A year ago most of us had never heard of Zoom, and no one would have been able to coerce any of us into a video gym class or Sunday dinner over Zoom. But here we are. “Brady Bunch boxes” has become a term we toss casually into conversation, and everyone has a preferred brand of webcam. By next year, Zoom Fatigue will make into the Merck Manual as a real health condition.

Zoom pushback has already started. Another Zoom call after a day of school or work on Zoom? No one has it in them anymore. It’s great to see everyone. But sitting in front of a screen to chat is often boring, hard to pay attention to, and exhausting.

There are other ways to connect with the people you love. Because you don’t want to just look at their face. You want to have some fun together, right?

Read a book with the kids

Open the Caribu app on a phone, a tablet, or a computer, invite the grandkids, and read a book together. Sure, it’s a video call. But it’s a video call with books! There are also games. So, even if you can’t be in the same room with the little ones, you can demonstrate your superior skills at Tic Tac Toe. This is a one-on-one activity and it’s free to get started.

Work out together

Tired of working out alone in your living room? Miss your fitness class buddies? Use the Here Now feature (located in the Leaderboard) at Peloton and you can meet up in your own virtual fitness class. You don’t have to have a Peloton bike for this. You can take a yoga class, run on a treadmill, do strength training, bootcamp, and more. And you can do it on your own schedule.

Have a movie watching party

Can’t go to the movies. Can’t even invite your people over for a movie and popcorn. But you can have a Netflix party. This is where you all watch the same movie in your respective locations and chat at the same time. If you watch on a computer, use Teleparty. It syncs your show and adds a group chat to Netflix, Hulu, Disney, and HBO. If you want to watch on the Roku TV in the living room, sync it up with the phone app Watch with Friends and chat on your phones.  

Play some cards

Poker? Hearts? Cribbage? What do you want to play? Because that’s all online, and most of it will allow you to invite a group of people to play with you. In some cases, you might also want to open a webcam. But the in-game chat feature may be enough for you. Try Zynga Poker or a more serious poker game with betting. Pick a card game at PlayingCards.io. There is everything there from Crazy Eights and Go Fish to Cribbage or Chess.  

Go play with the kids in a multiplayer game

Do you know why the kids are so crazy about that Xbox or PlayStation? Because their friends are there. Do you know who they would absolutely love to run into on Fortnite (kids and up) or Red Dead Redemption (teens and up)? You. Grandma. Grandpa. For some games you need a console. Others can be played on a computer. Find out what game they haunt, get their gamer handle, and go find them in there. Ask for a tour. You might find yourself impressed by their skills and having a blast.

Play Scrabble on your phones

Were you a Scrabble playing crowd at family get-togethers before all this social distancing happened? Get out your phones and play! Because there’s an app for that. You might even make some new Scrabble friends while you’re there.

Take a train ride together

Are your people board game players? Did you also like to travel back in the day? Then you will want to check out Ticket to Ride. This is a popular board game, but it has been completely built for online play. Magnificent adventure travel? That’s exactly what we all want right now. And this is a beautiful adventure you can take without leaving the house.

Help take care of Grandma and Grandpa in the care facility

Social distancing is hitting those in care facilities harder than most. By some reports, it’s the isolation – not just COVID-19 – that’s killing them. If you can convince the care facility to sign up, you can connect with them – and help them with their physical therapy – through gameplay using RESTORE-Skills. All you need is a laptop, internet connection, and a webcam, and you can play, chat, and help with their care through this online app.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of  Techish.