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15 fun activities to do at home during isolation

Retirement Living Lifestyle Wellbeing
04 May 2020

You’ve watched endless reruns of your favourite TV show and done enough spring cleaning to last a lifetime. Boredom is starting to creep in as the COVID-19 pandemic rolls on.

Although restrictions are starting to ease slightly in some areas, authorities are still encouraging older people to stay at home. So, what can you do to keep yourself busy, challenged and happy?

We’ve compiled a list of 15 activities you can do from home that we hope you’ll find fun and fulfilling.

1. Learn to paint

Learning to paint is a great way to foster creativity, as well as strengthen your memory and motor skills. It’s also a great stress buster.

A number of art classes have moved online, offering interactive lessons with a professional artist from your home. If you sign up, you’ll get your paint-at-home kit delivered to you.

Some are even offering live and interactive sip and paint classes, where you can eat, drink and chat will discovering your artistic talents. Go Van Gogh!

2. Visit a zoo

Zoos are closed but you can still see the animals in action online.  Zoos across Australia and the world have uploaded chats with zoo keepers, featured videos and animal live-cams.

Taronga Zoo is one of the many bringing its two zoos (Sydney and Dubbo) directly into your living room via Taronga TV. You can tune in daily to see your favourite animals, meet the keepers and learn what goes on behind the scenes.

Melbourne Zoo also has live-cams and it’s worth checking out the one trained on the snow leopard cubs Miska and Kang Ju, born in January. They are part of an international breeding program to help preserve the species and are very cute!

3. Brush up on history

If you’re a history buff, now’s a great time to time travel.

Modern technology means you can explore other cities and even other times online, such as this virtual tour of ancient Rome which takes you through the forum, Capitoline Hill, and other famous monuments.

This 3D digital tour is part of the University of Reading’s five-week free online course Rome: A Virtual Tour of the Ancient City.

Through Google Maps you can take a virtual tour of the ruins of Pompeii and you can explore India’s famous Taj Mahal. The options are endless so let your imagination run riot.

4. Become cultured in art

Museums and art galleries around the world have digitised their collections and are offering free virtual tours.

Fancy the Uffizi in Florence, for one of the best collections of Renaissance art in the world?

Or perhaps your prefer Paris’ Musée d’Orsay, home to an incredible collection of Van Gogh and Cezanne’s artistic masterpieces?

Google Arts and Culture puts more than 2000 museums from around the world at your fingertips, including many from Australia.

5. Enjoy a good book

You can finally tackle all those novels you’ve got stashed in your book case or cupboard.

If you want something new to read and are looking for inspiration, Penguin offers a range of reading lists, as do many bookstores. If you prefer audio books, try out Audible for free.

You might even want to start a virtual book club with friends. You can agree on the books to read then get together via a video chat to talk about your reading and get more recommendations. It’s a great way to stay in touch with friends.

6. Learn a language

Bonjour, hola, privet, nǐ hǎo, ciao, konnichiwa, ahlan.

How many different ways do you know how to say hello? Have you always been fascinated by different languages but never had the time to learn one before?

Duolingo is a fun (and free) way to start learning. It won’t teach you a new language completely but it will give you a taste of your chosen language.

Of course, if you want to get serious there are plenty of paid courses available and you can even enrol in an online university course via Open Universities Australia.

7. Tell your life story

Have you always wanted to write your life story? Writing a memoir is a very personal experience, but it can be incredibly rewarding.

Not keen on writing? Most smart phones have a voice recording app where you can simply press a button and start talking.

8. Get in touch with nature

Do you have an interest in wildlife? Why not sit quietly in the garden, or even put a comfy chair next to a window, and observe all the birds and insects that are coming and going?

Australian Geographic says that #BirdingatHome is officially a thing and there’s never been a better time to become a birder.

The article reports on Australian birder Carol Probets who has encouraged people to share their backyard bird sightings on Twitter using the hashtag #BirdingatHome.

Since the hashtag began trending, backyard birders have shared their sightings of eastern spinebills, yellow-tailed black cockatoos, tawny frogmouths, king parrots and many more. 

So get out those binoculars, have your camera ready and join the trend.

9. Make a photo book

Do you have scores of old printed photos lying around that you’d like to preserve?

There are many photo scanning apps available now that will help you convert your printed photos to digital scans. Once you’ve scanned your photos, you can use online tools to help you create a beautiful photo book of all your memories.

Snapfish is one company that offers a simple way of creating a photo book but there are many others.

10. Create a veggie patch

Whether you have a big backyard or just an apartment balcony, you can get your green thumb working.

The Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel recommends growing edible plants, but it says that doesn’t mean just vegetables and fruits – flowers like carnations, honeysuckles and nasturtiums can add colour to your dinner plate too. Mix it up with home-grown herbs like rosemary, basil, chives, sage, mint, oregano, parsley and thyme. 

Gardening’s a great way to get fresh air and exercise so why not pick up some seedlings as soon as you can and get started. If you’re not leaving your house, perhaps you can ask a neighbour or family member to take a trip to the nursery for you.

11. Bake something new

Flour and yeast have been a bit hard to come by in some supermarkets, which suggests people are doing a lot more baking right now.

Why not join the trend and rediscover the art of baking? Dust off your cookbooks or jump on line to find mouth-watering recipes that are bound to tempt the tastebuds.

You can check out some of the celebrities who are offering free cooking lessons online through Good Food’s article here.

And if you feel like bragging, you can post your creations on Instagram too!

12. Catch a concert

The music industry has suffered greatly during the pandemic but many musicians are finding innovative ways to reach their audiences online.

Global Citizen and the World Health Organization’s #TogetherAtHome concert series invites you to attend intimate shows with favourite artists … from the comfort of your living room. 

If you are into classical music, check out the ABC story on efforts to keep the music going.

13. Visit the opera

Sydney Opera House has launched From Our House to Yours. Every Wednesday to Sunday night at 6pm, the Opera House releases archival footage, live broadcasts and even premieres, which you can watch from your lounge room.

14. Watch a documentary

Have you exhausted the movie offerings from Netflix or Stan?

If you’re in the mood for something a bit more challenging, there are a few websites that will give you access to free documentaries.

Documentary Tube, Top Documentary Films, and Documentary Heaven are three sites offering documentaries on a huge range of topics – science, mysteries, serial killers and sharks to name just a few. If you are fascinated by pandemics, and some people are, you can find documentaries on COVID-19 too.

15. Plan a holiday

A good way to keep up your spirits until the lockdown ends is to plan your next holiday. It might be a while before international travel is on the agenda, but Australia has wonderful destinations worth putting on your bucket list.

If you need inspiration, Australian Seniors has a list of eight top destinations for older Australians.

We know bushfire-ravaged towns will be desperate for visitors once the pandemic has passed, so check out Destination NSW’s website to start planning your next trip. Freedom will taste so good!

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