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Free resources for exploring new hobbies amidst social distancing

Expert educators share a series of helpful tips and resources to navigate this unique time.

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While families are navigating a new norm of virtual school with younger children, working from home and staying home to help fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus, education experts in Lipscomb’s College of Education and the Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning & Innovation are sharing a series of helpful tips and other resources to help navigate this unique time.

Below is the latest resource that may be shared with students, friends, colleagues who may need some new ideas for leisure, exercise and creative activities that all contribute to positive mental health and wellbeing. 

Halle King, data specialist with Lipscomb’s IDEAL team, part of the College of Education, curated a list of free resources in the categories of exercise, mindfulness and reflection. She says this time of social distancing can be used to productively explore and introduce new habits, hobbies and routines. (Ariana Amaya collaborated with King to develop this resource.)

Create a routine

Creating a daily schedule and routine provides structure and intentional time for leisure and exercise (Check out this document for some tips on creating a routine at home). The activities included below are in no way “sponsored,” but are simply a collection of no-cost activities that are available for college students to engage in leisure exploration and exercise during remote-learning. Start off by exploring one to two activities a day and taking note of which activities you like and which you don’t like. Try at least one activity from each category over the course of a week!



  • PopSugar: YouTube exercise class videos including Zumba/Dance fitness and workouts without equipment
  • Peloton App: Exercise classes on demand including running, yoga, strength, and cycling- App is offering a 90 day free trial *remember to cancel subscription after trial ends. 
  • YMCA 360: On demand YMCA classes including bootcamp, barre, yoga, weightlifting, tai chi and more. Video library is free and continuing to expand. 


  • Yoga with Adriene: All videos are free on YouTube and vary by length and style
  • Do Yoga with Me: Free website which provides yoga videos varying by length and style
  • DownDog: App which offers customizable yoga videos by length and style. App is free until July 1st when you create an account with your .edu email *There is also a “Yoga for Beginners version of the App*

Barre & Dancing

  • DownDog Barre: App which offers customizable Barre classes varying by length and style. App is free until July 1st when you create an account with your .edu email
  • Barre3 : online barre classes. Free for 15 day trial  *remember to cancel subscription after trial ends. 
  • Learn to Dance: Offers free introductory dance lessons. 
Picture of journal

Mindfulness & Reflection



  • SimpleHabit: curated meditations specific to anxiety related to Coronavirus. They are also offering free premium memberships if you contact them and explain that you have a financial need related to coronavirus. 
  • Headspace: curated meditations specific for this time of crisis on the app for free. There is also a free membership for 2 weeks for additional content *remember to cancel subscription after trial ends. 



  • Brit + Co: online classes in water-color, lettering, cake decorating and more! Classes are free using code “SELFCARE” until March 31st.
  • Skillshare: online classes in animation, design, illustration, lifestyle, photography and more! Premium membership is free for two months *remember to cancel subscription after trial ends. 


  • Libby by OverDrive: Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free through this app using your local public library card as your login 

Puzzles and Games

  • Crossword: many free apps available, and free daily digital crossword through newspapers like LA Times, Washington Post, and NY Times.
  • Sudoku: many free apps available, and free daily puzzles online
  • GamePigeon: a free app that allows you to play games through iMessage with your friends. Simply download the app, open iMessage, and pick a game!
  • Online games to play with friends remotely 
Photo of puzzle

Cultural Activities (Concerts, Musicals, Museums)


  • The Metropolitan Opera: Live streams and recorded streams of opera from the Met
  • Living Room Concerts: Broadway stars perform songs every night
  • Broadway Shows: Broadway HD is offering a free trial for one week to watch full - length Broadway shows from home. Set a reminder to cancel your trial after one week. 

Virtual field trips

  • Google Arts & Culture: free tours of cultural exhibitions, especially art 
  • Document with information about various cultural sites you can visit remotely (zoo, aquarium, museums, etc.) All links are included. 

Remote Service/Volunteer Opportunities 

  • Donate to a local food bank/pantry 
  • Reach out to neighbors, friends, older adults, family etc. to have a conversation and/or see if they need anything
  • Make a card or artwork for people in nursing homes or hospitals who are not allowed to have visitors
  • Make a card or artwork for nurses and doctors taking care of people in the hospitals 

Additional Ideas


  • Netflix party! Watch a movie or show while chatting with friends.
  • Gardening 
  • Cooking & baking- try a new recipe or do a “Chopt” challenge (cook with only a few selected ingredients you have in your house)
  • Board games 
  • Bird watching - the free app Merlin Bird ID can help you identify birds in your area
  • Home decorating or projects 
  • Go for a walk or hike
  • Have a breakfast or lunch date with a parent, sibling, or spouse with no phones
  • Arts & crafts - learn how to paint, draw, knit, crochet, etc. Use Pinterest for inspiration
  • Photography - try a 30 day “photography challenge” (try to take a photo of a different object/person each day). You can do this with a friend and share your pictures each day.
  • Facetime a friend!