Stuck at home? Still have an internet connection? Here are some fun things to check out
1) Go google maps sight-seeing
When google first offered its satellite view it was always fun to poke around and find interesting things that are visible from space like one the many shipwrecks sitting in the desert of the Skeleton Coast of Namibia, or The Airforce’s Aircraft boneyard (you can also find area 51, well at least what the government wants you yo think is Area 51), or the huge craters of the nuclear testing sites outside of groom lake (zoom out and head south west to see more) or any of the crazy things on this list (ever wondered where the world’s largest swimming pool is? they got that.)
But now, it doesn’t stop there! Thanks to Google street view you can look around at Times Square, Stand at the foot of the worlds tallest building, Burj Kalifa in Dubai, or walk around in The Magic Kingdom at Disney World. Yes, I know it’s nothing like actually being there, but it still is a little fun to be able to hop from the Forbidden City in Beijing to flippin’ Antartica in just a few clicks!
2) Go down a Wikipedia rabbit hole
I am an information addict, I’ve known that since I became acquainted with the term, so Wikipedia is where I often get my fix. What’s fun about Wikipedia is that because all the articles are interlinked you can navigate from one page to another and find constant new things. I’m sure I’m not introducing this to you for the first time, but if you’re looking for a place to start try Wikipedia’s list of unusual Wikipedia articles. It’s quite extensive, and I doubt you’re going to exhaust the list quickly. There’s also games you can play with Wikipedia similar to the six degrees of Kavin Bacon – you could pick two seeming unrelated topics and see how few clicks it takes you to get from one to the other, navigating only using the links inside the articles. Or pick a really well-known historical event or figure and find the longest path you can make from any given topic back to it.
In addition there of course is plenty of summarized history, science, and general knowledge about our world. Do you know how many stars there are in the Paramount Logo and why? Who was the Holy Roman Emperor to hold the title for the shortest period? Maybe you’d be interested in the creepiest articles on Wikipedia. Or this list of interesting articles that will all take you down the rabbit hole. WARNING: Some of these articles are down-right sad, so click at your own risk.
After a while you might find yourself typing random words into Wikipedia and seeing what comes up. “Incident” and “controversy” will give you some intriguing articles. “Failure” will lead you to some cautionary tales. And “Worlds biggest…” will usually give you some fun lists of ships, buildings, mountains, aircraft, canyons etc. Have fun!
3) Brave the subs of Reddit
If you’re not familiar with Reddit, then I should warn you – there is a lot of unwholesome stuff on there, but if you stick to the main subs then you’re likely to get more wholesome stuff, though the discussion everywhere gets pretty non-family friendly. Reddit is a social media platform that is built around discussion and info aggregation. It’s divided into subreddits or “subs” that specialize in a single topic. Your favorite TV show, band, movie, sports team, and even many podcasts all have subs dedicated to them.
If you’ve never visited reddit, I recommend visiting a few of the more popular, wholesome subs. r/AskReddit is one of the largest – click “Top” to browse the most popular posts and click whether you want to browse from just today, this week, this month, or all time. Select some of the more interesting questions and answers that have come up there.
r/Aww is one of my favorites; it’s just pictures that make you say “aww!” There are “humor” “funny” and “jokes” some of those get pretty blue, and even more are just meta humor that you’d have to be a Redditor to appreciate. There’s also r/Showerthoughts which is a list of odd, funny, or interesting epiphanies – the kind you have while in the shower.
If you want to see people reacting to satirical sites as if they’re real then you can visit r/AteTheOnion. Or if you want to hear stories that people have told on the internet but are way to ridiculous to be true, then head over to r/thathappened. One of my personal favorites is r/WritingPrompts where people submit ideas for a plot and others submit the stories that are inspired by them.
I feel like I should emphasize the above warning, especially if you get an account and start interacting on there Reddit isn’t always the friendliest place, but it can be a fun place to lurk.
4) Learn a new language on Duolingo
It is downright amazing that Duolingo is available for free! There is a paid version, but even without it you can spend all day on this site (and the mobile app.) Not only does it have dozens of languages, it makes learning fun by having these game-like quizzes and it tracks your accomplishments and awards you points – putting you on the leader board against all other Duolingo users. I recently spent 100 straight days trying to learn Romanian.
