(Approx. reading time 8 mins 1 secs, last updated 8/July/2021)
It doesn’t matter if you’re forced to stay indoors due to a sudden pandemic, if the weather is just too horrible to get outside, or if you just can’t be bothered to leave the house. There are still a lot of options to keep you occupied and entertained at home beyond Netflix.
There are so many things you can have a tasting of: wine, beer, tea, gin, coffee, sake, whisky, gin…. And if drinks are not your thing, you could go for food like: cheese, chocolate, sushi, icecream, different varieties of fruits…
There are many option of prepared tastings you can order or you can DIY your own.
Having a spa day at home is probably the staycation cliche (if there is such a thing), but there’s a reason for it. A spa day means you give yourself permission to do nothing and just pamper yourself for a while, and those are both great things!
Movie marathon/film festival
I know I started saying there are options beyond Netflix, but sometimes Netflix is just a great option. To keep it interesting and a bit different, you could plan a mini film festival with a theme. You could watch only Russian films, or films that won Best Director at the Oscars, or films with Will Smith, or films made in 1945, or films with the word red in the title… the possibilities are endless and also incredibly random.
Crafts could be as involved or as simple as you want to make them depending on the time you have and your skill-level.
Some fun crafts that are quite easy to pick up and not too expensive are making bath bombs, melt and pour soap, and air dry clay. They also make great gifts! If you like fabric and yarn: sewing, knitting, crochet, and embroidery are all quite easy and affordable to get started at.
All you need is a small kit and off you go. If you know someone who is skilled at the craft, you could arrange for an in-person lesson over a cup of coffee. If you don’t, YouTube and Skillshare have loads of fantastic videos that can help you learn.
A themed night (or day, or week, I won’t judge) can be as kitschy or elegant as you make it, but they are always fun. Make sure you look into all the possibilities: music, films, documentaries, decorations, food, drinks, activities… You could go for all of them or choose only a few.
Watch a live performance
Since lockdown worldwide started the offer of online live or replayed performances has grown like crazy. USA’s Broadway and the UK’s West End are both putting shows online, a lot of musicians are uploading full concerts, and many art venues are hosting digital events.
Follow your favourite performers and venues on social media and check their websites for updates. Or if you’re open to anything, you can always check Facebook events (there’s an option for online events).
Game night sound very 80’s, but they are always loads of fun.
I am very much biased to role-playing games and over-complicated card games (Magic The Gathering is a favourite), but even a simple and classic games like charades and poker dice can translate into hours of cheap entertainment. Just make sure snacks are at the ready!
And if you’re alone, you can still have a game night. There are load of fun games around designed for 1 person only. Or you could play with someone virtually.
Another one of those things that came to its own thanks to the pandemic. Meal kits have been popular for a while as basic kits available from supermarkets or as subscription services, but they are meal kits are also being offered by restaurants.
Restaurant-created meal kits are usually only available in the area served by that restaurant, which makes them a great way to support local businesses. They all come with ingredients, and some restaurants have even created instructional videos. Check your local restaurant websites to see what they have on offer.
If you enjoy watching sports, why not dedicate a whole day to it? You could watch live matches or even relays of classic ones, or even add a few documentaries into the mix.
Just don’t forget the snacks!
Creating art doesn’t have to be hard or expensive, anyone can do it. The great thing about creating art is that there are so many options, from colouring books to a full-on oil painting to a collage made with random bits found around the house.
I am a big fan of The artist in you! (available on prime) and Skillshare, but tutorials are easy to find all over the internet.
A break from work can involve some interesting or fun learning too. If there’s something you’ve been meaning to learn for a while, this is the time to get started.
You don’t have to go all out and start a year-long course, you could do a short intro course or even a taster session. Some places where you can find great courses and lessons for free are YouTube and iTunes U. If you don’t mind paying a fee, Skillshare is fantastic. And if you’re after something a bit more academic, Open Learn has really good short free courses.
A BBQ is always fun, even if it’s just for your family and you are not hosting anyone. To make it more interesting, you could theme it (for example: vegan, fruits-only, Mexican-inspired…) or the one who is usually in change can hand the reins to someone else (and teach them at the same time!).
And don’t think that winter means no BBQ! Check my eating and cooking in winter article for some winter BBQing tips.
I love virtual trips, they give me the chance to visit places I would never be able to get to in real life, and many times virtual field trips show things visitors don’t get to see either.
There are loads of pre-made virtual trips online, but you can also always piece together your own. A few weeks ago we decided to do a virtual field trip to Wembley Stadium, and after a short YouTube search we ended up putting together a 1-hour long playlist that included a chat with the architect, videos of areas not available on tours, and the history of the stadium.
