15 Creative Ideas To Stay Connected During Social Isolation
How can you and your loved ones stay connected during social distancing and isolation? While the world is figuring out how to live through the COVID-19 pandemic, most people are having to self-distance or isolate. Even when the pandemic ends, sometimes people are isolated (whether by choice, based on where they live, from weather, due to transportation, or otherwise). Here are 15 unique ideas for how to still CONNECT with loved ones, even while being distanced or isolated.
1) SCAVENGER HUNT
It could be indoors at home, outdoors in a yard, or some of both. You could give participants a list of items to go in search of, or you could name one item at a time. Play individually or on teams. If participants aren't in the same place together, it could be over video conference, where the first person to present the requested item gets a point. (Sample prompts: Who can find something red? Be the first person to show a sock. Bring your favorite book. Find something older than you are. Show something with a duck.)
2) WINDOW ART and GAMES
Use dry erase markers or washable paint to do window art, such as making a stained glass window or drawing pictures. You could do this at home, or get permission to decorate the outside of a window of a loved one in a nursing home. You could also play games, such as tic tac toe, from opposite sides of a window. If you can't do this through a window, you might try doing it via dry erase board or pen and paper while video conferencing.
3) PLAY A GAME (VIA VIDEO CONFERENCE)
Play a game together. If all players are not physically together, use video conferencing and choose a game that all participants have pieces for, such as Yahtzee (where everyone just needs five dice). Play a game like Pictionary, where you just need something to draw with, even if over camera. Or play a game that requires no materials at all, like Charades, Twenty Questions, Name that Tune, or ask one another trivia questions.
4) SIDEWALK CHALK
Use sidewalk chalk to leave artwork and uplifting messages outside. A family can go outside to create messages together, or you can leave a surprise picture for a loved one to find outside their door, on their driveway or sidewalk, or by their mailbox. You can also create a "Chalk Walk" of things to do, such as spin in a circle, jump, frog hop five times, skip, walk sideways, hopscotch, and more! If you live in a neighborhood, maybe in time each house could add to the chalk walk.
5) READ TO EACH OTHER
Read a book or a chapter of a book to one another. Or choose a magazine or newspaper article to share. Share a favorite story, or try to find the funniest article to make someone laugh out loud. This can also be a fun way to have an adult read a child a bedtime story or have a child practice their reading skills with a grown up, whether in person, over phone, or video conferencing. Even if a child cannot yet read, let them use a story book to either tell a story they already know or to get creative and make up a story based on the pictures.
6) SHOW AND TELL
Show a favorite object (such as a stuffed animal, a toy, a book, sports equipment, a picture, or more) and tell about why it is special to you. You could also share artwork or an assignment a child did for school. Children could show their favorite object from their Easter basket. Even if you don't have an object to share, you can talk about your favorite movie, book, song, or memory. You can do this in person, with video, or just talking on the telephone.
7) WRITE LETTERS OR MAKE CARE PACKAGES
Write letters to someone you care about. Children can draw pictures to include, or you can print actual photos to send. You can also consider making a care package, and include things like snacks, a magazine or book, a stuffed animal or toy, a puzzle, a journal, something to craft with like yarn or stickers, or a coloring book. Then mail or drop off for the recipient. You never know, maybe the recipient will write you back!
8) MAKE MUSIC
Play songs on the stereo to listen to or dance together, even if over the telephone. Play an instrument for someone else to listen to or play along. Sing songs together. Guess what song the other person is playing or humming. Share your favorite song. Look up your favorite music online to listen to together. Have children make instruments to play using common household items. Write song lyrics together as a family.
9) SHARE MEMORIES
LifeBio What's Your Story?
cards available here.
Ask questions and share your favorite memories. Let kids ask what they want to know from adults, such as funny stories from when the adults were young. Family members can share family history. Recall memories together, or share stories others have never heard before. This can be done whether in person, via telephone, over email, or videos. (Sample prompts: What did you enjoy doing most with your grandparents? Where did you grow up? Who is your best friend, and what do you do together? What is/was your favorite school subject? Do you play sports or an instrument? Tell me about your favorite holiday or celebration.) If you are interested in recording you and your loved one's memories, we can help here!
10) SCHOOL WORK
Help one another with school work. Adults can help teach new concepts. Children can show work they have done. Grown ups or older relatives can check answers to homework. Kids can practice reading aloud, saying math tables, spelling words aloud, or explain what they learned. Family members can quiz one another with trivia questions about subjects being studied.
Look at family photo albums together, and talk about what was happening in various pictures. Take portraits of your family members. Get someone to take your family "porch-trait" (that's a portrait on your porch) from afar. See who can take the silliest selfie or the prettiest picture outside your house. Send or email pictures to friends and loved ones. Make a scrapbook page together, or put printed photos into an album. Choose your favorite picture to have printed to frame and later display. Use a photo to make a fun craft or to gift to someone else.
Have a picnic together, even if it is on a blanket in your living room. If you can, go outside on a patio, to a picnic table, or a park. If you can't be physically together, take a picnic outside a loved one's window, such as on their back deck, while they eat inside their house and talk through the window. Or get permission to drop off food for a loved one in a nursing home, and then sit in lawn chairs to talk to them outside through their window.
Pray together and for each other, even if over telephone or video. Pray for other loved ones who are not with you. Share prayer requests, or write them in a prayer journal. Teach someone a prayer you know, or recite a prayer you know together. Read a scripture together. Share a song of prayer. Give thanks together. Share a moment of quiet meditation. Go for a family drive, and pray over different locations (schools, houses, businesses, parks, places of worship, and more) or people.
Hold a parade, whether for your family in your house or outside. Maybe wear funny costumes. Make signs, carry balloons, or wave streamers and flags. Throw candy or leave goodie bags for others, if you can. If someone plays an instrument, maybe they could march and play, or blare music from a cell phone or boombox. Decorate a wagon to pull along as a float. Kids can decorate and ride their bikes. Walk your pets with you. Parade past neighbors' houses. Or call other friends to get a driving caravan to have a parade through a neighborhood, for someone's birthday, or past a nursing home.
15) A DAY AT THE "MUSEUM"
Create a museum tour within your house. Take turns guiding others past art work and photos hanging on the walls. Have children create artwork, such as drawings, paintings, or Lego creations to display. They can show off their school photos. Describe garden statues or decorative items within the house, like vases or maps. Who can find the oldest item or something historical to share on their guided tour? Dress up and act like wax statues of famous people. Or make it like a science museum and do hands-on experiments. See who can give the most informed, the longest, or the funniest descriptions when it's their turn to be tour guide. If you aren't together in person, give someone a virtual tour via video conference.
Additionally, if you'd like to work on telling your or a loved one's life story, especially while you're socially isolated, we can help. We have a variety of options online, via telephone, or otherwise to share your biographies. Start with a free 14-day trial, before you decide if you want to upgrade to a month or longer account. You can also save audio recordings, videos, photos, and other uploaded documents like family trees. You can print your biography for free or request a story be printed in a bound book. We also have a MyHelloLine program, where we can call weekly to check in with your loved one, or people can call to participate in weekly toll-free group calls at no charge. We have other items available for purchase too, such as journals, What's Your Story? cards, or gifting memberships. Contact us today to let us know how we can best serve you!