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13 Things to do When You're Stuck at Home

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by Gayle Beveridge (subscribe)
Gayle is a retired accountant and a photography enthusiast living on Victoria's beautiful Bass Coast. Gayle is passionate about writing and keen to showcase Aussie culture to a global audience. Gayle loves her family, dogs, sunsets, and chocolate.
Published March 12th 2020
Entertain Yourself Without Leaving Home

Stuck at home with nowhere to go and nothing to do? Bored silly and going stir crazy? Snap out of it! There's plenty for you to entertain yourself with. Wait you say, my car's broken down? Can't leave the house you say, because you're recovering from an operation. Stuck here you say, waiting for a tradesman to turn up, hmmm that might be a long wait. Look outside you say, but we can't because torrential rain is hammering the window. Never mind, hope prevails. Check out this list of things you can do by using your imagination, using stuff you have around the place and utilising the internet.

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So many things to do

Learn Something On YouTube

YouTubers share a wealth of knowledge for free. Here you will find how-to videos on almost any topic you can imagine. I am a photography enthusiast and have learnt so much about camera techniques, photographic composition and photography in general from YouTube videos.

What would you like to learn? Pick a topic, go to YouTube, enter your topic into the search box, click on a video from the list and off you go.

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Image by Tymon Oziemblewski from Pixabay

Here's some suggested searches to get thinking about what you might like to do -the list is only limited by your imagination.

How to draw for beginners
Easy woodworking projects for beginners
How to make a miniature garden
Gifts to make at home
How to make origami animals
How to do papier maché
How to make a bonsai tree
How to knit
How to make meringues
How to crochet
How to line dance for beginners

Do a Jigsaw Puzzle on a Table or on an App

Feeling a little bored today? Then it's time to pull those old jigsaw puzzles down from the top shelf of the wardrobe. Tip them out on the dining room table and while away the hours. What do you do first? Find all the edge pieces and put them together or sort the pieces into colour groups?

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Image by MeHe from Pixabay

Don't have any jigsaw puzzles hidden away in a cupboard? Not a problem, there's an app - of course there is! Choose something you like from the Google Play Store or on the Apple Store.

If you prefer to order in and do it the old fashioned way, check out Jigsaw Store, Puzzle Palace Australia or Frontline Hobbies.

Read a Book

Lose yourself in a book, a magazine, a newspaper, or a comic and you are on a holiday without leaving the comfort of your lounge chair. Reading for pleasure is a wondrous pastime. It can set your imagination afire, transport you to another time and place, and open the door to the world and beyond.

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Image by FotoRieth from Pixabay

If you're eager to get started you can download the free Kindle reading app from Amazon and order books for immediate reading, just sign up for your Amazon account. If you're on a budget many free books are available on Amazon, just enter 'free kindle books' into the search box.

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Screen shots from Amazon.com.au

Of course Amazon is not the only place for free e-reader apps. You might like to check out the article 10 Top Free eBook Apps to Get Millions of Books.


Play a Board Game

When I was a child, board games were very much a part of family life. There is truth in the old saying, 'the family that plays together stays together.' Why not dust off those old games and give them a new airing.

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Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Chess is thought to have originated in India in the 6th century and continues to challenge amateurs and professionals the world over.

Although games similar to Monopoly have existed since 1902, the game we know today was created in 1933 and sold by Parker Brothers. Many localised and themed versions have since been released. The Australian version features streets from our capital cities. It is the earlier British version I have treasured since receiving it as a child.

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Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

Do you love TV quiz games or trivia nights? Look no further than Trivial Pursuit, a general knowledge game with themed question cards.

Or what about the old favourite, Scrabble, a word game that produces a result like a crossword solution.

There are so many more to choose from, Backgammon, Draughts (Checkers), Pictionary and Mah-jong amongst them.

Get Crafty

If you're stuck at home and can't get out for craft supplies why not try recycling things you find around the home. Here's some ideas to get you started.

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Image by citypraiser from Pixabay


Make Something from Plastic Bottles. Instead of dropping those empty soft drink bottles in the bin, amuse yourself and your family changing them into something useful. What about a bird feeder for the garden, self-watering pots for your herbs, or a piggy bank. A quick internet search, "things to make from plastic bottles", will reveal an astonishing variety of projects.

