12 Things to do While Stuck in Quarantine


Photo by Julia Ehlers

Games, reading, and puzzles are all fun activities to do while stuck in quarantine.

We’ve all been stuck pretty much exclusively at home for weeks now, with only remote learning (and maybe a job) to keep us occupied. After a while, all of that binge watching on Netflix can get old, or you might need a break from studying, so here’s 12 alternative activities to keep you free from boredom!
1. Complete a puzzle.
This can be anything from completing a physical puzzle with 500 pieces to solving a rubik’s cube, or doing the New York Times daily crossword and sudoku puzzles to answering the riddles in one of those workbooks you got ages ago but never used.
2. Read a new book.
Even if you can’t get to the library right now, there’s still plenty of resources to get your hands on a good book! You can always order one online from Barnes and Noble or Amazon, but if you don’t want to spend the money, you can always borrow one online. Audible is currently offering a number of audiobooks for free to any student who’s not in school. There’s also an app you can download on your phone or computer (even your Chromebook!) called Overdrive. It gives you access to all of the e-Books and audiobooks LPS has, by using your student ID number and password. Or, if you have a city library card, you also have access to all of Lincoln City Libraries’ digital collection.
3. Get some fresh air!
This can be as simple as sitting on your front step for a little bit, or going for a walk around the block. It’s a good idea to avoid any playgrounds at the moment, since they can’t be cleaned regularly, but the city trails are still open, just make sure to keep that 6 feet of distance!
4. Play a game with your siblings or parents.
There’s plenty of variations of card games to play that are easy enough to learn. Check out this website for a huge range of games to play, only using a traditional deck of cards. A couple of my favorites are Mao and Hearts, so check them out! Not only are there board games though – you can always use a bit of chalk to play hopscotch in your driveway, or try some hide and seek in your backyard.
5. Facetime with or call your (great) grandparents.
For those who are lucky enough to have grandparents or even great grandparents around, you should check in with them! If my grandma’s any indication, they love seeing their grandchildren’s faces! Since a lot of the retirement homes around the country are closing doors to visitors, just take 5 minutes to chat with them – it’s someone for you to talk to, and they’ll definitely appreciate it.
6. Try some new music!
According to a Time article, listening to music has been shown to improve a person’s mood, and reduce the amount of hormones like cortisol (one of the body’s main stress hormones) that we produce. So in this time of stress and isolation, listening to music can help. Try some in a foreign language, or ask your friends for suggestions. Ask your parents what they listened to when they were your age, and try that!

7. Start a tic tac toe game with your neighbor.
Tic tac toe is always fun, and if you have any younger kids in your neighborhood, or even other teenagers your age, it’s a way to have an interaction while still social distancing. Take a piece of chalk over to their house, and draw the game board with your first move in their driveway or on the sidewalk by their house. Leave the chalk there, and come back the next day to counter their move! If there’s more than one child that might want to play, make several tic tac toe grids so they can each have their own.
8. Write a short story. (Or longer, if you want!)
Let your imagination run wild! Fantasy fiction, realistic fiction, or not even fiction. You have time to be creative, so let that idea you had in the back of your mind grow. Or think about how cool it would be to keep a journal of what you did in quarantine to show to your future kids!
9. Draw something!
Draw your dream house, or your favorite cartoon character, or your favorite animal. If you’re like me (not very good at drawing, that is), maybe try to color in something on a couple of those adult coloring books you got last Christmas and never used. Going back to the journaling idea, maybe create a picture journal – draw something you did or saw every day. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it’s just for fun!
10. Watch a Broadway show for free.
This is for any fellow Broadway nerds or theater people out there! Broadway HD is offering a free 7-day trial to anyone who’s interested. Warning: when you go on the website, it looks like you have to pay – you don’t. If you click on one of the two plans and enter your information, it will start your free trial. From shows like Romeo and Juliet to Cats, or Phantom of the Opera to An American in Paris and Bye Bye Birdie, they’ve got quite the variety for you to choose from.
11. Cook or bake something.
Desert’s pretty great, right? So try making some sugar cookies, or fudge (this recipe is the one I use, and it’s REALLY good!). Or get your siblings to help you make dinner for a night to give your parents a break from cooking. There’s plenty of easy, tasty recipes out there to try, or you can make a dish that’s been passed down in your family. Note: make sure you plan ahead, and add all of the ingredients you need to the grocery list ahead of time. Mom and Dad might love it when you cook, but they’re not going to want to make an extra stop at the grocery store!
12. Write a thank-you note.
A few words of thanks to someone who’s been working on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis can make someone’s day. If you know a doctor or nurse, send them a card. Leave a note to your mail person in your mailbox, or give the Amazon Delivery guy a note when he drops off a package. Don’t forget about the sanitation workers and the grocery store employees. All you have to do is write a couple thoughtful words (maybe complete sentences!) on a piece of paper – it doesn’t have to be too complicated!
I hope these ideas have been helpful to keep you busy, or have at least given you an idea of something to do. Hang in there, everyone, we will get through this! In the meantime, stay home, stay safe, stay healthy, and enjoy some quiet time!