Virtual hangout is the new norm. We all know it has been hard to adapt to this new norm, especially everything changes so quickly! But, fear not, I’ve created a list of activities that can help you to reconnect with your loved ones, even when you are physically distant.
#1 KARAOKE AT HOME
Don’t you reminisce about the good ’ol karaoke sessions? While we patiently wait for our favourite KTV joints to be opened, there are a few virtual karaoke apps that can temporarily satisfy our karaoke urges.
My personal favourite is Quan Ming Party. It has an extensive songs library that you can sing with your group of family/ friends. All you need to do is to invite your family and friends into your private room and each of you can take turns to sing your fav song! The only downside is that only one person can sing at any point in time -- no duets, no harmonisation, no background screaming. Also, the app is in Chinese. If you can’t read Chinese, check out our next suggestion below. Download Quan Ming Party via App Store or Google Play Store.
For those of you who are unable to read Chinese, Smule might be the one for you. Smule also has an extensive music playlist, but it works differently. Smule doesn’t have a room function. You’ll have to record your Karaoke session and post it up. If your family or friends are interested to sing a duet with you, they’d be able to use the recording and make a new recording out of it. Afterwhich, you can share the recording with your wider family and friends!. Download Smule to have a good time here.
#2 SEND A SURPRISE GIFT
Yes, who doesn’t love surprise gifts! It doesn’t have to be expensive! It could be a mix of 4 samples -- packed in a nice Sample Store box -- or a retail-sized product, below the price of $10. The main thing is to let them know that you’ve been thinking about them and create a common topic in your next virtual call! You can redeem or purchase the same item as well to go through this shopping experience together!
Not sure what sample you should get? Check out our latest sample launches, or samples available at trusty neighbourhood Watsons.
#3 WATCH NETFLIX TOGETHER
Movie night! <3 The annoying thing about being apart is that you can’t watch and react to a show together. With Netflix Party, your problem is solved. Netflix Party allows you to watch Netflix movies concurrently with your family and friends. You can also comment, as the show progresses, on the chatbox.
All you need to do is to download Netflix Party -- its a chrome extension --, log in to your Netflix account on Google Chrome and send the party link to whoever you want to invite! Make sure the other party also download the extension and click on the icon on their taskbar after they click into the link.
#4 WATCH ONLINE MUSICAL AND THEATRE PLAYS TOGETHER
This is for the cultured Singaporean -- free online musical and theatre plays:
International Theatre Companies: Cheek By Jowl - The Winter’s Tale Live Capture, Shakespearean’s Globe - The Merry Wives of Windsor (2019) (available till 14 June 2020) and National Theatre’s Official Coriolanus featuring Tom Hiddleston (available till 11 June 2020, do check out their page for more free, upcoming plays).
Online Musical & Circus Performances: Les Miserables and Cirque du Soleil
Local Theatre Companies -- Those Who Can’t Teach by The Necessary Stage, Family Duet (2013) by Esplanade The Studios Online and A Good Death by Esplanade The Studios Online.
Now, getting access to online musicals and plays is the first part. Watching it together with your family members and friends is the second. This is where Rave comes in. You can get to sync and watch shows on YouTube, Vimeo and Netflix. Similar to Netflix Party, it also has a chatbox for you to share every moment with your family and friends.
#5 PLAN GAMES NIGHT
Our phone is a source of endless fun. Just gather your family and friends, and you are ready to have a good time. These are some free group mobile games that I’d recommend (trust me, I’ a social gamer):
Strategic Teamwork Mobile Game (good finger coordination needed): Mobile Legends (2-5 friends), PUBG Mobile (4 players), Modern Combat Versus (2-4 friends), Too Many Cooks App Store | Google Play (3-8 friends), Brawl Stars (3 friends)
Social Deduction Game (aka find-the-traitor game): Among Us (4-10 players), Werewolf Online (3-16 friends)
Puzzle Game (kids- and boomer-friendly): Houseparty (2-8 friends; Heads-Up, Quick Draw, Trivia, etc), Psych! App Store | Google Play (min 2 friends)
Racing Game (friendly for all except FunRun): Mario Cart Tour (2-7 friends), KartRider Rush+ (2-4 friends), FunRun 3 (2-8 friends; maybe gruesome for kids)
Don’t forget to call up your friends via popular video conferencing software, like Zoom, Google Meet, Houseparty or Discord, for the full games night experience! Just a side note, Discord has a strong gamer community. You might get to make new friends there!
#6 DO HOME WORKOUTS TOGETHER
Working out and struggling with your loved ones can be pretty fun. Simply get your family members or friends into a video conference call (via Zoom, Google Meet, Houseparty or Discord) and pick a free online workout.
If you need recommendations on free online home workouts, check out my workout article.
#7 READ/LISTEN TO THE SAME EBOOK/AUDIOBOOK
This is based on what I learnt from my reading and personal experience. When you are physically distant, you’ll naturally have less shared experiences and common topics. Proactively creating a shared experience would help to overcome this and deepen your connections! Try reading the same eBook/audiobook and discussing about it when you call!
Currently, my top recommendation is Spotify’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone *squeals with fellow Harry Potter fan*. Each chapter is narrated by celebrities from global entertainment, music and sports. And yes, the first chapter is read by Daniel Radcliffe -- who else better to start the series! Sorry I got excited. Basically, Harry Potter is one of the many audiobooks available on Spotify. Simply search “audiobook” to find more. Another audiobook channel to consider is Open Culture. They have many classics written by literary masters such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe. It’s a great place to start if you want to explore mankind’s greatest literary works with your loved ones.
My last recommendation is NLB. They have been releasing a number of ebooks and audiobooks to keep fellow Singaporeans sane. If you have a specific book in mind, NLB is probably your best bet at getting it free.
#8 PLAN A LUNCH/DINNER DATE
So I saw this TikTok video: A couple in a long-distance relationship made time to arrange for a virtual date. They dressed up, cooked their meals, and sat down for a meal together -- all while video-calling each other. It was a simple yet memorable virtual meal that you can easily recreate!
Don’t worry if cooking isn’t your thing, you always order in. It can even be the same dish for your family, friend or partner! Check out this article to find Singapore restaurants that offer islandwide delivery.
#9 ATTEND ONLINE COURSES TOGETHER
Here’s another way to create a shared experience. A productive way to boot.
Free Broad-Based Online Learning Resources: Harvard University Online Course, Udemy, Coursera, edX, Khan Academy
Free Online Coding & Analytic Courses: Solo Learn, Code Academy, Microsoft Virtual Academy, Microsoft Virtual Academy
Free Online Digital Marketing Courses: Facebook BluePrint, Google Digital Garage, Google Skillshop, Hubspot Academy
Free Online Photography Courses: Adobe Live, Nikon Online Courses, Canon Live, Home with Olympus
So far, I’ve tried Harvard’s CS50: Introduction to Computer Science. If you are also interested in the same course, my advice to you is to start the course with someone. You’ll need the extra brain, especially if you don’t have a computer science background.
I sincerely hope this list helps you to better connect with your family, friends, partner, and colleagues! If you have any creative ideas on virtual hangouts, feel free to share with us on our Facebook page as well!
This article is part of Sample Store Virtual Care Package. If you are interested in the other parts of the virtual care package, please click on the respective keywords: Island-Wide Food Delivery (with affordable/free delivery!), Online Grocery Shopping, No-Equipment Home Workouts, and more upcoming articles. For more interesting and helpful lifestyle articles, subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
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