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Free Virtual Activities

Pooja Salhotra
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  • Children's Museum Virtual Broadcast

    Educators Jen Wilde and Alleigh Stewart showed kids how to do a neutralization reaction experiment at home through The Children’s Museum’s Daily Virtual Broadcast. (Photo: The Children’s Museum)

  • Houston Zoo

    On weekdays at 11 a.m., the Houston Zoo is offering viewers an up-close virtual view of their animals; here are two of the elephants that were featured on Thursday. (Photo:  Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo)

  • Children's Museum Virtual Broadcast
  • Houston Zoo

Does anyone else feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of virtual activities available these days? If you’re finding yourself bored at home, take a look at this list for a sampling of fun online activities you can do while stuck in your home. As an added benefit, all of these are free!  

Take a virtual visit to the Houston Zoo: Every weekday at 11 a.m., the Houston Zoo is giving viewers an up-close view of the animals by going live on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. Each day, a different animal takes the spotlight. You can also use the zoo’s live web cameras to watch your favorite animals throughout the day!  

Visit the Children’s Museum virtually: Although the Children’s Museum is currently closed, they are offering daily virtual learning programs including story times, plus inside looks at their exhibits. Learn more here

Have a virtual movie night: Just because we’re social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t watch a movie with your friends. A Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party lets groups of friends to watch their favorite Netflix programs on their computers at the same time. It also opens up a chatroom so you can share your thoughts on the show or film while you’re watching. Learn more on how this works here. You can also try downloading Kast, a real-time video sharing app, to watch other streaming sites including Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and YouTube with your friends.

Practice mindfulness with the help of an app: Many useful apps are going free in response to the coronavirus pandemic in order to help people who might be struggling. Headspace, a popular mindfulness and guided mediation app, is free for U.S. healthcare professionals who work in public health settings, through the end of this year. They also offer a special collection of guided meditations and exercises called “Weathering the Storm,” that is available to everyone. Some other meditation apps worth looking into include Calm (free to download, but certain features require a subscription), Inscape and Stop, Breathe and Think.

Take an online yoga class: If you’re going stir-crazy indoors, a yoga class is a great way to calm your nerves and get your body moving. Many companies are offering free online classes during this health crisis. Downward Dog is offering its full suite of fitness apps – including barre and yoga – for free until April 1. Corepower Yoga is a national yoga chain offering free 30 and 60 minute classes. Another great option is Yoga with Adriene, a YouTube channel where Adriene Mishler, a yoga teacher and actress, who provides free yoga training.  

Read everything you could ever want to about coronavirus: Many national news sites are removing their paywall for any stories related to coronavirus to help ensure that everyone is up to date on the latest developments. Some news organizations offering free coronavirus news include: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Guardian and AP News

Take a virtual dance break: One of Lady Gaga’s backup dancers, Mark Kanemura – who was also a contestant on “So You Think You Can Dance” – has started hosting daily virtual dance sessions through his Instagram page (@mkik808). Every day at 4 p.m. CT, he plays upbeat music and invites his followers to dance along with him, either copying his moves or freestyling. If you need proof that this is a worthwhile activity, just check out his story on Instagram and you’ll see people of all ages from around the world having a blast. 

Virtual wine tasting: This is a real thing! Kuhlman Cellars in Stonewall, TX is offering virtual wine tastings on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons. To participate, you first choose from two different wine bundles and have them shipped to you (or pick them up if you’re in the area). You then sign up for a complimentary wine tasting webinar, where Kuhlman Cellar staff will teach you all about wine and answer your questions. 

Explore Space Center Houston: Space Center Houston offers a free interactive app through which you can explore augmented reality experiences, have fun with selfie filters and take a virtual tour of Space Center Houston. 

Comment below to suggest other free, virtual ideas.

Children's Museum Virtual Broadcast

Educators Jen Wilde and Alleigh Stewart showed kids how to do a neutralization reaction experiment at home through The Children’s Museum’s Daily Virtual Broadcast. (Photo: The Children’s Museum)

Houston Zoo

On weekdays at 11 a.m., the Houston Zoo is offering viewers an up-close virtual view of their animals; here are two of the elephants that were featured on Thursday. (Photo:  Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo)

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