Ideas to spice up a recurring Zoom call that is getting stagnant
Have your weekly or daily check-ins on Zoom become a bit stale lately? If your conversations are starting to feel like "Groundhog Day," it's time to switch things up.
Some days, you might not have too much to report -- which is why it's worth introducing a new element to the call.
In fact, you can draw inspiration from the old icebreakers you used to have at the beginnings of school years. It might spark a fun few minutes of conversation or occupy your whole call.
To keep things light and lively, take a look at these tips on keeping those regular Zoom calls from going stale.
Best for co-workers
Recipe swap: We're spending more time in our kitchens, and a recipe swap is a great way to get co-workers talking. Plus, it gives your colleagues an opportunity to ask questions to one another. Scan photos of your favorite handwritten recipe cards or choose a new recipe from a magazine or online forum.
Word of the day: If there's a lot to get to on your Zoom conference calls, keep it short but interesting with word of the day. Sign up to receive the word of the day from Merriam-Webster or explore new entries in Macmillan's unique crowdsourced Open Dictionary. If you want, you can read the word aloud and have everyone try to guess what it means before you read the definition.
Bad joke of the day: This one certainly depends on your team chemistry, but if you share a similar sense of humor, have at it with the bad joke of the day. Challenge your co-workers to find the worst puns or dad jokes around, then let the group vote on the winner of the best worst joke.
Background guess: Broadcasting live from your home office? Not anymore. Become an impromptu globetrotter and fire up a fancy Zoom background. See if your co-workers can guess the location of one another's landscape backgrounds. Share vacation pictures of the past or draw inspiration from bucket-list destinations.
Five-minute yoga or meditation: If you have an intense Zoom meeting scheduled, get your colleagues to unwind before diving into the nitty-gritty. Begin the call with a five-minute yoga or guided meditation session, done either in your chair or on the floor. YouTube has a wealth of five-minute videos to lead the session, like this one from this one from The Honest Guys.
Best for friends and family
Board games: Family game night continues, but this time, it's online. Many board or card games have virtual versions, many of which have been adapted for play on video calls. Jackbox Games, for example, offers a wide variety of easy-to-play games that can include as many as a dozen participants.
Origami: Since your hands are free while you chat on Zoom, why not try your hand at origami? Friends and family can all work on the same project during the call. Compete to see who can fold a paper crane the quickest or help one another with folding techniques. You can even repurpose paper you have at home rather than investing in special origami paper.
Horoscopes: Enjoy a little cosmic intrigue or inspiration with friends and family as you read one another's horoscopes. Find them online or enable one of Alexa's astrology skills to hear what the stars have in store for you.
Skincare challenge: Do you have friends who love self-care as much as you do? Make the theme of your next Zoom a wellness challenge and have everyone wear a skincare mask during the call. After all, it's pretty easy to keep things light when everyone's face is smothered in clay.
Mad Libs: If you're looking for something fast and funny, round up your crew for old school fun with Mad Libs by downloading the app. Even young family members can join in the fun with kid-friendly printable Mad Libs. You can't help but laugh at some of the wild sentences you'll create together.
Bob Ross paint-along: For all-ages fun, turn your next Zoom call into a wine and paint session. The Bob Ross YouTube channel features popular projects from 28 seasons on air. While you'll need to order paint supplies in advance for this one, the fun is well worth the wait -- and don't forget the wine!
Media club: For those who tend toward weekly calls, you might start a book, film, or TV club. Choose new releases or take the opportunity to consume classic works of literature or family-favorite Disney movies together. Another option is to group-watch a reality show on Hulu and critique or guess what will happen next.
Best for teachers and students
This Day in History: Kickstart your next Zoom class with fun facts from This Day in History by the History Channel. The daily page shares major events of the date such as box office debuts, Billboard hits, celebrity birthdays, world news, and scientific innovations.
Poetry reading: Share a little bit of poetry at the beginning of each class. No matter which grade you teach, you'll be able to find something suitable to read -- whether it's Dr. Seuss, William Shakespeare, or Shel Silverstein. You can also challenge your students to write haikus or acrostics and share them with the class.
Show-and-tell: Since your students are learning from home, it's a great opportunity to make the most of show-and-tell. Students can introduce their classmates to their pets, favorite possessions, or even show off arts and crafts projects they've completed lately. You could also set a weekly theme for a recurring show-and-tell session.
Prompts: Prompts are a fun, stress-free way to begin class. Whether it's a journal prompt or math puzzle, it gives kids a couple of minutes to get all cylinders firing before diving into the day's lesson. Rather than grading the prompts, kids can earn virtual awards for completed entries or correct answers.
SAT question of the day: If students are gearing up to take the PSAT, SAT, or ACT, help them get a head start with daily SAT questions from College Board. Invite a few students to share their answers and explain how they arrived at them. Any question you choose is fine, as the variety and frequency will help boost their preparation and test-taking skills.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.