When I was a child, I remember feeling bored with some regularity. My remedy was to scour one of the books in my Childcraft Encyclopedia. I think it was called What Can I Do Now? Thanks to the constraints of COVID-19, I need that book again. Currently, “Nap on the Sofa,” is my lack-of-activity of choice. What can I do instead?
Before I offer solutions, I apologize to those who are exhausted, overwhelmed, and pushed over the edge by pandemic realities – such as parents of children working from home AND helping with remote learning. But I hope my list can be helpful to you too. Perhaps there is an activity that can bring you joy in the midst of your many stresses.
That said, here are my Top Ten Fun Things to Do.
#1 Cook and Eat:
- Yes, of course you can cook meals in advance and throw them in the freezer for another day. How logical and boring is that?
- Instead, how about tracking down a food you loved in the past? I was in college in Columbia, Missouri and loved a deep-fried grilled cheese sandwich called a Cheese Frenchee at a restaurant called Kings. I Googled it and found the recipe online!
- Similarly, if you have a favorite dish from a restaurant chain, Google “copycat recipes” to recreate it at home. From Applebees to Waffle House, here are 100 recipes.
- Sometimes you can’t find a recipe for what you are looking for and that’s OK too. I would love to bake a cinnamon raisin bread from St. Louis called a babke. It was either from Pratzel’s or Petrofsky’s Bakery. I can’t find a recipe online, but I can find lots of cinnamon raisin bread recipes to bake, taste, and tinker with until I get it right.
#2 Armchair Travel Including Over 2000 Museums:
- You can tour all of Europe with RickSteves.com. Each “trip” on his website is about 25 minutes long. All the places you visit are spelled out in “Travel Details,” so you can easily add them to your bucket list for future actual travel. Click here to see Vienna
- If walking tours are your thing, check out Debra and David Grindewald and their “Footloose Travel Series.” You can see dozens of clips on YouTube, or if you are an Amazon Prime member, many of their full-length tours are part of your membership.
- If “All Museums All the Time” is your thing, check out Google Arts & Culture. Scroll down just a smidge to find “Museums” and click the “Explore” button to visit over 2000 museums around the world. I once had the good fortune to visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, I just visited it again online. Amazing! I dare you NOT to be enthralled with this website.
#3 Jigsaw Puzzles Revisited:
- Many of us started the pandemic with jigsaw puzzles. If you are ready for another go-round, try turning a favorite family photo into a custom jigsaw puzzle. Look to any source for photos to do this, such as Shutterfly or Walgreens.
- Don’t forget to glue your puzzle together after making it. Slide newspaper under the puzzle, then spread a very liberal layer of Elmer’s glue (no special glue product is needed) over the entire puzzle. Allow several hours to dry. Then hang it in the best gallery ever – the empty walls of your garage.
- Want to do jigsaw puzzles online? Try this website: Jigsaw Puzzle Explorer. For any of their puzzles, you can choose as few as six pieces to put together or you can choose more than 1000. You can also turn your own photos into jigsaw puzzles on this site.
- And then there are some very cool sorta-jigsaw puzzles from Legos. You get a box full of pieces and explicit directions to tell you which piece to search for next. Put it all together and you have a Porsche, or a famous piece of architecture like the White House, etc.
#4 Declutter Your House:
- For those of you who have a lot of time on your hands and a lot of junk, this little hack for decluttering will get rid of both. Back when the kids were young, cleanup time was stressful until we turned it into a game. I’d tell them to find 5 red things to put away. Then I’d move on to 4 big toys, 3 dollies, etcetera. This approach can work for cleaning out your house as well. Find 3 electronic gizmos to donate to a good cause. Then move on to 7 clothing items, 4 things in the basement, etc. You can do a purge in the double digits by clearing out file folders that are more than a decade old.
- On your phone or laptop, Google podcasts.google.com to access the top ten podcasts in over a dozen categories such as Society & Culture, Comedy, News & Politics, Sports, Business, the Arts, and Health. You don’t have to download anything! Just click the podcast you want, and play it. I just tried the Stuff You Should Know podcast and learned all about the “How Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Works.” I can’t wait to listen to “How Ghosts Work” next!
- Podcasts are so easy to listen to on your phone, why not double dip in the What Can I Do Now Game, and listen to one as you take a walk?
Uh-oh! Wait a minute. I promised Ten Fun Things to Do and that’s only five. If you are hungry for more, please stay tuned for my next blog. Among other things, I will share a great website for budding genealogists and a fabulous FREE at-home activity from the library that does NOT have to do with reading.
Until then, you’ve got a lot of fun things to do, so get going! No more snoozing on the couch allowed! (I’m speaking to myself here, but feel free to listen in.)
Wait a minute! Here’s something else to do! Watch my recent interview on The Douglas Coleman Show!