During the current health crisis, medical experts recommend social-distancing and quarantines to help fight the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. You may have much more free time on your hands as a result. Here are 14 fun and interesting ideas for things to do when you’re bored. Many are great for kids too.
1. Listen to Music
Listening to music has a wonderful way of helping you relax and forget your troubles. There are many other benefits as well. A review of 23 different studies, covering almost 1,500 patients found that listening to music reduced heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety in heart disease patients. In other studies, music both made study participants feel happier and resulted in increased blood flow in their blood vessels.
Today there are so many ways to access music. Do you already have a collection at home on CD, vintage albums or on an iTunes device? Do you enjoy music on a streaming service like Amazon Music or free music on ? If you’re new to music streaming, here’s an article from PC Magazine rating the top music streaming services.
Do you have favorite songs or artists that you want to introduce to your kids? Have a music day and take turns letting each person in the family share a favorite song while everyone listens.
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” Plato
2. Make a Virtual Visit to Your Library
Do you have a library card from your local library? That card could be the key to thousands of resources available to you online. Many libraries these days provide access to a wide range of e-books, audiobooks, videos and magazines that you can check out through their website.
My local library also offers access to language learning courses, GED, ACT and SAT prep, award-winning lectures, personal development videos, concerts, and music videos. They even have a video platform called “Creative Bug” where you can learn crafts like sewing, weaving, painting, and cake decorating. Wouldn’t those be fun to learn with your kids?
If you see resources on their website that you’d like to take advantage of but don’t have a library card yet, give your local branch a call. The easiest way to sign up is to go to your branch. If you can’t leave the house, call and ask if there’s a way to sign up online or by mail?
3. Watch a Video
This is probably top of mind for most of us. With services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and so many other video streaming services it’s hard to run out of things to watch. Did you know that Prime is more than just video? Here are 66 ways you can enjoy Amazon Prime with things to do when you’re bored.
Even if you don’t have a streaming service, do you have old DVDs that you had planned to watch or rewatch? Or consider renting videos that you may not have seen before. I highly recommend all of Ken Burns’ brilliant documentaries. Whether it’s a topic that I’m normally interested in or not, he always finds ways to convey the human stories in every world event.
Plus, if you have internet, YouTube has millions of videos about everything under the sun: music, DIY, cooking, crafts, personal improvement and just life in general. You will be surprised how fast time flies when you’re following your favorite rabbit trail.
4. Create Something Amazing
Do you love to work with your hands? The Instructables website provides all the videos and instructions you need to learn how to make nearly anything, one step at a time. You’ll find free projects, classes, and contests in all these categories: Circuits, Workshop, Crafts, Cooking, Living, and Outside. There are even special resources for teachers.
Online course sites like Skillshare, and the Bon Appetit Video Channel offer free classes in a variety of topics, including cooking videos in every cuisine you can imagine. Or visit to learn how to sharpen your mind and improve your observation skills while you discover the techniques used to sketch and draw.
5. Watch a TED Talk
Never heard of TED? This nonprofit began as a conference in 1984 where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged. Today their mission has expanded to “foster the spread of ideas” and conferences cover almost all topics — from science to business to global issues in more than 100 languages. Every one of over 3000 TED “talks” (presentations) are recorded on video and available online for the world to watch and stir curiosity.
6. Turn Your Phone into a Virtual Reality Viewer
This is a new discovery for me. Have you ever heard of Google Cardboard? Google describes it as “A Virtual Reality experience starting with a simple viewer anyone can build or buy. Once you have it, you can explore a variety of apps that unfold all around you.” The Cardboard Viewer works in conjunction with apps on your smartphone.
There are Cardboard viewers to buy for as low as $6.00. You can even build your own. All you need are a few everyday items you can find in your garage, online, or at your local hardware store: cardboard, lenses, magnets, hook and loop fastener and a rubber band. Scroll down on this page to find downloadable instructions. Google has an official Cardboard app, but Google Play Store has dozens of Virtual Reality apps that work with Cardboard. See what’s available here. You’ll find amusement park thrill rides, outer space exploration, games, theater, racing and the list goes on.
7. Travel Virtually on Google Earth
If you can’t get there in person, check out Google Earth for hours of virtual travel.
Take a virtual hike around America’s gorgeous National Parks. Zoom in and out on hundreds of images, and click on the arrows in the image to move around.
This one’s not on Google Earth, but it’s mesmerizing. You can relax on a virtual train ride in Norway.
8. Enjoy a Tech-Free Day
Is all this news and uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic and being quarantined stressing you out? Have you considered that it might be negatively impacting your kids too? Then maybe it’s time to take a break from the noise and have a tech-free day.
