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Published April 12th 2020
The global COVID-19 pandemic has many of us at home in self-isolation. Here is a list of free and fun activities to keep you and your family productive and mentally active.
1. Get creative Jazz up your room or home by creating an original art or craft piece. If you need some lessons or inspiration, check out Bluprint for DIY crafts, including making face masks at home, drawing, knitting, and more. Crafts make treasured gifts, so why not get a head start on Christmas presents too.
2. Challenge your mind while having fun
Clear the dining table and take out that 1000-piece puzzle or classic board games for some family fun time. If you don't have these on hand, why not create your own games, or play classic family fun games like trivia or charades. If you're on your own, check out Jigsaw Planet for free online puzzles at different skill levels or Arkadium for free online games.
3. Cook a three-course meal What better time to cook those complicated French recipes that take the entire day, than in social isolation? Hosting a fancy dinner party at home can be just as fun as going out to a new restaurant. Decorate the table, dress up, put on some background music, and serve up that incredible recipe you now have time to create! Taste.com.au is a great source of recipes (over 50,000 to choose from), searchable by ingredient, recipe or keyword, as well as the level of difficulty and time required
4. Practice daily mindfulness Uncertainty of the future, financial burden, and lack of social engagement can cause anxiety for many of us. Keep emotionally healthy by practising daily mindfulness. Join daily live sessions via Zoom with Jon Kabat-Zinn or try one of the other free mindfulness resources offered by The Mindfulness Project as a Response to COVID-19.
5. Get fit through virtual workouts Missing the gym? Don't have any nearby parks to run around? Hook up your computer to your TV and get into a daily routine of working out. Here are 50 free virtual workouts you can do in your own home. Mix it up with cardio, yoga, and core strength. Many don't require equipment and can be done in small spaces.
6. Catch up on reading From free e-books to free book delivery, immerse yourself in literature. Search and select from hundreds of free titles on Gutenburg or Many Books, order from Booktopia, or support local independent Melbourne-based bookstores who are offering free delivery.
7. Learn from top educators Enrol in a MOOC and learn from top educators from around the world. Generally free, with some providers charging a nominal fee for an official certificate of completion. Platforms including Coursera and edX bring together MOOCs from around the world. Find out more at gooduniversitiesguide.com.au.
8. Get organised
Whether it's your computer or your cupboards, now is the time to clear up the clutter and get organised. Ideas to get you started: sort through and delete digital photos, reorganise files, backup your computer, donate pre-loved clothes and household goods to charities, and clean out the backyard shed.
9. Upskill Increase your employability by up-skilling your typing skills. Typing Club offers free online learning for individuals, claiming students will be a pro after practising a few minutes a day for one to two weeks.
10. Listen to music There's nothing more relaxing than having music playing in the background. Radio Garden gives everyone an opportunity to listen to live radio streams from around the world. There are 8,000 stations to choose from, so why not tune into a new city to listen to every day.
While galleries and museums are closed to the public, you can still get your art and history fix online. Explore 500 museums and galleries, including MoMA, Tate London, and Anne Frank's house, all for free.
12. Attend a Livestream concert
Music brings happiness. Tune into Global Citizen and the World Health Organisation's #TogetherAtHome concert series from your home. Listen to musicians such as Chris Martin singing Coldplay classics from his couch. Follow the #TogetherAtHome hashtag on social media. The big event, One World: Together At Home, will be broadcast live on Network 10 and MTV on Foxtel and Fetch on Sunday April 19 at 10am AEST, and simulcast on 10 Play and mtv.com.au. Expect appearances from Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Elton John, Paul McCartney, and more.
13. Travel Visit 5 USA National Parks from your living room. Explore glaciers, fjords, and icebergs located in the Alaskan wilderness; Hawaii's Nahuku Lava Tube (a cave formed by flowing lava); New Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert with over 100 caves; the unique rock formations of Bryce Canyon National Park; and take an exploratory dive into a shipwreck from 1907.
14. Learn a language
Whether you want to order pasta in Italian or speak Mandarin to your friend in China, there are many free online language courses. Duolingo combines free learning with an online game, where you lose a 'life' for every incorrect answer but score points and progress in the game for correct answers. It can help you learn to read, write, listen and speak your choice of more than 100 languages.
15. Start a veggie patch or herb garden
Whether you have a big backyard or just an apartment balcony, you can go green. Gardening has many health benefits; get tips on growing vegetables, herbs, edible flowers and more from Better Health Channel. Or join Aussie Gardeners, Brian and Kaylene, for weekly videos that show you step by step, how to grow your own super fresh, healthy food.
Grow your own fruit and vegetables. Image fromhttps://pxhere.com
16. Camp out
You may not be able to travel further than your backyard, so why not recreate the camping experience in your backyard? Pitch a tent, tell ghost stories, and sleep under the stars. The good news is, pets are welcome!
17. Strengthen your immune system
Follow the six pillars of health for good health - eat well, move more, stress less, sleep soundly, connect with people (via phone or video-call), and use your brain. These daily habits will have you prepared to beat any virus!
18. Watch animals on live stream
Ever wanted to see what animals do when the aquarium doors shut? Well, now you can! Monterey Bay Aquarium, known for its regional focus on the marine habitats of Monterey Bay, was the first to exhibit a living kelp forest when it opened in 1984, and was the first to successfully care for and display a great white shark. Visitors can now watch its colourful sea creatures virtually.
19. Learn a musical instrument
May some noise. Fender Play is offering 3 months of free guitar, bass and ukulele lessons online, to new subscribers. The offer is only until April 20th, so join up before it's too late.
Whether it's re-growing vegetables from kitchen scraps or quilting from old material, practice sustainability in the home as well as save money, through repurposing.
Think positively and use time in self isolation to reconnect with family and friends (virtually), reflection, and growth. Take hope from the wonderful cartoon by Michael Leunig below.