Tag Archives: monopoly online

Make Your Virtual Thanksgiving Fun

By Tracey Dowdy

With the recent surge in COVID cases, many of us are heeding the CDC’s warning regarding holiday gatherings and opting for a virtual Thanksgiving with those we love. Though sharing a meal via a video conference is something few of us could have anticipated this time last year, there are still ways to make your holiday memorable in all the best ways. 

First, choose the platform you’re going to connect through. Zoom has lifted its 40 minute limit on free accounts from midnight ET on Nov. 26 through 6 a.m. ET on Nov. 27 so your dad doesn’t get cut off in the middle of his classic “Thanksgiving of ‘82” story. Other platforms like Skype Meet NowGoogle MeetJitsiFacebook, and WhatsApp all offer free video conferencing, with differing levels of service and features. Take some time over the next day or two and determine which features are most important for your crew. 

Platforms like BrightfulBoard Game Arena, and Tabletopia allow you to play hundreds of new and old games online. Plus, many of your favorite board games are available as apps for your iOS or Android device, and several have online multiplayer modes so you can play while voice or video chatting with your family and friends. ZoomJam created sociable face-to-face games to play with family and friends through video chat, with a dozen games to choose from. And, if all seems to be going well and you’re looking to ruin everything, Hasbro allows users to play their most popular games, including Monopoly, through their site. A few years back, they set up a hotline for players to call and settle those savage Monopoly disputes – here’s hoping it makes a comeback this year. 

As with all video conference calls, be mindful of what’s in the background. There’s been countless horrifying or hilarious – depending on who you ask – stories of video conferencing fails since we all started working from home back in March. Remind everyone when the camera is live and when your mic is on. If you want to keep your mother in law from judging your housekeeping even from out of state, consider downloading or selecting a custom background for your video chat. Of course, Zoom offers its own selection, and Apple’s FaceTime will allow you to chat as your memoji avatar. 

Apps like Teleparty (formerly Netflix party), Amazon Prime Watch Party, and Hulu Watch Party allow you to watch a movie together, all from the safety and comfort of your own home. Most require a subscription, so keep that in mind as you choose a platform. Make Use Of has a more comprehensive list of options. Watch2Gether not only offers video options, but it also allows you to listen to music, do karaoke, or even “go shopping” so you can still hit those Black Friday sales together. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Fun Indoor Activities for Kids During the COVID-19 Quarantine

By Tracey Dowdy

How upside-down is your world right now? Is that the dumbest question you’ve been asked in a long time? If it’s only the latest in a string of ridiculous questions, you’re probably quarantined with kids. 

Regular quarantine updates with quotes from my niece, “If you were a dog, what kind of dog would you be?” or my friends, “One of my kids is crying because the other one flushed the toilet before they got to ‘see,'”or “SOS! My kids caught me eating their Easter candy I bought early and now they’re asking questions I don’t want to answer,” make me giggle and remind me to find the funny in a very un-funny situation. 

If you’re looking for ways to inject a little happy into your day, these activities can break up the boredom, redirect those Easter candy questions, and help you shift gears faster than the TP is disappearing off shelves. 

  • Take the Meet Your Neighbors Challenge created by Rachel Rock:  At a time when so many are feeling disconnected and a little lost, reaching out – while social distancing – is a great idea. Rock suggests “Write a note to the people who live beside you, in your apartment building, or up the road. Introduce yourself and give them something to write back about by asking about their favorite books, movie, food, or the most beautiful view they have ever seen. If you’re able, let them know how they can help – maybe you pray a lot. Maybe you can go to the grocery store. Maybe you can walk dogs. Maybe you have a hobby you can teach or things you can lend to help pass the time. Deliver those notes and see what happens!”
  • Create an Art Crawl. If your home has a driveway, help your kiddos create chalk art with encouraging messages. No driveway? No problem – use your windows as gallery space and post your children’s art, pictures of your pet, or more of those encouraging messages. Encourage your neighbors to do the same so even though you may not be able to leave the shelter of your home, you can still be encouraged by art. 
  • Have a virtual family dinner. Miles away from friends and family? Use any of the myriad of streaming services – Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Jitsi, FaceTime, Skype – to have dinner together. Plop that normally forbidden device in the middle of the dinner table, and catch up with each other’s day. 
  • Host a movie party. Netflix has created an app that enables people to chat via text through a separate window on their computer while streaming content via Netflix Party. Once you’ve downloaded the app, open a video within Netflix, click the NP icon, then click start the party.  You’ll be given a custom URL that you can share that URL with friends and others and then can chat about whatever your group is watching in real-time.
  • Set up an online playdate. Your kids don’t have to play a video game, though of course there’s plenty of options out there. Sites like Pogo have a myriad of games kids can play together, including Monopoly – perhaps not the best choice in these stressful times. You can play old school favorites like Yahtzee Party and Scrabble. Hop over to Tabletopia to play Chess or one of the other 800+ game they offer, or head to PlayingCards for a family-friendly version of Cards Against Humanity, GoFish, Crazy Eights, or CheckersFamily favorite Uno even has its own site. 

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.