Decorate a Jar With Cut Outs from Magazines. You can make a holder for your pencils from an old jar or can. To decorate it and make it your own they cut coloured pictures from magazines into small mosaic pieces and paste these on the jar or can overlapping each with another. My mother used to decorate used jam jars in this way and make containers for the kitchen. (Recycling is not new.) So don't throw away that Vegemite or Nutella jar, it can become a craft project and be repurposed on your desk.

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Image by Ennelise Napoleoni-Bianco from Pixabay

Origami and Paper Planes. Origami can be as simple or as complex as you like and has probably already been tackled by your children in the form of a paper plane. Many examples use coloured paper but if you don't have any colour or decorate the paper yourselves. You can search making origami on YouTube for countless things to try or click here for or instructions for kid's origami bookmarks, paper boats, fish, frogs, flowers, swans, and more.

Paper Maché. So much can be created with papier maché. I remember making heads for puppets when I was young. All you need is newspaper and paste and you can make the paste yourself. Click here for the glue recipe and some papier maché basic instructions or click here to learn how to make papier maché bowls.

Write Your Memoirs

Writing memoirs is not the preserve of the rich and famous. Every person has their own unique story, one only they can tell. Why pick up note pad and pen, computer or iPad and start writing?

How many times have you told your children or grandchildren about the good old days? More than you can remember or perhaps not at all. When they look back and wonder about you and your life, having your memoirs to read will be a treasure. Tell them not only of the events in your life but of your times, things that don't happen anymore – bottled milk deliveries to the doorstep, chalk and slate in schools – paint them a picture they cannot imagine for themselves. This is the history of your family and it matters.

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Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge

If you're not sure how to start there are plenty of tips online. Links to some of these are provided below. Alternatively a search of online book shops will reveal a plethora instructional books on memoir writing.

So what's stopping you? Why not start now, pick a memorable day and write about that.

Useful links:
wikiHow – How to Write a Memoir
10 Tips for Writing a Memoir by Mandee Sears
How to Write a Memoir in Twelve Easy Steps by Lorilyn Roberts

Write a Story or a Poem

Is there a writer inside you just itching to get out? Why not use some of your spare time and have a go at writing a story or a poem. What might you write? A mystery, a children's story, a love story, a historic piece, a fantasy, science fiction, contemporary fiction, or humour.

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Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge

If you want some tips before you start, you'll get plenty of that on the internet. Creative Writing Now offers very comprehensive articles titled 'How to Write a Story' and 'How to Write Poetry.'

And to ask the obvious question, if you want to share great places to go, events and things to do with others, are you writing for Weekend Notes? Check out the FAQ's for everything you need to know about getting your article on Weekend Notes.

Birdwatching in Your Backyard

When first I started birdwatching which at the time amounted to no more than recording and identifying birds that came to my own backyard, I could not have imagined h how much enjoyment I would get from the birds.

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Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge

Even in the cities there are many different birds to be seen. Many species previously associated with the bush have become comfortable in our towns and cities – cockatoos, lorikeets, and corellas - and the occasional kookaburra can be found at the urban fringes.

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Photo Copyright Gayle Beveridge

Other common backyard visitors are wattlebirds, New Holland honeyeaters, fairy wrens, magpies, black birds, peewees, spotted turtle doves, starlings, and sparrows. Once you start paying attention you might be surprised at how many different visitors you have.

To help identify the birds you see visit the Birds in Backyards website or download the Australian Birds Guide app from Google Play or from the Apple Store.

Watch a Movie or Your Preferred Show

Watching movies and shows is an obvious pastime and if you have a smart TV or a computer you also have options for hand picking your preferred viewing.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Free to Air catch-up TV is definitely the first stop on your search because, well, it's free. SBS in particular has bucket loads of movies in a variety of languages. You might be surprised how much time you can spend just choosing what you want.

But if Free to Air doesn't satisfy your needs why not try out some of the subscription services like Netflix, Stan, and Amazon Prime.

Do Some Gardening

Whether you seek flowers for colour or fruit and vegetables for the table, watching your own garden grow is rewarding. Start by deciding what to plant. Not an expert? Look at your neighbours' gardens to see what does well in your area. Many plants are easily grown from cuttings so you might like to start with cuttings from your own garden.

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

If you can't get out and about why not order seeds and other garden supplies on line. Check out the Diggers Club online shop, The Seed Collection,or Yates.


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Image by spankie80004 from Pixabay

Plant directly to the garden or into pots. Raised garden beds can be edged with old timbers, stones or used bricks. No-cost pots of varied sizes can be made by inserting drain holes into recycled containers – paint or plaster tins, ice-cream containers, coffee tins. Ready-made edging and a large selection of pots can be purchased at garden centres or hardware shops.

