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  • Pamela Froman

Staying Entertained While At Home

It's the era of social distancing and we are spending tons of time at home. It's easy to get bored, feel lonely, or just be going stir-crazy! But there are ways you can keep yourself entertained and happy. Here are some ideas and activities.

Downloadable podcasts are shows you can listen to on subjects as varied as the latest in politics and culture, interviews with your favorite celebrities, serial dramas, and comedy. The best part – it's free. You just install an app on your phone and download the shows you want.

Now you need to find something to listen to. Here are some extremely popular shows.

  • Serial is an award-winning podcast that blends investigative journalism with non-fiction storytelling and tells a true story over each season.

  • This American Life is the most popular podcast in the United States, with around one million people downloading each episode.

  • Reported and hosted by reporter Laura Beil, Dr. Death is a story about a charming neurosurgeon, 33 patients, and a spineless system.

  • A two-time Peabody Award-winner, Radiolab describes itself as "a patchwork of people, sounds, stories and experiences centered around One Big Idea."

  • The Daily is hosted by American journalist Michael Barbaro and discusses the biggest stories of our time, told by the best journalists in the world.

Even though we are stuck inside you can have a date with your spouse right at home! Wine and paint nights are romantic and very popular. You can find lots of art tutorials on YouTube to get started. There are also plenty of all-in-one painting kits that you can order on Amazon or Etsy. You're all set – pour a glass of wine, press play, and start painting your work of art!

There's been a resurgence of cooking and baking while we are spending time indoors. Here are a few tips to get started.

Staple products include fresh meat and meat alternatives, dried beans, pasta, and rice. But you may struggle to figure out how to avoid getting bored with eating them day after day. First, cook them in their most basic way and then repurpose them. For instance one day you can eat them cooked, the next day you can puree them for soup, and the next day you can dress up a salad.

Preparing large quantities of basics will allow you to whip up some favorite dishes as they can be the base for many meals. Leftovers make are for eating while you are staying at home.

It's tempting to load up on junk food when you're sitting at home. But healthier foods can help you resist. Try a rainbow bowl – you take grain as a base, pick two or three fresh veggies to make it all different colors, add a protein like beans, lentils, frozen chicken, fish or tofu and then add a dressing to finish.

You've probably found yourself with more free time. So why not try your hand at a few new recipes that you wouldn't normally be able to make. Bring the kids in to help and you can bake a puff pastry or homemade bread. Another way to make cooking fun is themed nights. Meatless Monday, Turkey Thursday, Fish Fridays, Sandwich Saturdays – you get the drift!

Do you love to workout? Turning to online classes can keep yourself engaged and fit.

Planet Fitness is offering a daily free class via Facebook Live. Crunch Fitness has more than 85 workouts on its "Crunch Live" streaming platform. Peloton is offering a free 90-day trial for their online classes, and Tone It Up, Beachbody, ObéFitness, P.volve, YogaWorks, and Pilates Anytime are all online-based programs you can sweat to.

You may be housebound, but there are plenty of ways to ignite your creativity. It's the perfect time to pick up a new hobby.

Calligraphy is a fun and mesmerizing activity. You can buy practice books and brush pens on Amazon or Etsy. Writing letters is incredibly relaxing and helps with anxiety! The Postman's Knock Learn Calligraphy Worksheets website offers worksheet sets that you can download and print at home. www.thepostmansknock.com/product-category/learn-calligraphy

Mindfulness and meditation can help you calm frayed nerves. How do you get started? Find a dedicated place for your daily meditation practice and establish a schedule. Pick a comfortable posture. You can sit cross-legged or on a chair with a backrest. Pick an easy-to-practice meditation technique. Anything will work as long as you are willing to work with it. And the best part of meditating? It's free!

Needlework is a great hobby to keep your hands busy. You can get started by watching how-to videos on YouTube. Both knitting or crocheting use yarn to make items, but knitting is done with two knitting needles and the stitches are loops. Crocheting is done with just one crochet-hook and the stitches resemble small knots.

