Fun, education and stuff to do: Staying home because of Covid

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    Fun, education and stuff to do: Staying home because of Covid

    Okay Bees,
    with more and more countries locking down and more and more of you having to stay at home, with more or less to do, it got me thinking.
    For many people, sitting at home, maybe with nothing to do, anxiety might kick in and mental health could suffer. So, here's an idea I have: How about we (or I, depending on how many of you want to participate) use this thread to collect things one can easily do from home, either on the computer, or maybe completely offline. Stuff that helps to pass the time, might it be educational, pure entertainment, something fun, something that will benefit us, anything that keeps us occupied, sane, and clear-headed. High morale is essential, and the less stress you feel, the better it will be for your immune-system.
    It can be anything, as long as one doesn't have to go out more than necessary and is free.
    I see what I can drum up, everyone can contribute, and together we will succeed in making this time as pleasurable, useful, fun, whatever, as possible.

    Let's get right into it, some things I dug up on short notice, to get the ball rolling:

    Staying at home is a good time to learn something, and what could be better to keep your mind occupied than learning a foreign language? Much, probably, but why not have a go at it. Here's something to get you started:

    -Duolingo: The most popular language-learing website/app. Has lots of courses with small lessons, not always the best ressource, but a nice way look into different languages.
    -Memrise: More like a flash-card website for vocabulary, but with many courses made by the community. Lots of native-speaker audio.

    How about learning the glorious language of Mother Russia? RussiaToday has a pretty good online course that's even completely free: LearnRussian
    Or you might want to try your hand at the most bestest language of the world (according to one German citizen): German! has a nice course for you.
    If you like to listen to things and want to get a foreign language "installed" into your brain, look up LanguageTransfer for completely free audio courses in various languages.

    But enough about languages, how about something fun?
    Nonograms are called Japanese crosswords in English, and they're fun, come in various difficulties and can be done almost eveywhere, everytime.

    If you're more the type for webcomics, Itchy Feet is an internet classic about the adventures of polyglots in various countries and cultures. Or maybe an adventureous graphic novel would be more interesting. Unsounded is the story of the Daughter of the Lord of Thieves. It has its fair share of strong language, though.

    And now that record stores are out of the question for some (is that a thing anymore?) Bandcamp is a nice alternative to get to know new independent musicians from all over the world.

    That's it for now, I see what I can collect over the time and will post more. Keep your heads up, we're going to ace this!


      Not on lockdown here in Canada...yet. However, distancing myself from crowds...staying home and not going to any events...most of which are cancelled anyway. Today I picked up the old guitar and did some basic chords with the help of YouTube. I also did 25 minutes of Yoga. It is snowing like mad did much shoveling too.


        Here's another small batch

        If you're not in the mood to do anything particularly productive but want to watch something on youtube that might be educational, here are two channels that aren't all that agitated, but at least interesting:
        - Want to watch a nice-looking man with nice arms preparing and eating old military rations from different countries and eras? Steve1989 might be for you. You can chalk it up as history lessons and thus don't need to feel guilty about spending time watching it.
        - Or how about watching an Australian man in shorts on his way from the most primitive stone age to an early stage of iron age? There's no talking in these videos, but subtitles with explanations. Calm, interesting and probably not what we need in the future, but Primitive Technology nonetheless.

        Now for something very bizarre, but probably time-eating: A huge archive of Gondola webms, all lovingly (more or less) crafted and with a vast variety of songs and music. Probably one of the most surreal ways for me to find new songs.

        If you're in the mood to play something and like simulations, OpenTTD (that's short for Transport Tycoon Deluxe) is the free and legal open-source version of an old pc game classic. It's available for Windows, MacOS and Linux and runs on a toaster, aka very old computer.

        And finally, an article dealing with how some people in Japan deal with Covid. As the schools in that country are currently closed, the dairy industry faces hard times, so the Japanese have resurrected a very old recipe for a dessert called 'So'. It involves stirring a pot of milk for about an hour, which doesn't sound very fun to me, but it's interesting nonetheless and maybe someone wants to try it out.

        Okay, that's it, come back for more (probably tomorrow, it's getting late here) and stay awesome everyone.


          Originally posted by Cowtownbaldie View Post
          Not on lockdown here in Canada...yet. However, distancing myself from crowds...staying home and not going to any events...most of which are cancelled anyway. Today I picked up the old guitar and did some basic chords with the help of YouTube. I also did 25 minutes of Yoga. It is snowing like mad did much shoveling too.
          I'm a bit envious of your snow, everything we got here this winter came down when the temperate was in the plus degrees and thus nothing stayed on the ground

          But I'm not here to be grumpy, so I'm piggybacking on you getting back to the guitar and leave another link, this time to, which sports a complete, huge and free course for the guitar. If those links wouldn't be free I would sound like a shady salesman


            For those of us who like classical music: Here is a list of music livestreams, and the Digital Concert Hall is free until 31st of March. (I don't know if the latter will be available from all parts of the world, though.)


