Pass the Time with These 65 COVID-19 Isolation Activities
If you're like all my arts-and-entertainment-loving friends these days, you've been sitting in your home enjoying some aspects of self-isolation (the chance to read a book, for instance) but craving your fix of theatre or music.
Or, perhaps, you're looking for ways to occupy the other humans (small or large) who are now sharing your household space with you.
Whatever your reason for seeking diversion - and really, in times like these, who needs a reason? - then you'll be delighted by this list that came my way, courtesy of my sister Carol MacLellan (who's currently weathering the world of self-isolation from her home in Toronto).
With her permission, I am reprinting this fabulous list here so that everyone out there who's dealing with cabin fever can find something to occupy their time other than obsessively scrolling the COVID-19 news.
- Free online ebooks and free ebooks for download: https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4604-free-quarantine-ebooks?fbclid=IwAR38J50bu3oEykqGdYCCVk7H80RVTEi_lFMVYKTDHReeVc6HNOdE1DLmxfI
- eBooks and tons of other resources: www.torontopubliclibrary.ca
- More free eBooks from another publisher: https://www.haymarketbooks.org/blogs/112-ten-free-ebooks-from-haymarket-books?fbclid=IwAR0TzGHTmkGLfYRGVT4RkhXvwlWaE73vCkARUiCgEHOzbHDvMiN4KVxXr7s
- Paulo Coelho offering some of his work as free ebooks: https://paulocoelhoblog.com/
- Sir Patrick Stewart, reading Shakespeare (because, really, what more do you need than Jean-Luc Picard reciting sonnets? Oh, that voice!) Find him on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/SirPatStew?s=2
- Austen fans, here’s one for you! A variety of Jane Austen themed activities at #VirtualJaneCon March 28 & 29: https://drunkausten.com/2020/03/23/virtualjanecon-schedule/?fbclid=IwAR3dtJQ2h-TuInR3_VidTkADNDJrnipEuGdBf4WOI3IJ-VpTz6ZyVngWFy0
- Inform yourself while you entertain yourself, with these suggestions to help you better understand our troubling times: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/campaign/1677/shelf-care?fbclid=IwAR0Coco-OPHCmDI-Xv7X0bmhqeXhGDgKlIjuHYUGUm8-ZCARlgm_qJ5-yqo
- Or just get advice from the likes of Margaret Atwood on what you should read next: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-thursday-edition-1.5502954/margaret-atwood-waubgeshig-rice-and-daniel-kalla-share-their-pandemic-reading-lists-1.5502962?fbclid=IwAR1ripkMuCU3NdFUs95fQvTchvVsjTzklSt2sMXVnH5czBG2GQP_rHE79Xo
- Check out the Festival of LIterary Diversity (FOLD), normally held in the GTA but going virtual this year. It aims to prioritize underrepresented authors and storytellers from around the world. Registration opens April 5 and the festival happens in early May: https://thefoldcanada.org/festival-events/the-festival-of-literary-diversity/?fbclid=IwAR1SzY_zhF0xfPxCIPVj_d70MpHNj-n7D51ERMnpVBrMeWlc5hPK_K_VGAM
- Contemporary Canadian theatre: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcasts/arts-culture/playme/index.html?fbclid=IwAR3ZOuzfjfyavxK616FmcOaOR7O-DTyIzrIDo5EniQBGWH92riJAtUsGl10
- Stratford Festival (Stratford, Ontario): https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/WatchandExplore/OnDemand?fbclid=IwAR3gSq_0z2ixHleyyUI_NO9-G5RObzxXYskLFcWvEjQYVwwV3k7ztgxYp74
- Globe Theatre (London): https://londonist.com/london/theatre-and-arts/globe-theatre-streaming-plays-online?fbclid=IwAR2zIxDRZZcl8JCKeKUWxtdVUd12EtgfFxicTowy9k5spcFdEFeAeAoJxRs
