Most of the people around the world are at home right now. You must be one of them if you are reading this. Yep, to protect ourselves and others, it’s essential to keep safe indoors-but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time. You may be stuck at home but stay with me, and I promise you’re not going to get bored at all.
HERE YOU HAVE SOME SUPER-FUN Things to do at home
If you like singing, Join a virtual choir
If the videos of lockdown cities getting together to sing on their balconies left you with the desire to sing, this is the chance to join one of the online choirs across the world. The Sofa Singers is a free online singing event to ‘bring people from around the world together to ignite joy and connection between people.’ It involves hundreds of singers joining a call to the Zoom and learning together with a new song. Lifefullness Live also runs a weekly sing-a-long. You can join a video call near you on Instagram or Facebook to sing with your neighbours or simply stream the event.
If you’re usually shy of the karaoke crowds, now’s the chance to pick (and ace) your go-to belter. How can you do it? HERE
Take a Youtube or Instagram baking class.
Being stuck inside has its upsides: you’re never far from your kitchen. It is not the moment to worry about waistlines, and baking has all sorts of healing effects (no, seriously. Go and google it). But if you don’t know where to start, don’t worry: London bakery Bread Ahead is streaming baking classes, and head baker Dominique Ansel is showing his secrets via Instagram. From brownies to doughnuts, there’s no limit to what they help you create. Take the ingredient list on your next shopping run before tuning in.
Wander The Netherlands’ most spectacular tulip garden
The Netherlands is one big carpet of tulips at this time of year. Or, at least that will have you believe the vast annual Keukenhof Flower Show. This year the event is cancelled as the Netherlands, and many around the world are social distancing. But that cannot stop you. Via a ravishing set of videos, the garden, which is at its best blooming right now, has chosen to share its technicolour fields online.
Up your home bar game
Say your sad Quarantine goodbyes. The home bar took centre stage as watering holes shutter across the planet. But what do you throw in the shaker when all you have is some vodka, sour lemon and a couple of half-empty bottles? Bartenders are now on social media to share their recipes and tips, and some even take requests in real-time so that we can all drink better while distancing ourselves from others. If you’re going to set up the virtual happy hour or just want to take a peek at some useful online resources.
Bring an aquarium into your home.
Missing Aquarium Trips? And me too. Well, the folks at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago are now beaming directly to our homes the magic of the aquatic complex on the lakefront. A live cam in the ‘Underwater Beauty’ exhibit of the aquarium provides a calming and mesmerising view of the flying angelfishes, wrasses, tangs and butterflyfishes through the water. Or you could go on a virtual tour of Valencia’s biggest aquarium in Europe, the Oceanogràfic.
Learn a new language for free
Learning a foreign language, including Japanese, has never been easier thanks to a broad array of resources that the internet offers: websites, videos, podcasts and even apps to help you speak and understand it. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a beginner looking to pick up a few useful phrases for your next holidays, or just looking to brush up on your rusty command of the language. There is plenty of free stuff.
All over the USA, there are resorts and hotels with live webcams offering beautiful views of their surroundings. Sandy beaches, majestic mountain vistas and tranquil lake scenery that (sort of) make it seem like you’re there. Sure, cams can’t entirely replace the feeling of lounging on a sunny beach, but it’s better than nothing at all.
It has suddenly become a whole lot easier to do a daily workout during the lockdown. Classpass, the fitness-class app that allowed you to book into bougie gym sessions around the world, has just launched 2,000 free workout videos and audio tutorials. The sessions include yoga, HIIT, boxing, strength training, bar and more loads – all you need to do is sign up with the app or website.
Hit up a fabulous queer club night
While the isolation life has given us plenty to miss, for many of us a single iso tear is held for the beauty and interconnection of queer nightlife. Nothing beats a dance with your bad self in a safe place. Well, some of Sydney’s party creative powerhouses aren’t going to let Aunty Rona keep us down. They’ve launched Loud ‘n’ Queer TV, a live-streamed party coming at you every Friday night, and available for 24 hours afterwards.
Gawp at abandoned tourist spots on live webcam
Usually, you’d have to wade through crowds upon crowds to get within even queuing distance of the Doge’s Palace in Venice or Prague’s Old Town Square. But with lockdown measures being enforced everywhere in Europe, things look very different, as these live webcam feeds of tourist hotspots show.
Why wouldn’t you want to go experimenting in the kitchen after all of the above? Ok yes. I eat lots. I like my time in the kitchen. After all, I am likely to be pretty much stuck there for the foreseeable. These are some of the things I tried myself.
Lose yourself in a colouring book by legit artists
The British artists Antony Gormley, Grayson Perry, Gillian Wearing and others have come together to create a free, downloadable activity book to make the lockdown a little more tolerable. It’s called ‘Art Is Where The Home Is’ and the idea is that each project can fit on a single A4 sheet of paper and you’re not going to need any professional equipment. The activities are a little more left-field than dot-to-dots or colouring in: the goal of Antony Gormley is to create a daisy chain of people, while Harold Offed asks you to create an album cover. Are the ideas mainly for children? Yeah. ‘But that shouldn’t stop you.
