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Amid the global pandemic, families have been faced with a multitude of physical, emotional and financial challenges.
Quarantining at home and social distancing when it’s necessary to go out are new experiences for most people, but it’s possible to face these challenges with a positive outlook. If you’re staying at home as much as possible, you may find it easier to forgo some of your normal expenses. You may also find that you have extra time to forge deeper connections with your family and loved ones. Here are some ideas to help you and your family save money while doing your part to stop the pandemic’s spread.
- Take a virtual trip at home
- Try a new recipe or learn how to cook
- Have fun at home with the kids
- Play games at home during quarantine
- Drop everything and read
- Find free classes to take online
- How to stay fit and healthy at home during quarantine
- How to take care of your mental health during quarantine
Take a virtual trip at home
It may not be possible to hop in the car to visit local attractions or fly to a new vacation destination, but virtual travel is a great option for sightseeing from the couch. Virtual travel and tours are possible with just a computer or mobile device and an internet connection. You can check out near and distant attractions in lots of different states and countries, and even visit some of the world’s best museums, planetariums and zoos.
- Watch sea otters with Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Cam
- Stargaze with the Stellarium Web online planetarium
- Take a virtual field trip from Phoenix to Shenzhen with the Nature Conservancy’s Nature Lab
- Watch Old Faithful erupt on the Yellowstone National Park live-stream webcam
- Take a virtual field trip to the Smithsonian Institute
- Visit Colonial Williamsburg with the Merchant Square Cam
Try a new recipe or learn how to cook
With many restaurants observing shelter-in-place rules and limiting in-house and outdoor dining, now is a good time to practice some cooking of your own. Make meal preparation a family activity. Everyone can get involved with choosing recipes, making shopping lists and prepping new dishes. You can also enjoy expanding your palates by trying recipes from around the world.
- Seven essentials of becoming a better cook from Bon Appétit
- Easy-to-follow dinner recipes from Real Simple
- Learn how to cook with Mydomaine’s 11 skills every amateur chef should know
Have fun at home with the kids
When you spend the entire day at home, you’re bound to get a little stir-crazy at times. This is especially true if you have kids. As much as possible, try to maintain a regular routine throughout your day, including work, school, meals, chores, outdoor time and games. Mix it up with new and interesting activities that make the most of being stuck at home.
- 50 ways to keep kids entertained from Good Housekeeping
- 110 boredom-busting activities for families and kids from FamilyeGuide
- 100 fun things to do with kids at home from Taste of Home
Play games at home during quarantine
Playing games is a great way to spend time with family. Old-fashioned board games never go out of style, and you might even explore some board games you’ve never played before. You can also play games with friends via video-chat platforms such as Zoom.
- Ars Technica’s best board games to play with your quarantined housemates
- USA Today’s best games to play with family and friends on Zoom
- 5 games to play on video chat from the New York Times
Drop everything and read
Reading can be a solo or family activity. Encourage kids to spend time each day reading. Many libraries offer patrons the ability to check out electronic copies of books to read on their mobile devices, so you can pick up a new book even when the library isn’t open. Spend time reading aloud as a family every day.
- Children’s books to read in quarantine from Greenwich Library
- 10 books your kids will love during quarantine from Travel + Leisure
- Authors pick the best books to read while social distancing in The Oprah Magazine
Find free classes to take online
Many schools and websites offer free courses online. Make it a goal to learn a new skill or even a new language during your quarantine time by taking an online course. You might even take a class with other family members.
- Explore online courses with Class Central
- Hone your business or technical skills with a course on edX
- Explore free online courses from Harvard University
- Brush up on history or art with humanities courses from Khan Academy
How to stay fit and healthy at home during quarantine
You may not be able to hit the gym, but you should still try to exercise regularly. Go for socially distanced walks or runs every day (where possible) so you get exercise and fresh air. You can also stream workout videos online or, if you invest in some dumbbells, strength-train from the comfort of your home.
- Read tips on how to get fit at home from WebMD
- Learn how to stay fit and motivated at home with tips from Next Avenue
- The only 5 exercises you need to stay fit at home, from the Sydney Morning Herald
- 30 at-home workouts from Men’s Health
How to take care of your mental health during quarantine
Being isolated can take a toll on your mental and emotional health. Insofar as it’s possible, try to make sure you’re sleeping enough, exercising, eating well and taking time for self-care during the pandemic. If you begin to feel depressed or anxious, reach out to your physician or care provider for help.