- A live streaming reading group performing all of Shakespeare’s plays in order: https://www.timeout.com/london/news/a-live-streaming-reading-group-is-performing-all-of-shakespeares-plays-in-order-031920?fbclid=IwAR2mjXWI8D297zPfymI6GmtP8eVwLVzNX6rCmwMYnP2olNn0iVlYwNN6JE0
- Broadway musicals free streaming (for a limited time): https://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/tv-movies/live-stream-musicals-broadwayhd?fbclid=IwAR2ZBBgwIoidn2G19RhxOk0ZhFcr2L79jHg8ANeGxdhERhwH_6ENY8tN9KQ
- Free 30-day trial for Marquee TV, where you can watch (among other things) David Tennant’s Richard II: https://www.timeout.com/london/news/watch-david-tennants-richard-ii-for-free-and-loads-more-shakespeare-plays-032320?fbclid=IwAR21N5jVZ5NK-nLNIYKBnA-aFDwZemwa9NSmlk_Opv800jxbf5A1WMRFOIo
- Listen to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in its original Middle English with a free app: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/616293/geoffrey-chaucer-canterbury-tales-app?fbclid=IwAR3Mx0GD0s2UcPVq4-xQqFtgrArZesjzBj2WFPr79W1nfFi_2HZygnw9KbY
- Celebrate World Theatre Day on March 27 with a day-long event from the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada, featuring 10-minute readings from 28 playwrights: https://playwrightsguild.ca/play-reading-relay/
- Online music festival: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/cape-breton-s-ashley-macisaac-plans-online-music-festival-during-covid-19-pandemic-1.5499103?fbclid=IwAR2flOqFsZl1WqA_nCtJKIQVrhP7LHW3fZ_XT6AWtVXha6kSPsHHerkgKQA
- The Great British Home Chorus (at-home virtual choir project): https://www.classicfm.com/artists/gareth-malone/choirmaster-gareth-malone-home-chorus-coronavirus/
- Classical music online from the Met Opera to the Berlin Philharmonic: https://www.classicfm.com/music-news/live-streamed-classical-music-concerts-coronavirus/
- The world’s first classical music crime podcast: https://www.globalplayer.com/podcasts/42KbSm/
- Sing Vivaldi’s Gloria (and other pieces) with the Stay At Home Choir: https://www.stayathomechoir.com/
- Social Distan-Sing Along with Choir!Choir!Choir! – check their FB page for details: https://www.facebook.com/choirx3/
- Teach yourself songs on piano or guitar (there’s a “premium” version of the app, but you can have a more limited selection of free options): https://chordify.net/
- Yo Yo Ma’s “Songs of Comfort”, starting with Dvorak’s “Going Home”: https://www.facebook.com/YoYoMa/videos/1138960419795844/
- Get up to speed on 1200 years of women composers (#GirlPower) in a free 78 hour music playlist: http://www.openculture.com/2015/10/1200-years-of-women-composers-a-free-78-hour-music-playlist.html?fbclid=IwAR1ZOAI6O_s6uGnJFs77MPzccIgF7aGPVLU4vDKHe7J0OKb7luUY0wtSPRQ
- Royal Opera House offering free ballet and opera performances online: https://www.classicfm.com/music-news/coronavirus/royal-opera-house-launches-online-ballet-opera/?fbclid=IwAR3czrLV-c1QyxjYQrPjbhPs3wc2azcSPbyyFx2J6Y11B2K8zFqc5bJAHu8
- Art museums you can visit digitally: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/6-digital-art-museum-you-can-visit-from-home
- Write the Great Canadian Novel at #StayHomeWriMo, brought to you by NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month): https://www.facebook.com/nanowrimo/posts/10158118168234299
- Write - and get a free do-it-yourself MFA (not really a degree, but you do get to learn how to write!). Looks at both fiction and non-fiction, has suggested readings and lots of online resources (including a podcast): https://diymfa.com/
