Online Activities to Get You through Isolation, Quarantine, and Shutdown
Updated: Mar 20
The need to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak has forced many of us to stay at home.
Badass Black Girl has compiled a list of online resources that will stimulate your intellect and creativity, and also allow you to relax during these strange times. Hopefully, the pandemic will end quickly, but this list will serve you long past these days of social-distancing and self-isolation. If you have to be home, there’s no need to be bored.
Get Free Books, Audiobooks, and Magazines
You can now download over 300,000 books from the New York Public Library. Anyone with a library card (and an iOS or Android phone) can gain access via NYPL’s free e-reader app. You can also search the library’s collection of 800,000 digitized items, including historic prints, photographs, maps, and manuscripts.
Libby (formerly OverDrive) offers a selection of free ebooks and audiobooks.
Scibd is offering unlimited books, audiobooks, magazines and more for 30 days.
Bustle published a list of 14 Online Book Clubs You Can Join Right Now. Tor Books is currently offering a free digital copy of John Scalzi's Redshirts when you sign up for their free eBook of the Month Club.
There are many free magazines that you can get through RBDigital through your local library if they offer it.
Learn with Your Kids—Or By Yourself
Catch up on podcasts or check out this Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read Alouds & Activities. Also know that Scholastic has launched Learn at Home, a website offering daily enrichment projects for kids stuck at home, sorted by grade level, and Raddish Kids is offering 10,000 free kits filled with educational and entertaining activities. Kid lit authors are currently organizing a Virtual Book Festival for May
Minecraft: Education Edition teaches Common Core math for grades 3-5, social-emotional learning and coding.
SmartMusic is a great way for mini musicians to practice and access a large music library.
There are plenty of sites and apps such as Duolingo, Memrise, OpenCulture and Babble that offer online resources and tools to learn new languages for free.
JSTOR resources remain available without the need for a login. The database, frequently used by university students for research and essay work, flagged on Twitter that it has over 6,000 accessible ebooks and over 150 journals.
Explore Some Science!
Mystery Science has lessons for students in grades K-5 that they can do at home.
Explore the surface of Mars through 3D, 360° images recorded by NASA’s Curiosity rover. In fact, NASA’s website has a plethora of opportunities for kids and adults alike to learn more about astronomy and spaceflight. NASA’s Exoplanet Excursions VR app takes you on a guided tour of the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanet system, known to host seven roughly Earth-sized planets. There is also a 360° video on YouTube that allows you to travel through space from the comfort of your desktop or smartphone.
Want to experience a rocket launch in a whole new way? Download the free 321 LAUNCH app and you’ll get to use augmented reality to virtually build and launch rockets. On launch days, you can use the app to follow live updates and see a projection of the actual flightpath across your sky.
Go on a Virtual Museum Tour Google Arts & Culture teamed up with over 2500 museums and galleries around the world to bring anyone and everyone virtual tours and online exhibits of some of the most famous museums around the world. Now, you get “go to the museum” and never have to leave your couch.
Attend the Opera, Hear Symphonies, Concerts, and Jam Sessions, and See a Broadway Show
The public radio station WKAR published an extensive list of all of the performances set to come. The Berlin Philharmonic announced they will be making their “Digital Concert Hall” free for the duration of the pandemic. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center also has an extensive free online video library and will, too, conduct live streams during this time.
With the increase in concert cancellations, many classical artists are performing from their own living rooms and posting videos and links to live streams on Twitter. Musicians are also taking to Facebook Live to perform virtually. New York’s 92nd Street Y will live stream special performances with no audience in their concert hall, but with listeners tuning in from all over the world.
Amazon Music HD if offering a free 90-day trial available only for new Amazon Music subscribers.
With the streaming service, BroadwayHD, you can see many of Broadway’s hit shows from the comfort of your own home. Performers are partnering with Broadway World to present a daily series of mini-performances called “Living Room Concerts.”
Tour National Parks and World-Famous Monuments
Google has a wide variety of landmarks you can visit through their street view, including Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, the Roman Colosseum and the Egyptian Pyramids. The platform also recently launched the Heritage on the Edge initiative, which features five Unesco World Heritage sites under threat from climate change.