What is especially cool about Duolingo is that it is actually saving dying languages. There are more people learning the Irish language on duolingo right now than are native speakers. Another fun fact about Duolingo: the most popular language being learned on Duolingo in Sweden is actually Swedish. Go figure.
5) Watch movies and TV shows for free (legally)
There are plenty of places to watch stuff for free on the internet – but here are a few you might not know about
Public Domain Films – If you consider yourself a movie buff and you’ve never watched a Buster Keaton silent film, now’s your chance to put up or shut up.
Rerun Century – There are many great TV series that are in the public domain. Most of the Dick van Dyke show is available, as well as the Jack Benny Show, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Documentary Heaven – You like documentaries on some pretty obscure topics made by people you’ve never heard of? Here you go.
Tubi – many more recent TV shows and Movies for free. I recommend the TV show, “Leverage” it’s basically a weekly Oceans 11. Also if you haven’t watched “The founder” – it’s intriguing. It’s the true story of how McDonalds came to be starring Michael Keaton.
IMDB TV – Also has a lot of newer TV & Movies. I recommend Lie To Me if you’re into detective shows. If you want something twisty and mind bending (and don’t mind the R rating) then Memento is a must watch. If you want to watch a family-friendly drama that is kind of slow, but very sweet “Whale Rider” is an excellent choice.
Many others- there are plenty of legit places to stream movies and TV for free. Youtube actually has quite a selection as well and if you have a TV connected box like a Roku, Fire Stick, or Apple TV, most of the above services have apps for all of those.
6) Download the You Version Bible App
You knew this was coming. But really, do you know how cool You Version is? In addition to the App – which has virtually every translation of the Bible now – there’s a kids app and apps on TV connected devices where you can watch free video content. You can follow friends and send each other messages, or do a Bible study together and participate in discussion.
Also have you checked out their Youtube channel? Or their Bible App for Kids Youtube Channel. Or BONUS an even better Youtube channel in the same vein is the Bible Project – which has some really cool content.
7) Take some personality tests and get to know yourself (and others like you)
My personal favorite personality test is the Myers Briggs Personality Test (MBTI) The official MBTI has to be given by a trained professional, but you can take test that is a pretty good facsimile here. Also really popular right now is the Enneagram, which I’m not as big a fan of (but that’s another blog entry) one of the challenges with it is that there is no definitive test for it (I myself have gotten a different result from every test I’ve taken) and some Enneagram proponents will even tell you that you really just need to read about the nine types and think over it, asking your friends, and really taking time to get to know yourself. But the first one that pops up on Google is this one – which you have to make an account for unfortunately.
There’s also the DISC test the always telling Political Compass Test, Or you could try this list of different tests you can take to get to know yourself that includes both IQ and EQ tests. Who knows, maybe you belong in MENSA.
After you’ve taken some tests you can find groups on Facebook filled with other people who have your same personality. Sometimes it’s fun to go to these pages and ask “Does anyone else….?” questions and find out how similar you are to others with your same type.
8) Read funny Amazon Reviews
If you’ve never Googled “funny amazon reviews” then you are in for a treat. There a bevy of well known Amazon products that are home to some of the most absurd reviews. I should warn you, not all products are family friendly. Here’s one of my favorites that didn’t make the above list. I was with a group of friends not long ago and we read some of these out loud and were all in tears from laughing so hard.
10) Read/Listen to classic books (or volunteer to transcribe/read them)
Project Gutenberg is a great resource if you have a tablet or e-reader and enjoy classic books. There are 60,000 titles that are all public domain. The works of Robert Lewis Stevenson, Jules Vern, Mark Twain, and HG Wells are all available here. If you’re like me and you actually absorb things better when they’re read to you then LibriVox is the site for you. It’s free public domain audio books.
If you’re already a connoisseur of classic literature and you’ve read all of those, then you could volunteer to help with either project. If there’s a book that isn’t in either above library (and is public domain) then you could offer to transcribe it for Project Gutenberg, or record a reading of it for LibriVox.