- More about writing (and some for the full-on grammar nerds, too): https://www.classcentral.com/report/writing-free-online-courses/
- It’s not free, but you can take a masterclass in creative writing with Margaret Atwood: https://www.masterclass.com/classes/margaret-atwood-teaches-creative-writing
- Free mini masterclass in short fiction here: https://writershq.co.uk/short-fiction-mini-masterclass-landing-page/?fbclid=IwAR113JZLQMZ5zCKljXvbaRXccYc_5dhEZr77VuSrMcVfApF4clLsKbzMJZQ
- 450 Ivy League Courses for free: https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/ivy-league-free-online-courses-a0d7ae675869/?fbclid=IwAR1HZNhoAtPG08Z4eFh5LV6RW3qd2uKojQXciZqFmRqxcNIHbmrxJM4QEBQ
- Language – DuoLingo app
- Yale University – “happiness” course: https://www.menshealth.com/trending-news/a31846979/coronavirus-quarantine-yale-happiness-wellbeing-class-free-online/?fbclid=IwAR3KZ-1ON4YEHVQy-0OzKVxU_KynJgWNZPiyONN3XpgsmkPB8oTGR-5rfx8
- Lynda.com – accessible through the Toronto Public Library (with a library card): https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?R=EDB0187
- iTunesU (accessible with an Apple ID): https://itunesu.itunes.apple.com/coursemanager/
- Learn anything!: http://www.openculture.com/2020/03/use-your-time-in-isolation-to-learn-everything-youve-always-wanted-to.html?fbclid=IwAR0F11qclxYZXxqXBi5tHmTMkvv6jXF1XTmf7MGTqc-ukJIo3BbXV3-u8Qc
- Toronto attractions: https://www.blogto.com/sports_play/2020/03/toronto-attractions-you-can-visit-while-social-distancing/?fbclid=IwAR1qwHULPBdINU6Bq17viiJhGu8Hr3O0phnSLNSg_gceHrhLlINrWYJXQpc
- Virtual field trips to some very cool places: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SvIdgTx9djKO6SjyvPDsoGlkgE3iExmi3qh2KRRku_w/preview?fbclid=IwAR02BOIkp1SGjgdeyxhPGp66NCIezYSFr2iS1Qxamq8YSLKdYn6wSecBUc0
- Free online programming from the Toronto Zoo at 1 pm every day: https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheTorontoZoo/videos/?ref=page_internal
- Virtual tours from world-famous museums (British Museum! Musee d’Orsay! Uffizi Gallery! Guggenheim! Van Gogh Museum!): https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=social-share-article&utm_content=20200313&fbclid=IwAR07BhA_AMMWEkrMMzqMv2FfxRZpgG2Ih4F0lP88fbRhqbGB57cHu5AQZiA
- In Women’s History Month, learn the history you were never taught in school: https://www.bustle.com/p/13-womens-history-podcasts-you-dont-want-to-miss-out-on-22585118?fbclid=IwAR0OkjbXc7pky3MTxBbACIbK0q27G9hiwDPjXuh97HFiV3U8W5Uhq4f4viQ
- The best Canadian podcasts right now:: https://www.cbc.ca/life/culture/the-best-canadian-podcasts-to-listen-to-according-to-podcasters-1.5357112
- CBC’s Missing & Murdered - I listened to “Finding Cleo” (about a young Cree girl taken from her family in the 60s scoop) as I drove across the Prairies last August. A host of interesting (and sobering) stories. https://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcasts/missing-murdered-who-killed-alberta-williams/
- CBC’s “Uncover” podcast (I really like CBC’s podcasts!), an investigative series about true crimes. Season 3 focuses on the serial murders in Toronto’s VIllage. https://www.cbc.ca/radio/uncover/about-uncover-1.4674742
- Top 15 Feminist podcasts to follow in 2020: https://blog.feedspot.com/feminist_podcasts/ (I am Woman, hear me roar! Have only started The Guilty Feminist, which I can vouch for as very funny and thought-provoking.)
