Things to do at home: 30 ideas while you’re stuck in self-isolation

First of all, thank you for staying home and saving lives! We know that being cooped up at home can be difficult, especially when boredom sets in, so we've made a list of 30 great ideas to help distract you from today's surreal situation. 

Everything mentioned here can be done at home and is bound to entertain. We've got new movies, podcasts, live sports alternatives, and fun activities that will help you scratch that social itch. 

Yes, finding things to do at home when bored has become a daily challenge we didn't foresee when making 2020 predictions. But we'll keep doing our bit to help make self-isolation more bearable, as you do your part to keep yourself and others safe in these challenging times.

1. Watch Quibi to see if the new service is any good

Quibi just launched and everyone's immediate first question is: what in the world is Quibi? Fair question, especially if you didn't see the Quibi Super Bowl commercial. It's a mobile-only streaming video service with big Hollywood names attached to it – in front of and behind the scenes. All of the short videos here work in landscape or portrait, and they're run time is just long enough to watch on your lunch break.

This is everyone's second question: Is Quibi worth subscribing to? Our ongoing Quibi review notes that there's a Quibi free trial that lasts 90 days, and right now that's the best asset of the service. The current lineup of shows can be hit or miss, and we're going to need time to come to a verdict on this evolving mobile streaming platform, especially as new creators come onboard.

  • Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu or Disney Plus: which streaming service is winning 2020 so far?

2. Watch Pixar's Onward for free with Disney Plus

Onward

Pixar, known for its big-budget CG films, is settling for a small screen premier with its latest movie: Onward. Disney launched it came out for digital purchase on March 20, while Disney Plus subscribers can watch it for free (at no extra cost besides the Disney Plus subscription, of course).

We've opined that this weekend is best time to subscribe to Disney Plus (see the free trial offer above), at least in North America. Everyone else, like those in the UK, can still soak in episodes of the Mandalorian, The Imagineering Story and The Simpsons.

3. Watch at-home movies that released early

Sonic the hedgehog

There are a number of big movies that are supposed to either still be in theatres or weren't due to be available on demand until much later. Theatres are closed down, so major studios have turned to streaming them to you at home early.

New movies to buy: Sonic the Hedgehog sped up its release to meet the demand at everyone bored at home and looking for things to do, and so did Bad Boys for Life, The Invisible Man, Call of the Wild, Bloodshot, Birds of Prey, The Hunt, Dolittle, Emma, I Still Believe and The Wayback. All are priced to own.

New rentals to rent: 1917,  Jumanji: The Next Level, Richard Jewell, and Bombshell, while Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has now hit pay-to-own status.

We've put together a series of short videos to help keep you entertained and informed at home – see below for our roundups of the best headphones, webcams and tablets, advice on cleaning your phone and more…

4. Watch 'Tiger King' rule Netflix with absurdity

Update: Tiger King is apparently getting more content, but the sequel won't be on Netflix. The Joe Exotic will next be seen on US TV network Investigation Discovery. Also, one of the stars of the streaming series is also teasing another episode of the show on Netflix, although that has yet to be confirmed.

Everyone is watching the new Netflix series Tiger King, and even if your video quality has been downgraded, it's worth streaming all seven episodes. It's our new favourite true crime documentary, surpassing The Staircase (also a winner if you haven't seen it).

Right away, Tiger King and its colourful characters border on being so ridiculous, you'd swear they're not true.

  • Done Tiger King? 7 shows you should watch next on Netflix and Amazon Prime

5. Watch something new on Netflix or Prime Video

Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have been our saviors boredom, consistently giving us the easiest new recommendations in our weekend things to do list updates.

We've outlined five new shows and movies on the two streaming services (which you likely have already – if not, there's an free Prime Video trial above). Included a new movie called Coffee and Kareem starring Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover). If sinking into a fresh comedy is what you need right now, you'll find it on Netflix. Amazon Prime Video, meanwhile, has the 1950s Rio de Janeiro-set Invisible Life and new sci-fi drama Tales from the Loop.

