Run out of cool things to do at home? Expat Living intern Nur Maisarah Abubakare asked the team for some of the apps they can’t put down at the moment – from games and fitness to virtual travel and more. Here are 15 recommended apps for beating the lockdown blues!
#1 Heads Up!
If you love an addictive game of charades, Heads Up! will be right up your alley. Aside from being free, it has a big-name celebrity endorsement in the form of Ellen Degeneres! How to play? Your phone shows a card that you can’t see; then, the other players try to mime the person or thing on the card. Your job is to guess what your card says before time runs out.
This one has had plenty of global buzz through the lockdowns. Houseparty lets you hang out with friends online while video-chatting and taking part in fun quizzes or games. After signing up, you allow the app to access the contacts in your phone or your Facebook friends list. Then, it’s as simple as swiping up on the screen to see your chat feed and join a party.
#3 Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
Animal Crossing must be doing something right, because it’s rated 4.8 stars and above on both the App Store and Google Play Store! The app allows you to interact with animal friends, build custom furniture and gather resources while managing your own campsite. Not only is it fun, but the game is also currently donating a part of its profits to museums that have closed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak!
Feeling competitive? Try Bunch, which not only allows for video-chatting, but boasts a large variety of multiplayer games to play: Flappy Lives, Draw Party, Trivia, Bunch Pool and more! You’ll soon be addicted. Trust us.
#5 Draw Something
Want to test your drawing skills? If so, Draw Something might just be the best game you could download during the lockdown. It allows for remote connection and is fun, easy and carefree. All you have to do is choose a word to draw for your friends to guess. It’s an entertaining back-and-forth game that passes the time!
Not only is this a self-care app that helps you find peace and calm, but it’s designed as a support system you can use right on your mobile device. Shine provides research-backed tips to productivity and podcasts for relaxation techniques. It’s even added a new “Calm for COVID-19” section for bite-sized discussions about surviving in this time of crisis.
If you love singing together with friends – even singing with celebrities! – then you’ll want to download this app asap. It’s great for beginners as it comes with interactive features to show if you’re singing in the right key and pitch. Perfect for anyone searching for a good KTV app to belt out some tunes!
Headspace is your personal guide to meditation and relaxation. Not only is it widely known for its peaceful sleep and movement exercises, the app also has a long list of articles you can read, with different topics depending on how you’re feeling: Meditation, Sleep & Wake Up, Stress & Anxiety and more.
Do you prefer listening over reading? Try Audible, where books are read out to you. Not only are your first 30 days free, but the selection is huge! The best part? The books you get will remain available even after your subscription expires.
#10 Project Foodie: Guided Cooking
Project Foodie hears the cries of help from the amateur cooks out there, and understands they are capable of so much more. That’s why it breaks down recipes step by step in an easy-to-follow video format – led by professional chefs, no less! If you want to widen your culinary horizons, Project Foodie is the app for the job.
Available for iOS
If too many days of isolation are getting under your skin, HearMe is there for you. It’s an app that anonymously connects you with understanding HearMe listeners from anywhere in the world, in under one minute, and for free.
Highly rated language-learning app Duolingo enriches your mind and allows you to connect with others around the world, all while absorbing a new language of your choice. One day when things are better, you’ll be able to take that trip to France you’ve always dreamed about and speak fluently with the locals!
Another great app for lockdown time is YouVisit, which allows you to ‘travel’ to the rice fields of Bali, enjoy a helicopter ride over NYC or walk through the Ayutthaya temples in Thailand. You can use it on your mobile with a VR headset or via the web. It’s in 8k resolution, too, so you really do feel like you’re visiting the locations!
No need to watch videos alone any longer! With Rave, you can stream videos from Netflix, YouTube and other sites with your friends. The app can sync what you’re watching so your group can message and voice chat with each other while the video plays.
How does a free workout sound? FitOn gives you access to hundreds of workout videos – including cardio, HIIT, yoga, dance, prenatal, postnatal, strength-training, Pilates and barre. There’s even offers the choice to exercise alone or remotely in a group! A pro account of $30 per month gives you access to premium music, customised meal plans and more than 500 recipes.
A few more suggestions from the EL team…
“This one’s a no-brainer! Since I’m spending every minute at home, I’ve been bingeing on all the new releases. My favourite series include Kingdom, Money Heist and Kim’s Convenience. If you’re in the mood for something darker, and you can’t commit to a full series, The Platform is a fantastic film to bookmark.” – Anthia Chng
“I’ve been using this app for months; it helps you log your mood and work through every kind of emotion you feel on a daily basis. Bloom suggests activities such as guided meditations, breathing exercises and daily reminders based on how you’re feeling. There are hundreds of calming tools that can change your mood at different times of the day. Highly recommended at a time when we can all feel overwhelmed and anxious. There’s a 30-day free trial available at the moment!” – Georgia Bisset
“I’ve just started on this new training app created by Nike, which creates a free fitness plan of workout days and rest days depending on how you answer a few questions. It also allows you to work around what equipment you have (I have none!). There are suggestions for healthy recipes, and also videos and tutorials on how to get started as a beginner. The ability to track your progress is very motivating!” – Georgia Bisset
“My 13-year-old just started using Yummi and we’re now doing a weekly cooking challenge; she’s got Sri Lanka this week, I’ve got Argentina, and hubby has Jamaica!” – Kate Woodbury
“My travel- and beach-loving daughters are beating the lockdown gremlins with this surfing game, which uses real-time data from famous breaks like Pipeline and Margaret River. You can do different tricks and level up (well, I can’t – but they can!), which opens up access to more waves around the world.” – Shamus Sillar
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