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5 ways families can use tech to have a blast at home

5 ways families can use tech to have a blast at home

We’re all going to be spending a bit more time indoors over the coming weeks and months – that much seems inevitable.

But how we use that time is up to us. Sure, we could slob around and weep over all the things we miss – like public transport, going to work and standing around in large crowds – or we could see this as an opportunity to spend more quality time with loved ones, and just slow the hell down for a little while.

If there’s one thing to be thankful for during this time, it’s that we live in the golden age of technology, and with technology comes a massive, digital world of fun for the whole family. Here are a few ideas to make the most of your ‘inside time’ this year – and none of them are centred around excessive screen time.

1. Make a movie

Hear us out: you have everything you need to put together a short movie at home. You can film on your smartphone while your family can play actors/writers/directors/camerapeople, you can edit it on your laptop/computer (using free software such as Blender, Lightworks or Shortcut), and you can play it back on your smart TV when it’s all done. You could either recreate a scene from a family favourite (costumes and all) or go the whole hog and write, produce and direct your own simple creation. Send your finished production to grandma for bonus points.

2. Make a family news show for your extended family

Similar concept to #1, but this time you’ll be spoofing a news bulletin, and including all of your family happenings over the last few days. Think about it: mum and dad can hum an embarrassing theme tune, the kids can get all serious while the read the ‘news’ (what they had for dinner, a very important bulletin on unicorns, dad’s daily fart crisis), and you can cross-cut live to other important family things, like a live stream of the dog snoring. Chuck it in the extended family WhatsApp group for a wholesome way to keep in touch.

3. Put Google Home to work

Here is a non-comprehensive list of games you can play through Google Home. 6 Swords, a voice-based role-playing-game that you can play with up to six people as you explore castles and dungeons; Blackjack; Tic Tac Toe; Absurb is the Word, a word-based trivia game; Absolutely Amazing Trivia; SongPop, in which Google will play a section of a song and you have to guess what it is; and Sub War, a game in which you command a flipping submarine. Anyway, you get the gist. Hey Google!

4. Relax with an audiobook

This one is simple: everyone gets comfortable (we suggest laying on a soft carpet or couch), everybody gets snacks, and you just sit and listen to an audiobook. A subscription to Amazon’s Audible gives you unlimited access to a world of books, which equals unlimited access to ideas, inspiration and a big wide world of stories. Who knew reading could be so communal?

5. Create a family theme song

It might sound like a special kind of hell, but most smartphones and laptops have access to super-simple music-making software (like Garageband). There are also countless easy-to-use music making apps (Songify, Beat Snap, Figure) on the App Store/Google Play. So get involved – you might find you have Jackson 5/Bee Gees/Hanson/Beach Boys/Pointer Sisters on your hands.

Looking for some other techy additions for the house. Check out our suggestions here.