  • 5 new TV shows and movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video this weekend

6. Watch an epic movie series in order

Nothing eats up more time than a good, long TV series, but because movies typically have bigger budgets and higher production value (outside a select few TV shows), we're switching it up (and also we ran out of TV shows to watch this weekend). Now is the perfect time to go through an entire movie franchise – in order.

There are a couple different ways to watch the Marvel movies in order, and we have the links to where you can watch most of the 23 Marvel movies (Disney Plus being the easiest way to watch a majority of them). If you're looking for things to do during the coronavirus self-isolation, this will take you a total of 60 hours.

We also have lists for how to watch Star Wars movies in order, Batman movies in order, James Bond movies in order (sadly 'No Time to Die' is on hold), Star Trek in order (including the new-ish Picard series), Harry Potter movies in order, and, if you're in the mood for some mindless Vin Diesel-helmed entertainment, Fast and Furious movies in order.

  • Here's everything you need to know about Disney Plus

7. Pre-order Final Fantasy 7 remake

It took 23 years to get a proper Final Fantasy 7 Remake, but it couldn't have come at a better time. This now-fabulous-looking jRPG is ready to eat up the rest of the self-isolation lockdown period, no matter how long it goes.

The official FF7 remake release date is Friday, April 10, although some retailers have broken the street date (like, weeks ago!). People were hoping this would mean that Square Enix would launch the digital version early, too, but that hasn't happened.

  • Read our Final Fantasy 7 Remake review

8. Play through Resident Evil 3 remake

Our new game of the week is Capcom's Resident Evil 3 remake, and it dates back 21 years, when the original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis first launched in 1999. Today, it's a very different experience: we played it in 8K at over 60fps (though there are some big sacrifices), and tested its performance with today's biggest graphics cards. 

Warning, the game's plot line of a city infected with a biological weapon may hit too close to home right now, but it's even better than Resident Evil 2 remake, in our opinion.

9. Play Doom Eternal to make life seem less chaotic

Doom Eternal

In March, two new video games came out that couldn't be more different, and we're thankful for the variety provided by Bethesda Softworks and Nintendo. 

This ride through Hell is one of the best experiences you’ll have in 2020.

Doom Eternal is a beautiful, but brutal reinvention of the first-person shooter series that actually makes life at the moment look… not so bad. This ride through Hell is one of the best experiences you'll have in 2020. Our full Doom Eternal review agrees, with a five-star rating and an Editor's Choice award. It's fast-paced at 60fps and has surpassed our expectations even when it played it in 8K with a $2,500 graphics card.

10. Play Animal Crossing to forget about life's chaos

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is on the other end of the spectrum – it's a ready to lull you into a sense that nothing is wrong whatsoever like a good ASMR. This is fine. Everything is fine, says main character Tim Nook. Nintendo's cute social life sim is ideal for today's self-isolation situation. Read our Animal Crossing: New Horizons review and think happy thoughts.

One thing to note: while the new Animal Crossing is a must-have Nintendo Switch-exclusive, Doom Eternal is available on a wider set of platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and even Google Stadia.

  • Don't have a Switch? These are the best Nintendo Switch deals we've found

11. Apple Arcade's latest is built for the whole family

Our best Apple Arcade games list now includes Crossy Road Castle, a platform title that thrives on its four-player local multiplayer gameplay (fear not, single-player is a choice, just in case confined at home alone). The frantic action reminds us of all the New Super Mario Bros. games and the old Castle Crashers game that never made its way to iOS somehow. Developer Hipster Whale provides the next best thing.

What's great about a game like Crossy Road Castle is that it's easy to get the entire family in on the multiplayer action thanks to Apple's family share feature. You're able to share this game with anyone in your iCloud family, and we just re-upped out Apple Arcade subscription (it's £4.99 a month) to do just that.

