( 5 minute read )

[updated 7/24/2020]

Self-quarantine, shelter in place, and physical distancing are all very important things we can do to keep ourselves and our fellow humans safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. 😷 It’s a very stressful and unusual time, and many of us could really use a distraction, a chance to learn something new, or even playtime—for kids and adults alike. 🎉

Our very awesome social media and marketing team scoured the interwebs for 100% FREE things to do while you’re being a responsible citizen and excellent member of your community by staying home. 🏠

connect with new people

eggs and other ingredients on counter

  1. Join publisher A Public Space’s virtual summer book club: https://apublicspace.org/events/detail/apstogether with daily content on https://www.instagram.com/apublicspace/?hl=en
  2. Take a daily baking lesson from Milk Bar pastry chef Christina Tosi: https://www.instagram.com/christinatosi/channel/
  3. See former NFL quarterback Andrew Luck’s latest book club pick: https://andrewluckbookclub.com/ (also https://twitter.com/albookclub, https://www.facebook.com/AndrewLuckBookClub/ and https://www.instagram.com/albookclub/ with hashtag #ALBookClub)
  4. Jump in to a book club for romance novels: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/not-your-moms-romance-book-cluband https://www.instagram.com/notyourmomsrom
  5. Professional mixologists offer daily mixology classes and socializing via Zoom: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUlc-mvqzsvQvTKc9TPQEa-MEbCgixAdw

connect with your community

TV with Netflix displayed and person holding remote

  1. Join your local Buy Nothing group on FB, and give and receive FREE items from your immediate neighbors: https://www.facebook.com/BuyNothingProject
  2. Watch a show with your (distanced) friends on Netflix Party: https://www.netflixparty.com
  3. Play Words with Friends: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/words-with-friends-classic/id321916506 and https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zynga.words&hl=en_US
  4. Draw together (or brainstorm creatively) in real-time in your web browser: https://aggie.io
  5. Meet up on an illumy video chat for drinks. Alcohol delivery is available in many parts of the country: just Google “cocktail delivery [your town name]”.
  6. Several national news outlets got rid of paywalls for COVID-19-related news (some even eliminated paywalls altogether):
  7. Milwaukee: https://www.jsonline.com/picture-gallery/news/2020/03/22/neighbors-organize-social-distance-dinosaur-parade-during-coronavirus/2895573001/
  8. Organize a teddy bear hunt in your community: https://time.com/5809613/bear-hunts-coronavirus/


connect with your household

hands knitting purple yarn

do things together

  1. Enjoy lessons in music theory: https://www.musictheory.net/lessons
  2. Help your child learn the basics of guitar: http://www.kidsguitarzone.com/
  3. Learn how to make dozens of origami animals: https://web-japan.org/kidsweb/virtual/origami2/exploring01_04.html
  4. Browse conversations, performances and how-tos from Creative Live: https://www.creativelive.com/tv
  5. Download environmental lesson plans and resources from Salisbury University’s Ward Museum: https://www.wardmuseum.org/learn-explore/education/virtual-learning/kids-activities-and-lesson-plans/
  6. Learn to solve the Rubik’s cube: http://www.cubingmke.com and https://www.rubiks.com/en-us/solve-it
  7. Make a board game: https://blog.ed.ted.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Pen-Pen-Chen-TED-Ed-Innovation-Project-Game-Changing-Kids-additional-material.pdf
  8. Get educational lessons tailored by age: https://home.oxfordowl.co.uk
  9. Browse kids’ book club episodes on the Black experience: https://www.bookclubforkids.org/the-african-american-experience-through-the-centuries
  10. Ravelry is a free resource for knitters, at any skill level: https://www.ravelry.com/
  11. Enjoy a digital emulation of a legendary analog synthesizer: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/minimoog-model-d-synthesizer/id1339418001
  12. Great coding resources for kids: https://mommypoppins.com/coding-kids-free-websites-teach-learn-programming
  13. Watch Bill Nye, the Science Guy: https://www.billnye.com/home-demos
  14. Bake bread: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWOJovFzWfw
  15. Draw in chalk on the sidewalk: https://lifeasmama.com/10-sidewalk-chalk-ideas-thatll-keep-kids-enterained-for-hours
  16. Scholastic Learn-at-Home is now free (daily projects for kids): https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html
  17. Have a dance party in your living room or backyard: https://www.iheart.com and https://www.pandora.com (free music with ads)

