Fun & Free Activities To Do From Home
- By Laura Bower
- April 6, 2020
We all know staying home is the best thing you can do right now to help fight the spread of COVID-19, but it can be hard! Everyone needs some distraction from the news and something fun to fill the time, so scroll down to see our list of fun, free, activities you can take advantage of from the comfort of your couch.
Live Streams & Virtual Tours:
Many organizations around the world offer free live streams, you're bound to find something you love. The Portland Mercury put together a great list here. Our favorites are: National Parks Virtual Tours (volcanoes! caverns! turtles!) hosted by Google Arts & Culture; the Atlanta Zoo Panda Cam; and Readings By Writers held every Monday & Thursday at 5pm.
Head over to travelportland.com to see their list of local attractions you can visit from your living room.
Free Videos & Television:
Media companies know most of you have nothing else to do, so they're hoping you'll get hooked on their services with free trials. The following are offering free limited (or extended) trials:
- Netflix: 30-day free trial
Arguably the current reigning queen of streaming, Netflix has all the new shows your newsfeed is buzzing about (Tiger King, anyone?).
- Hulu: 30-day free trial
Hulu has both current TV (usually airing the next day) and original content like Shrill, which is set in Portland.
- Amazon Prime Video: 30-day free trial
Enjoy Amazon originals like the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Fleabag, and series for children too.
- Showtime: 30-day free trial
Featuring original content plus movies you missed in the theater.
- Disney+: 7-day free trial
You can get through the entire season of the Mandalorian in 7 days, easy. Plus, every Disney movie you remember from when you were a kid and all the ones your kids love now.
- Apple TV+: 7-day free trial
If you purchase an eligible Apple device, it comes with a free YEAR of Apple TV+.
- Acorn TV: 7-day free trial
If you enjoy British TV, Acorn is for you!
- Kanopy: If you have a library card, you can watch up to 10 films per month for free on Kanopy, and children's content is always free. Watch current movies, documentaries, and even how-to videos for painting or wine pairing. Some content is unlimited, some falls under the 10-per-month limit.
- Hoopla: Similar to Kanopy, you can access free music, movies, and ebooks with your library card - up to 15 titles per month.
- Internet Archive: The Internet Archive is a non-profit organization that is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. They have free books and texts, audio recordings (like live concerts!), videos, and news programs.
- The Roku Channel: Roku doesn't provide free content itself, but it does aggregate new and existing free content. You can only access Roku Channel on Roku TVs and devices, or on your desktop web browser.
- Tubi TV: Tubi provides free movies (with commercials) and has clever categories like "Not on Netflix" and "Highly Rated on Rotten Tomatoes", which makes finding the gems much easier.
If you're not a resident of Multnomah County, find your county in the list below for information on free books and other materials offered by your local library:
- Washington County Library
- Clackamas County Library
- Hood River County Library
- Chemeketa Cooperative Regional Library Service (serving Marion, Polk, and Yamhill Counties)
Free Music and Radio
There are many free and popular music services out there now. Most contain ads, unless you want to pay for ad-free listening. Some favorites of ours are:
- Spotify: free version includes ads, but allows you to pick specific songs, or listen to playlists and radio stations curated by genre. Also includes podcasts!
- Pandora: free version includes ads, but allows you to evolve your own playlists by "liking" and "disliking" certain songs.
- Accuradio: always 100% free; channels are curated by actual humans (not algorithms) and allow you to blend channels and rate songs.
- iHeartRadio: listen to live radio, or sign up for 30 day of free streaming music (similar to the services above).
- SiriusXM: Sirius is currently free to everyone through May 15th and offers both talk radio and music.
Fun With Kids
With schools and most daycares closed, families have lots of time to fill! These resources are great for keeping your kids entertained and occupied.
- PDX Parent Kids Calendar: Filled with online storytimes, concerts. and classes.
- Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems: Author and illustrator of the beloved "Gerald and Piggie" children's books, Mo Willems is hosting free virtual doodle sessions on YouTube each weekday for 3 weeks.
- Cosmic Kids Yoga: Great for kids of all ages, Cosmic Kids makes yoga and mindfulness fun!
- At-Home Science Experiments: kids are natural explorers; feed their curiosity with one of these 63 Easy Science Experiments from mommypoppins.com.
- Garden Activities for Kids: Fun activities for learning and encouraging love for nature and the environment from kidsgardening.org.
- Scholastic Learn at Home: fun, at-home learning broken up into grade levels.
- NASA STEM @ Home: a collection of science lessons, activities, and virtual tours for kids, broken down into age ranges.