  • The best smartphone games to play with your family

12. Play board games online with friends

Self-isolation gaming isn't all about video games and trivia. Traditional board games have also begun to migrate to the online sphere for distant friends and families. The age-old cure for boredom? Board 'em. 

You can utilise a webcam to play certain bored games (ones that don't require you to keep secrets, while some games, like those on Tabletopia (paid and free), bring the experience online. Don't forget, your smartphone or tablet has multiplayer-friendly board games, too. 

  • How to play board games online: play with friends or family over the web

13. Find your live sports fix in these games

Football

Normally, our things to do at home when bored list includes watching sports games, especially football at this time of year. That's all caput thanks to this self-isolation period, and the brief thought of teams playing without a crowd was quickly scrapped when players started testing positive for coronavirus.

Here's the next best thing – and one that keeps everyone safe: you are the one going through the season playing at your favourite sports teams in various video games. No Wimbledon? No problem.

  • Ultimate Rivals (Free with Apple Arcade subscription)
  • FIFA Soccer (iOS | Android | PS4 | Xbox One | Nintendo Switch)
  • Madden NFL (iOS | Android | PS4 | Xbox One)
  • MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020 (iOS | Android)
  • RBI Baseball 2020 (iOS | Android | Xbox One | Nintendo Switch)
  • MLB: The Show 20 (PS4)
  • NBA Live Mobile Basketball (iOS | Android)
  • NBA 2K (iOS | Android | PS4 | Xbox One | Nintendo Switch | PC)
  • PGA Golf Tour Shootout (iOS | Android)
  • Golf Clash (iOS | Android)
  • Tennis Clash: Online League (iOS | Android)
  • WWE Champions 2020 (iOS | Android)
  • Best free Android games for 2020

14. Play 'Cards Against Humanity' online with friends

You might not be able to get together to play games with your friends and family in person like usual, but you can still play Cards Against Humanity online with a variety of services that feature virtual cards. There are three options in our guide, and they offer a safe way to play while remaining in self-isolation.

We're also highlighting the physical version of the game, just in case you're confined with family or roommates and want the real deal.

15. Take a trip… to a virtual museum or national park

The Lourve virtual tour

You can't go outside to do small things like go to a movie theatre, never mind make much bigger plans like embarking on an expedition to another country. Trust us, it's a much better idea to stay at home during this coronavirus outbreak. 

Good news: our 10 virtual tours: see museums and the world without leaving home list allows you to visit world's most popular museums and US national parks virtually. You can use a VR headset, but these tours also work with a smartphone or tablet.

Highlights include Machu Picchu in Peru (without the walking), The Louvre Museum in Paris (Mona Lisa told us to says "Hi"), and the Georgia Aquarium in the US (without all of the school students somehow completely blocking the giant Beluga whales).

16. Start streaming on Twitch and Mixer

Mixer

Could you be the next streaming superstar and topple Ninja from the top of the pile? Well, you'll never know unless you give it a go! 

We've created handy guides on how to stream on Twitch and how to stream on Mixer, depending on your platform of choice. It's super easy to get started, and sharing your gameplay with the world is a great way to socialise and share your favourite pastime with more people.

17. Discover a new podcast

Noise Cancelling podcast

Podcasts are by-and-large free and often strike the right balancing between being entertaining and informative. Notable podcasts including This American Life, Serial, and Stuff You Should Know – they're consistently in the top 50 on podcast platforms.

If we can be a bit biased for a second, you should really check out Noise Cancelling, the best new tech podcast around. This is our new weekly podcast that talks about what's happening in tech, expanding on the daily written coverage of TechRadar.

18. Trivia is back in session, right on your phone

Best virtual pub quiz

There are multiple ways to partake in trivia, even though your local bar is now closed. We've picked a cracking selection of quizzes for you to play, one for every night of the week. 

All are free to enter, and there's a wide variety of formats to enjoy – from classic pub-style quizzes to Marvel-centric mastermind challenges, your general knowledge will be put to the test. 