watch together

  1. Watch acclaimed films and TV on Sundance Now—get 30 days free when you use the promo code SUNDANCENOW30: https://www.sundancenow.com
  2. The Met Opera is streaming nightly: https://www.metopera.org
  3. 15 Broadway Shows you can stream for free: https://www.playbill.com/article/15-broadway-plays-and-musicals-you-can-watch-on-stage-from-home
  4. Lots of artists are holding livestreams and virtual concerts: https://www.vividseats.com/streams/
  5. Stream movies on YouTube for free (with ads): https://www.youtube.com/feed/storefront?bp=kgEmCGQSIlBMSFBUeFR4dEMwaWJWWnJUMl9XS1dVbDJTQXhzS3VLd3iiBQIoBQ%3D%3D
  6. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is streaming past performances: https://livefromorchestrahall.vhx.tv/browse?_ga=2.218168217.1893977667.1585067638-686385596.1585067638
  7. Watch The Met’s YouTube videos: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/online-features/met-360-project
  8. FilmedonStage.com is streaming musicals and theatrical productions: http://filmedonstage.com/news/76-free-musicals-and-plays-you-can-now-stream-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak-updating-daily
  9. Calm down with NPR tiny desk concerts: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/19/818079150/5-tiny-desk-concerts-to-calm-your-mind

explore together

  1. Browse the Smithsonian’s vast array of resources for kids: https://www.si.edu/kids
  2. Watch productions from the UK’s National Theatre: https://www.youtube.com/user/ntdiscovertheatre
  3. Museum of Fine Arts Houston Virtual Experience: https://www.mfah.org/visit/mfah-virtual-experience/
  4. Take a virtual tour of the Chateau de Versailles: http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/resources/virtual-exhibitions
  5. Virtually visit a National Park with the National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/find-your-virtual-park.htm
  6. Join a Home Safari with the Cincinnati Zoo every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon: http://cincinnatizoo.org/home-safari-resources/
  7. Watch roller coaster rides like you’re in them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMMiZFPYg6M and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN8nv4tVFuA
  8. Visit the Boston Children’s Museum without even leaving your living room. https://www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/museum-virtual-tour
  9. Explore the surface of Mars with this digital 360° camera: https://accessmars.withgoogle.com/
  10. Check out the British Museum’s collection of treasures from your couch: https://britishmuseum.withgoogle.com/
  11. Tour the Guggenheim’s famous spiral staircase via Google Street View: googlestreetview/guggenheim
  12. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. features two online exhibits through Google: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/national-gallery-of-art-washington-dc?hl=en
  13. You can virtually walk through the Musée d’Orsay in Paris: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/musee-dorsay-paris?hl=en
  14. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/national-museum-of-modern-and-contemporary-art-korea?hl=en
  15. Pergamon Museum in Berlin: googlestreetview/pergamon
  16. Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/van-gogh-museum?hl=en
  17. The Getty Museum in Los Angeles: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/the-j-paul-getty-museum?hl=en
  18. Uffizi Gallery in Florence: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/uffizi-gallery?hl=en
  19. Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/masp?hl=en
  20. Browse Google’s weekly recommendations of immersive cultural experiences: https://artsandculture.google.com/recommended?hl=en
  21. Take a virtual farm tour: https://www.farmfood360.ca
  22. Watch the Monterey Bay Aquarium sea otters: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams/sea-otter-cam
  23. Tune in to the African wildlife cam: https://explore.org/livecams/african-wildlife/african-watering-hole-animal-camera
  24. Get an insider view of the Houston Zoo’s animals with their weekly Camp Zoofari web series (through July): https://www.houstonzoo.org/camp-zoofari-tv/
  25. Virtually tour the Great Wall of China: https://www.thechinaguide.com/destination/great-wall-of-china
  26. Experience the Smithsonian Science Education Center’s virtual glider: https://ssec.si.edu/glider-guide
  27. Explore Badlands National Park in South Dakota on Google Earth: googleearth/badlands
  28. Check in with the National Zoo’s cheetah cubs: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/webcams/cheetah-cub-cam
  29. Look around Everglades National Park: googleearth/everglades
  30. Take a virtual tour of the Cliffs of Moher: https://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/virtual-visit-tour/
  31. Roam Disney World: https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2018/03/disney-parks-launches-first-ever-360-degree-panoramas-on-google-street-view/
  32. Check out the Taj Mahal on Google: googleartsculture/tajmahal
  33. Take a virtual stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, a UNESCO World Heritage site: https://www.kew.org/about-us/virtual-kew-wakehurst
  34. Explore the courtyard at the Dalí Museum: https://thedali.org/virtual-tour and check out more than 2,400 works by the artist: https://thedali.org/about-the-museum/history

