Keep Calm and Click On
Social distancing and stay-at-home measures have now become the norm, and we imagine that for most people, this is frustrating. As we transition into milder spring temperatures, it’s tempting to go outside and enjoy all of the activities we’re used to doing this time of year with family and friends. We know. And we totally get it. But in this age of social media, video conferencing, and myriad digital entertainment options, it’s now easier than ever to stay connected and engaged with the outside world.
There’s a lot to explore on the internet, and in the spirit of positivity and solidarity, we’d like to share some of the virtual experiences we’re enjoying.
Street Level Studio is full of creatives, so Medium’s list of online challenges keeps us busy! Our favorite is Color, a color-matching game that really tests our eyes.
If you’re looking to game with friends, try:
- Houseparty—link this app with your Facebook profile to video chat with your friends and play games like Heads Up!, Apples to Apples (which they call Chips and Guac), and trivia.
- Skribbli.io—is like a digital version of Pictionary. Players take turns trying to draw the given word while the others try to guess what it is. Players get points for how well they draw and how many people vote on the right answer. And, you can create your own private game room or play with whoever’s online.
Video Chat Backdrops
Whether you’re in the middle of a brainstorming session for work or doing virtual happy hour with the girls, these backdrops are great conversation starters.
- Get compliments on how clean your home is with Curbed’s home interior backdrops. No one has to know about the piles of laundry and stacks of books lying about from weeks of being at home.
- Or, try backdrops from your favorite TV shows and movies, like Gilmore Girls, Clueless, and The Golden Girls.
- If your favorite show or movie isn’t above, this list of movie, TV show, and Broadway backdrops is sure to whet your whistle.
- Finally, this wouldn’t be an SLS post if we didn’t share an option for custom backgrounds! Download these templates (some of them are GIFs) and add your own flair.
Animals and Nature
- Koala.net—the name may seem obvious, but there’s more than just koalas. In addition to live streams of their cuddly marsupials, Australia’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary has live streams of dingoes, reptiles, birds, and platypus!
- Brookfield Zoo—Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo has live streams and a “Bring the Zoo to You” series where zookeepers share neat facts about the animals and answer questions.
- Shedd Aquarium—already a viral sensation with their content on Facebook (have you seen the penguins?), this Chicago staple encourages people to recharge with a live stream of colorful fish.
- San Diego Zoo—the page may be labeled for kids, but people of all ages can enjoy live streams of their favorite animals.
- Cincinnati Zoo—catch up with your favorite animals, especially everyone’s favorite, Fiona the hippo.
- United States Botanic Garden—tour the sunny grounds, find your favorite flowers, and learn the history of this floral national treasure.
- United States National Parks—explore five national parks like never before. This immersive experience takes you through Alaska’s Kenai Fjords, Hawai’i Volcanoes, New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns, Utah’s Bryce Canyon, and Florida’s Dry Tortugas.
Museums and Travel
Being inside doesn’t mean you can’t explore the world beyond! The world is at your fingertips.
- The Vatican—get a 360-degree view of iconic staples.
- The Louvre—no time like the present to see if the Mona Lisa really smiles.
- The British Museum—translate the Rosetta Stone for yourself.
- Petra—the City of Stone comes to your living room.
- Machu Picchu—watch out for the llamas.
- Versailles—tour the Sun King’s palace on Google, or through each exhibit.
- Taj Mahal—experience the magnificence without the crowds.
- Many of Europe’s most famous palaces and castles have virtual experiences.
- Or see if your favorite city or country has a virtual tour—like Chicago, Ireland, and Japan.
The best places to find your favorite entertainers are their social media channels, but here are a few ideas to get you started.
- NPR’s list of live stream concerts.
- Comedians are all over the place, but you can have Dinner with the Gaffigans for a daily dose of family-friendly funny.
- Cook up a delicious meal with some of your favorite celebrity chefs.
- Get caught up in a good mystery with Phoebe Judge of Criminal podcast fame. Phoebe reads a chapter a day from favorites such as Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
- John Legend is just one of the many artists performing live on Instagram.
- Sir Patrick Stewart reads one Shakespeare sonnet a day on his Instagram.
We hope this inspires you to do a little searching on your own. And remember, Keep Calm and Click On!