Many of us are at home a lot more than we’re used to. This may be because you’ve been furloughed, you’re working from home or you’re home schooling the kids.
If you feel like you’ve run out of ideas to keep yourself entertained, active and connected with your family and friends, we’ve found some great online activities and ideas that may help.
Online learning and personal development
There’s lots of free online activities and platforms you can use during this time, to help you learn a new skill or brush up on an old hobby.
- Free courses online from The Open University
- Udemy – Free and paid courses. This includes learning how to play the guitar, gardening, building your own website and much more
- Futurelearn – Hundreds of free courses. You only pay to upgrade if you want a completion certificate in your name
- The Skills Toolkit – Free digital and numeracy courses to build your skills
- Ted Ed – all sorts of engaging education videos
- Duolingo – Learn languages for free
- Grow at home is your gateway to gardening advice and inspiration to help everyone start growing. They’ve got daily ideas to make the most of spring and activities for kids each week.
- BBC Gardener’s World share small space gardening ideas to help you maximise your space, however large or small.
- RHS offer planting ideas for small spaces such as uplifting planters and vertical planting to portable planters and hardy plants for those shady, draughty outdoor spaces.
- BBC Food has lots of recipes to try in the kitchen
- Art is where the home is brings you a programme of art activities to do within the home to help you stay creative during this difficult time
- Learn how to make the most out of the NHS website and access online GP services online to find health advice and local services, such as GPs and hospitals
Ways to relax
We’ve found some online tools and activities to help you relax and unwind, if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed or cut off from your friends and family.
- Grounded with Louis Theroux. Stuck at home, Louis is using the lockdown to track down some high-profile people he’s been longing to talk to – from all walks of life and on both sides of the Atlantic. New episodes weekly
- Collection of podcasts available on BBC Sounds
- Real Leaders Podcast featuring Oprah Winfrey and the Power of Empathy
- We’ll do better tomorrow: how to face family life under lockdown
- Free kindle books available
- Penguin Random House Books Connect Us: Weekly book events, author Q&A’s and more.
- Virtual days in with LNER – museum trips, take a gallery tour, see the animals live at our national zoos, explore world heritage sites and more
- The Netherlands’ most spectacular tulip garden
- Live stream the Northern lights and others from the comfort of your sofa
- Guggenheim Museum
- Rijks museum
- Musée d’Orsay, Paris
- Sandiego Zoo
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Tour of US National Parks
- Explore Japan’s cherry blossoms
Theatre shows and live performances
- Timeout has a full list of all the best theatre to watch online right now
- Join the London Symphony Orchestra for full-length concerts from its archives, as part of its Always Playing series of streamed performances, playlists and interviews. Available on Thursdays and Sundays
- National Theatre live on YouTube – watch live theatre from the comfort of your home every Thursday night. All plays stay online for one week after it’s aired.
- The Royal Opera House is offering a free programme of curated online broadcasts as part of their #OurHousetoYourHouse series
- The shows must go on – releases full-length, smash-hit musicals every Friday at 7pm. Available for 48 hours.
- The Globe is streaming a free Shakespeare play ever fortnight
- Micheal O’Mara online adult colouring activities and quizzes
- Downloadable adult colouring in by Johanna Basford
- Online singing group with The Sofa Singers
- Catalyst Covid-19 diary: capture your feeling and memories in our free journal resource
- Online choir with music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins
- The best virtual movie clubs to see you through lockdown
We all know the rules about only leaving the house for work if you can’t work from home, and keeping the correct two metre distance from others when you do. Sometimes you just haven’t got the time to get out and exercise too. Why not try some online workouts instead?
- Yoga with Adriene on YouTube has everything from short routines for beginners through to more complicated routines
- Lululemon yoga tutorials has online classes for all levels
- Joe Wicks daily live workouts on his YouTube Channel
Activities for young people
We’ve introduced several changes to our services, following government advice on coronavirus (Covid-19). This includes the temporary suspension of all youth and community activities delivered by Catalyst until further notice.
Here are some online activities and other resources to help to help keep your young people active and entertained.
- BBC bitesize offers accessible online lessons on different topics and subjects
- Fun Brain has online videos, games, reading and maths zones for school years 1 – 8
- Hello Kids for craft ideas, drawing and colouring, videos, games and songs for children of all ages
- E-learning for kids offers various fun learning resources on subjects from languages, science and maths to environmental skills, life skills and health
- National Geographic for kids to discover all you need to know about history, geography, animals and science
- History for kids is a free history network for kids
- Learn about climate change, Morse code, ancient rivers on Mars, gaming and tons more with BBC Newsround
- Fun English Games offers a range of fun activities and resources. You can find links to fun maths and fun science on the site too.
- Catalyst activity packs for young people and their families while at home over the coming weeks.
- PE with Joe Wicks every week day morning at 9am
- Kids yoga with Cosmic Kids
- Cbeebies Games has lots of fun games, activities, puzzles, quizzes and more
- Free activity sheets from Orchard Toys
- Download a free children’s audio book with Audible
- Coronavirus: A book for children explaining what coronavirus is, why we’re all at home and what we can all do to get through this time
- Save the children have lots of ideas from den building, pom-pom making, to cookery and baking with your favourite kitchen disco playlist
- Doodle Time 15-minute doodle sessions, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 3pm.
Ways to stay in touch
If technology isn’t your thing and you feel like you’re always the one holding up the group chats because you can’t log in properly. We’ve found some great online guides to help you feel more technically savvy and find some new ways to keep in touch without breaking the rules.
- Learn my way offers lots of free courses from helping you connect and socialise online to setting up and using an email account
- Age UK explain video calling, how to FaceTime and how to make and receive video calls using various video calling software
- The Mental Health Foundation offer advice on different ways to stay in touch, nurture our relationships and make new connections
We’re also here to offer support and advice through our Wellbeing Project
While normal volunteering activities are currently on hold, there are still many ways you can volunteer and help out in your local community. Many activities – such as online befriending – can be done without even leaving your home.
Below gives a selection of volunteering opportunities available.