20 Free Activities You Can Do During Lockdown
1. Watch a Film - Netflix and Amazon Prime aren’t your only options, and you don’t necessarily have to pay for a subscription to watch plenty of excellent films.
Openculture has a great list of 1150 free films you can watch online right now. If you have an eligible university or library card, you might also have access to Kanopy which offers thousands more film options for free.
2. Watch a Documentary -If you’re in the mood for something a bit more cerebral, there are a few websites that give you access to free documentaries.
Whether you’re into sharks, revolutions, or serial killers, you’ll find something interesting to watch during lockdown. Some great sites include Documentary Tube. Top Documentary Films, and Documentary Heaven.
3. Write a Novel - If you’ve always wanted to write a novel but never found the time or inspiration, this is your chance. Apparently Shakespeare wrote King Lear in isolation during the plague, so maybe this lockdown is when you’ll write your opus.
If you’re not really sure where to start, we have a free course on how to start writing fiction to get you on the right track.
4. Tour Ancient Rome - You may feel cut off from the rest of the world, but you can time travel.
Current technology means that you can explore other cities and even other times online, such as this virtual tour of ancient Rome which takes you through the forum, capitoline hill, and famous monuments.
5. Paint With Bob Ross - Have any paint and brushes lying around? You’ll be pleased to know that 403 episodes of the timeless Joy of Painting have been added to YouTube so you can listen to his soothing tones while you paint happy little trees and enjoy the beauty of imperfections.
6. Visit the MoMA - A huge number of art galleries and museums around the world have digitized their collections and are now offering free virtual tours.
New York’s MoMA is just one of the incredible galleries that you can visit from your own sofa, where you can enjoy Pollock and Monet without the crowds.
7. Explore the Uffizi - If you prefer Botticelli to Pollock, you can tour the Uffizi in Florence, arguably one of the best collections of Renaissance art in the world.
You can take your time looking at Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, Caravaggio’s Medusa, and Titian’s Venus of Urbino without even getting on a plane.
8. Enjoy the Musee D’Orsay - Experiencing these venues from your home does mean that you can visit multiple galleries from different countries or even different continents in the same afternoon.
Paris’ Musée d’Orsay is home to an incredible collection of Van Gogh and Cezanne’s artistic masterpieces. Take a look around online.
9. Pop into the Tate - Perhaps once you’ve enjoyed Florence, New York, and Paris, you can come to London to see the Tate Britain for free.
Although you’ll miss out on the lovely river walk to the gallery, you can drop in at any time and see your favourite pieces from the comfort of your own home.
10. Experience the British Museum - The British Museum is home to incredible artefacts from around the world and is still open to virtual visitors.
Exhibits that are usually packed are free to roam around at any time, so you can brush up on your Egyptian knowledge, see the controversial Parthenon Marbles, or just wile away a few hours.
11. Go to 500 other Museums or Galleries - If you’re still looking for more galleries or museums to visit, Google’s arts and culture collection has virtual tours of 500 top attractions around the world, including national galleries from around the world, individual artist museums, and even the Eiffel Tower.
12. Try a Fitness Challenge - Missing the gym? There are plenty of fitness challenges you can try out from home, so you can emerge from lockdown fitter, leaner, or stronger.
You could try the 100 pushup challenge, squat challenge, or just doing a 30-day bodyweight workout challenge to stay healthy at home for free. Just make sure that you don’t push too hard early on, and warm up thoroughly before you do any exercise.
13. Arrange a Houseparty - If you still want to meet with your friends – do it at a virtual Houseparty.
The app allows for large group video chats so you can get together for a drink, a chat, or just to see some friendly faces for a couple of hours.
14. Get a penpal - You probably fell out of contact with your highschool penpal from French exchange but that doesn’t mean you can’t try again. Connect with people around the world and see how the lockdown is playing out in other countries (or ignore coronavirus entirely and chat about the weather). You can find penpals online and get started straight away to broaden your horizons and make new connections.
15. Cook Something New - One good thing about being home a lot is that you can finally spend time cooking things from scratch.
You can find great recipes online, even if you’re on a limited budget. Jack Monroe’s recipes are specifically created for people on strict budgets or relying on food banks, while Miguel Barclay is best known for his one pound meals.
16. Go to the Aquarium - It’s almost impossible to recreate the strange grace and tranquility of aquariums but not entirely.
Although they’re closed to the public, Monterey Bay Aquarium have added a number of live cams to let you keep an eye on the jellyfish, kelp forest, coral reef, and even the penguins, completely free.
17. Visit the Opera - Escape from the news cycle by immersing yourself in the drama of an opera performance, without even leaving the house.
After the closure of non-essential businesses, multiple opera houses like the Met Opera have started streaming performances. Perfect if you’re a long-time opera lover or even someone who’s never been to the opera but has always been curious about it.
18. Walk through Paris or London - You can’t jump on a plane, but you can still see some of the world’s most famous views thanks to Google street view.
Feast your eyes on Paris from the Sacre Coeur or take a look at the Thames from the top of the Shard. You can even take a walk along the river and see if Google’s cameras captured anything unusual.
19. Go to a National Park - Long walks and open scenery feels like a thing of the past, but you can still enjoy the view. You can now take virtual tours of America’s national park (or parks a little closer to home).
20. Discover your Roots - Wonder where your family was in the flu pandemic of 1918?
Tracing your family tree can unearth lost memories or even distant relatives. Start by learning about genealogy and you can discover more about yourself and your background.