Published on
11 June 2020

Is lockdown boredom getting to you? Do days seem like they are blurring into one?

With so much extra time stuck in the house, the temptation is there for all of us to spend our days watching Netflix and Youtube or endlessly scrolling through TikTok.

But there are other ways to keep yourself entertained, you just need to look!

Coding

Fancy making a game or designing an app? Why not use this extra time to learn the basics of coding - who knows where it will lead?

For those of you new to it, coding is when you write instructions to a computer to get it to perform a task. It can also be called programming.

There are plenty of free coding websites out there for you to explore. We’ve listed just a few of the websites that give a good introduction into computer programming.   

To get you started, why not check out The Hour of Code. The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to prove that anybody can learn the basics. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science. Check out the impressive number of tutorials and activities.

Codecademy is one of the most popular sites for learning how to code, develop games, and make a website. The basic platform is free but to do the more advanced coding, you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription.

Code Combat is a great site for children and young people of all ages who love playing online games and want to learn how to code in the process. The games are interactive and to control actions of players, the kids have to write lines of code. The difficulty rises as they advance in stages.

Scratch is another extremely popular site. Aimed at 8 to 16 year olds, the website teaches you how to build practically anything you can dream of. 

Coding without a computer

Don’t have access to a PC or laptop? No problem. There are lots of screen-free activities out there that can help you understand the ideas behind coding.

Check out CS Unplugged  for a host of printable games and activities which aim to help you get to grips with the basics of computer science, without needing the latest tech.

For a great introduction to coding, why not try this simple, easy to set up activity

What you need:

  • 49 playing cards
  • Toys or small items – the obstacles
  • Chocolate bar or treat – the prize
  • You – the programmer
  • Car – the computer or the robot

How to play:

  1. Set the cards out in a 7 by 7 grid on the floor (secure with tape if needed)
  2. Add toys on to the cards to act as obstacles
  3. Place a car on the bottom right hand card – this will act as your computer or robot
  4. Set a ‘prize’ on one of the other cards (a chocolate bar or similar)
  5. Without moving the car, write down the directions that your computer will need to get to the prize
  6. Write down moves like F3 (forward three cards), L1 (left one card) etc
  7. Once you’re happy with the instructions move the car using your ‘code’ (you could instruct someone else to see if the code works)
  8. Did your car make it to the prize? 

Video editing

Could you be the next TikTok sensation or even the next Spielberg? There are so many video editing apps out there for both computers and smartphones, making movies is easier now than ever before.

Effects differ with each app so it’s worth trying a few of them out to see which best suits your needs, but basic software usually enables you to trim, split and combine videos and photos, as well as add effects such as music, text, voiceovers, colour and sometimes animation.

Here are a few to get you started:

  • If you’re looking to work off a PC, Animotica is an easy to use video editor, movie maker and slideshow video maker for Windows 10.
  • iMovie boasts the ability to help you make Hollywood style trailers and beautiful home movies quickly and simply.
  • For a fun and easy way to make and edit your movies, Majisto Video editor is a good start. The app is designed to make sharing your creations on social media simple. 

Music making

Whether you’re a talented musician or a complete novice, you only need a simple app to turn your musical ideas into a reality. Technology has advanced so much that you don’t need a recording studio and a host of instruments to make toe-tapping tunes. People have recorded entire tracks just using apps like these: 

  • Garage Band is a totally free and addictive app that has an impressive stock of professional sounds for you to choose from, including drums, keyboards, guitars, brass and strings. It also gives you the opportunity to record your own sounds - all from your phone.
  • Again, completely free, Band lab is an award-winning app that transforms your phone or tablet into a studio with 120 professionally created instruments.

Books

If you have any unread or forgotten books on your shelves, now is the time to dust them off and disappear into your imagination!

If you don’t have access to any books, never fear! For as long as schools are closed, Amazon has vowed to make an incredible collection of children’s audio books available, completely free. From Harry Potter to Winne the Pooh, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Check out Audible and see where the stories take you!

Arts and crafts

A simple search on your phone or computer will reveal hundreds of thousands of art and craft ideas to keep you entertained for hours on end.

Whatever your interests, be it drawing, painting, gluing, papercraft, colouring, textiles, playdoh, woodwork, or any of the other countless activities out there, there’s something for everyone.

So remember, there are so many ways to escape your boredom. Get searching!