Quarantined? 9 Free Things to Do to Keep Boredom at Bay

A couple cook in their kitchen.
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Staying away from one another is one of the best ways to combat the spread of COVID-19. We get it.

But cabin fever is real.

And due to all the financial uncertainty lately, now’s probably not a good time to go on an online shopping spree buying stuff to entertain yourself.

Here’s all of our coverage of the coronavirus outbreak, which we will be updating every day.

Finding activities that don’t cost money and don’t involve physically being near other people is key. Here are nine free things to do while social distancing.

1. ‘Visit’ a Museum

Check out your favorite museum, aquarium or cultural landmark without stepping beyond your front door.

Look for virtual tours on the websites of your favorite museums. The  Louvre and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History are two popular options.

If you’re an animal lover, check out live cams from places like the Georgia Aquarium or the Houston Zoo.

Another great option for exploring is Google’s Art and Culture page. There you can view famous artwork and virtually visit thousands of places, including the Statue of Liberty and the Egyptian pyramids.

2. Attend a Virtual Concert

Global Citizen has kicked off a “Together at Home” virtual concert series with performances by singers and musicians including Chris Martin, John Legend, OneRepublic and Ziggy Marley. Follow Global Citizen on Instagram to watch.

Other performers are giving virtual shows across social media. This aggregated list from CNET includes a bunch of live stream concerts you can watch each day.

3. Take Cooking Lessons

You’ve got to do something to make your groceries taste like those restaurant meals you’ve been missing out on. As you reacquaint yourself with your kitchen, brush up on cooking skills with online videos and recipes.

Italian chef Massimo Bottura is hosting a “Kitchen Quarantine” series on Instagram. Watch free cooking demonstrations on Tastemade or get free access to 50 recipes from America’s Test Kitchen.

4. Watch a Movie from Your Car

Cars line up with people in them to watch a movie at a drive-in movie theatre.
A preview of Rampage is shown at the Silver Moon Drive-In Theatre in Lakeland, Fla. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Get off your couch and watch a movie at a drive-in theater instead. You’ll be able to go to the movies without exposing yourself to people in close quarters.

While there are only a few hundred drive-in theaters left in the United States, this interactive map will help you find out if there is one near you.

5. Go for a Scenic Drive

Staying within the confines of home can get old quick. Going for a leisurely drive through a scenic part of town is a good option to break up the monotony.

Take time to admire the architecture. Check out a neighborhood you’ve always wanted to move to. Or choose a route that has a nice view of the water, mountains or another natural setting. 

Remember to obey any shelter-in-place guidelines from your individual city, county or state.

6. Start a Photo-a-Day Project

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to pick up a daily habit of taking pictures.

Committing to take at least one photo a day can help bring some consistency and structure to a time when all the days start blending together. You don’t need any special equipment — your phone camera will do fine.

Join the 365 Project to connect with others following the same pursuit and for photography tips and tricks.

You might even find you can make money off your new habit.

7. Continue — or Begin — Your Fitness Routine

A woman works out in her home.
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Several national fitness chains are providing free access to workout videos.

Gold’s Gym and Crunch are letting new users download their fitness apps at no cost. Try Gold’s Amp app through May 31 with the promo code FIT60 or get a free 45-day trial of Crunch Live. Nike is also letting people download its Nike Training Club premium app for free.

Planet Fitness is streaming in-home workouts on Facebook Live every weekday at 7 pm ET. Recorded versions are available on the gym’s Facebook page and YouTube channel

Corepower Yoga is offering free online sessions and is live streaming classes on YouTube at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET.

Orangetheory is posting 30-minute workout videos on its website each day. 

If you want to workout outside, look for a park with outdoor equipment and try this routine. Just be sure to avoid close contact with others and sanitize the equipment before and after use.

8. Learn a New Skill

Use some of your free time to learn something new. It may be something that’s always interested you or a skill that’ll help advance your career.

Skillshare is currently offering two free months of Skillshare Premium for new members. You can learn web design, marketing or video editing, among other skills.

Use edX to take free online classes from schools like Harvard and MIT. Coursera has a bank of free courses — from social psychology to computer programming.

Udacity is offering one free month of access to one of 40 premium nanodegree programs, including C++ and data visualization.

9. Use Video Conferencing to Meet Up With Friends

When you can’t physically be with friends and loved ones, video conferencing is the next best thing. 

If you have a smartphone, chances are you’ve already been using FaceTime, Google Hangouts or Google Duo. But Skype, Zoom, Lifesize and Webex are other video conferencing platforms you might consider.

Don’t limit your video calls to just your typical catch-up sessions. Host virtual book club meetings or have a jam session together.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.