MANHATTAN, NY– It seemed impossible. All of it. A pandemic called Coronavirus spreading throughout the world. Staying indoors as much as possible, and if you ever went outside, staying six feet from others. Everyone wearing masks? No one ever saw that coming. Classmates often joked around, discussing what life would be like if they had to be stuck at home 24/7. Clearly, no one could see into the future.
So now, here we are, stuck in our homes. Wherever you may be — in another country, another state, another city, another house or apartment, your own home, your relative’s home — you are probably starting to come across more of those “bored out of your mind” days. A lot. Trust me, everyone knows how you feel, so here are some ideas that can make those “bored out of your mind days” a little less boring.
First of all, I get it! You’re stuck at your home with your little sister chasing you around the house and telling you to play hide and seek with her. Your parents are telling you to get off the screen and tell them about your day at school, remote or non-remote. Your grandparents are asking you how to do who-knows-what on their cell phone, which they can barely turn on. Yep. It’s a mess, so you have to do what you can to keep yourself from going crazy in your home.
Getting some time off the screen makes you a lot less tired throughout the day, and makes you feel a lot more refreshed even if the breaks are only for ten to fifteen minutes.
Make sure to get exercise! Bee Kanew, a fifth grade student doing hybrid school says that you can take a walk, and play games. You can also watch and follow along with exercise videos. You should also make sure to stay in touch with your friends.It still feels great even if the calls are only ten minutes.
I take a basketball class with a few friends. Even though we can’t play games because that involves getting close to each other, it’s great seeing them in person and doing shooting drills. It’s a good idea to set up a time with your friends in the park or a public place.
Try to keep a similar schedule to what you would do before Coronavirus. Doctors recommend that six to twelve years olds should get nine to twelve hours of sleep, and teenagers should get eight to ten hours. During school, set up a designated space and maybe even a sign that says/means, “I’m on a call,” “I’m in school,” or “I’m busy.”
It may feel like a pain, but you should still clean your room, especially since you are going to be in it for a while. You want to have an organized space, because feeling less cluttered and messy can reduce stress. “Whenever my room feels messy, I have to straighten it up,” Bee says. While cleaning, I like to play music which makes doing the tasks more fun.
Now you have some good ideas for how to keep on your regular schedule, but you may be wondering how you can make those events that had to become virtual more fun.
“My birthday is coming up, so me and my family have been thinking about that. We [my family] think we can do it virtually like over Zoom, Houseparty, or Facetime. We could have a few friends meet socially distant in Central Park,” Bee says. Houseparty is a great app for connecting with friends and family. It works on a computer, an iPad, and phone, but there are only a few games that you can play on the computer. Yes, games. Houseparty provides virtual games that you can play, including Trivia, Quick Draw, Karaoke, Heads Up, Word Race, and more.
Additionally, Halloween is coming up soon, too, and my family already knows that we won’t be able to go trick or treating. For Halloween, you can go to a park with your friends (social distanced, of course) and see each other’s costumes (you can also do this virtually) and maybe even send each other candy and pictures.
Lastly, of course, you should always have something to do, especially in quarantine. And you probably don’t have much planned right now. That’s not your fault! Everyone is bored these days, and even trying out these ideas will not insure that you won’t come across boring days. Although, if you are sitting on the couch, binge-watching tv, and stuffing chips down your mouth all the time, that’s not healthy for you. So, having something to do when there is free time on your hands is a great idea, in quarantine or not.
You should have a good book in handy. A good book should be a book that sucks you in and interests you, and it should be a good size for you. If you don’t like long books, read a shorter one and vice versa. It goes the same way with genres. If you are assigned books to read in school, that can take some time off your hands, but if it isn’t as interesting or as appealing to you as you’d like, you should find another book that you like more.
Other off-screen ideas include playing Hide and Seek with people in your home, doing a scavenger hunt around your home or street, and playing games with your family. I recommend the games Scattergories, Ticket to Ride, Twister, Boggle, and Spot It.
I got into writing when quarantine started, and since then I never stopped. Writing short, funny, stories, or writing backgrounds/descriptions for characters and places are fun, too. Starting a big project like a novel, art project, comic/graphic novel, LEGO structure, collage, or a diary or journal about current events or your life at home. You can even write a newspaper or an article like this one! You can put up signs on your window, or draw on the sidewalk with chalk.
You can learn a new hobby or something you always wanted to do but never had the time. These can be things like learning an instrument, playing a sport/learning about or watching a sport, or doing magic. You can perform a show for your family or friends online like a magic show, singing performance, comedy and/or stand up, or even a play or musical.
Online you can play video games or explore websites like Google Maps and Google Earth. It sounds weird, but I could go for hours on that website! It’s fun to see your home, or places that you want to go when you get out of quarantine.
If none of these ideas suit you and you’re worried about days when you’ll be bored, get a container or jar and cut up slips of paper. On the paper, write down your own ideas or these ideas for what you can do to stay healthy and busy during quarantine. When you have free time, pick out one of those ideas and get started!
I hope these ideas helped you come up with some creative ways to stay busy and healthy during quarantine. I hope the next time you find yourself binge-watching tv, or stuffing chips down your mouth, or lazing around on your couch, you can do something with that free time. Have a happy quarantine!