Isolation boredom busters
Free or cheap websites, courses and apps for you to keep busy and banish boredom during periods of isolation, whether it's due to cancer treatment or coronavirus. Most of the courses have low or no commitments and can be dipped in and out of at any time.
- Adriene is an online yoga instructor who has run a YouTube channel from her home since 2013. She has 30 days of yoga videos to help deepen or kick-start your yoga practice. Some research has shown that yoga has helped to reduce distress, anxiety and tiredness in cancer patients. It also helped to improve quality of life, emotional wellbeing and social wellbeing.
- There is also an app called Down Dog for those more advanced in their practice. The Down Dog team are making all of their apps (including Down Dog, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout) completely free until 1 April – or until 1 July for healthcare professionals – in response to the coronavirus.
- Trekstock’s 7 Day Yoga at Home videos have been designed for young adults living with cancer to do in the comfort of their own home.
- MOVE home workouts are designed by Cancer and Exercise Rehabilitation Specialists, and focus on functional movements and exercises. Videos include a 10 minute beginners cardio, bodyweight workout, and a chair based workout (you need a band for this one). MOVE also recommends a walking at home video, which is less intensive but provides the feel-good factor of walking if you can’t get outside.
- Fitness coach Joe Wicks is hosting live PE classes for children at 9am every weekday morning.
- Trekstock have teamed up with personal trainer Lisanne van Sonsbeek to design a range of exercise videos that aim to support you to get moving again after a cancer diagnosis.
Fancy learning to code? Coding is the language of the internet and could open a range of opportunities for you both professionally and personally.
- You can also learn to write code and get going with digital making for free through Raspberry Pi’s projects. Perfect for tech-savvy kids and teens!
- Blockly Games helps beginners to start learning programming skills with simple levels.
- For creative media, Scratch allows you to program interactive games, stories and animations and share in an online community.
- Justin Guitar has hundreds of free lessons, including a complete beginner’s course. Dip in and out as much as you want. You can also access videos through Justin’s YouTube channel
- The Met Opera will host “Nightly Met Opera Streams” of past performances from its famed Live in HD series. They will begin at 19:30 EST (00:30 GMT) each night on the company’s official website and will also be viewable on the Met Opera on demand apps
- For current artists, Billboard has details of a host of live streams and virtual concerts.
Arts and crafts
- Bluprint is the perfect one-stop-shop to learn different skills. From quilting and knitting to cake decorating and papercraft, you learn via high-definition interactive video tutorials and downloadable workshops. Most courses have a cost but there are promotions which allow you to access some for free. They include bag making basics, wirework jewellery and knitting like a master. You can even purchase kits to go along with the classes.
Games and quizzes
- World Geography Games puts your knowledge of capitals, flags, oceans and mountains to the test.
- Elevate is a brain training app designed to improve attention, speaking skills, processing speed, memory, math skills and more. Each person is provided with his or her own personalised training program that adjusts over time to maximise results.
Knowledge and exploration
Learn something new
- TED is a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. Watch talks on hundreds of topics from renowned and upcoming speakers all over the world. Easy watching and listening if you don’t fancy engaging in anything too taxing.
- Fancy a foray into politics? UK parliament online has a wealth of interesting packs, videos, interactive resources and presentations about a variety of themes including women’s suffrage, equality and diversity, the structure of government, debating and more.
- Learn to write, speak and understand other languages. Duolingo is set up like a game. Progress through levels and add achievements to your LinkedIn profile (or CV). There are loads of languages to learn: Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Hindi – you name it. There’s even Klingon…
- Coursera allows you to complete courses hosted in universities around the world. you can access video lectures, tutorials, assignments and peer support. You can even complete full degrees through the app! There are costs associated with some courses – anything from £15 to £25,000. Some content is available for free. Courses run at different times throughout the year.
- MOOCs are free online courses run by top institutions. They are open for anyone to enrol in and offer a flexible way to learn something new. Mooc.org is your gateway to accessing thousands of courses via edX. Browse by availability, subjects, course type, level, or language.
- FutureLearn is owned by The Open University. Browse their diverse course list of subjects that include filmmaking, forensic witness, robotics, business fundamentals and much more. Most are six to 10 weeks long but some are shorter. Each course has weekly tests and quizzes, with some giving an assignment or final exam. You can buy a certificate of achievement if you meet the required score.
- Reed are offering hundreds of courses and diplomas at massively discounted prices. You can do them at your own pace, and there’s online tutor support available.
Take a virtual tour
- Google Arts & Culture: Explore online exhibitions from museums around the world, from MoMA in New York to Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico.
- Explore London’s top museums or art galleries: learn about their collections from the comfort of home
- Tour your way around America with virtual field trips of national parks, historical monuments, aquariums and landmarks
- American Dairy hosts virtual tours of three different farms to cover a range of ages
- Explore some of the National Trust’s beautiful gardens and properties
- Or had enough of Earth for a while? Head into space and follow the Rover on the surface of Mars, or explore the International Space Station with NASA
Animals and nature
Live animal webcams
- CountryLiving has done a round-up of the best live animal webcams for some heartwarming watching
- Our favourites include the flamingos, macaques and meerkats at Paignton Zoo
- Folly Farm’s Barn cam lets you while away the hours with goats and more
- Wildlife Trusts webcams are the real deal, allowing you an insight into the world of owls, puffins, peregrines, bats and badgers!
- Edinburgh Zoo’s Panda Cam
- Chester Zoo has plenty of animal-based activities and fun. Aimed at kids but probably to be enjoyed by all!
- The Wild Science podcast by ZSL delves into all things zoology, conservation and the environment.
- National Geographic Kids is an online centre of discovery with fantastic facts and games about the natural world. Play memory games and take quizzes to test your knowledge.
Getting in the garden
- Kent Wildlife Trust have a list of simple things you can do to help wildlife, from building a bug hotel to creating a home for a hedgehog.