Explore Yosemite National Park like never before. Yellowstone National Park lets you tour some of its main attractions online. The Great Wall of China, can be toured online. You can explore the monuments of the Acropolis in Greece and you’ll have the magnificent Palace of Versailles all to yourself in a virtual tour on Google Arts & Culture.
Go to the Zoo and The Aquarium
Visit the Smithsonian National Zoological Park virtually. Georgia Aquarium also has live webcams of its animals, including beluga whales, puffins and sea otters. Monterey Bay Aquarium offers 10 free live webcams of animals including sharks, jellyfish and penguins, and the San Diego Zoo has live webcams of penguins, apes, koalas and more.
Play Free Games
GOG is giving away a whopping 27 PC games, including classics dating back to 1979 (!) and a playable prologue of the brand new city-building sim Builders of Egypt. All titles are DRM-free and compatible with Windows; some are also available for Mac and/or Linux.
Access Free TV Shows and Movies
Hoopla is a web and mobile library. You can borrow movies, TV shows, comics and more for free.
Kanopy is now providing Las Vegas-Clark County Library District cardholders with a collection of films that are available for unlimited viewing.
Netflix Party lets friends have movie nights while social distancing.
The “Today” show posted a great article about gym safety, and while some gyms remain open, a lot are choosing to close and opening up resources for at-home practices. If social isolation has you feeling down, try exercise, a proven mood-booster. With many gyms now closed indefinitely, fitness studios (including Planet Fitness) and personal trainers are providing online workout resources you can use and streaming classes online. For details on how to stream, check individual websites or Facebook pages.
Popsugar Fitness has many videos on YouTube. Pittsburgh’s Salt Power Yoga is one of many who are holding Instagram Live classes, but also SoundCloud podcasts. Down Dog is also offering its Yoga, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre and 7 Minute Workout completely free until April 1. Yoga With Adriene has hundreds of videos for all skill levels (and all categories, like Yoga for Bedtime and Yoga for Wrist Pain).
If that isn’t your speed, there are plenty more options with different apps that allow for full-body workouts that don’t require a gym. There are also free fitness apps like FitOn, Freeletics, Simply Yoga, Beachbody, Obe and more. Peloton is offering a welcome workout-at-home option: A free 90-day trial of the Peloton app. Available for Android, iOS and Amazon Fire TV, it provides unlimited access to a wealth of live and on-demand classes.
While you’re at it, you can search YouTube for meditation classes. Host a group meditation yourself—all without leaving your house. Platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Skype enable you to organize social meet-ups virtually, using video streams or shared screens to connect everyone in the party.
Don’t cancel happy hour. Host an online dinner party or hangout. Share a drink with your friends and engage in conversation online. One key to getting through the pandemic quickly is to keep yourself busy and your mind engaged. Keep coming back to Badass Black Girl for more ideas. In the meantime, stay healthy and safe.
Publishers Weekly Select Title for Young Readers ─ A Daily Dose of Inspiration for Badass Black Girls
Explore the many facets of your identity through hundreds of big and small questions. MJ Fievre tackles topics such as family and friends, school and careers, body image, and stereotypes in this journal designed for teenage girls. By reflecting on these topics, readers confront the issues that can hold them back from living their lives.
Embrace authenticity and celebrate who you are. Finding the courage to live as you are is not easy, so here’s a journal designed to help readers nurture their creativity, self-motivation, and positive self-awareness. This journal celebrates girl power and honors the strength and spirit of black girls.
Change the way you view the world. This journal provides words of encouragement that seek not just to inspire, but to ignite discussion and debate about the world. Girls, especially, are growing up in a world that tries to tell them how to look and act. MJ Fievre encourages readers to fight the flow and determine for themselves who they want to be.
Reading Badass Black Girl: Quotes, Questions, and Affirmations for Teens will help you:
Build and boost your self-esteem with powerful affirmations.
Learn more about yourself through intensive and insightful journaling.
Resist the mold that outside opinions have put into place, and become comfortable and confident in embracing your authentic self.