The bad news: You probably can't go to the movies, the pool, or the mall this summer. The good news: While it might not seem like it at first, there are countless things to do when you're bored and stuck at home. You just need a little bit of inspiration to get you started.
Right now, while the world faces the Coronavirus pandemic, most people are spending a lot of time in their houses. Some are working remotely while others are trying to fill the hours of free time they now have on a daily basis. Either way, you can make the most of your time. All that stuff on your to-do list that never got checked off? All those movies you wanted to watch? Those books on your bookshelf that you've never read? That linen closet that's a sheet-avalanche waiting to happen? Now's your chance to get it all done. You don't have to be bored at home.
First, figure out if you want to feel accomplished, pampered, or entertained. If you're going for accomplished, now's a great time to spruce up your home, your vocabulary, or your resume. For entertainment, the internet gives you access to countless movies, shows, live-streams, podcasts, games — you name it. Last but not least, if you're looking to feel pampered, it may be time to take it easy and plan a spa day (and skip the guilt; everyone's having a tough time right now, and you deserve a little bit of self-care.)
In fact, we'd argue finding stuff to do is the easy part — the hard part is taking all those activities and narrowing them down to a select few so you can tackle them today. Whether you're looking to learn, loosen up, or lessen the boredom, here are 50 of the best things to do when you're stuck at home.
1. Go out in the backyard
The outdoors aren't canceled — even if you have to stay on your own property. Take a book, your Nintendo Switch, or a pet out into the backyard. Then sit in a lawn chair or lie on a blanket; get some vitamin D while you relax.
2. Do a jigsaw puzzle
Not a puzzle person? Think again. Jigsaw puzzles help you feel entertained and accomplished at the same time — which explains why they're a fool-proof activity for vacations, family bonding, black-outs, and now quarantine. If you don't have any at home, check out Amazon's best-sellers list. Choose one that you find especially pretty and frame it once you're done.
3. Zoom with your friends or family members
Zoom isn't just for work calls. It's also great for virtual hangouts with your friends and family. Catch up, have an online happy hour, or host a book club meeting. With the basic plan (which is free), you can host up to 100 participants for 40 minutes or less.
4. Play some video games
For me, nothing makes the hours disappear quite like The Sims — but video games can be a social activity, too. Hop on your gaming console of choice and invest in some of the best co-op games, or check out this list of free online games you can play with your friends.
5. Binge-watch the best TV shows
If you've always found yourself lagging behind when it comes to the best new TV shows, now's the time to catch up. Check out the shows that are trending on the streaming services you're already subscribed to, or find a streaming service with a particularly long free trial — then binge-watch the whole show before it runs out.
6. Take an online class
Harvard University is offering a ton of free classes that you can take while you're stuck at home during the Coronavirus pandemic. If none of those catch your interest, Udemy allows you to take thousands of courses on virtually any topic, starting at just $12.99 each.
7. Work out
Dust off that treadmill. See how many push-ups you can do. Break out that old weights set. You can also check out the best workout apps or participate in an online yoga class. (And if you're not looking to pay, YouTube is a treasure trove of free fitness videos.)
8. Make a vision board
A vision board is a self-help tool that helps you manifest your goals and dreams. Fill it with words, photos, and magazine clippings that uplift you — and then hang it somewhere you'll be able to see it on a daily basis. (Hey, if it's good enough for Oprah, it's good enough for us.)
9. Learn how to knit
Contrary to popular belief, knitting isn't hard; you can probably learn a basic stitch and be well on your way to a new scarf in under an hour. Grab an all-in-one starter kit on Amazon and hop on YouTube to learn the basics. You should be a master come winter — so holiday gifts this year will be a no-brainer.
11. Pick up an instrument
You suddenly have all the time in the world, so why not dust off that old acoustic guitar or pick up a $35 ukulele? The internet is filled with free classes, chord charts, tabs, and cover videos, so you'll be a rockstar in no time.
10. Marie Kondo your house
The KonMari organizational method has taken the world by storm. Suddenly, everyone's drawers are neatly filed. Everyone's closets look like a magazine. Everything they own sparks joy. (If you haven't seen the Netflix show yet, it's definitely worth checking out — but thanks to these organizational tips, you don't need to watch it in order to get started.)
12. Bake something delicious
Your Instagram followers will be particularly impressed if you bake an entire unicorn cake (and you'll probably have leftovers for a week), but if you're just looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, there are plenty of extremely easy recipes on Pinterest. Some don't even require an oven.
