The coronavirus pandemic is causing everyone anxiety and stress. We’re worried about getting sick and protecting our loved ones. We’re worried about the economy – our job security, being able to pay our bills and the fate of our college savings and retirement savings. While being cooped up at home can cause some stress, it is a vital part of preventing the spread of COVID-19….
Here are some options for what you can do while you’re stuck at home during coronavirus.
Get Out – Virtually
Tour a museum. Many museums and art galleries have free virtual tours you can take right from your couch. Here are some to check out:
- British Museum
- Detroit Institute of Arts
- La Galleria Nazionale
- Musée d’Orsay, Paris
- Museo Frida Kahlo, Mexico
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
- National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
- National Museum of Natural History
- National Museum, New Dehli
- Rijksmuseum, Netherlands
- Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery
- Tate, London
- The Art Institute of Chicago
- The J. Paul Getty Museum
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
- Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Visit the Blarney Castle in Ireland. Take a free virtual tour of this famous landmark.
Soak in the sites of the Cliff of Moher in Ireland. Enjoy free breathtaking views of this picturesque spot.
Check out a National Park. There are digital exhibits available from a handful of National Parks, including:
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park
- Dry Tortugas National Park
- Kenai Fjords National Park
- Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Tour famous stages. Take a virtual tour of some of the most iconic stages in the world that are home to famous ballet, opera, music and more.
Take a virtual field trip. Arizona State University offers a variety of virtual field trips – including to a rain forest, the Grand Canyon and more.
Sail away. The American Sailing Association has an online Sailing Challenge game.
Keep the Kids Busy & Help Your Kids Learn from Home
Let the kids try yoga especially for them.
Khan Academy Kids is free and fun educational programs for children ages two to seven.
Get a free 30-day trial to ABCmouse.com, online learning for children 2 through 8.
Adventure Academy, an online learning program for ages 8 through 13, offers a free 30-day trial.
Amazon is offering young learners free computer science courses, such as virtual robotics and remixing celebrity songs.
Learn with the American Museum of Natural History, including games, stories and hands-on activities.
Curriculum Associates is offering printable at-home activity packs for grades K through 8 for math and reading.
edHelper.com has free workbook printouts with puzzles and quizzes.
Education Insights has free activity worksheets and suggested activities for children from 12 months old to 8-years-old. Subjects include brain benders, coloring, crafts, early learning, math, science, language arts and more.
Hand2Mind has free activities and quizzes for pre-school students to grade 5.
Teach your children to cook.
Make Money Moves
Check your credit report. You are entitled to check your credit report for free every year. This is a great opportunity to verify everything is correct. If you see an error, such as someone reporting an incorrect late payment, or an account that you didn’t open, you can report this immediately.
Consider refinancing your student loans. If you have private student loans, since interest rates are so low, now could be the time to consider if refinancing is right for you. If you’re able to get a lower interest rate on your new private loan, you could save money. Keep in mind refinancing federal student loans means you’ll lose all the perks that go along with it. These include income-based repayment, any potential for federal student loan forgiveness, generous deferment options and the ability to discharge in death or disability.
Review your bills and budget. Go through your bills you pay every month. Is there anything you can cancel? Or perhaps you can lower your bills by reducing services or shopping around for a better deal. Cancel your gym membership and other services you can’t use right now. Work on creating a budget to help you achieve your future money goals, whether it’s getting out of debt or saving more.
Grow your college savings. There are several apps you can download to help grow your college savings. CollegeBacker is an easy-to-use online platform that allows you to open or grow your college savings plan. You can use their gifting feature to easily receive gifts from family and friends, and shop through their links to earn cash back towards college. Learn more about CollegeBacker.
Learn from Home
Learn a language. Babbel is offering three months for free. Duolingo is a free language app to help you learn. You can also find videos on You Tube and ebooks or audio books through your library (online). Teach yourself sign language.
Read. Chances are your library has an online website, which allows you to still borrow ebooks or audiobooks right from home. You can also enjoy a 30-day free trial of Audible, which gives you one audiobook and two Audible Originals. Now’s the time to get an Amazon Kindle.
Take an online course. There are more than a dozen opportunities to take completely free courses at Yale, Harvard, Stanford and more.
Watch a Documentary. Find free documentaries on You Tube. Netflix and Hulu both have a 30-day free trial.
Stay connected for free.
- FaceTime or Google Duo (for Android phones)
- Zoom, for three people
- Skype, up to 10 people at a time
- Google Hangouts, up to 25 people
Try a new workout routine. Search online for new fun workouts. Ask friends and family for suggestions. Many fitness coaches are streaming classes online now.
Do yoga and meditation. It’s a stressful time, so give yoga and meditation a try. You can find free how-to guides on You Tube.
Make goals. Think to the future. Once everything gets back to normal, what goals do you have? Think both personally and professionally. You’ll likely be able to do things to get started now with the extra time at home.
Clean and organize. Go through each room and separate things you no longer need or want. Clean out your junk drawer. When things normalize, you can sell your stuff for extra money or donate to help those in need.
Take a bubble bath. Have a spa day – whatever helps you relax.
Do your income taxes. File early if you are due a refund. Otherwise, you can wait until July 15 this year to file and pay your taxes.
Play games. Tap into whatever games you have at home or find new free games online or via an app. Play Scrabble or Bananagrams, or a nice game of chess or checkers.
Solve some puzzles. Crossword puzzles and laddergrams can keep you occupied for hours.
Watch TV and movies. Ask friends and family for advice on recommendations.
Go through old photos. Reminisce on your old photos. You could even make scrap books or make digital home movies with them.
Crafts. Use whatever crafting supplies you have on hand to make something new. Knit. Fold some origami. The tradition is that your wish will come true if you fold a thousand cranes.
Have a theme night. Make a theme night on your favorite movie, your favorite holiday or your favorite vacation destination. Pick the music, movies, snacks and even your outfit or decorations based on your theme.
Cook new recipes. Find recipe inspiration on Pinterest, on the thousands of food blogs available, on You Tube or by asking friends and family. Teach yourself how to brew a great cup of coffee or how to cook.
Podcasts. You can find Podcasts on pretty much everything, from financial advice to your favorite reality TV shows.
Watch cute puppy and kitten videos on YouTube, including the animated Simon’s Cat. If you have a cat or dog, teach them a new trick.
At Savingforcollege.com, our goal is to help you make smart decisions about saving and paying for education. Some of the products featured in this article are from our partners, but this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.