              Okay, next round.

              Some of you probably have kids around for the next days or weeks, so how about having some fun with paper and trying out a bit of papercraft? All you need is paper, a printer, a knife and glue to build some funky models (also possible without kids). I liked those things when I was young, maybe children today will like it, too.
              Creative Park has a lot of free models for printing out, some of those will probably occupy you for hours.
              The /po/Wiki from the Paper & Origami board has lots of links to different pages with different models, some of them might be dead, though, but most of those I've tried still work.

              Also, origami is a nice pastime and all you need is square paper, notepads, for example, and some patters. It takes some practise at first, but it's fun and you can fold animals, boxes, huge structures out of countless modules, whatever catches your fancy. The Origami Resource Centre is a good starting point.

              If paper's not your thing, assembling with your family or friends around a table with a couple of snacks, pens, dice and paper to get some adventure with playing Dungeons and Dragons might be an idea? The basic rules of the latest edition that has everything you need to get going and try it out are completely free and available from the homepage of the publisher. All you need are a few players, a bit of imagination and all those latent acting skills you might have. And according to recent studies [citation needed] playing D&D doesn't make you susceptible to Satanism any more (it never did).

              Some more serious stuff
              Staying at home might be a good time to do some deGoogling and looking for alternatives to shake of those prying eyes of one of the hugest data krakens of the world. Looking for alternatives to all the services and programmes you're used to can be exhausting, but also fun. Here's a good article to get you started, although it might be a bit dated by now.
              If you want to dip your toes further into the vast universe of alternative software and services, the mainpage of the above article, alternativeto has dozens of recommendations of alternatives for almost every piece of software you're probably using.

              While a lot of you probably know one or two things about web development, learning HTML and CSS, two of the building blocks of the internet, could still be interesting and it's a great skill to have. Internetting is Hard has a clean and well-explained tutorial to get the basics down.

              That's for now, I'm going to look for more. Stay safe!


                Thanks for the links, modern_dragon
                I wonder if more cultural institutions will publish freely available content in the next time.

                By the way, because I don't have a smartphone and am exclusively online via ye olde desktop computer, i have no idea what's available and possible on mobile devices, so I'm sorry in advance if some of the things I post are not easily accessible on phones and tablets


                  Go to a museum: 12 Famous Museums with Virtual Tours


                    Thanks for your link, Andi64!

                    I'm closing this day (at least for me) with a few no-brainers regarding free education.

                    Alison is one of the oldest free education sites on the net, and I think it originates in Ireland. It has a lot of free courses in various disciplines, from IT, to health, to business and lifestyle.
                    There's also Coursera, which launched an initiative because of Covid-19 to help members of a university to get free access to courses. Many courses are free for the public, too.
                    And, of course, there's EdX, where you can enroll in free courses in different fields from different universities, like Harvard or the MIT.
                    For all three platforms (I think): If you pay, you even get an official certificate to add to your curriculum vitae. You don't have to pay for the course, though.
                    And finally, I have the Khan Academy for you, which has a lot of free courses in the tech sector and mathematics. It's based in India and its mission is to provide free education in all things tech and maths to everyone.

                    And finally, i want to make a case for China, which still is a great country with a rich history and culture and people that aren't as robotic as some people may believe (as a German, I can somewhat relate to this, or is it all just a meme?)
                    Anyway, maybe you want to get your toes wet and learn a bit of Mandarin, the Chinese dialect of the mainland. If yes, Teach Yourself Mandarin has general guidelines how to learn the language of one of the biggest countries on Earth. So, if you want to visit Wuhan when all is said and done, you'll probably won't speak Chinese very well (if at all, because of those damn four different tones), but at least you might understand the people or at least the signs around the country..

                    I hope I can be back tomorrow with more links, if life permits so.
                    Stay safe and make the best of your time, fellow Bees


                      If you want to learn to code, I can also recommend .


                        Originally posted by Andi64 View Post
                        Ooh, thank you for this link!


                          The website itself is a bit newsy, so if you're avoiding the news then please be aware, but the BBC Radio 4 series, In Our Time, is a huge resource on historical, scientific, and cultural subjects:


                          It should be available outside the UK. If not, many of the episodes are up on YouTube.


                            Say Something is a language website with free classes:

                            Learn Welsh!


                              And thank you, Nihopaloa this is a great idea!

                              Juggling is fun, easy, and can be done along with kids (and when you get good at it it's very impressive!):


                              It's a very good way to distract yourself if you're feeling nervous too - I find it a bit of a meditation!