13. Spruce up your resume
No time like the present to prepare for your dream job, especially if you find yourself out of work. There are tons of free resume templates out there, as well as solid (up-to-date) advice from experts.
14. Start your novel
You could pen the next New York Times bestseller — but first you need to start writing it. Open up a Google doc and begin with a single paragraph. If nothing else comes to you, that's okay; try again tomorrow. Every time you do, you're a bit closer to a finished manuscript.
15. Plant an herb garden
Tons of people are honing their green thumbs right now. That said, an herb garden doesn't just improve your backyard aesthetic, it also improves your culinary skills. Fresh, homegrown herbs are a great way to spice up any old dish. Once again, Amazon delivers (literally) with a well-rated, affordable herb starter kit.
16. Listen to a podcast
Podcasts can be educational, creepy, entertaining, and laugh-out-loud funny — and they're free. Pick one of the best podcasts this year and listen while you're cleaning your home or winding down for bed.
17. Order in your favorite food and watch a movie
In our opinion, the standard dinner-and-a-movie gets even better when you're by yourself at home. You pick the restaurant. You choose the movie. You don't have to share. And, best of all, your own couch is way more comfortable than the average movie theater.
18. Make your home more eco-friendly
Companies are making moves toward more eco-friendly products, and local governments are passing laws that ban the use of wasteful materials. But saving the environment shouldn't be someone else's job. Do your part at home by learning how to compost, switching out your bulbs with energy-efficient alternatives, repurposing old items, insulating your windows, making reusable shopping bags, or planting a vegetable garden.
19. Have a spa day
Draw a bubble bath or break out your favorite face mask. If you're really missing the salon, you can even do a DIY gel manicure with an at-home kit. You deserve the self-care.
20. Teach your pet a new trick
Your pet is probably thrilled that you're home all the time, but cuddling doesn't have to be the only thing on their to-do list. Teach your dog how to shake, roll over, or ring a bell when they have to go out. Alternatively, there are some great DIY projects you can do just for your cat.
21. Make a reading list — and start reading everything on it
Grab a piece of paper or open up a document so you can start compiling all the books you've always wanted to read but never did. Then, once you've reached a few dozen, grab your e-reader and get started.
22. Live-stream the northern lights
You don't need to be near the poles to see nature's most amazing light show. This website lets you live-stream the northern lights — but you'll have to catch it when it's night time and the skies are clear.
23. Sew some pillow covers
This is a great DIY project if your throw pillows could use a little TLC. When you make your own pillow covers, you can make them any color, pattern, size, and shape you want. An envelope cover is especially easy and can be switched out for something else if the design is seasonal; all you'll need is some fabric, an insert, thread, scissors, and a sewing machine.
24. Have a movie marathon
Have you seen all the Harry Potter movies? What about Star Wars? Or Lord of the Rings, extended editions? Set aside several hours (or several days) to watch through some of the most popular movie series, beginning to end. You can also live-stream them for your friends — more on that below.
25. Dye your hair
When they're stuck at home, some people grow out their beards or invest in the most comfortable loungewear. Since no one else is around, it's the perfect time to experiment with new styles — including your hair. Try a subtle, natural change, or dye your hair a crazy color instead.
26. Recreate your favorite recipe
Can't get food from your favorite restaurant? Try recreating it at home with the best copycat recipes. That list includes P.F. Changs' Asian chicken lettuce wraps, McDonalds' Shamrock shake, Starbucks' chai latte, and Panera's creamy chicken and rice soup.
27. Take up adult coloring
Science shows that coloring isn't just for kids; when adults color, it relaxes the brain, eases stress, and can be meditative. The best news? Adult coloring books are beautifully illustrated and super cheap.
28. Watch an online concert
Whether it's on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or Twitch, tons of artists and celebrities are hosting virtual concerts and speeches online this summer. Check out the list and mark your calendar.
29. Start painting
Much like coloring, painting can be therapeutic and relaxing, plus it'll exercise your creativity. Good news: Daytime television is no longer your only option when it comes to learning from the best, most peaceful painter in history. Bob Ross now has tons of free episodes on YouTube, so you can get started right away.
30. Listen to a free audiobook
31. Make a new playlist
Compile all the songs that make you happy into a single playlist, explore recommended bands, or make a Spotify mixtape for a friend. Alternatively, you can participate in a 30-day music challenge or prepare the soundtrack for your next road trip.
32. Start meditating
When asked why they don't meditate, a huge percentage of people give the excuse, "I don't have the time." In reality, though, you can meditate for just two minutes a day and still reap the benefits — and now that you're home, it's a great time to start a regular practice. Use one of the best meditation apps, or simply focus on your breathing.