Watch every single one of Shakespeare’s plays.
Cut the misery with the words of a man who knew a couple of things about plagues: Mr William Shakespeare. ‘The Show Must Go Online’ is an online project led by classical actor and director Robert Myles, whose goal is to bring to life the words of The Bard by reading them out loud at a time when traditional live performance is prohibited. Professional actors and amateurs with experience are welcomed to sign up for weekly reading, and on YouTube, the public will participate along. They’re going through all Shakespeare’s plays.
Get smart with a free, online course.
And you should learn from the best . The eight Ivy League colleges across the USA, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale, are offering 450 free online courses that are just challenging enough to take our minds off the current affairs.
Do a drag aerobics class.
Dig out the spandex, make some space in your living room and tune in to a drag queen Dolly Trolley aerobics lesson every Wednesday on Facebook or Instagram Live. It is a revival of Social Media-style home workout videos from the 80s. The sessions are free, but for those who want to donate a few pounds, organisers have set up a PayPal link. Here’s our pick of all the other brilliant fitness sessions you can enjoy from home.
Take a virtual tour of the Musée d’Orsay.
Our museums and art galleries may had to shut their doors but don’t panic. Tech-savvy curators are getting creative on how the people can access their galleries, and many are responding to an online audience about amazing virtual tours. From ogling Parisian Impressionist works at the Musée d’Orsay to a voyeuristic collection of relics of ex-lovers at the Broken Relationships Museum, there are several genuinely fascinating online museum tours around.
Tour Japan’s most spectacular cherry blossom displays
Hanami flower-viewing parties and sakura festivals have been cancelled all over Japan – but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your fill of beautiful cherry blossom. The country’s Weather News channel has launched 50 VR videos showcasing the best spots in Japan, with incredible 360-degree views and some soothing background music. Treat.
Do a digital yoga class.
Well, if you cannot go down to the yoga studio, bring it into your front room. Many yoga studios are live-streaming classes so you can practise with your teacher, soothing music, guided Shavasana and all the rest.
Although you may be self-isolating, you can still (sort of) get that much-needed share of the great outdoors. Thanks to Google Earth, you can virtually travel 31 of the USA’s most beautiful national parks, from the Virgin Islands to Mount Rainier in the State of Washington. Click on the park of your choice, and you’ll be flown to your destination.
Play Pictionary with a robot
Do you want a break from the real world? Try ‘Quick, Draw!’, it’s a free-to-play game that doubles up as an AI trial to see if a ‘neural network’ can learn to identify human doodles. It’s playing Pictionary with a robot and is so addictive and weirdly mindful. I’m totally hooked.
See 800 Frida Kahlo paintings in a virtual exhibition.
There is an impressive online art show dedicated to the favourite monobrowed master of modern art of all: Frida Kahlo. Google Arts and Culture has put together 33 museums from all over the world to share their Kahlo collections for ‘Faces of Frida’. The Mexican artist can browse 800 works but also tonnes of biographical elements (personal items, documents, journal excerpts). Explore it here.
Have a night at the opera
Even if audiences have been kept at home, temples of high culture have fought back against lockdown. New York’s Metropolitan Opera is invading its archives and streaming free regular productions from the award-winning ‘Live in HD’ list while doors are shut. London’s Royal Opera House is also streaming past productions every Friday, while Vienna’s Wiener Staatsoper is staying as close as possible to its programmed shows, but with productions in archive rather than live. And they’re all from the best seats in the house. 🙂
See a Keith Haring exhibition.
Like other museums around the world, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne has momentarily closed. But those who missed out on its big-hitting ‘Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines’ show (plus other art fans around the globe) are in luck: the exhibition is now open as a free virtual tour by the curator. The NGV’s rather timely ‘Kaws: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness’ is also accessible online.
Take an online photography course.
At this point of the global lockdown, you’ve probably mastered the art of getting your pet, kids or the other half to do what you tell them to. Serious times call for strict household compliance. So why not use this as an opportunity to get them all to pose for a portrait?
are you counting down the days until you can party adequately again? Try streaming these daily DJ sets from sprawling venue Nowadays in New York: the venue will be at it from 8 pm (EDT) until midnight every night til they can reopen their doors. Or tune in as Berlin’s best DJs keep the city’s party reputation alive by streaming regular sets online
Sit in on an orchestra playing symphonies.
Major art organisations have shut down all over the globe, but the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra refuses to let their music stop. They have come up with an innovative way to ensure that everyone still has access to live(ish) arts, streaming all of their cancelled performances free online. Or you can sit in Miami’s New World Symphony live performance.
Hear an incredible pianist playing live
Innumerable musicians and performers are being deprived of their livelihoods right now. Do your bit for the industry by catching one of the 45-minute live piano gigs showcasing London musical theatre talent new and established. New York’s ‘Piano Guy’ is also playing daily shows and asking for small donations, and you can tune into shows from the city’s legendary piano bar Marie’s Crisis in this Facebook group every night.
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