Social distancing and various lockdown laws have kept more people at home these days due to COVID-19. At home, there are plenty of ways to learn new skills and stay simulated when you can’t go out.
Next time you’re looking for something to do, skip the Netflix binge. Put your mind to work as you check out these five hobbies you can do at home.
1. Get Your Game On
It’s no surprise video game sales set a record in the second quarter of 2020, as “Forbes” reports. They take gamers on journeys and give players a way to interact with real-life friends while playing. In the Nintendo Switch game Animal Crossing, for example, you build your own island and can invite your friends to visit it.
Computer games are another way to stay connected while apart. The Jackbox Party Pack includes five party-style games you can play online with friends. Classics shooter games like the Call of Duty series enable players to livestream themselves while playing.
Sound intriguing? Give gaming a try. For faster gaming performance, make sure to test your ping and lower your latency. Doing so can keep your systems up to speed with your fellow gamers.
2. Learn a Language
Learning a language online provides some unique benefits compared to taking foreign language classes in person. With the online language tool Rosetta Stone, your speech is captured by computer technology and displayed in a graph so you can see how on-target you are with pronunciation.
Rosetta Stone also provides downloadable audio lessons, so you can learn on the go when you’re exercising or driving. There’s also online tutoring available if you want to connect with a native speaker.
Each course is self-paced. There are more than two dozen languages to choose from. Each one comes with a free 3-day trial. Unlimited learning of all languages is available for $199 for a lifetime subscription.
3. Explore Your Creative Side
If you’re feeling artistic, get crafty in quarantine. Check out Etsy for thousands of hands-on craft kits, including embroidery, candle making and leather kits.
To learn online via video format, visit Skillshare. The site features thousands of video classes taught by professionals on subjects such as illustration, painting, pottery and mixed media. You get a free week of unlimited classes and can check out thousands of on-demand free classes, as well.
Craftsy is another online craft tutorial site, with classes covering diverse topics like sewing, drawing and jewelry making. The site offers monthly and annual memberships, as well as the ability to purchase individual classes.
4. Take a Virtual Cooking Class
If you’re at home with a significant other or with family members, cooking new recipes together is a great way to bond and learn something new. Celebrity chefs like recent Bravo “Top Chef” winner Melissa King have hosted virtual live cooking classes during quarantine, which are also on-demand.
There are also more in-depth cooking technique classes hosted on Masterclass, from culinary stars like Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck.
Follow your favorite chefs on social media channels like Instagram to see what they offer, too. Chefs Massimo Bottura, Christina Tosi and Jose Andres have all hosted virtual cooking classes for free on IGTV since the pandemic. You can also find online cooking classes on sites like Craftsy.
5. Start a Book Club
Book clubs get you reading and provide a way to connect with friends on interesting new topics. Starting a book club is easy. Here are some ideas.
- Ask your friends if they’d like to join. Aim to discuss about one book per month to make it manageable for everyone’s schedules. A group of up to 10 people is ideal to ensure everyone gets a chance to participate.
- Determine a meeting time. It’s up to you how this works. You might want to check in with the group for what day/time works best for most members each month. Or, create a standing time each month that members can plan for. Plan around one to two hours for each meeting.
- Choose a virtual meeting tool. There are tons of video conferencing tools available to host your club on. Zoom, Facebook Messenger Rooms, Google Hangouts and Skype are some to consider. Ask your members what they’re most comfortable using. Schedule your meeting and send out invites using the tool.
- Host the meeting. For each book club, you can let the person who chose the book lead the meeting. Or, the founder could lead, starting with some catch-up time before diving into the book discussion. Ask the person who chose the book to come to the meeting with some thoughtful discussion questions to keep the conversation going. Rotate who chooses the book in your club each month.
Book clubs are enjoyable because the book choices are just as diverse as the club members. You’ll have an excuse to read something new and will get to talk with friends at every club. You could make it even more social by turning it into a happy hour.
Grow Your Skill Set During Quarantine
Quarantine can be fun and exciting when you use time at home to try new things and expand your horizons. If you have extra time due to social distancing, use it to explore a new hobby that might turn into a passion.