33. Attend the theater from your living room
Unfortunately, Broadway is dark right now — but you can watch a huge variety of hit Broadway plays from the comfort of your couch. Start with a seven-day free trial, and if you fall in love with the virtual theater, you can opt for a monthly or yearly subscription.
34. Host a Netflix party
Netflix Party is a Chrome extension that lets you watch movies in sync with your friends while you're all in different places. You can pause, rewind, and fast-forward for everyone all at once — plus there's a built-in chat where you can type to each other. (Pro tip: Hulu just came out with a similar service called Hulu Watch Party.)
35. Play a board game
Believe it or not, board games are as popular as ever. They're a great way to bond, unwind, and laugh. Dust off one you already have (for the nostalgia), or grab one of the best family board games this year.
36. Build a blanket fort
Blanket forts aren't just for children — you can build your very own sanctuary to shelter you from adulthood. Gather all those extra sheets, pillows, broomsticks, and string lights, then use your fort as a reading nook or a Netflix-watching spot.
37. Have a happy hour on your porch
Make yourself a fancy cocktail and spoil yourself with a charcuterie board. Go out on the porch and sit with a family member, socially distance with a neighbor, or have a one-person happy hour. Either way, you'll enjoy the fresh air and good food.
38. Re-read your favorite books from childhood
Remember the first book you really loved? Remember how safe it made you feel, or how much you enjoyed the adventure and the romance? Pick it up again and read it from beginning to end; see how much your perspective has changed and what else you've learned to appreciate about it.
39. Make some new wall art
There are plenty of DIY wall art projects that only look expensive. Some include painting your own canvas, while others help you repurpose unexpected materials like sticks and copper rings. Either way, your walls will be anything but boring.
40. Start a new Instagram
Start a new Instagram account for your pet, your business, your favorite hobby, or your alter ego. It might just motivate you to improve your photography and networking skills.
41. Learn to cook a gourmet meal
Break out that cookbook you've always found intimidating or check out these recipes that are guaranteed to impress your significant other. You have all the time in the world to marinate, slow-roast, experiment, and clean up, so you might as well get cooking.
42. Teach yourself a foreign language
Learning a new language doesn't have to cost you hundreds of dollars. In fact, Duolingo is considered the world's best way to learn a language — and it's 100 percent free. There are dozens of languages to choose from, and each one offers personalized learning, immediate grading, and motivational rewards.
43. Start journaling
Journaling has been linked to an improved mood and better mental wellbeing, which is why it's a great hobby to take up during quarantine. Start with a single page every morning (or night). Whether you write down your dreams, your anxieties, or the things you're grateful for, this daily practice has the potential to genuinely improve your life.
44. Brush up on your bartending
You don't necessarily need patrons to learn bartending. Consult the pros on YouTube (Tipsy Bartender is especially entertaining) so when it's time for your next party, you'll be ready. Bonus: You get to drink your practice cocktails.
45. Get that DIY job done
That shed window has been broken for years and that new mirror still hasn't been hung. (I'm sure you can also think of a room that could use a fresh coat of paint.) Break out your trusty tool box and take the time to get those things done. You'll enjoy your house a lot more once you do.
46. Learn how to braid
The three-section braid is just the beginning. Learn how to fishtail, side-sweep, and zig-zag. Leave it down while you're doing chores or style it into an elegant up-do for your next Zoom date.
47. Organize your virtual life
Is your desktop a mess of icons and folders? Could your social media profiles use a little decluttering? How about your e-mail inbox, or all those old pictures that are taking up storage space on your phone? When you organize your virtual life, your actual life goes more smoothly.
48. Write letters
It's a lot easier to shoot off an e-mail, but everyone appreciates a handwritten note. Take some extra time to write letters to your loved ones today, then send them out the old-fashioned way — and we don't mean faxing them.
49. Order some new furniture
Now's probably the best time to invest in some new furniture. Think about it: You have ample time to build it and you're home enough to actually enjoy it.
50. Plan for the future
You might be stuck at home for now, but what do you want to do once you're out in the world again? Start planning a vacation. Look at some real estate. Figure out which cities you want to visit. See which concerts and sporting events are still being offered a year or two down the line. Combine all your plans into a list or make a pretty Pinterest board. Once the world resumes, you'll be ready for it.
We hope you found a few activities to keep you entertained, informed, and relaxed! So you know, Lonny may collect a share of sales from the links on this page.