How To Throw a Great Zoom Party

It can feel sad to be physically separated from friends and family in real life for special occasions. However, there are some upsides to hosting a virtual event. The costs are low, there is no cleanup, and guests can’t really hang around after the party is over. You can also invite more people to attend, and no one needs to travel. Here are some tips to help you throw a great virtual bash.

balloonsIn the age of social distancing, many of us have become familiar with the online platform Zoom. Due to its high quality and ease of use, Zoom is now used for everything from preschool circle time to high-level business meetings.

With group gatherings still limited, Zoom has also become popular for many types of social events. At this point, you have probably been to at least one party on the platform. Weekly family get-togethers, birthday parties, Bar Mitzvahs, graduations, engagement parties, and even weddings have moved online and onto Zoom or other similar platforms.

It can feel sad to be physically separated from friends and family in real life for special occasions. However, there are some upsides to hosting a virtual event. The costs are low, there is no cleanup, and guests can’t really hang around after the party is over. You can also invite more people to attend, and no one needs to travel.

If you have a special event coming up and want to host a Zoom party for yourself or your child, here are some tips to help you throw a great virtual bash.

First, you will need to set up a Zoom account (it’s free) if you don’t have one already. Zoom is free to host an event for up to 40 minutes; after that, you will need to drop the call and reconnect. You can also spring for a paid account for $15 a month which allows you to host for up to 24 hours.

After you pick a date, create the link for your event, and send it out. Make sure the attendees know how to actually attend the party, especially friends or relatives who may not be super tech-savvy. Zoom has a lot of fun features that can liven up the mood, including filters, emojis, and different backgrounds. It’s a good idea to experiment with these in the days leading up to your party to make sure you know how to use them. Once you have your date set, here are some ideas to help you bring your Zoom party to life.

Party Ideas for All Ages

  • Invite everyone to decorate. Whatever occasion you are celebrating, you can ask guests to decorate the space which will show up in their virtual background. It doesn’t need to be fancy—a few balloons and a homemade sign can go a long way.
  • Plan a theme. There are countless ideas for Zoom theme parties. You can plan a virtual tea party, a spa night, a mermaid bash, or a pajama party. You can base your event on a decade—the 1960s or 1970s are always a hit—and ask everyone to come in costume. Summer is here, so a beach party is another fun way to go.
  • Throw a dance party. All you need is some good music. Create a great playlist on Spotify beforehand so you don’t have to decide what song to play next.
  • Host a scavenger hunt. Scavenger hunts are a good way to get party-goers of all ages up and about. Here’s how it works: The host names an object and everyone else has a certain amount of time (30 seconds, say) to find that object in their own home. Depending on the age of the partygoers, the hunt can include items such as a coffee mug, a piece of fruit, a Lego, a white sock, a tissue box, or something with wheels. The possibilities are endless.
  • Watch a movie. Google Chrome’s Netflix party extension allows users to start a movie viewing party straight from the browser. Hosts can send the invite link to all their friends to have them join in. There is also a chat feature so you can talk with your buddies about the movie in real-time.
  • Celebrate with a toast. If you are celebrating a milestone event, ask everyone to come ready to say a few words about the guest of honor. Guests can share a favorite memory or prepare a toast.
  • Take a virtual trip. Many museums, zoos, botanical gardens, and other institutions around the world are currently offering guided virtual tours on their websites which you and your guests can visit together through screensharing.

Other Ideas for Kid’s Parties

  • Bring on entertainers. There are still entertainers out there, and many of them perform virtually. So consider hiring a magician, clown, or musician for extra virtual fun.
  • Host an art or LEGO party. If your child loves art, you can show a drawing video on YouTube over Zoom and all the kids can follow along. Some popular kid’s authors and illustrators have created tutorials for kids, including Mo Willems, Grace Lin, and Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Everyone can show their drawings at the end. Kids can also engage in a LEGO project. One idea is to have each child build the same item, such as a spaceship, in a certain amount of time. At the end, each kid can show off their creation.

Best Virtual Games

  • Have a trivia contest on Kahoot. Kahoot is a free virtual trivia game website and app that can be used for any occasion. There are pre-made games on loads of topics, and users can also create their own games. Kahoot is easy to use on Zoom. The host sets up the game and gets a pin number to share, and then everyone else uses that pin to log into the game on their own device. During the game, players tap multiple choice answers on their own screen, and the results show up on the host’s screen. Players can also use a phone or tablet to play through the Kahoot app.
  • Play some Jackbox Games. These virtual games have surged in popularity during the pandemic. They are easy to set up, and players can use their phone, tablet, or computer to play along. There is a cost for these games, but only one player has to own them for everyone to play. One Jackbox favorite is Quiplash, a Mad Libs–style party game where players respond to prompts with the cleverest answers they can come up with. The group then votes on the best response, and players receive points.

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