Even during this time of physical distancing, there are lots of fun, free activities to keep us busy and entertained from the safety of our homes.
Below are some of our recommendations:
SHOWS AVAILABLE TO STREAM AT HOME
Our Planet: This mesmerizing 8-episode Netflix nature series travels all around the world to explore our planet’s natural habitats.
The Tonight Show – Home Edition: Jimmy Fallon is taping a mini-version of his late-night show from his home. He interviews guests remotely and offers a sneak-peek into his home life. Check it out by clicking here.
Jimmy Kimmel’s Quarantine Minilogues: Jimmy Kimmel is posting daily monologues and checking in with celebrities via Skype. To watch, click here.
Stephen Colbert at Home: Stephen Colbert is streaming his show from home via YouTube. To watch, click here.
MORE FREE STREAMING OPTIONS
Musicians from all genres are taking to social media and streaming platforms to play live for their fans. The Metropolitan Opera and the Vienna State Opera are streaming free daily performances while a host of other musicians (classical, jazz, blues, rock, and folk) are making their music available. Click here for NPR’s list of daily free streaming concerts.
ColdPlay’s Chris Martin offered an impromptu 30-minute concert from his home via his Instagram account. Millions of fans watched and now other musicians are also performing from their homes. To watch the in-home concerts, log in to Instagram and enter the hashtag #TogetherAtHome.
Free TV Streaming Services. Several of the largest streaming companies (Sling, Showtime, Acorn TV, Starz, Shudder, Sundance) are offering their services for free during this period of social distancing.
NBA League Pass. Fans can watch a free preview of NBA League Pass which includes full-length and condensed replays of all games from the 2019-2020 season.
NFL Game Pass. Fans can watch a free preview of NFL Game Pass until May 31, 2020. The preview includes all NFL games from the 2009-2019 seasons.
Ten Percent Happier is live-streaming meditation sessions weekdays at 12 noon, featuring some of the world’s best teachers, who will be streaming from their homes to yours. Each session begins with a five-minute meditation, followed by questions from the audience. To join the event, click here.
LoungeV Films is a live-streaming video channel on YouTube that helps you tune out the news, clear your mind, and escape to an exotic location with beautiful, relaxing music in the background. The video provides a perfect backdrop for yoga and meditation during these stressful times. To watch, click here.
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell discusses how we approach our interactions with strangers and the misconceptions that cause us to misunderstand one another.
The Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant. Kobe offers his own personal perspective on his life and career in basketball.
NPR Politics Podcast by NPR. This podcast includes a quick recap of the latest developments in national politics. (Daily podcasts are 12-15 minutes in length.)
The Daily Podcast by The New York Times. This podcast recaps all the latest national news. (Daily podcasts are 20-30 minutes long.)
Free Audio Content from Audible: While schools are closed, Audible is allowing kids everywhere to stream stories free of charge to help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids. To get started, click here.
PARKS & MUSEUMS TO INSPIRE US
You can experience the wonder of a national park without actually being at a national park. The National Park Service (NPS) is offering access to America’s favorite parks through a variety of virtual tours. For example, you can enjoy the beauty of Yellowstone by clicking here. To explore Alaska’s Denali National Park, click here. And, if you love watching bears, eagles, or other wildlife, check out the NPS webcams by clicking here.
Twelve of the most famous museums in the world have opened their “virtual” doors so that art lovers can continue to be inspired by great works of art. Travel + Leisure has compiled a list of the museums who are offering virtual tours, including Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the British Museum in London, and The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. For links to each of the virtual museum tours, click here.
The San Diego Zoo offers live webcams, games, and activities for the whole family on their website. Click here to virtually visit the zoo.
All Orange County Libraries are closed but there are still terrific online selections at www.ocpl.org/elib
PBS offers a number of educational shows and movies on their website for free at www.pbs.org
National Geographic has some fascinating educational videos for kids at kids.nationalgeographic.com
Scholastic has launched a new webpage that includes day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing while schools are closed. To learn more, click here.
Yale University’s most popular class is now available online for you to audit free of charge. The psychology professor who created the class — Laurie Santos — has designed an iteration for the online learning platform Coursera, called “The Science of Well-Being,” which is currently available for free. To learn more about the online class and to register, click here.
Playwriting Class. Renowned playwright Lauren Gunderson (who is America’s most produced playwright) is offering a free writing class. The hour-long courses are accessible on Facebook by clicking here.
Geography Game. While we may not be able to travel at the moment, that doesn’t mean we can’t map out some future adventures. Test your knowledge of geography around the world — including state and country capitals, mountain ranges and famous rivers — and compare against your friends on Seterra, a quiz site focused on geography. You can use Seterra from any web browser to explore the world. To visit the website, click here.