Takeaway usually means Chinese, Indian, or pizza. But there are so many more options! With the pandemic a lot of restaurants that only offered seat-in service now also have takeaway options, and most don’t look like they’ll stop once things go back to normal. Why not try a different cuisine?
Brunch is the epitome of having free time: it starts late in the day and it’s meant to take a long time. Staycations are a great excuse to enjoy a proper brunch.
You could prepare everything yourself, prepare some and buy some things premade, or even have it delivered for extra laziness!
Dressing up can be a lot of fun and it doesn’t have to be limited to kids or halloween. If you don’t have any actual costumes, you could try Disney-bounding or history-bounding, or maybe create your own costumes (there are a lot of fantastic cosplay resources online).
If you want to take it a step further, you could try LARPing (live action role playing) at home.
Friendly competitions are always a great way to have fun with others, and if you get food at the end even better.
You could have the competition at home with whoever you live with or virtually as a way to connect with friends and family you can’t see in person. It’s usually best choose a theme or key ingredients so that everyone has the same starting point.
Look at the skies
Waking up early to see the sunrise or staying out to see the sunset are two activities very much related to holidays. Why not do them while at home. If you have a garden or balcony, ou could do it outside. But even if you don’t, sunset and sunrise will still look beautiful when seen from a window.
Or, you could look at the night sky. Stargazing is a relaxing activity and can be complemented with some storytelling.
Film a video
You probably have a camera or a phone with a decent camera. Why not use it to make a video? You could do a traditional vlog, show a skill you have, try something new, or even film a short.
Afterwards, you could share with friends and family, or social media if you’re feeling brave. But the experience of filming and editing should be great fun regardless.
Read a new genre
Are you a sci-fi person? Try historical romance. Do you always read thrillers? Try a memoir. Are you a classics fan? Read a new YA.
Try to figure out a genre that is the complete opposite of what you usually go for, and a book in that genre (and yes, audiobooks count too!).
All the fun, none of the bugs. Make it more realistic by rolling a picnic blanket on the floor.
Much like a picnic, you can also camp indoors. No, the experience is not the same, but it can still be fun and enjoyable. You could set up a tent or build a blanket fort, and you could lie down on sleeping bags or go all out and set up a mattress on the floor with fluffy pillows.
If you can, have a campfire (on a fireplace) or torches as your sources of light instead of your house lights.
A safari isn’t limited to visiting the plains of Africa. You can have a mini-safari experience right at home by looking for bugs, birds, and trees.
Only a few days ago my kids decided to grab a book of British trees and spent hours looking out of the window trying to figure out what each tree they could see was called.
Having plants around you is always nice, they are a way to decorate your environment and bring life into rooms. Having to take care of plants also helps keep a routine and connect to other living beings in a non-demanding way, both good ways to support mental health. And if you grow food, you can eat some great things!
You could use a staycation to get started with an indoor garden, plant a few things, or give your current plants some extra love.
Go all out on seasonal celebrations
Throughout the year there are loads of celebrations. Some are religious and some are not, so no matter what religion you follow (if any), you will surely find something that sounds interesting. You can cook a mini feast, decorate the house, play seasonal music, and be generally as extra as you can.
Last year, we decided to celebrate thanksgiving, even though we live in the UK. We do live in Plymouth, so we had a bit of an excuse, if rather tenuous! We mixed it with homeschooling and watched some videos about the first thanksgiving, the Wampanoag, and the Mayflower (which has been a bit of an ongoing topic for us anyway thanks to Mayflower400), and we each cooked a different dish. The whole thing took a day of planning and a day of cooking and learning, and we all had loads of fun (especially when eating strange thanksgiving food we’d never had before!)
Writing down what you did during the day might not be for everyone, but journaling has developed and grown to be much more than that over the years.
Journals can be used as a sort of worksheet for personal or professional growth with topic-centered prompt-based journals, and on the opposite extreme you find art journals that people use as a way of expressing their creativity in a free way. Plus everything in between, including bullet journalling.
View some art
Art is everywhere, so why not spend some time looking at it. From virtual tours of museums to small artist’s social media accounts, the options are endless.
Relax, smell yummy things, and get clean all in one. Be extra and light some candles, grab a book, and a good drink. And then forget the world exists for a while.
Staying indoors doesn’t mean sitting down, there are a lot of activities that can get you moving. Yoga and dancing are always great options and there are a lot of videos you can follow along online.
And when everything else fails: sit down in front of the telly, make a cuppa, and do nothing for however long you want.
Doing nothing is always an acceptable option.