We may be in lockdown but there's nothing stopping us from making some amazing memories at home.
With that in mind we wanted to share some top tips for creating the perfect Family Zoom Party that's sure to be a really special event for kids and grownups alike.
Whether it's a birthday celebration, or just something to break up the weekend, here's five tips to make your family Zoom party something to look forward to.
Set a theme
Setting a theme makes any event that little bit more special, particularly when you can't leave the house. Keeping it relaxed and low-pressure is key here so that nobody needs to start ordering costumes online! Make sure that people can easily take part in the theme with what they already have at home - whether it's a hairstyle or a piece of art they've made. We've gone with a rainbow theme for our party on Saturday - but some other great kids themes include Animals, Disco or PJ party!
Schedule in "getting ready" time
Often the best bit of a party is getting ready for it! We are far more likely to skip this step when it's a virtual party - but that's a real shame. To really make the party special for the kids, why not dress them up in their favourite costume or outfit, or even try some face paint and crazy hairstyles. They can even dress up their dolls or pets who are also party attendees, obviously.
Create an atmosphere
Just like you would if you were hosting a real party, setting the scene makes a huge difference. You're looking at the same four walls day in, day out - so use this opportunity to change it up. Dim the lights and dig out some decorations. Fairy lights are great, disco balls even better! Maybe the kids could work on creating their own decorations in the lead up to the party? Whatever you have on hand to make the kids feel like they've "left" the living room for the hour will make such a difference. Sophie Ellis Bextor is QUEEN of this. We bow down.
If you have a Smart TV, make sure to screencast the Zoom party to the big screen
This will give you more space so that everyone in the room can see clearly and bust a move without being stuck to a small computer screen. Kids will be less likely to lose interest and wander off, and it just feels like a bigger deal for them when it's on the TV.
You can do this a number of ways depending on your computer or Smart TV settings - but many have screenshare options that are pretty simple to follow.
Remember that you have total control over what you can see on Zoom
You can choose to see everyone at the party by selecting 'Gallery View' or you can choose 'Speaker view' so that whoever is speaking takes over the screen. The latter is a better setting if you're playing charades for example, or have a DJ playing a set like we do this weekend! If you're hosting the party, make sure to tell all the participants how to navigate their Zoom interface before you kick off.
Bonus tip!! Keep it relaxed and casual and don't panic about tech/audio/video - it's not live TV, it's rough and ready and LOTS of fun, so just chill out and enjoy the craic.