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15 Free and Inexpensive Quarantine Activities

News Story

We're all stuck inside, but that doesn't necessarily mean we can't make the most of the situation! Here are 15 free or inexpensive ways to make the most of your time while still practicing social distancing.

The suggestions below, compiled by Nasreen Hussain, assistant director at the Office for Student Success, can help you make the most out of your time in quarantine. Stay safe, and enjoy the unique recommendations below!

1. Take a look, it’s in a book! 

If you have a library card, you can now download over 300,000 books from the NYPL for free. Take a minute to download the SimplyE app, log in, and explore thousands of titles. There may be waitlists for the most popular titles, but with thousands to choose from, I’m sure you will find something to help you escape! 

2. Put on a fancy dress or a nice suit, and enjoy some opera!

Every day for the duration of the Met’s closure, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series will be made available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for a period of 20 hours, from 7:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. the following day.

3. Dance all night to Broadway tunes!

BroadwayHD, a theatre streaming service, is priced at $8.99 per month or $99.99 for a full year–however, amid the surge of folks staying at home at the moment, the company has introduced a seven-day free trial.

4. Get outside…while staying inside!

Five national parks in the US have teamed up with Google Arts and Culture to bring you “The Hidden Worlds of National Parks” so people can enjoy the beauty of the natural world while sitting safely on their couch. These parks feature different climates and environments from across the country, including famous desert vistas and snowy terrains.

5. Waddle, roam, and swim with your favorite animals…from your living room!

As zoos close due to the current health crisis, more and more are offering up live streams of their animal inhabitants. Google your favorite zoos for more info on how they are sharing and showing off their creatures big and small, or for a quicker guide, check out this NY Times article.

6. Get cultured from your couch!

Google Arts and Culture offers an inside look at some of the world’s most famous museums, including the British Museum and the Guggenheim. The site boasts partnerships with 2500 museums and galleries, so you have no reason to leave your couch during critical social distancing time.

7. "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."Benjamin Franklin 

Universities across the globe are opening their doors and offering MOOCs, Massive Online Open Courses. Class Central lists all the classes by subject, as well as lists those offered by Ivy League institutions.

8. Hola! Salam! Bonjour!

Learn a new language from the comfort of your home! DuoLingo, one of the first language-learning apps, is free and offers lessons in dozens of languages. It’s fun, and judging from the 300 million users, it’s clearly popular…so go ahead, learn some new phrases and impress your friends!

9. Get into a better headspace…with free meditation.

The popular app Headspace is offering some meditations you can listen to anytime, part of a larger collection—free for everyone—called Weathering the Storm. It includes meditations, sleep, and movement exercises to help you out.

10. Downward dog and distance yourself!

In addition to meditating, another great way to relax and recharge is with yoga. Some studios are offering up free and discounted deals for you to keep your core strong and form on point. Check out classes offered from CorePower Yoga, the Down Dog app, and YogaWorks.

11. Get Your Cardio Up! 

With gyms and fitness studios closed, you may think your workout days are over, but luckily there are loads of options to get you up and moving! Peloton is offering a 90-day trial to access its full library of classes from the comfort of home. If you enjoy dancing, 305Fitness is offering free 10- to 45-minute classes on its YouTube page. Looking for a fullbody HIIT workout? There are some options for you, as well! Barry’s Bootcamp is streaming two new workouts daily, one that doesn't require equipment and another that uses some basic items, like fitness bands. You can check out their daily workouts on Instagram. Orangetheory Fitness is sharing new 30-minute workouts each day which don't require any special equipment, but may feature everyday household items. Plenty of other studios are also offering up free options…so there’s no reason to let your workouts go away while you’re staying in!

12. #StreamAndQuarantine!

Every major streaming service is offering up free and discounted deals so you can try them out during the COVID-19 quarantine. Just make sure to Netflix and distance! My personal recommendation, try out Apple TV and watch The Morning Show…so good!

13. Grab the popcorn, grab some friends, and stream a movie or two! 

Just because you're social distancing doesn't mean you and your friends have to give up on movie nights or watch parties. Thanks to a Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party, groups of friends can get together and watch their favorite Netflix programs at the same time. There’s also a chatroom, so you can share your reactions with each other. In order to participate, all you need is a Google Chrome browser, the extension and a Netflix subscription, so head over to Netflix Party and click "Get Netflix Party for free!" This will redirect you to Netflix Party's page on the chrome web store.

14. Fire up your PC and download some video games!

GOG is giving away 27 games for free, including classics dating back to 1979. All titles are DRM-free and compatible with Windows; some are also available for Mac and/or Linux.

15. Food is love!

Take the quarantine time to learn to cook some great meals. Several well-known chefs have taken to social media to teach you a thing or two. Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura has launched a nightly, free cooking series on his personal Instagram page. Celebrity chef Antoni Porowski of Queer Eye fame is giving free cooking lessons on Instagram, as well. The star dubbed the series Quar Eye: Cooking Lessons in Quarantine.