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The year 2020 has brought us to a bittersweet holiday season. The global pandemic prevents us from gathering with loved ones, and yet these hardships show us, now more than ever, how important we are to each other.

Fortunately, we have access to technology that allows us to communicate with family and friends when we can’t be together. Here we offer four of the most accessible and versatile tech tools for connecting with others during the winter holidays and beyond. And some of them can be found in your pocket!

1. Shake Up Your Video Calls

You’re probably already experienced with using video tools like Zoom or FaceTime to communicate with family and friends. It’s time to get creative and add a new venue to your calls.

Take it outdoors. Plan a family walk where everyone in your extended family logs into a video call from their favorite park or scenic location. Take a moment to share each of your views and then switch to audio-only as you all take in some fresh air and exercise.

Get in the kitchen. Schedule a family video call during dinner prep or while each of you prepares a special family recipe. If one member of the family is known for their cooking expertise, have them lead the session, just like your favorite Food Network shows.

2. Send Funny Texts

If you own a smartphone, you probably already have some experience sending funny and random texts to friends and family. You can take your texting to the next level by adding some friendly competition. 

Text a family holiday scavenger hunt. Make a shortlist of funny, pretty, or interesting things to look for around the house or in the neighborhood. Send out the list to family members via text and you’re off! First-person or team to text a photo of every item on the list wins. Sample items might include:

  • Lighted candles visible through a window
  • A wreath on a door made with real branches
  • Holiday lights that look like icicles
  • A bigger-than-life inflatable Santa

3. Play Intergenerational Games

Many digital games allow participants to play from any location. Look for intergenerational games that can be enjoyed by children and adults. UNO is a popular card game that can be played online or through an appCheckers and backgammon are other classic game options.

The game of chess is hot these days, due to the popularity of the Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit. Your family may enjoy playing digital chess via a website or app.

Family members in different locations can visit Britannica.com and take a trivia quiz together. Connect via an audio or video call and then either share a screen or click on the same quiz and read the questions out loud. Take turns picking favorite topics such as sports, travel, or history.

4. Create Personalized eCards

Many popular eCard sites like HallmarkBlue Mountain, or American Greetings offer the option of uploading a photo to add to the card. Instead of a family photo (or in addition to), you could send an image of your child’s artwork. Invite your child to create a special work of art to share with family, take a digital photo with your phone, and upload the image to the eCard. The novelty of sending a child’s original artwork will please both the little artist and the recipients.

And finally, websites like Jib Jab and Elf Yourself offer fun and silly options for family eCards. These sites allow you to upload images of family members’ faces to create one-of-a-kind animated videos.

Learn More:

20 Affordable Gender-Neutral Gifts for Babies, Kids, and Teens Digital Games That Explore Diversity Grandparents’ Guide to Video Chats Helping Letters: An Educational Activity That Shows You Care

   

This post originally appeared on parents.britannica.com.