Guitar Lessons. Every Tuesday at 8am, Dan Smith is offering a free guitar lesson. To join the lesson, click here.
Learn to Draw. Famous illustrators have created virtual resources and free classes for kids, parents, and anyone else who needs a creative break in the midst of the pandemic. For a list of classes, click here.
Gardening Tips. This is the perfect time to spend time gardening. University of California Master Gardeners of Orange County offers a multitude of free how-to resources on their website. There’s information on how to plan your summer garden, container gardening ideas, getting started with composting, the best types of soil for each type of garden, and so much more. To start learning, click here.
Sesame Street Interactive Art Projects. Sesame Street is offering a host of interactive art projects, led by Elmo. Kids simply click on the art project they want to create, and Elmo guides them through the process. To get started, click here.
FREE ONLINE COOKING CLASSES
For all you foodies who can’t get to your favorite restaurants right now, you can still enjoy a meal from some of the most renowned chefs in the world. The only catch is that you’ll have to cook it yourself.
Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Cooking School has opened their online library to the public for free. To access the video classes, click here.
Italian chef Massimo Bottura, who is the man behind the Michelin three-star restaurant Osteria Francescana, is bringing his culinary skills to the masses by streaming how he prepares his nightly dinners on social media. Bottura has named the English-language live streams “Kitchen Quarantine,” which come to you directly from his home daily at 12pm via his official Instagram account.
To check out Chef Bottura’s cooking classes, click here.
ORDER TAKEOUT FROM YOUR FAVORITE IRVINE RESTAURANTS
Since in-dining is no longer an option, the Irvine Spectrum has set up 8 curbside stations so that you can still order from your favorite restaurants and pick up the food from the safety of your car. To check out which restaurants at the Spectrum are participating and where each curbside station is located, click here.
You can also visit https://www.grubhub.com and https://postmates.com to order food from most of your favorite local restaurants, including fast food chains. Postmates will also pick up and deliver items from stores like CVS and 7-Eleven.
FREE ONLINE EXERCISE & DANCE CLASSES
Orangetheory is sharing a new 30-minute workout video each day, featuring some of its most popular coaches from around the world. According to the fitness center, the workouts don’t require any special equipment, but may feature everyday household items. To get started, click here.
Gold’s Gym is offering a variety of digital workouts for free through the end of May. To download the app which offers over 600 audio and video workouts, click here.
CorePower Yoga is offering free access to a limited collection of online yoga and meditation classes while their studios are closed. To access the classes, click here.
Lululemon is live-streaming daily yoga and meditation classes through their Instagram account. To learn more, click here.
Planet Fitness is live streaming “Work-Ins” at 4pm every day on Facebook. The company said its trainers, and occasionally surprise celebrity guests, will lead the 20-minute workouts, which are free for everyone. To join the fun, click here.
YMCA 360 is offering a wide variety of free on-demand workout videos available for all ages and abilities. To get started, click here.
Bollywood dancing star Madhuri Dixit is sharing her favorite dance moves by offering two free classes each week through the month of April. It’s a fun way for the whole family to get in some exercise. To learn more, click here.
CLI Studios (a well-known dance studio offering live and prerecorded master classes) has begun live-streaming free classes on their Facebook channel. To get started, click here.
TUESDAY NIGHT TRIVIA
If you’ve been missing Trivia Night at the Trade Food Hall in Tustin, there’s still a virtual game night each Tuesday evening at 6pm on the live-streaming platform, Twitch. To join Tuesday Trivia Night, click here.
MONDAY “VIRTUAL” OPEN MIC NIGHT
On Monday evenings between 5:30-8:30pm, singers, comedians, and poets from around the globe are welcome to share their talents with others through the “NYC Open Mic Night” event using Zoom. Sign up for your 4-minute performance by clicking here.
VISIT DISNEY PARKS…VIRTUALLY
Even though you can’t visit Disneyland right now, you and your family can still enjoy the wonder of “The Happiest Place on Earth” from the safety of your home. Disney’s Magical Moments at Home blog features virtual parades, as well as links to favorite Disney songs, videos from each of the parks, and delicious recipes. To visit the Disney blog, click here.
TAKE A CAMPING TRIP… IN YOUR BACKYARD
If your family is going stir-crazy at home, why not plan a camping trip…in your backyard? Set up a tent, grab some snacks, and enjoy a night under the stars. If you don’t own a tent, just lay down some trash bags (if the grass is a bit wet) and then layer blankets on top. And if you don’t have a backyard, camp out on your balcony.
ORGANIZE YOUR HOME
Whether it’s organizing your clothes closet or kitchen cupboards, or cleaning out the garage, there’s probably something in your home that needs your attention. And put the kids to work helping to organize their rooms, and finding toys that can later be donated to our local charities. De-cluttering is a great way to organize our homes at a time when our lives feel a bit out of our control.