In the last few weeks, terms like lockdown, shelter in place and social distancing have taken on new meaning. We are limiting our time out in the real world where getting essentials is imperative…especially that elusive toilet paper. But what are we supposed to do while we go crazy in our homes? Last week I wrote about why trying new things is important. This week, I’m sharing activities so you can learn how to be safe yet try new things at the same time!

I’ve compiled a list of a lot of the free things that are available for you to use while you’re time out is limited or you are in lock-down mode. I hope we can all take our attitudes from the Italians who are now the hardest-hit area. While they are in lockdown, and hospitals are being overrun with patients, and their death toll is starting to climb past China’s, the Italian spirit is alive and well. Here they are singing from their balconies and even exercising together.

In the spirit of the Italians, I’m bringing you activities, many that may be new for you to try, that are free or low cost. All can be done from the safety of your home or yard. I will cover categories like entertainment, education, and physical activity.


Entertainment covers a lot, so I’ll break it out into some different categories.


Remember Don Kershner’s rock concert? Well, here is the Corona Virus version called #TogetherAtHome. It includes this concert from John Legend (pantsless in a bathrobe) who is then joined by his towel-wearing wife Chrissy Teigan—they are hysterical together.

NPR has a list of live music across several forms of social media including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Here is a TV Guide list of streaming concerts from artists like Pink, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Yoyo Ma, and even Josh Gad reading from Frozen. And if you like some Opera, then the Metropolitan Opera is offering an opera a week that you can watch online.

TV and Movies

Some of your favorite late-night hosts are doing videos from home. Here’s one from Jimmy Fallon with guest Lin-Manuel Miranda. I think Jimmy’s new production crew is a little rambunctious. A different Jimmy, this time Kimmel, is also creating videos from home with family help. And my favorite, Trevor Noah is broadcasting the Daily Social Distancing Show from his couch.

If it’s movies that you want, then look no further than Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. Disney+ made an extremely popular decision to stream Frozen 2 three months earlier than originally planned. And, their new movie Onward, which had just been released to theaters as this virus started spreading around the world, will be available starting April 3rd.

Want to find out how you can get free trials for streaming services? Then check out this post from Fast Company.


Now is not the time to head out to the store or the library to get books. And with Amazon focusing on critical supplies, they won’t have many books for you to buy except on Kindle. Right now, you can even get Kindle Unlimited for a two-month free trial.

But if you’re not sure what books to read on Kindle, then I suggest signing up for the free Book Bub newsletter. Each day, you’ll get a list of free and low-cost (think .99 cents to 2.99) books that are available that day. Each day you get a different newsletter with the available books in the categories that you’ve selected. No obligation to buy. I love this option. I find a lot of new authors by trying one of their free books and then going back to see what else they offer.

If you’d prefer to listen to your books, rather than read them, Audible is offering a free trial. And currently, they are offering free stories for kids with Audible Stories. On the home screen it says, “for as long as schools are closed, we’re open.” The books are available from the littlest listeners to young adults. And even includes the classics, many of which are required reading in school.

Just For Fun

Missing out on Disney? Here’s a link to virtually experience some of your favorite rides.

Staying Fit

So many options here. Many of your favorite gyms are offering up a class a day to keep you fit. And then there are at-home fitness options like Peloton that are offering their regular classes (no expensive equipment like a bike required!) It’s a 90-day free trial option.

Or check out this article that showcases the different gyms like Orangetheory or Planet Fitness. Planet Fitness is calling them Work-In’s instead of Work-outs. You can find a new class streaming each night at 7 pm EST.

Educational Resources

First, I have to admit that I’m a little jealous. Twenty years ago, when I was homeschooling my son, none of this was available online. Below, you’ll find resources to help you learn something new and also to help with educating your children and for educators who are looking for alternatives to provide to their students (and those exhausted parents.)

Adult Learning

Want to study at an Ivy League school without it costing so much? Here’s a link to 500 free courses that are available. There is also Academic Earth which sources free courses from colleges and then groups them by subject. And Alison, which has 14 million students and is the world’s largest free learning platform. Here is a link to 50 online college learning opportunities that are all free.

If you’re interested in learning a foreign language, then you can try the DuoLingo app on your smartphone. Or you can check out FSI Language Courses where you’ll find free access to study 72 different languages.

For Your Homeschoolers

Now that you are learning what it’s like to be a teacher, here are some resources that can help you out.

First, I’ll start with coding. Coding and programming are the important jobs of the future and kids adapt to learning new things really quickly. Code and Code Academy are two places where you have free options (both for yourself and your kids) to learn how to code.

Scholastic offers homeschooling options through their Scholastic Learn at Home Series. It’s broken out by grades and includes up to 3 hours of learning activities per day for four weeks.

Here are links to two experienced homeschoolers with options to try. First Homeschool 2 Unschool is a blog aimed at young learners. Lessons are grouped by subject and all supplies, worksheets, videos, etc., that were used are all presented in each post. And 123Homeschool for Me offers up a bunch of activities that you can do with your children or grandchildren.

Wish your homeschoolers could go on a field trip? They can with Virtual Field trips. Visit Yellowstone National Park, or Mars, or watch a Panda cam and so many other options. And here is another link for additional Virtual Tours and for one to tour castles!

And when your kids need a break from learning, check out this Lunchtime Doodles with Mo Willems.

I hope all these options provide you with some relief during the next couple of weeks. Stay safe, practice social distancing, and wash your hands…and then wash your hands some more and get the vaccine when it becomes available!