It’s a month since the lockdown was announced. You’ve done home PE and yoga lessons. You’ve baked a loaf of bread and finally finished that DIY project you’d been avoiding. Now what?
We’ve come up with 10 lockdown activities you might not have tried yet. Whether you’re struggling for creativity or searching for something to keep the children occupied – or both – one of these may be the answer…
1. Go to an art gallery (at home)
Despite being confined to your home, you can still browse the works at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Or the Met in New York. Or the Uffizi, or the Palace of Versailles, or the British Museum… Hundreds of galleries and museums have digitised their collections and are available through Google’s arts and
culture portal. You can even turn on the Street View option and have a virtual stroll through the galleries. You couldn’t quite say it’s as good as being there, but as a source of inspiration – and way to while away a few hours – it’s hard to beat right now.
2. Go further and create your own art gallery
Grab your palette and your watercolours – it’s time to create your own art instead of just looking at it. And if you’re lacking inspiration in lockdown, that’s sorted too. All 31 seasons of the legendary TV programme The Joy Of Painting with Bob Ross have been uploaded to YouTube – which means there are over 400 different pictures you can ‘paint along’ with. They’re actually quite soothing to watch even if you aren’t painting.
3. The simpler way to get arty
Artists and art institutions are getting in on the act and releasing artistic activities anyone can do – both kids and ‘big kids’. The Lowry has produced colouring-in sheets based on LS Lowry’s
most famous works, while a collective of artists including Gillian Wearing and Antony Gormley have produced a series of art activity packs, full of creative prompts such as writing a poem in praise of toilet roll or creating human-shaped daisy chains.
4. Tasks that are more interesting than laundry
Following Alex Horne on Twitter is essential during lockdown. Using the hashtag #hometasking, every few days he’s posting a task that can be completed in your home or garden. From
turning your bed into something that’s not a bed to doing
something amazing with a pair of trousers, the tasks are weird, wonderful and have a knack of making you see everyday objects in a different way. Don’t forget to watch the videos of others
completing the tasks too.
5. Check out a tourist spot while it’s totally deserted
No, you can’t go to one – but you can have a gander at some of the world’s most iconic locations via webcam. Of course, these webcam feeds are always live – what’s remarkable about them now is how these places, usually thronged with visitors, are now completely empty. Observe St Mark’s Square in Venice or the beaches of Barcelona and take a moment to reflect on how they have probably never looked like this before.
6. Listen to an audiobook… better yet, narrate one
Thinking you should finish that book you started years ago? Perhaps you could listen to it instead, since Audible has made a sizeable chunk of its audiobook collection available for free. They’ll stay that way as long as schools are closed, and appropriately, there are plenty of kid-friendly books in the roster, including Beatrix Potter and Winnie the Pooh stories.
If you want to give something back, you can produce an audiobook of your own. Librivox is always looking for volunteers to narrate books published before 1923. You don’t have to have narration experience, can do it a chapter at a time, and can feel fulfilled knowing others will benefit from your work.
7. Invite virtual animals into your home
You can take your kids (or yourself) to the ‘virtual zoo’ with a variety of live feeds, from penguins to pandas to whales. But you can make the experience even more immersive. Google’s new AR software allows you to render 3D versions of animals in your phone camera’s viewfinder. Just download the Google Chrome app, search for your animal of choice and hit ‘View In 3D’ – voila, a lion in the living room or bear in the bathroom.
8. Stage your own music festival
Music festivals are, as you might imagine, cancelling en masse – but to replicate the experience, you can organise your own virtual festival using streaming services. Artists from Chris Martin to Christine And The Queens have been live-streaming
gigs during lockdown – and even for those who haven’t, you can dig out their last festival appearance on YouTube. Go all out and plan a full weekend’s worth of gigs – this is your chance to have the festival line-up you always dreamed of!
9. Join a choir with total strangers
Had enough of family quizzes on video chat apps? Use them for a musical purpose instead. The Sofa Singers is a regular event where hundreds of people join a Zoom call, learn a song and then sign it together as a digital choir. You’ll need to register to find out when the next event is taking place. Start warming your vocal cords now…
10. Help others who need it
The NHS may have maxed out its capacity for volunteers, but there are still plenty of ways we can spend our time helping others. Visit COVID Mutual Aid to find details of your local support group and get involved. If you want to avoid social contact, you can volunteer inside your own home by joining the listening service 7 Cups. And simply donating money is an effective way to help – the National Emergencies Trust has a fund specifically for those affected by the outbreak.