Update: Sunday’s list of things to do just went from being sleepy to feeling exciting, with a live living room concert being put on by some of the biggest names in music. See it below.
Our list of 12 fun things to do at home is going to power you through the weekend, as we’ve added a bunch of new ideas to keep you entertained through coronavirus self-isolation and the world’s seemingly indefinite confinement.
We’re here to serve as a distraction from today’s surreal situation, or at least point you in the right direction of entertaining or productive things to do this weekend. It’ll keep you from being completely bored and while safely staying at home.
You can do anything you want – so long as it’s indoors and you’re still self-distancing, which, sure, kind of limits your options, come to think of it. But our things to do ideas include the best new games, movies, ebooks and podcasts you may have missed. It may be enough to keep you happily quarantined.
1. Watch the iHeart Living Room Concert
Streaming right now is the iHeart Living Room Concert for America, an hour-long free fundraiser- and awareness-focused concert on a number of channels and streaming platforms. You’ll be able to listen in and watch via iHeartRadio, Fox, Fox News, Fox Business Fox Sports 1 and all Fox websites. If you are having trouble watching it outside of the US, you can always get a VPN to tune in.
It’s being hosted by Sir Elton John, with performances by Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey and Tim McGraw. Late additions to the roster include Camila Cabello, Dave Grohl, H.E.R., and Sam Smith. Oh, and because it’s a music event, Ryan Seacrest is of course here, even if it’s only to give a hand-washing PSA.
2. 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 / £4.99 / AU$7.99 a month) to do just that.
3. ‘Tiger King’ rules Netflix this weekend
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 favorite true crime documentary, surpassing The Staircase (also a winner if you haven’t seen it).
Right away, Tiger King and its color characters border on being so ridiculous, you’d swear they’re not true. PSA: we’ve known some big cat lovers who couldn’t stand watching it for more the five minutes, so, for them, we suggest last month’s rave documentary miniseries instead, HBO’s McMillions.
4. Trivia is back in session, right on your phone
There are multiple ways to partake in trivia this weekend, even though your local bar is closed. First up is HQ Trivia (iOS and Android), the once-popular live game show app that shut down in February. It’s back starting Sunday at 9PM ET, at the exact time we need it. No, you won’t find Scott Rogowsky hosting this ‘trivia train’ but Matt Richards is at the helm, and even if you miss Sunday’s first game, a regular schedule should follow.
Shut-down bar trivia companies have transitioned to Twitch streaming due to self-distancing rules. Prominent brands include King Trivia (Sundays and Wednesdays at 10pm ET / 7pm PT) and Geeks Who Drink. It was one social of the things to do weekly in-person that has survived in a whole new isolation-friendly format.
5. Make a movie with free 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 color-grading without having to pay $299 / £299 / AU$499.99 for FCPX or $199 / £199 / AU$319.99 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.
6. Take a trip… to a virtual museum or national park
You can’t go outside to do small things like go to a movie theater, 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).
7. Become a master chef with a meal kits service
The best thing to do at home mirrors what we liked doing when going out: eating. It’s a harder now, with grocery store delivery time slots backed up globally. To the best of our ability, we’re highlighting the best grocery delivery services in the US and grocery delivery services in the UK.
Better yet, 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. Blue Apron is our favorite in the US, while HelloFresh is available in both the US and UK.
If you’re not ready to flex your culinary skills, there are food delivery services in the US and similar 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.
8. Play either Doom Eternal or Animal Crossing
Last weekend, 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.
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.
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: PCs, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and even Google Stadia.
9. Watch 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.
10. Read one of 100 top ebooks
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.
11. Discover a new 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.
12. Clean your gadgets – physically and digitally
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.
Already done that? Now is also the best time to dive into your digital files with our how to backup your PC and how to format your Mac guides. Backing up your pictures with Google Photos is one of the best uses of your free time.
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 during the beginning of week two. We often give people buying advice, but we’re just as happy to deliver enjoying advice.