We’re getting to know our homes a lot better at the moment. Instead of being the place we wake up in, then return to after a day of work or learning, it’s now the office or classroom for hundreds of thousands of people across the UK.
But that doesn’t mean staying at home has to be boring. There are plenty of welcome distractions to be found, and we’ve gathered 26 of them here. if you love lists, you can work through this alphabetically as there’s one for every letter. Or, simply pick a few which catch your eye and have as much fun with them as possible.
A is for astronomy
The world may be different at ground level but it’s as magical as ever in the miles above our heads. Astronomy, the study of stars, moons and other planets (also known as celestial objects), may sound like something which requires bulky equipment such as telescopes, but a lot can be learned by simply gazing into the night sky. The Moon itself is a fascinating object, going through different phases as its orbit in relation to the Earth changes. You can add to this by doing some research in books and from the internet. Bitesize even has a list of things you probably never knew about the solar system.
B is for barbecue
You’re going to need help to set one of these up, and make sure you leave the cooking to someone who knows what they’re doing! If a barbecue is possible in your back garden, it’s a good way to keep your household’s spirits up. If you don’t have access to a garden, you could have an indoor meal using the grill (again, make sure someone responsible is in charge of the cooking), but whichever method you use, this could make some interesting reading at the same time. Who knew science and barbecues went so well together? Just make sure you don’t send smoke into anyone else’s garden!
C is for careers
When you have a little longer to think than usual, it’s a good opportunity to plan. Don’t feel under any pressure to do anything you’re not comfortable with, but if you are in the mood to think about your future job, this is the time when your imagination can take hold. Why not try beekeeping? Run an entire farm of solar panels? Would you like to create apps for a living? You can find loads of advice and ideas in Bitesize’s careers section.
D is for doodling
Not every activity we do during lockdown has to be hi-octane. Sometimes letting our mind drift off to daydream can be just as much fun. This is also a time when we can find ourselves doodling. It may look like some random squiggles or lines on a page, but there is some fascinating research into what our doodles may mean. Want to know more? Take a look at this.
E is to eat your way around the world
Some projects are a very tasty undertaking. If you want to experiment with the food in the larder during lockdown, trying different meals from around the world could help broaden your palate. Need some inspiration? Get yourself in the mood with our desserts of the world quiz. But to make sure you don’t eat too much sugar, balance that out with these recipes from BBC Food.
F is for the fun of folding
We’ll all be mucking in with our share of the housework at this time, but Mary Poppins was right – it can be fun! Set yourself the challenge of folding all the clothes that go into your drawers into perfect squares or rectangles (you can find one method in this Bitesize article). Time yourself doing it, and see if you can get quicker each day.
G is for your garden
If you want to nurture your inner scientist while staying at home, the garden is a good place to start. Take a look at these short films before you step outside and see how much science you can spot. And you can always use the garden for enjoying a good book too. If you don’t have a garden, see if you can set something up on a window box or windowsill.
H is for hula hooping
There was a time in the 1950s and 60s when hula hooping was all the rage. Keeping a large plastic or wooden hoop spinning around your waist took a lot of practice to get right and was also good exercise. If you have one in the shed, try it for yourself. If not, here’s other exercise you can try – defeating the Lava Zone.
I is for instrument
If you want to learn the basics of a musical instrument during lockdown, it’s been suggested that the easiest one to master in the shortest space of time is the ukulele with its four strings (two fewer than a guitar). But if you don’t already have a uke, or any other instrument, and aren’t in the position to pop to the shops to pick up a new one, try making your own instead!
J is for jokes
Why do we laugh? Well, it’s good for us. And if you want to make the rest of the people in your household feel good, then why not do a mini stand-up comedy session where you reel off 10 of your favourite funnies? They might even ask for an encore.
K is for Kitchen Disco
The funkiest lockdown dancefloors are found in the kitchen! You may have seen some on social media. It’s the perfect way to let off some steam after the dinner dishes have been washed and put away. Put your favourite playlist on, get everyone involved, and throw your finest shapes and moves for as long as you like, it can even do your health good. If you can (safely) incorporate some coloured lights, even better!