Have you ever wanted to learn to play guitar? There's no better time to connect with your musical side, and YouTube has a plethora of videos to get you started.

Makeup tutorials are so amazing! There's a great before and after, new techniques, and getting information on new products. Beauty bloggers that will help you create a great face include Desi Perkins, Carli Bybel, and Jackie Aina.

Now is a great time to begin journaling. Writing about the day's happenings or whatever is weighing on your heart can be therapeutic, but the art of journaling doesn't end there. There are many great sites with journaling prompts. Grab your favorite pen and a notebook, and you're good to go.

Have you ever wanted to learn a new language? The Duolingo app is great for beginners, portable, and free. Commit to using the app regularly to get a jump start on vocabulary and sentence structure.

Family time often means game time. These fun family games are good alternatives when everyone is stuck at home.

Introduce your kids to a classic, the treasure hunt for kids. The adult writes down clues, then distributes them so that one clue leads to another, culminating in some "treasure" at the end. Then the fun begins!

Badminton can be played indoors and outdoors for leisure and fun. You can start practicing at home. There are many types of drills that you can perform to improve your game.

When you have kids that love the water a pool is a perfect entertainment. Every kid loves a good pool game. These options should float your boat.

"CANNONBALL!!" This is an easy one. Whoever makes the best cannonball splash is the winner.

Chicken Fight requires two standing players where each one holds their teammate on their shoulders. The water needs to be shallow enough for the two standing players to be able to stand with their shoulders and head out of the water. Once each standing player has their teammate on their shoulders, the two top players engage in upright wrestling. The goal is to knock the other player off their teammates' shoulders.

The point of Water Polo is to score goals while the other team attempts to block you. Whoever scores the most points wins! Some rules: You can only hold the ball with one hand and pass above water. There is no holding onto the side of the pool to shoot and no dunking or splashing.

In Marco Polo, one person is chosen to be "It." This person will swim in the water with closed eyes. "It" will then begin counting to the number of their choice. While counting, the swimmers scatter throughout the pool. When finished counting, "It" starts calling out, "Marco" while the swimmers echo back with "Polo." "It" has to try to tag the other swimmers by using sound only. Whoever is left at the end is the winner.

There is nothing that stirs creativity more than a wide-open area of concrete and a box of yet to be used chalk. Chalk is a great way to be creative. It has a lovely texture, many colors, and can be used to draw on almost any surface, which makes sidewalk drawing exciting and different.

Simon Says is a great activity to keep kids busy and active with lots of giggles and laughter. Sometimes it can be hard to think of creative Simon Says actions on the spot, but you can generate ideas on websites such as www.bighappybackyard.com/simon-says-ideas

Gardens are a great place to cultivate learning experiences for children. Kids love to color and gardens can be very colorful. Rainbow gardens are a fun theme. Plants that represent the colors of the rainbow are great teaching tools.

There's something magical about planting a seed and then seeing that first green shoot pop up out the soil. Planting seeds with your kids introduces science concepts like germination and photosynthesis. It also allows kids to practice life skills, such as responsibility and consistency.

The concept of the stay-at-home date is easy: if you can't go out on the town, come up with an entertaining, one-on-one activity you can do with your significant other without leaving the house. If you have kids, the date begins once they go to bed. A simple change in atmosphere can transform a ho-hum experience into something magical. Sure, maybe you eat take-out all the time but put a table cloth on the table, light some candles, turn on tunes, and you'll be surprised how date night-esque the meal will feel.

Our new reality is that children are out of school and underfoot while parents log into Zoom meetings and respond to work emails. Parents are turning to virtual babysitters to help them get a few uninterrupted minutes. Virtual babysitters are high in demand and are continuing to grow. A virtual sitter engages with a child through Skype, Zoom, FaceTime or other video platforms. It's an alternative to regular babysitting that allows parents, children, and sitters to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Right now it's difficult or nearly impossible to enjoy time with your loved ones. Don't forget that you can see family and friends with video chat!

Even in these house-bound times, there is one thing to remember – staying home can still be fun!


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