For some of us, having the excuse to stay at home and relax alone can be a welcome gift. But what of the social types amongst us who are struggling with the social distancing due to Covid-19 and the lockdowns? Knowing what to do during quarantine can be a real headache.
If you’re the type who loves seeing friends and going out, then all this social withdrawal is probably driving you nuts! How do you spend all of this “free time” in a way that is productive to you but also entertaining?
But even if you do enjoy some alone time at home, there comes a moment when you start getting sick of it. You need a change of scene but don’t know how to get it.
Fortunately we understand the predicament you’re in. There are ways you can socialise with friends well during self-isolation but also use the downtime wisely to better yourself. Let’s get started.
What to do during quarantine with friends
A virtual dinner party is one of the best ways to foster closeness with distant friends. The best part of a virtual meal is that unlike an in-person dinner, you’re no longer restricted by how many people you can fit around the dining table. This means can reach friends in different cities and other countries. There are many different types of dinner party – from a really nice meal together to a virtual cooking class to a dinner/movie night. If you’re not in the mood to cook, you can order in from a local restaurant (which in turn supports that restaurant).
A Wine Tasting
If you and your friends enjoy the odd glass of wine over dinner, you can expand on the idea by sharing your favourite tipple together. Send everyone a list of wines they can buy and use the tasting to talk about flavours. There are different types of wines you can explore, from celebrity wine to wines by region.
Invite your friends to dress in their best cocktail party clothes and attend a virtual cocktail party. Decide what type of party you want, e.g. everyone creates a cocktail together or brings their own cocktails to the event. Bear in mind your friends will need to buy their own ingredients so keep it real when sending everyone a list of items to consider. You can also create a virtual cocktail-making class by having everyone watch a mixologist at work.
Virtual Drinking Games
If you love bonding with your friends over a few beers, drinking games help bring back that fun. You can play one on one or via a group call. Bear in mind players may need to buy their own equipment, from playing cards to solo cups, and set aside a playing space. Some of the drinking party games we recommend include Flip Cup, Rock Scissors Drink, Loosen Words and Beer Pong. Here’s a brilliant video showing you how to set up and play virtual beer pong.
If you like being silly but don’t know what to do during quarantine, then acting games is a must-have activities. We love games where friends get to make fools of themselves. All you need to do is set up a group video class and you’re good to go. Charades and Pictionary are the easiest games to play, but games like Never Have I Ever, Movie Reverse Charades and Drama Queen are fitting. Check out our list of adult party game ideas you can adapt to your virtual party.
Virtual Movie Night
The idea of watching movies with your friends online can feel a little awkward at first. No one’s in the same room as you, you’re not sharing snacks and beer together. While you won’t be able to see your friends’ faces during the movies, hearing their reactions and comments is just as great. Decide together which movie(s) you want to watch; you can use our list of movie night party ideas for inspiration.
You can use an app such as Netflix Party, but bear in mind not everyone has strong internet connection. In a recent experience, a couple of my friends couldn’t stream and run a regular web connection at the same time. If you encounter these problems, the simplest solution is not to use Netflix Party, and have everyone watching the movie on their own browser. Making sure your friends press play on the movie at the exact same moment.
Take An Online Class
Ever had the urge to learn how to paint? To knit a sweater? To pick up a new language? Now is the perfect time to get started. And while you can do all of this alone, it’s also fun to take a class with friends. Decide together what type of class they want to do then browse what is available. Udemy is a great place to start your online learning.
Sitting at home all the time, it’s easy to turn into a couch potato. If you’re not into fitness and don’t know what to do during quarantine to fix the problem, then music is the way out. The beauty of disco over other forms of music is its accessibility, mindlessness and happy vibes. Create a communal playlist with your friends and get moving. Time to show off your most outrageous dance movies.
Talking of dancing, if you enjoy music, why not take it to the next level? Find a music video with well-known choreography and try to recreate it with your friends. You can decide the video in advance of the party, to give everyone time to practice, or go with someone random.
Some classic examples of well choreographed videos: Madonna, ‘Vogue’; Beyoncé, ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’; Janet Jackson, ‘Rhythm Nation’; Usher, ‘Caught Up’; Jennifer Lopez, ‘Get Right’; Run-DMC vs Jason Nevins, ‘It’s Like That.’
Online Book Club
Love reading? You definitely don’t need to be in the same room together to read together. Decide on a reading list and have weekly meetings where you share your thoughts and do mutual readings. Don’t forget to supplement your reading with snacks and drinks.
Create A Group Novel
This idea makes use of live messaging with your Zoom call. Nominate someone to start. This person is given 30 sections to start writing a story five to 10 lines long. When their time is up, they must submit only the last line, copy and pasted into the messenger. The next nominated person takes their turn developing their part of the story using this line. When their time is done, they then submit their last line for the next player to use. Everyone then reads out the group story together.
You can also decide a genre for the story in advance or even provide an opening paragraph for the first person to riff from.
Play Virtual Board Games
This has been one of my favourite activities during lockdown. Getting to play board games in real-time is a lot of fun, whether that’s Monopoly or Scrabble. Pogo offers you a variety of games, from Solitaire to Mahjong to puzzle games, while Lexulous is perfect for interactive Scrabble. Make sure to bring food and drink to the party.
