Whether you’re a grandparent face-timing your grandchildren, a partner setting up a virtual date for your long-distance significant other, or an employer trying to make the most of the zoom era of company calls, you know that video calls are not always the easiest. Video calls can be difficult to keep engaging compared to interactions in person. The age of facetime and zoom has not been easy on any of us, and when you’re in a long-distance relationship with the people you love it can get old to rely on the same old video call method every time. With kids especially they can tend to lose interest fast, with significant others it can feel hard to maintain the spark you would have in person, and with company calls, they can tend to just drag on. No matter what the circumstance is that you are most familiar with, it can be important to make some intentional choices to create more fun and engaging video calls. So how do you do that, you might ask? We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks below.
- Read a book together. This can be perfect for children and adults alike. If you’re seeking to bond with a child, a great way to do it is to read an exciting chapter book together. Try looking for one that has a lot of suspense and engaging character. Leaving the kids wanting to read more or not leave off on a cliffhanger, is a great way to keep them engaged and enjoying spending time with you. For adults, one idea is to host a book club. Read the book separately throughout the week, and then gather over facetime or Zoom to discuss!
- Play online games together: Did you know there are apps out there that allow you to play virtual games and engage in virtual activities with the kids? You may live out of state from your child or grandchild, but that’s no reason you have to skimp out on baking, fishing, doing puzzles, playing sports, or drawing. To make the most out of your long-distance relationship, look into online programs that allow you to choose fun things to do over Facetime together.
- Watch a movie together. Many streaming services have the ability to screen share and watch a movie or episode together. You can create watch parties in which you are seeing the movie at the exact same time, and when it pauses on their end, it pauses on yours too. It’s as close to being in person as it gets! There’s also a group chat feature so you don’t have to talk over the movie.
- Do a workout. There’s nothing better than staying active together! Especially with little ones, you are often able to engage them longer if you get them moving rather than trying to have them sit in just one place for the call. Try having a dance party. For some adults, screen sharing a workout video and getting active and burning some calories together is a fun bonding activity!
- Have a dinner date. If you are in a long-distance relationship with the person you love, try setting up a romantic dinner. You can cook together over the video call, and then sit together and eat it, or you can order food to their door and enjoy your romantic dinner that way. Bonus points if you set up candles and flowers in view. Some couples even enjoy going on virtual coffee dates with their partner where they both sit together on FaceTime and enjoy a cup of coffee at their favorite coffee shop or just on their back porch.
- Host a puppet show for kids: This one requires some planning ahead, but one way to engage with children over a video call is to have recurring puppet characters that make an appearance each call. This will allow the kids to have something to anticipate and look forward to.
- Host happy hour. In a work setting, it can be a bonding activity to engage in a company-wide happy hour. Invite your coworkers to grab a glass of wine or a cocktail of their choosing, and join you for a time of non-work-related conversation. This can be great for company morale and creating a company culture that values relationships and fun as well.
Do some icebreakers. Good for all ages, finding some fun games to enjoy with the person you are video chatting with is a great way to promote relationship building and keep your video call fresh and interesting. Try playing charades, show and tell, two truths and a lie, or conversation starter games. There are tons of ideas online for icebreaker games, and many if not all of them can be adapted to a screen. By giving an opportunity for everyone to loosen up and have fun, it keeps things interesting!