  • Best virtual pub quiz: a great live online quiz for every day of the week

19. Make a movie with free Final Cut Pro X

Final Cut Pro X

Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X are free for 90 days, meaning you have three months to make a movie or produce a song about your life in confinement courtesy of Apple. That's enough time to learn advanced techniques like colour-grading without having to pay £299 for FCPX or £199 for Logic Pro X. While Adobe Premier Pro CC has become popular on Windows machines, Final Cut Pro is still king of Mac computers when it comes to making videos.

20. Read one of 100 top ebooks

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Do this… but indoors or away from people, please.

It's easy to put off reading books when life gets busy and you have a commute. But you're probably free from your commute if you're working from home. So basically you have no excuse to flip through a few pages of an ebook.

Where do you start? That's sometimes the hardest part, but we've been impressed with Amazon's 100 books to read in a lifetime list. Not all will be your cup of tea, but there's something here for everyone and most ebooks are conveniently discounted. 

Not a fan of reading? Hate the sound of your own voice in your head? Audible is the best remedy for that. The Amazon-owned audiobook company still offers a free 30-day membership. The best parts? Both ebooks and audiobooks are delivered instantly and Amazon won't run out of inventory on either.

  • Best Kindle: which Amazon ereader should you buy?

21. Buy a webcam to chat with friends (and maybe work)

We've seen a dramatic uptick in usage of video conferencing services and apps, and that has caused everyone to rummage through their drawers to search for that long-lost webcam. Like us, you probably can't recall the last time you saw it. Or maybe it's sitting in your locked-up office.

Either way, we have a solution to get you up to speed: we've created a list of the best webcams for 2020 so you can chat with friends and work from home. Supplies of webcams is strained, so we're also highlighting where webcams are still in stock, too.

 

  • Best video conferencing software 2020

22. Organise your digital life

Among the best things to do this week are those 'adulting' digital clean-up tasks that you never got around to doing before the Covid-19 outbreak. Now is the best time to tackle them. No excuses. In fact, here's a running list to help you get started:

  • App overload on your laptop and phone: Your laptop and smartphone's home screen is full of files and apps you never use, and they're taking up more space than you probably realise – so prune them.
  • Social media purge: You likely have too many social media 'friends' you don't intend to share everything with (it's a privacy risk), and you probably follow too many accounts that aren't actually of interest to you anymore. It's time to do a purge. Also, take care of embarrassing posts from yesteryear. That's not you anymore.
  • Sort your photos into albums: Your photos aren't organised in albums, making it harder to show off vacations pics when it really matters. Never say "Hold on, let me just find it…" in a social setting. You know, whenever we do that again.
  • Delete bad photos: If a quarter of of your camera roll consists of throw-away shots that you'd never post and doubles you never got around to deleting, you should trash those needless photos and videos.
  • Go zero inbox: The biggest task of all: your email is overstuffed. It's time to fulfil that zero inbox goal and make your life easier every morning you wake up to fresh junk email. We use a service called Mailstorm to help bulk delete email.
  • How to use Google Assistant to organise your life

23. Buy a robot vacuum

iRobot Roomba 980

One of the best investments we made during last year's Black Friday was to buy a discounted robot vacuum. With us cleaning our home more than ever, it's extremely convenient to have a device to shoulder the burden. 

We're also standing away from the dust and dirt that can get kicked up in the air, not behind the barrel of a traditional vacuum. You'll want to check out our best robot vacuum buying guide and our highlighting of robot vacuum sales to get the best vacuum at a decent price.

24. Clean your gadgets of germs

We launched a series of how to clean articles, which is timely given you've probably put this off for a long time in the lead up to the coronavirus outbreak. It's among the top things to do if you haven't wiped-down your filthy, germ-collecting gadgets.

