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As many of us hunker down in our homes to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, some may be starting to go a little stir crazy. The News Tribune wants to help guide you to the many options available for how to pass the time enjoyably.
Let us know how you're spending the time at home — send an email to [email protected]
Take on a research project: Ever wanted to dive into a topic and find out all there is to know? What better time than now? The Missouri River Regional Library has a number of research databases available for use at home. That list expanded recently to include Ancestry.com, a database normally only available to library members within the physical library itself. Due to the facility's closure, library members can temporarily use the service at home, so now is the perfect time to tackle that family genealogy project you've always thought about!
Watch a Broadway musical: Missing live theater? Andrew Lloyd Webber recently announced The Shows Must Go On!, a YouTube channel that will release a full-length musical each week to watch free. The first one will hit the channel this week.
Digitally visit a zoo: With the beautiful spring weather, many days seem like perfect ones to pack up and head to the zoo, if any were open. But many zoos offer live feeds to some of the most popular animals. The San Diego Zoo has live cams for everything from polar bears to condors. The Memphis Zoo has cameras on the pandas, hippos and elephants. The Houston Zoo offers feeds of the flamingos, ants and rhinos, among others. The Smithsonian National Zoo has live cams on several animals, including cheetah cubs born April 8. Zoo Atlanta offers a panda cam and if you love koalas, make sure to check out the feeds from the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Australia. Many aquariums also offer live feeds. Check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium for feeds of coral reef, sea otters, sharks and more. (The sea otters are particularly delightful.) The Aquarium of the Pacific offers virtual exhibits in addition to the live feeds.
Netflix Party: Miss watching your favorite TV shows or movies with friends or family? Netflix offers something called Netflix Party, an extension for Chrome browsers that synchronizes video playback on multiple screens and adds a group chat feature for long distance watch parties. Remember, this is only available for Chrome extensions on desktop or laptop computers.
Digitally visit a museum: Google offers an arts and culture feature that allows you to explore some of the best museums and cultural sites in the world. It also includes articles and tips on a variety of topics, from awesome facts about dinosaurs to closer looks at famous works of art. Visit artsandculture.google.com for more.
#SaveWithStories: This is a recently started Instagram account that features celebrities reading their favorite children's book. The effort is meant to help provide fun and education to children and parents as they stay home. It's also meant to support Save the Children and No Kid Hungry, two organizations focused on serving children affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Craft projects: Use supplies on hand for a fun crafting project. If you don't have supplies laying around but still want to do something crafty, check local stores to see what they offer for take-home kits. (Unique Creations on High Street has been offering DIY kits with pottery pieces, paint and brushes included.) Or try out a new subscription box — there's endless options. (Cratejoy has 24 options under arts & crafts alone.)
Take an online course: There's a lot of options if you're looking to learn something new. Many Ivy League universities offer courses online, and there's a compilation of hundreds of courses available on freecodecamp.org. Yale University is even offering a version of its most popular class online and you can audit it for free. The class, The Science of Well-Being, has more than 500,000 people enrolled and a Business Insider article looks at exactly what the course teaches, if you want to learn more. Scholastic began offering a free online hub, Scholastic Learn at Home, with material for students throughout elementary and high school. (For the journalism fans like us, Poynter has dropped all fees for self-directed courses and webinars at News University.)
Explore Mars: Access Mars is an online experiment that allows you to explore a 3D replica of the Martian surface as it was recorded by the Curiosity rover. The model was created by combining digital photographs shot by the rover on Mars.
Chalk art: On the next gorgeous spring day, take the children outside and get creative with chalk. You can make beautiful and positive messages for others to see as they walk or just get artsy and see what happens. And you may even win a prize — the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau is holding a sidewalk chalk contest, asking area residents to send in pictures of their sidewalk art throughout April. A winner will be chosen at random and given a gift card to Unique Creations. Check out the CVB Facebook page to learn more or post your own sidewalk art pictures.
Get fit: Even though you can't go to the gym, there's plenty of options to stay active while staying home, or at least away from other people. Many gyms are offering free digital courses or livestreaming events, so check out what your gym is offering or simply what's available. Planet Fitness is live-streaming free 20-minute "work-ins" every night on Facebook. YMCA has launched an online library of at-home workouts for members called YMCA 360, though even if you're not a member, the organization is offering online group exercise classes for all ages free for a limited time. Chris Hemsworth is offering a six-week free trial of his health and fitness program Centrfit.
Don't forget to share how you're passing the time at home — send an email to [email protected]!