When people find themselves in a lockdown situation, one of the worst aspects is the inability to get together with others. Humans thrive on personal connections, and being able to gather with family and friends is a source of joy for most.
Thankfully, current technology allows people to connect in innovative ways, but one great option is the telephone. It’s not as fancy as video chatting, but it’s reliable, easy, and affordable. Almost anyone you’d want to be in touch with has access to a phone — even the elderly and those who are completely tech unsavvy. Here are a few ways to add some extra fun to your phone conversations.
1. Watch a Show
Shared TV shows and movies can be a great way to get a conversation rolling with someone that might be otherwise challenging to talk to. This is one great way to stay connected during lockdown. If you can find a TV show that you’re both interested in, you could make weekly phone dates to share it. You can watch separately, then hop on a phone call to talk about what you loved or didn’t in that week’s episode.
Another fun option would be to make your phone call first, have everyone turn on speakerphone, then watch together and chat in real-time while you’re watching. Even just hearing each other laugh at the same points in the show can multiply the joy of watching.
2. Read a Book
Reading a book aloud is a great way to foster connection between loved ones of all ages. Grandparents can read picture books to their young grandchildren. This works especially well if both parties have a copy of the book, so the kids can see the pages as the grandparents read them. Older kids can get wonderful read-aloud practice by reading books over the phone to adult family members, or even to younger cousins.
Of course, adults can read books together as well. As with TV shows, you could take turns reading a chapter aloud on the phone, then talking about it. You can also both read a book ahead of time, then plan a phone call to discuss it. This miniature book club is a fun way to share books with loved ones. If everyone takes turns choosing books, you might also discover books you wouldn’t have otherwise.
3. Play a Game
It’s true that some games are really better in person. It’s awfully difficult to play charades over the phone. The good news is that there are plenty of games that can be enjoyed while you have a phone chat with a friend. Battleship works great, as long as both parties have the game.
Word games are also well suited to phone call entertainment. Games like 20 Questions or Two Truths and a Lie are fun and can be adapted to different age groups depending on who’s chatting. They’re also an excellent choice when you have larger groups together on one phone call.
4. Eat a Meal
Gathering a group for a family dinner is a tradition enjoyed by many. When you can’t have your meal in person, try having it over the phone. Each group can plan whatever they’d like to eat — maybe a few family favorites — then start a phone call on speakerphone and let everyone talk while they eat. It might even feel a little like the family dinners you remember.
Making the effort to stay connected with one another during times when we can’t be together in person is important for mental well-being. Using basic phone calls is an easy, inexpensive way to keep up with family and friends all over the world.