The biggest offender is your smartphone, so we launched a how to clean your phone guide, which mirrors our advice on how to clean your iPad or tablet and how to clean your laptop screen. It's very easy to forget about cleaning your AirPods, but they too could use a good rubdown, whether or not you see visible wax. Don't forget about your Nintendo Switch and cleaning all of your gaming peripherals. You'll hug those tightly during gaming marathons and they become germ magnets.

25. Exercise while safely self-distancing

Apple Watch 5 review

Getting exercise is crucial given our suddenly-even-more-so sedentary lifestyles. You, like us, may have a hard time staying motivated, and it's understandable. That's why we've turned to fitness trackers to keep reminding us that we haven't moved nearly enough while in self-isolation. They work at home or, if your government allows it, when going outside.

We just highlighted that the new Apple Watch deals, though nearly as many people are clamoring for the best version on our Apple Watch 5 deals page. Android users should turn their attention to Fitbit deals and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active deals (both work with iOS devices, too) and our overall picks for best smartwatch deals.

  • How to watch Joe Wicks' PE workout right now

26. Reserve a grocery delivery time slot now

Waitrose grocery delivery

The best thing to do at home mirrors what we liked doing when going out: eating. It's a harder now, sadly, with grocery store delivery time slots backed up globally and services like Amazon Fresh facing employee strikes. 

To the best of our ability, we're highlighting the best grocery delivery services in the UK and, when we can, highlighting rare open time slots. It's best to do this now before all of the other fun things to do.

27. Become a master chef with a meal kits service

Now is your chance to become a master chef with the best meal prep kits delivering step-by-step recipes to you along with the necessary ingredients – HelloFresh is our favourite in the UK.

If you're not ready to flex your culinary skills, there are takeaway apps in the UK that will get you ready-made foods from the restaurants you'd normally visit. You order get breakfast, lunch and dinner, and you'll be supporting many of the distressed restaurants in your area.

  • Hello Fresh? These are the best meal prep services

28. Support your local restaurant with takeaway orders

We have a list of the best food delivery apps the UK, and these guides have become all the more important in 2020 as local restaurants are hurting during the Covid-19 lockdown. While stocking up on food from grocery stores is important, so is supporting your favourite restaurants with food delivery and takeaway orders that want to stay in business and keep workers employed. Buying gift cards is also a way to help show your support.

29. Don't forget to feed your pets

where to buy pet food online delivery

Self-isolation can be rough on your pets

You can also buy pet food online, so it's not just people food that you're able to have delivered to your front door. That's good news for your dog, cat, or pet tiger.

We've been highlighting various stores in the UK in our guide, with names like Pet-Supermarket, Pets at Home, and even Amazon among the top choices.

  • The best pet cameras: smart cameras to keep an eye on your furry friends

30. Cancel wasteful expenditures (trips, gym, etc) 

Most airlines and hotels are offering free cancellations or at least vouchers in light of the coronavirus outbreak, although phone lines are jammed. This happened to us twice on a recent visit, leaving us with penalties both times. The good news is that most companies will right their wrongs – eventually.

We know that you are concerned about your travel plans. We are experiencing unprecedented call volumes and ask that if you’re not traveling within the next 72 hours, please wait to call. If you are traveling between now and April 30th, we have new options to change or cancel your trip online.

Expedia Group

There are some important tips. Airlines and travel sites like Expedia.com are asking customers to call them about changes no more than 72 hours before departure.

The thinking is that people with immediate travel plans still in jeopardy will have a chance to get through. Online cancellations weren't possible (probably made it harder to cancel) before when we tried in March, so companies are adapting.

You'll also want to cancel or pause your gym membership and make sure Groupon extends the expiration dates of your coupon vouchers. It's the little things that end up being costly when you forget about them.

We'll keep this list of things to do updated as the weeks of confinement continue and so long as we feel we're offering helpful advice. We're not in a global call to arms, but a worldwide call to couch – and we understand that can be difficult if you run out of fun ideas. We often give people buying advice, but we're just as happy to deliver enjoying advice.

  • How to work from home: the mouse, monitor, keyboard and router you need

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