I know it’s really tempting to want to stay plugged into media since the health situation is constantly evolving. But if you and your family are wisely listening to medical experts and safely spending a few days or a few weeks at home, it’s perfectly fine to turn off your devices and enjoy each others’ company. Or if you’re by yourself, practice much-needed self-care by exercising, deep breathing or meditation. If you pray, spend some time in prayer and take your concerns to God. Step out onto your balcony or into your yard and enjoy the sunshine. Take a deep breath and appreciate the view. Make a list or have a conversation with the kids about what you’re thankful for.
Health experts also recommend that you avoid watching, reading or listening to news that could cause you to feel anxious or distressed. Much of our anxiety is rooted in worrying about the unknown or things that are out of our control and the COVID-19 Coronavirus is a huge unknown.
Mental Health experts say that stepping away from the bombardment of news and media for a time is good for your mental health. The suggestions below don’t involve technological devices and I’m sure you can think of many more fun activities that can fill your day and encourage a positive outlook.
9. Play a Musical Instrument
You probably already know that playing music reduces stress and has been shown to reverse the body’s response to stress at the DNA-level. But did you know that a University of Miami study showed that playing music increases the human growth hormone (HgH) production among active older Americans? HgH helps to maintain, build, and repair healthy tissue in the brain and other organs, which is vital to stay healthy.
Do you or someone in the house have a musical instrument? Perhaps it’s been years since you played or you’ve really wanted to learn and somehow kept putting it off. Maybe it was a passion and you just haven’t had time to play lately. In any case, pick it up now and see what you can do. A quick search for “free lessons” for your instrument on YouTube or Google will produce a variety of options. For example, you’ll find free guitar lessons from Guitar Compass here. Or you could find free tips and lessons from your favorite artist. These are free guitar tips and lessons from James Taylor.
What fun memories you can make by teaching your favorite songs to your kids. They might even like to start learning to play music themselves. Now could be a perfect time to get started when they have plenty of free time to practice.
10. Read, Purge & Repurpose Your Magazines
Do you have a basket full of magazines collecting dust in your living room? Now would be a great time to go through them and catch up on the articles you want to read, then find something creative to do with them before you toss them in your recycle bin.
Check out these 30 Crafty Ways to Repurpose Old Magazines from DIY & Crafts.
11. Catch up on Housekeeping
Ok, maybe this sounds boring, but I always seem to have time-consuming projects around the house lurking on my to-do list that never seem to rise to the top. Why not spend a few hours each day on these? Just imagine how satisfying it will feel to have finally deep-cleaned that closet or fixed that broken thingamajig.
In our efforts to reduce the spread of germs as much as possible, here are some areas you may not have thought of cleaning. Your mailbox door, house door and cabinet knobs, touch screens, remote controls, car door handles, stove and microwave controls and bathroom fixtures (including the toilet handles).
12. Finish Those Craft Projects in Your Closet
If you’re a lifelong crafter like me, you probably have all the supplies for dozens of projects tucked away somewhere waiting for that rainy day. Well, what could be better than a week or two of crafting?
Months or years ago you were probably all excited about the latest creative idea, went to the store to get everything, then lost interest or ran out of time before you were able to finish or start. Imagine all the projects you can get done now and how much more productive that would help you feel.
13. Safely Enjoy the Outdoors
Are you feeling a little claustrophobic and need to get some fresh air? If it’s warm enough, give your car a thorough cleaning inside and out or hose down the patio, powerwash the siding, wash the windows, do some gardening. I’m always amazed at how much more lovely the world looks from the inside when my windows are clean.
“The glory of gardening, hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” Alfred Austin
Do you have all the outside work done at home? How about some fun too. Play tag with your kids, enjoy a picnic, read a story, do some birdwatching or just grab your favorite drink and relax on the balcony.
Take a walk around your neighborhood or find a deserted beach or park. But only if you’re sure you can practice safe social-distancing and avoid coming within 6 feet of others. The good news is that you’ll get some exercise, plus much-needed Vitamin D and fresh air.
14. Pamper Yourself
This one’s hard for me. I’m not very good at self-care. For some reason, I find it difficult to put pampering ahead of other tasks to be done. But, if you’re really looking for things to do when you’re bored, this is a good one that you may not otherwise get to.
Here are a few basic things you can do at home: Take a bubble bath, order your favorite food to be delivered, give yourself a manicure and pedicure, take a nap. If you want to get creative try making a homemade Sugar Scrub to use in the shower or bath. You may already have all the ingredients in your pantry. Here are a few recipes. Remember that any essential oils or scents are optional.
If you’re looking for more ideas you may also be interested in these “14 Ways to Help You Feel More Connected When You’re Stuck at Home”.
Traveling with Purpose may use affiliate links in our articles to earn income. Thank you for your support.
Originally published at https://travelingwithpurpose.com on March 26, 2020.