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9 ways to keep yourself entertained during the coronavirus lockdown

9 ways to keep yourself entertained during the coronavirus lockdown

The current regulations around social distancing are forcing us all to be more creative when it comes to keeping ourselves entertained. After a few weeks of binging your favourite TV shows you’re probably looking for something else to do in your free time that’s a little more stimulating.

And even though a lot of things have shut down, there’s still plenty going on that you can access with just a laptop and a decent broadband connection.

Here are 9 things you can still do without leaving your home.

1. Go to the theatre

A trip to the theatre sounds lovely right now, but just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you have to miss out.

The National Theatre is streaming some of its most popular productions for free, including One Man, Two Guvnors starring James Corden; Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece Jane Eyre; Treasure Island, featuring Arthur Darvill as Long John Silver; and Shakespeare’s classic comedy Twelfth Night with Tamsin Greig starring as Malvolia.

Each show is free to stream on YouTube for a week, but if you’re able and feeling inclined, the theatre is asking for donations to help keep the theatre operating during this difficult time.

2. Go to a concert

It’s been revealed that less music is actually being streamed during quarantine. Without commutes or trips to the gym, you may not be listening to as much music these days. But you can still get access to great live music, as many performers are now streaming live music on social media to help keep you sane and entertained.

Major artists like Pink, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Keith Urban, Rob Thomas from Matchbox Twenty, John Legend, and American DJ Diplo are all streaming live concerts or DJ sets on Instagram.

Plus there are lots of online ‘festivals’ cropping up all over the web, such as Lady Gaga’s star-studded Together At Home. If you’re looking for something a little more cultured, the Metropolitan Opera will be streaming a series of encore Live in HD presentations from their website during the coronavirus closure.

3. Go to the museum

On the subject of culture, why not take a virtual tour around some of the world’s best museums? Science museums, natural history museums and art galleries around the world are offering virtual tours and even organising school trips to keep children entertained while stuck at home.

Read our review of the world’s best virtual school trips to get some ideas of where to visit next.

4. Go fishing

If you own a Nintendo Switch then chances are you’ve already ordered your copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Head to your virtual island and spend your days in the “sunshine” catching fish to sell, give as gifts to your fellow virtual villagers or even display them as furniture. Your choice.

The game’s simplistic nature, one without high scores or final bosses to defeat, makes it the perfect relaxing escape from a world that’s unsettling and stressful.

5. Watch TV with friends

‘Netflix and chill’ has taken on new meaning during the coronavirus pandemic, and a free Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party has made binge-watching shows a much more sociable experience.

So long as your friends have a Netflix subscription, Netflix Party allows you to sync video playback so you can play and pause content at the same time. More importantly there’s also a group chat feature so you can continue to chat over the show you’re watching.

Just remember that you might have to set up a separate call with your friends if you want to also speak with them while watching. If so it’s worth checking your internet speed to see if it can handle both.

6. Run a pub quiz

If you can’t go to the pub, make the pub come to you and organise an online pub quiz with friends and family. There are plenty of video chat apps to choose from such as popular favourites Houseparty and Zoom. You can purchase a Pub Quiz book from Amazon for less than a tenner and you can get hours of entertainment from playing quizmaster.

7. Read something new

If you need to take a break from the TV for a bit, quarantine is a great chance to catch up on your reading. Online platforms like Scribd offer unlimited books and audiobooks for a monthly subscription, with the first 30 days free.

However, if you prefer the feel of a real book in your hands, consider supporting local book shops who may be struggling to stay open during the lockdown. Those that have online shopping available are likely to be offering decent discounts too, so it’s a win-win.

8. Write your novel

With all this time indoors to reflect and think, many of you will be thinking it’s the perfect time to write that novel you’ve been putting off for ages. Whether it’s a book about your life story, a sci-fi fantasy that could be the next Game of Thrones, or a book of witty essays, there will never be a better time to get your thoughts down onto paper, or onto the screen.

However, if you need a little support and motivation then sign up for NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month typically takes place once a year in November, but is now operating year-round as a community that helps to connect you with other writers. Set goals, track your progress and get support from other participants. Best of all, it’s completely free!

9. Talk on the phone

Times are tough for everyone right now, so if you’re feeling lonely, chances are someone you know is feeling lonely too, especially those that aren’t as connected as others. Now’s a great time to give your grandparents a call to check in and see if they need any help, or if they would just like a chat.

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