Here are dozens of ideas to keep life interesting, even during a pandemic. There ought to be something here for everyone. Try something new, learn a new skill, or help someone out.
Who says you can’t go anywhere?
You can travel all around the world without leaving your home.
Open your eyes to the possibilities with virtual travel.
Travel the World from Home
If the walls are closing in, go anywhere you wish—virtually.
Visit National Parks Online
You may not be able to enjoy the great outdoors, but you can still enjoy the breathtaking beauty of our national parks.
Plan an Adventure
Think of somewhere you would love to go, if you could. Spend time planning a trip, including the stops you would make and maybe even an itinerary. Look up information about each destination. Research the weather, cuisine, and entertainment options. Even if you never travel, it is fun and educational to study a destination as if you were going to travel there.
Take a Virtual Tour of Museums around the World
Travel and Leisure has assembled a list of virtual museum tours.
Pass on Heirloom Recipes
Organize your favorite recipes into a keepsake album or file box to pass on to children or grandchildren.
Learn at Home
Search for any topic of interest and you’ll find courses or tutorials.
Listen to Lectures and Great Speeches
We live in a time where we don’t need to be present to enjoy a speech or lecture. It’s really a matter of what you want to learn.
Learn a Foreign Language
Believe it or not, you can learn a foreign language for free. Have fun adding a bit of foreign dialogue to your day.
Create a To-Be-Read (TBR) List
Make a list of every book on your shelves (physical and virtual) that you have not read. Use your time to tackle this list. Or if you’re no longer interested in a book, put it in a box to donate to a second-hand store or delete it from your device.
Join a Book Club
“Book club” is a broad term that can mean many things, but it often includes reading a common book and discussing it online. Here’s a list of popular book clubs:
Challenge Yourself to Read Ten Books
There’s something to be said for escaping reality right now so bury your head in a fiction story to immerse yourself in another reality. Alternately, you might want to equip yourself with tools and knowledge to face life or grow personally. In that case, nonfiction fits the bill. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a good book.
Listen to Free Public Domain Books
Volunteers have spent years reading classic books so you can enjoy them as audio books. These aren’t professional readers, but they have made public domain books accessible to all of us.
Document Your Life Experiences
Create something to pass on to family by writing or recording videos of you sharing stories and significant events in your life. Share lessons learned, pivotal moments, happiest times, and greatest struggles you had to overcome. Your story has value. Share it.
Start a Blog
Start a blog to write about a hobby, technical specialty, or anything you’re passionate about. Discover others who share your passion. Wordpress, Blogger, and Tumblr are popular and free places to start your blog. Don’t like to write? Tumblr is well-suited to blogging images.
Join a Virtual Race (at Your Own Pace)
Virtual races allow you to walk, run, cycle, swim, or crawl your way along a virtual race route such as the road through a national park. Some races are free and others have an entry fee, which usually includes a commemorative t-shirt or race medal.
Let go of stress and anxiety by practicing breathing exercises and mental relaxation. Check out these meditation pages:
Create a Gratitude List or Journal
Of course, you can keep a physical journal, but nowadays you can also use an app or website to log your thankful thoughts.
Upgrade Your Mind with Affirmations
At a time when anxious “what if” scenarios run through your head, make a conscious effort to manage your thoughts with positive affirmations.
Create a Memory Challenge (Two or More People)
One person places ten small objects—a paperclip, a spoon, etc.—on a tray. Let the player look at them for 30 seconds. Remove the tray. The player tries to remember all ten objects. If correct, add more objects, switch select objects, or start with a completely new set. You can also decrease the time by five seconds each time to make it more challenging.
Organize the Files on Your Computer
Make a list of topics that concern you (finances, hobbies, projects, charity, etc.)
Group these into main headings and subheadings.
Create this file structure on your computer and begin moving files into the new folders.
Carefully delete old folders so you can find files more easily.
Travel back in time to learn about other periods of history. Watch history videos by the History Channel.
Learn about great people of the past by watching video biographies.
Visit Mars (as seen by NASA’s Curiosity rover)
This virtual model of Mars was constructed using the data sent by the Mars Curiosity rover.
Watch NASA Videos
Explore outer space, courtesy of NASA.
View NASA Image of the Day
NASA has the most stunning images of our galaxy and beyond.
Color a Picture
This site has hundreds of coloring pages. Search by topic—animals, flowers, landscapes, etc.—and print the ones you like. Then just add color!
Try Art Journaling or Book Art
If you have old, worn books or books you no longer intend to read, you can recycle them into these interesting projects.
Uses for Book Pages
Create an Art Journal
(Because It Sounds Nicer Than Cleaning)
Tackle Home Projects
Now you have time to do the tasks you almost never do around the house.
Clean out the junk drawer
Clean out a closet
Each day clean out one kitchen drawer or cabinet
Clean out file drawers and shred old files
Organize one small area in the garage
Sell Your Stuff
While you’re cleaning out your closet or garage, why not try to make a few bucks selling collector’s items, antiques, or gently used items? eBay is the go-to place for buyers and sellers to make a deal.
Organize Your Box of Old Photos
If your photo organizing system is “none” then spend a few days reliving your past memories while bringing order to the shoebox(es!).
Put photos in albums
Write names, dates, or places on the backs of photos
Scan photos to keep a digital copy
Have a party daily! There’s always something to celebrate, even if it’s one more day to be alive. Here are some calendar lists of fun “holidays” such as National Peanut Butter Day. Be creative and have fun.
Create a Bucket List
Make a list of things you want to do before you die (hopefully a long time from now!)
Do Something Familiar in an Unfamiliar Way
When life gets mundane, sometimes changing the way we do things creates a sense of surprise and delight in our brains. Here are a few examples, but then see what else you can think of to try. Your brain needs a challenge.
Watch a movie in a foreign language or with foreign subtitles
Rearrange your furniture
Eat with your opposite hand
Feed Your Spirit
Try these lists of affirmations based on Bible verses.
Learn the Bible with Videos
The Bible Project creates short animated videos to explain books of the Bible or themes in the Bible. They are engaging and educational.
You might also enjoy:
Memorize Bible Verses by Typing
ScriptureTyper Bible Memory System allows you to choose a Bible verse you want to learn. Then after typing the words several times, it starts eliminating words so you have to type it by memory.
Enjoy One of These Films Based on the Bible
Check out this list of movies based on the Bible. How many have you watched? Which are you interested in watching in the future?
Try Bible-Based Meditation
Encounter is a daily podcast providing 15-20 minute guided meditations including Scripture readings, prayers, and breathing exercises.
Make a Difference
Respond to the Crisis Text Line
This is text-based counseling to help people process emotions from Corona Virus. Crisis Text Line also provides a separate text-based counseling for people dealing with bullying, depression, stress, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts.
Write Letters to Soldiers
Military members are usually separated from family. With a pandemic in the mix, they undoubtedly feel the stress of separation during this ordeal.
Write Letters to Prisoners
If you think you feel cooped up, be glad you’re not in a prison cell. Brighten someone’s day with a personal letter from the outside world.
Scan or Proofread Books
BookShare makes books available to people with reading difficulties. For instance, they offer a karaoke-style highlighting to help readers follow along. Use your scanner and OCR software to scan books or proofread scanned files from other volunteers.
Transcribe Handwritten Documents
Smithsonian Digital Volunteers type the text of handwritten historical documents to make them accessible to the public.
Translate Texts into Different Languages
If you are bilingual, put your skills to work translating texts.
Provide Career Guidance to Students
Answer questions such as, “What does my path have to look like to become a [profession]?” or “What does a typical day look like for a [profession]?”