All that remains is to get started and watch your plants growing with each passing day.

Do a Crossword or a Sudoku Puzzle

What's your thing - words or numbers? Challenge yourself with a crossword or a Sudoku puzzle.

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Image by Steve Buissinne via Pixabay

The modern style of crossword puzzle has been around since 1913 when British journalist, Arthur Wynne published a word-cross puzzle in New York World. They have been popular in newspapers and magazines ever since. Today there are a plethora of online sites offering crossword puzzles, many of them with a new puzzle daily. You might like to start with Lovatts Puzzles.

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Image by Gerhard Gellinger from Pixabay

If figures are more your thing than words you can access free Sudoku puzzles on line at Sudoku.com If you're not familiar with the game, click here for a detailed account of the rules.

Do Some Trivia Quizzes

If puzzles don't rock your boat but good old fashioned trivia does, that is also well catered for. If you don't have a game of Trivial Pursuit packed away amongst the dust and cobwebs, head to the internet.

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Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Back in the day, not saying how far back, I used to buy magazines of Lovatts puzzles. You can still do that today but Lovatts also provides free online access to their crosswords, puzzles and quizzes. Lovatts is a family-owned Australian company that has been in business for over 40 years. Click here to access their on-line trivia quizzes. You will find quizzes in the categories of general knowledge, dictionary, entertainment, history, food and drink, geography, and science and nature.

Play In the Backyard or Indoors

Go back to your childhood roots and get the family out in the yard for some fun outdoor games.

Simon Says is a game for three or more players. The person nominated as Simon gives instructions such as "Simon says put your hands on your head," or "Simon says stamp your feet." The trick is some instructions will not be preceded by "Simon Says" such as "Jump Up." If a player does not follow a Simon Says instruction or does follow an instruction that is not preceded by Simon Says then they are out. The last player to be out is the winner.

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Counting down for hidey Image by Simone Nandico from Pixabay

Hide and Seek also referred to as Hidey or Hide and Go Seek this is an age-old game thought to have originated in Greece in the second century. In the version of the game I played as a child one person, the seeker, who is nominated to be "It" faces a wall with their eyes covered and counts off while the others hide. At the end of the count the seeker calls "Ready or not here I come," and goes looking for the others. If they are seen their name is called. The first to be found becomes the seeker in the next round and the last found is the winner. If nobody is found the current seeker remains the seeker.

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Hiding (perhaps) Image by ambermb from Pixabay

Tag or Chasey is an old favourite. The person nominated as "It" chases after the other players. Once they manage to touch or tag another player calling "You're It," that player becomes "It" and sets about trying to tag someone else. This is a great energy-sapping game as it continues until the children are sick of it and the person who is "It" at the end of the game is the loser.

Play Blind Man's Bluff is similar to hide and seek but players hide in plain sight as the seeker, the person nominated as "It" is blindfolded and spun around a couple of times. The object is for "It" to tag the other players. In my day the players would call "Hot" as "It" got nearer of "Cold" if they moved further away. Once a player is caught they take on the blindfold.

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I spy with my little eye Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

I Spy with My Little Eye is a game that can be played anywhere. It can be played in the family room or the backyard. To play the game the starter chooses a secret object, for example a bucket. They then offer a clue, "I spy with my little eye something beginning with B.". The first person to guess the answer gets to choose the next object. If nobody guesses the first person chooses something else.
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Why? So you won't be bored when you're stuck at home
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Your Comment
Great ideas! I'm planning on doing a Spring clean in Autumn!
by Paula McManus (score: 3|3594) 15 days ago
Some good suggestions Gayle - and all of them beat housework!
by May Cross (score: 3|5980) 13 days ago
Thank you for this great list.
by Roger (score: 2|673) 15 days ago
An interesting list, it really seems to go back to basics despite the reliance on internet learning.
by betty (score: 2|556) 14 days ago
Thanks for the exhaustive list. The problem lies not in what to do but the lethargy to do when you are not used to staying home!!
by kumar (score: 0|6) 14 days ago
Thanks for the exhaustive list. The problem lies not in what to do but the lethargy to do when you are not used to staying home!!
by kumar (score: 0|6) 14 days ago
Very timely! I spend most of my time at home caring for disabled husband but I am never bored because I love all things crafty. Your list has just added some new things to add to my to-do list - thsnks☺
by gandk (score: 1|29) 14 days ago
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