February 17, 2021 Miss Your Friends? Plan a Virtual Party! Part 1 How To Have a Super Fun Virtual PJ Party In 8 Easy Steps! Today on ASK NIKKI, I decided to tackle a really important question that I’ve probably been asked a HUNDRED times since the COVID Pandemic began! With many schools moving to virtual classrooms and everyone practicing social distancing, almost ALL of us are missing our FRIENDS. WARNING! This column is kind of long. But it has a lot of great info, including a sneak peek at friends hanging out in a real virtual party. Dear Nikki, Since the pandemic, I haven’t been able to hang out with my best friends for what seems like FOREVER! We all miss each other and are totally MISERABLE ☹️! To make matters worse, our parents have decided that we shouldn’t spend time together in person until the COVID situation is under control. Do you have any ideas for how we can hang out with each other and laugh and have fun?BROKENHEARTED, BITTER, AND BORED BFFs! (Kiara, Amy, Olivia, Emily, Sofia, Emma, Ava, and Imani) Dear BROKENHEARTED, BITTER, AND BORED BFFs, Yes, I have a FANTASTIC idea for how you and your BFFs can spend time with each other and laugh and have fun just like you did before COVID! Actually, I have SO MANY IDEAS that I’m dividing this advice column into PART 1 that I’ll post today and PART 2 that I’ll post right HERE on Saturday. The PERFECT way to safely hang out with all of your BFFs is to have a SUPER FUN VIRTUAL PJ PARTY!! And, I’m going to give you all of the DETAILS for how YOU can do this! Our superfan, Lemonerdy, actually took MY advice and had her own virtual party a few weeks ago. She invited five of her best friends, and they had a BLAST!! The BEST part is that she has agreed to share several live videos from HER party! You can meet all of Lemonerdy’s very cool friends and watch them hang out together later in this column. But FIRST, let’s start by planning YOUR VIRTUAL PJ PARTY!… HOW TO HAVE A SUPER FUN VIRTUAL PJ PARTY IN 8 EASY STEPS! Step 1) Make a List of Friends You Plan to Invite To Your Virtual PJ Party Making a guest list is always the most exciting part of planning a party! To start, determine the number of people you want to invite. You can have a small party with 2 to 3 friends or a larger party with 4 to 6 friends. Keep in mind that the more people you invite, the more work it’s going to be to keep everyone entertained and feeling included. When creating your list, consider your closest friends first since you’ll enjoy hanging out with them the most. My personal list for a small party would definitely include my BFFs, Zoey and Chloe! Step 2) Choose A Video Conferencing Service For Your Party Be sure to ask your parents for permission to use a video conferencing service for your party. If your parents work from home, they might already have an account that you can use. Otherwise, they can sign-up for a service that you can use for your party. ZOOM is probably the most popular video conferencing platform. It’s also totally FREE for the first 40 minutes! However, using the FREE service means that you and your friends might have to log out and then log back in every 40 minutes for however long your party lasts. Step 3) Select a Date and Time and Send Out Party Invites Like a real PJ party, the ideal DAY and TIME is a Friday or Saturday evening. While the usual PJ party is a sleepover that goes on for hours and ends the next morning, an online one probably shouldn’t last longer than two hours. Guests may get tired or even bored after a while since a virtual party is not quite as fun and exciting as a real one. There are several ways you can SEND OUT INVITES for your party. You can buy or make your own paper invites and mail them through your local POSTAL SERVICE. However, be sure to mail your invites 12 to 14 days before your party so they are delivered to your guests in time. The second option is to send invites to your friends by EMAIL. It can be as simple as a short letter with all the details or it can be a cute digital invitation. The third way is to use a FREE ONLINE INVITATION SERVICE like “Evite.” It has dozens of fun invitations that can be personalized with your party details and emailed through the service. Be sure to include your name and the date and time for your virtual PJ party along with any special instructions for activities. And, most importantly, don’t forget to PROVIDE A LINK FOR YOUR PARTY on the video conferencing service you’ll be using. Step 4) Choose Some Fun Games and Activities That Can Be Played Online Games are fun and a huge part of any party! Since your PJ party is virtual, interactive games like “Two Lies and A Truth” and “Truth or Dare” will be a BLAST!! A virtual karaoke or dance contest would be an exciting activity as well. You can then vote on awards for Best Singer, Best Dancer, Best Song, Best Celeb Impression, and Cutest Costume. Also, try finding cool games and activities online that you can all participate in using screen sharing or your cell phones. Our superfan, Lemonerdy, had a virtual party with her five BFFs! One of her group activities was answering questions from our Dork Diaries book, “OMG! All About Me Diary!” Check out the videos below of Lemonerdy hanging out with her friends. Even though both videos start out with her introducing her friends, they are different. You can watch Part 1 and Part 2 below: OMG! Questions Part 1 OMG! Questions Part 2 I hope you enjoyed the first half of my advice column, “How To Have a Super Fun Virtual PJ Party In 8 Easy Steps!” On Saturday, February 20th, I will post the SECOND HALF which will include Steps 5, 6, 7, and 8. So, check back here on ASK NIKKI to find out the final FOUR steps in planning the PERFECT virtual PJ Party! Do YOU miss hanging out with YOUR friends? If so, why not start planning YOUR virtual PJ Party right now! I would LOVE to hear about your PARTY PLANS and TWO fun GAMES or ACTIVITIES that you’d choose. Please post everything in the comments section below. Even if you don’t actually have a party, it would still be really fun to plan one, right?!