Here we are over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and I think we can all say we’ve learned a thing or two from these unprecedented (in our lifetime anyway) circumstances. I know our family has learned to count our blessings, how to tolerate one another more graciously, and what a wonderful thing it is to be able to stay connected with the people we love. On that note, we have identified some helpful Apps that have gotten us through the difficult lockdown days and reminded us to stay hopeful, because this is not forever, but only for a season, and we will make it through!
The pandemic has created a Zoom boom! In the last part of 2019, Zoom reported 10 million “daily participants”; and by April 2020 the number had climbed to over 300 million.
There are many videoconferencing options, including Skype, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex. All of these services have their advantages. However, Zoom is what the Winston Salem Forsyth County Schools chose to use when schools went virtual, and many other Zoomers chose the service because of its relative simplicity. Just click a link and you’re soon Zooming with others.
I have to put this one near the top because although it can seem a little decadent (especially in non-pandemic times) and it can become pricy if you use it too much…it has been an app that has just made my family happy. I mean it has given us joy (true joy) in the difficult days when restaurants were closed and we wanted our favorite foods. We are a family that loves to eat and door dash with its no- contact delivery, prompt and reliable service was a friend to us! Uber Eats and Grub Hub are also in this category, I just don’t have the same experience with their service.
House Party is another app that has been useful (more for the kids than for the adults). It has allowed them to stay in touch with friends and have easy group chats. This app lets you know when you have a friend “in the house” and allows you to chat in groups of eight people. There are also built-in games you can play with your chat group like “Uno” and “Trivia.” Pretty cool!
Collaborative Spotify Playlist
This has been a fun pastime in our family and a way to learn about each other. Who knew we actually liked some of the same music? Spotify allows you to sign up for a family plan where each member has their own designated account. It also allows users to create collaborative playlists that give friends and family the rights to add, delete or organize songs together. You can get really creative and even amuse each other with this feature. For example, I love adding “Air Supply” songs to my 17-year-old’s playlists.
In the first place, Nextdoor is a great way to get to know your neighbors. In the second place it’s a way to find out all the things you never knew were happening in and around your neighborhood. There are lots of great benefits to using this app—getting referrals for almost anything, finding out the holiday trash pick-up schedule, following lost pet updates, learning about new stores and restaurants…so many other things! Speaking of trash pick-up…I’m personally on the look-out for the bulk pick-up schedule in my neighborhood. One woman’s trash is another’s treasure!
Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube
Who doesn’t love movies and TV? I love both, and my husband and the kids can be happy watching YouTube videos for hours at a time…especially when our other activities and social outlets have been limited. These apps have helped us get through the difficult and boring days of sheltering in place. If you have a Prime membership there are many titles that are free to watch on this service.
There are so many more useful apps that have helped us through the difficult days of the COVID pandemic, but these are the ones that have meant the most to our family. I hope you and yours have found ways to bring comfort to your lives during these challenging times as well. Hopefully we will not need to rely so much on indoor entertainment in the months to come!