can be recycled after this game).  The point of the game is to wrap the 'Eqyptian Mummy' with toilet roll until you can no longer see any of their skin, or clothes.  The first team to wrap the mummy is the winner and awarded however many points!!

Who am I

This is where having a quiz master really works.  They decide before the game which participant has which character.   i.e. Erin - Snow White, Grandad - Buddy Holly, Samuel - Lemmy.   The quiz master has the names on a piece of a4 and then when it is the persons turn to guess who they are, they have to close their eyes and the Games Master shows everyone else the name.   Obviously, doing it this way allows you to pick characters that resonate with the person playing.  

Name that Tune

Ok, ths game comes with a warning.  You need to be sure that when it comes down to it, that everyone can hear the music.  Again, I was able to pick songs that resonated with everyone involved.  It's like the worst playlist you will have hear!

'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles' / Star Wars / Big & Chunky / Peggy Sue

Guess Who

Another good family game would be Guess Who, assuming you are using the exactly the same version.  As I recall we had a monster verison  that is so difficult as they are all so ugly and trying to count the number of eyes, legs or other limb is quite problematic.

Battleships

I know this may seem like a slightly more boring suggestion, but its the perfect game for kids of a certain age to do across a screen.  

Obviously, some of these games are more lively than others, so its good to mix them up, so there doesn't become too much of a lull.

As I think of more, I will add to the list.   Happy Zooming......

 Lockdown Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash