April Isolation Brings May Online Socialization: COVID-Friendly Resident Activities

Leave it to a government-mandated isolation to turn the once awkward and uncomfortable activity of socialization into the burning desire of every house-arrested human being. Heck, I’d go so far as to say that I would give up a roll of toilet paper to hold an in-person conversation with someone other than the Chinese food delivery lady. Introduce a hug into the equation and I will more than willingly throw in one of my decadent Bath and Body Works glitter hand sanitizers. 

But alas, the last thing you probably need is all of your residents running around, breaking federal regulations all willy-nilly. This list of COVID-friendly activities can provide your residents with the non-Netflix entertainment and socialization they shamelessly desire. 

Online Talent Show

While deprived of non-essential activities, I’ve determined the perfect settings on my oven to ensure exquisite crust texture and maximum cheese meltage on a frozen pizza. Your residents too may have acquired new praise-worthy skills over the last lonely month. You better organize a property-wide Zoom call and find out.

Patio/Balcony/Front Door/Window Decorating Contests

Back in the day, I took part in, or should I say won, my elementary school’s door decorating contest. My victory aside, that contest brought all sorts of social hubbub to my school. Have your residents deck out their patio, balcony, front door, or window and use free tools like SurveyMonkey to let residents cast their votes.

virtual book club

My pre-coronavirus-self would’ve told you that I didn’t have time for books. It would now appear that I, along with a decent chunk of the mass population, can no longer mask a lack of literary motivation with this excuse. Guide your residents through one for your favorite books using platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts. Choosing a fiction favorite with a whimsical or comedic storyline can provide a mental escape from the crappy stress of this situation.

Live story time sesh 

If written pages don’t satisfy your pining for a plotline, let your residents do the talking. Again, set up the virtual hangout of your preference. You can then sit back, relax, and let your residents spill entertaining real (or imaginary) life stories.

Potential topics could include: 

  • What has been your most interesting grocery shopping experience during this time? 
  • What is the first thing you’re going to do once COVID-19 is over?
  • What is your favorite memory from high school? 
  • What’s the funniest embarrassing moment you’ve experienced in your life?

Netflix Party night

In case you haven’t heard, Netflix Party allows you to sync video playbacks. This means that, while using this platform, your residents can all watch the same movie or shows at the same time. Plus, movie talkers (we all know one…. I may or may not be one….) can still comment in the provided group chat feature. You get brownie points for taping bags of microwave popcorn to your residents’ doors. 

Recipe sharing 

I personally would like to see some data on the historical quantities of banana bread and muffins baked during isolation. When in doubt, bake it out, I guess. Anyway, my point is that cooking up some quarantine cuisine can serve anybody and everybody as a laid-back home activity. Arrange a community forum dedicated to recipe swapping, experimentation, and results! 

Online Bingo

Before your residents get too bored, check out Bingo Maker, a virtual platform that allows  you to create and host (using password access) one free bingo game a day. Host a daily round of bingo with your residents and offer lil’ prizes to the winners.

“Guess how many” contests

This really can’t get any simpler. Grab yourself a jar (for what I hope are obvious reasons, I recommend that this container be clear) and fill it with jelly beans, M&Ms, candy bars, cookies, or whatever you find easily countable. Post a picture of your jar on a community forum and give residents the opportunity to shoot their shot at guessing a number. If you find yourself frustrated because your current community communication platform sucks, take a gander at LittleBird, Henri, or Livly. They offer simple, effective, and smart resident communication capabilities. They do not suck. 

Online trivia

Rally a group together on Zoom or Google Hangouts to see if your residents are smarter than a fifth grader. Have the host ask a question, let residents scribble their answers on a notebook, and ask residents to show their answers all at once. You can always put prizes outside winners’ doors. 

Virtual workouts with resident trainers 

The quarantine 15. Forget pulling at your heartstrings; if you still have the courage to wear jeans at this point, this phrase is tugging at your belt loops. Scout out the trainers and fitness geeks amongst your residents, set up a Facebook Live or Instagram Live, and get everyone excited for some community-wide fitness. You could even pull together a pump up Spotify playlist for your residents to jam to while following along.

Live paint and sip

Ah yes, paint and sips: where the flow of average creativity is matched by that of mediocre wine. I kid, I kid. Paint and sips, or events where a group of people (who generally perch a glass of wine next to their easel) paint the same picture while following directions from a lead artist, make for a pretty fun and relaxing time. Plus, they’re easy to coordinate online. Allow the Bob Ross of your residents to lead painting instruction on Facebook Live or Instagram Live. Following residents can pop any questions they have in the provided comment features. Really, this is pretty similar to the virtual workout idea, except for the whole drinking and not exercising part. 

TikTok Challenge

You know it. I know it. TikTok has exploded in the last couple months. Say what you want, but making a TikTok, as cringy as that may sound, can be quite entertaining. Again, using a resident communication platform, announce a song and have your residents post a TikTok using said song. Of course, you gotta pick a winner and get some prizes involved. If you really want to get into this, you could even make a compilation of all the submissions for everyone to watch. And hey, if you have no idea what song to suggest, I gotcha. These basics will get you started: 

  • “Lottery (Renegade)” by K CAMP
  • “The Git Up” by Blanco Brown 
  • “Say So” by Doja Cat 
  • “Chinese New Year” by SALES

So now what? 

After googling how to do those TikTok dances I just mentioned, go ahead and give this stuff a try. I know, these activities aren’t going to magically make up for the friends and family we’re all missing right now. But you know what? You have a choice. Sorry to get kinda sappy on you, but right now, you can either do the bare minimum or give your best effort to lend your residents a hand, bring your community together, and give your residents all the more reason to want to stay in your building and speak highly of it to others. 

We’re all in the same crappy boat. You have the chance you help your residents through this. 

That sounds like a pretty cool opportunity to me. 

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