connect with yourself

hand weights and an exercise band on wood floor


  1. Power through a new workout each day with OrangeTheory: https://www.orangetheory.com/en-us/athome/
  2. Take an Instagram workout with a SoulCycle instructor (dozens of instructors to choose from): https://www.soul-cycle.com/news/offthebike
  3. Try the Peloton app free for 30 days: https://www.onepeloton.com/app
  4. Expand your yoga practice with weekly online classes from CorePower Yoga: https://www.corepoweryogaondemand.com/keep-up-your-practice
  5. Echelon is offering a free 90-day trial of the FitPass app: https://echelonfit.com/pages/echelon-90-day-promo
  6. Popular Youtuber Yoga with Adriene: https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene
  7. Get expert coaching on running techniques with the Nike Run Club app: https://www.nike.com/nrc-app


  1. Watch inspirational and motivational TED Talks: https://www.ted.com
  2. Learn calligraphy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBoVGqiSzr4
  3. Listen to hundreds of public-domain audiobooks: https://librivox.org
  4. Browse the New York Public Library’s 300,000+ books and audiobooks: https://www.nypl.org/books-music-movies/ebookcentral
  5. Audible is offering a big selection of streaming audiobooks: https://stories.audible.com/discovery
  6. Learn a new language with DuoLingo: https://www.duolingo.com
  7. Take Yale’s course on the science of well-being: https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being
  8. Peruse the NASA media library: https://images.nasa.gov
  9. Take Ivy League courses online: https://www.classcentral.com/collection/ivy-league-moocs
  10. Browse ebooks and audiobooks with the Libby app and a library card: https://www.overdrive.com/apps/libby/

just take a break

  1. Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rehab Cam: https://www.cmaquarium.org/webcams/sea-turtle-rehab-cam/
  2. Tubi TV shows (free with ads): https://tubitv.com/home
  3. IMDB free TV shows and movies: https://www.imdb.com/tv/
  4. Calendar of free livestreams and virtual concerts: https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/9335531/coronavirus-quarantine-music-events-online-streams
  5. Free kids’ shows on Amazon (no Prime membership needed): https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/storefront/ref=atv_hm_hom_1_c_ZWyNDQ_fMHI51_1_1?contentId=freeforall&merchId=freeforall
  6. Thousands of children’s ebooks on Internet Archive: https://archive.org/search.php?sort=-loans__status__last_loan_date&query=openlibrary_work%3A%28%2A%29+AND+collection%3A%28inlibrary%29+AND+loans__status__status%3AAVAILABLE+AND+subject%3A%28Juvenile+Fiction%29
  7. Listen to an astronaut read from space: https://storytimefromspace.com/
  8. Stream virtual concerts: https://www.sofa-king-fest.com/
  9. Live stream a beach cam: https://www.earthcam.com/usa/southcarolina/myrtlebeach/resort/?cam=seacrestand https://www.livebeaches.com/state/california

If you know of an amazing free experience, service, etc., tweet us @illumyinc and let us know!