- Little-known Canadian history tales on “The Secret Life of Canada”: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-secret-life-of-canada/id1434339568
- Try one of more than 4,000 films free to stream online from the National Film Board of Canada, including a library of Indigenous cinema: https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/nfb-indigenous-cinema-free-self-isloating-1.5504434
- Virtual CN Tower climb: https://secure.wwf.ca/site/SPageServer/;jsessionid=00000000.app30040a?NONCE_TOKEN=AF62F8057834767D3AC33AF22D74A96A&pagename=climb17_home&fbclid=IwAR0sLvM7NnkMT9PQIJ-tMB9CvMAs4Q3V1b0wytd2D2U0UoLTGGjs5ZDEgYw
- 20 minute workouts: https://www.cbc.ca/life/video/join-us-for-a-week-long-lunchtime-full-body-workout-starting-feb-12-1.4516720
- 5 minute yoga: https://www.cbc.ca/life/video/a-5-minute-yoga-flow-you-can-do-while-your-morning-coffee-brews-1.5429779
- Yoga apps (free till April 1st): https://www.downdogapp.com/
- Intro hip hop class (tagged “for ages 7 to 12 or first time adults” so sounds about my speed): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFem6SwyQn4&fbclid=IwAR1feGlQepf-jntQfqbKPzfJF10UL5p7TTTcDcoOtEbPm5sgqZwWsfYkBjw
- 30 days of yoga on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%23ywaHOME
Games / Kids / Just for Fun:
- Become a chess grandmaster: https://www.chess.com/learn
- Play board games online (I haven’t checked this out in detail yet, so I don’t know what games they offer): https://en.boardgamearena.com/
- Kids’ drawing classes with children’s book author Mo Willems: https://www.boredpanda.com/free-online-lunch-doodles-sessions-for-kids-mo-willems/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=BPFacebook&fbclid=IwAR0WcCK18XbzuAvFbx0CNu4KE_ar725lk-2w-c_AmvKo1mtvzMz77SyEUNY
- Isolation-friendly scavenger hunts (for adults too!): https://bit.ly/2QEB7ew?fbclid=IwAR0iuL1A7UMYwA2GSA8fhgQjv9hWnwpy9CgPvK5TQA1Lxc0kwdguo8SanBk
- Virtual roller coaster rides at Canada’s Wonderland! https://www.canadaswonderland.com/blog/2020/march-2020/heres-how-to-take-a-virtual-ride-on-all-the-rides-at-canadas-wonderland-in-your-own-home
- Running out of kids’ books to keep your little reader entertained? Try free audiobooks from a new Audible service: https://www.cbc.ca/books/audible-launches-free-audiobook-service-for-children-1.5506999?fbclid=IwAR3LfBwB2IKnP6peXf2COEpAKzYC8Tpoic6veZr9f63Q52kxrjRT3nnNYKk
- Missing sports? So is this sports commentator, who’s taken to commentating on real life instead: https://www.thepoke.co.uk/2020/03/20/this-commentators-got-no-live-sport-left-so-hes-commentating-on-everyday-life-and-its-brilliant/?fbclid=IwAR0z1BZA0u9zAGVuzOdJp9UraLvGq2hGLPJmFUwBFvCW4yhBbea-PFhPEcw
- Check out these ideas to keep your bored socially-distanced children entertained: https://www.cbc.ca/parents/play/view/indoors-activities-for-kids-2020?fbclid=IwAR0tNLmP8qyL-v34PjM-JnVd3gptbSbbO_zNOlsf8SDLACL0uDMbXLLpaog
- Or try one of these 20 short & easy experiments from Physics Girl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aaXZDazPxs&fbclid=IwAR0-EVm5ciCIaojkmwAIkApJS4ZxPKiT_gHojV2MDxclR2Plvr_lVWCbRjc
By: Burnaby Now
GuidedBy is a community builder and part of the Glacier Media news network. This article originally appeared on a Glacier Media publication.
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