If you can’t find an online version of a board game or don’t like board games, then consider playing cards. California Speed and Kings In The Corner are two easy card games you can try.
Working Out Together
Do you miss meeting your friends for an early morning run? It can be tough working out at home if you’re not used to doing it alone. Working out together online gives everyone the support they need to stay fit, crucial in these lockdown times when it’s too easy to turn into a couch potato. If you’re stuck for ideas for what to do during quarantine, you can join a fitness class or use one of these fitness apps to track your exercise.
From knitting to scrapbooking, to drawing and sewing, there are plenty of options for creating an online crafting club. The goal of the club is to have everyone to creating something together to finish together. Decide which craft activity you want to do, then send everyone a list of items they will need to buy along with a weekly meeting date. You can also use the club as a chance for friends to create presents for each other.
Virtual karaoke is great fun, especially for friends who’ve always been shy about getting up on stage. You will find many karaoke videos on YouTube. Your friends can take it in turns to sing their bit before everyone sings it out together.
Run a Workshop
Are you a master at making cupcakes? Calligraphy? Photography? Get your friends together and host an online workshop to teach each other skills you’ve developed over the years. If your friends need help achieving a goal, and you know you can do that easily, you can also create a workshop around their problem. Make sure to provide worksheets people can refer to during the class.
What to do during quarantine on your own
Watch A Documentary
If you prefer something a bit more cerebral than just movies, there are a few websites you can visit for access to free documentaries. Some great sites include Top Documentary Films, Documentary Heaven and Documentary Addict.
Tour A Virtual Museum
The great thing about being stuck at home is being able to visit art galleries and museums around the world without having to leave your sofa. A number of these organisations have digitised their exhibitions and offer free virtual visitors.
American museums: Getty Museum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; MoMa (the Museum of Modern Art); The Guggenheim.
International museums: Van Gogh Museum; The Louvre; National Azulejo Museum (Portugal); The British Museum; The National Museum of Anthropology – Mexico City; The Musée d’Orsay in Paris; the Vatican Museum; Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam); Picasso Museum.
Art galleries: National Gallery (London); Uffizi Gallery (Florence); MASP – Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (Brazil); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
Natural history: Natural History Museum (London); Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History; American Museum of Natural History.
Arrange A House Party
If you’re feeling stuck for what to do during quarantine, and running short of ideas, the quickest way to get a boost is by organising a group party with friends. You can do that easily by using the Houseparty app and organise large group video chats in no time at all.
Learn A New Language
Always thought about learning German? Want to brush up on your French? Have a holiday spot in mind you can’t wait to visit after COVID-19 and need to know some basics? Lockdown is perfect for helping you get started. Learning from real native speakers is made simpler with Memrise, an online platform with thousands of short language videos to choose from.
Visit A Different City
If you love travelling and miss visiting somewhere new, Google Street View has come to save us. TimeOut has dug through the best panoramas available on that platform and given us the best views of these cities from various vantage points. You can view Paris from Sacré-Coeur, Hong Kong from Lion Rock, Cape Town from Table Mountain and much more.
Visit An Aquarium
Escape the news cycle by taking a virtual tour of an aquarium. Watching aquatic life and sea dwellers do their thing can be very relaxing. Monterey Bay Aquarium can keep you tuned into these underwater happenings thanks to their live cams. Beluga whales and African penguins are the stars of the show at Georgia Aquarium, while the National Aquarium in Baltimore can have you jumping from the tropics to icy tundra in no time.
Dive Into Horror
If you’ve always been fascinated by horror movies or have an interest in the paranormal, you can now read a library of more than a thousand digitised horror books online. The Ritman Library has allowed free access to their pre-1900 books, thanks to a donation from novelist Dan Brown.
Go To Disneyland
Ever wanted to visit the house of Mickey Mouse, Frozen and Pixar but never had the money or the time? Now you can, thanks to a virtual tour of Disneyland that takes in the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, amongst others.
Visit The Opera
If you love opera or had the curiosity for the music, you can enjoy all the performances you want without paying huge prices for seats. Met Opera is offering an exclusive service for $14.99 a month, giving you unlimited access to more than 700 full-length Met performances. Learn more about Met On Demand.
Declutter Your Home
Being stuck at home can give you pause as to how much stuff you own. You might start asking yourself whether it’s time for a clear out. Do you really wear all the clothes clogging up your wardrobe? How many pairs of shoes do you really use day to day? Start deciding what to throw out and what to donate. If you have any expensive items, you might consider selling them on eBay.
Watch A Gig
With music venues temporarily closed, not being able to enjoy live music can be heart breaking. But thanks to YouTube you can visit any number of past rock performances from around the world. If you love rock music, then the world famous Brixton Academy in London has a number of shows online. Other classic concerts include the U2 2015 eXPERIENCE tour, Kylie Minogue’s Aphrodite Les Folies, and Radiohead at Lollapalooza Chicago.
Being stuck at home not knowing what to do during quarantine can get demoralising after a while. But it can also be an opportunity for closeness and personal empowerment, thanks to the wonder of the internet.