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Fun (and free) things to do when you need a break from the internet

Watercolor Painting

These 7 ideas will breathe some life into your days of quarantine.

The internet is a great tool, especially when you’re homebound. But sometimes you need a break from watching another show or reading another round of news articles. When your eyes start to droop and your swiping finger gets stiff, freshen up your week with an idea or two from below. 

Try a new recipe

The challenge, much like the tv show Chopped, is to use ingredients you already have in the house. One of my favorites these past few weeks has been: how many things can I do with rice and beans? A current favorite: blend them together in your blender with some frozen veggies and spices and then cook it in a pan like meatloaf! It’s actually quite good. Add an egg to get everything meshing well. Another favorite: unexpected rice and bean bowls. Throw the rice and beans in a bowl then see what you can add. What frozen veggies do you have? What condiments might work? Maybe add some ranch and broccoli for a comforting combination. Or try the classic salsa and spinach combo. Or add in some soy sauce, a touch of brown sugar, and carrots!

Pull out the board games and card games

Even if you own just one or two old games, or a half deck of cards, might as well dust them off! If you need someone to play it with, call up a friend and play over video chat! If you find a friend with the same board game as you (maybe you both have dominoes, or checkers, chess, or Scrabble), you can each set up a board and make your moves back and forth at your own convenience over a video message app like Marco Polo.

Read a book

Even if your library is closed, you may still be able to borrow an ebook through your library online that you haven’t read before. Or maybe, like me, you have a small stack of books you enthusiastically bought at different points in your life that you never finished — or even started. Now is a great time to dust those off!

Crack open your dictionary

Learn some new vocabulary words. Try incorporating them into your next conversationwhether over video chat, dinner, or a work email.  

Draw a still life

Arrange some fruit or socks or mugs in the center of your table and thensketch away. Get creative with the medium you use. Try different takes depending on what you have available. Ball point pen on back of the electric bill? Pencil on paper towel? Marker on cardboard (maybe the Amazon pantry box you have lying around)?

Get moving

Create your own aerobic routine of jumping jacks, stair climbing, sprints and stretching. Going up and down the basement stairs to do laundry anyway? Walk up and down a few more times for good measure. Bad weather outside? Crank up the tunes and have a dance party inside. Invite anyone you live with to join in, or get someone to join you over video chat. 


The rule is of course, no buying anything. If you’re crafty, this will be easy for you. If not, here’s a little project from the least-decorative savvy person I know — meGather some sticks on your next walk. Put them in a glass containerbe that a vase or the spaghetti sauce jar you wash out for the purpose. Ta-da! Move over fresh flowers, you now have a simple and striking centerpiece. Next, rearrange your furniture. You can always switch it back in a few weeks, but for now, it will make your normal feel new! 


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