L is for languages
Mastering a new language takes time and if you started now, nobody would expect you to be fluent in the space of a few months. What you can do is introduce yourself to the basics of a language and use that as a foundation. If the language you want to learn uses grammatical gender, that can be tricky to get your head around too – try this quiz and see how you get on.
M is for mastering magic maths tricks
Why master one ‘m’ when you can be alliterative and do three in one go? Fortunately, Bitesize is well prepared when it comes to magic maths tricks. Are you ready? Ta-dah! (and they’re from famous people too…)
N is for noise
We wouldn’t suggest you make any noises that annoy the neighbours, but you can make the sort of noise that would impress a robot. Have you taken the robot challenge yet? It’s from our friends at BBC Bring the Noise and looks like a lot of fun.
O is for origami
There’s something very satisfying about turning a blank piece of paper into something beautiful. You can do it through painting, poetry, play-writing – or even origami. The ancient art of paper folding can create some superbly intricate sculptures. There’s a guide to one such creation in here.
P is for pancakes
They’re thin, they’re round, they’re frankly amazing. Pancakes are one of the easiest, and tastiest things you can make with just a few ingredients from the cupboard. What’s more, one batch can easily go round everyone in the household too, making it a relatively quick and easy treat. The filling or topping is up to you (go savoury if you want to!) but sometimes just a sprinkling of sugar and a dash of lemon juice is enough…
Q is for quizzing
What’s one good way of passing the time?
Become a quiz supremo!
Either set one up for your family (perhaps the winner can have a night off from doing the dishes?) or challenge yourself. Bitesize can help you get started – quizzes on many subjects can be found here.
R is for recycling experiments
If you’re in a household that’s staying in together for a while, the rubbish and recycling is likely to build up more than usual. One way to make use of empty plastic drinks bottles, with a little help from some water, biodegradable glitter and a splash of washing up liquid, is to make your very own tornado. Intrigued? Take a look at these.
S is for sign language
Not all languages are spoken. Some are made up of signals, gestures and facial expressions, such as sign language. It’s been a way for people with hearing impairments to communicate for centuries. It even has different signs in the way other cities and countries have different accents. This will tell you a little more.
T is for talk
We all have subjects we’re passionate about, so why not turn them into a talk? Assemble your household in the living room, make an event of it – perhaps even use slides and invite questions afterwards. If you want a few tips on keeping calm before making a speech, Dr Radha from BBC Radio 1’s Life Hacks has some good advice.
U is for unveiling a masterpiece
Getting crafty is a perfect way to pass the time. You can be poetic, make a statement with a plasticine sculpture, or even through cake decorating. After all that creative hard work, it needs to be officially revealed to an appreciative crowd (ie, the rest of your household).
V is for videogames
If you’re the queen or king of the controller, then your downtime at the moment could see you beating some of your best video game records. But do you know enough about gaming to come out tops in our quiz? And what about Bitesize’s own collection of games? See how long it takes you to complete Karate Cats!
W is for writing
When you get an idea for a story that really grabs you, immersing yourself in it for hours can be so rewarding. If you want to take yourself away into a quiet corner and get your characters into all sorts of adventures, here’s why it can do you some good.
X is for… marking the spot
Every good pirate will tell you that an X on a treasure map is where you need to dog to find the gold. If your household needs a bit of fun and exercise, why not set up a treasure hunt around the house? Include the garden if you ave access to one. Take a few unbreakable objects, hide them in places which are safe to reach and then leave a list of clues where each one can be found. The winner is whoever completes the search in the shortest time. Need another idea for a treasure hunt? Our friends at Newsround can help there.
Y is for yeast
With everyone living together at the moment, it could be useful to find new ways of stocking up the larder. One way is to bake your own bread. It it’s your first attempt, make the most of the moment and give that loaf a name! Here’s one recipe you can follow from BBC Food.
Z is for zooming in
The lockdown we are living through to prevent the spread of coronavirus is going to be an event that will be talked about for years to come. One day, it may even form part of history lessons. So why not make your own video diary of this time? Interview the people you live with (but only if they’re willing) and ask them how they’re feeling.
Record your own thoughts and perhaps even any of the activities you carry out from this list. When life returns to normal, you’ll have a permanent record – which you can edit into a single film if you have the software – of an unprecedented time in our lives.