Culture

19 more free and fun internet activities to try

Take a class, visit a museum and launch into outer space all without leaving the house.

Take a class, visit a museum and launch into outer space all without leaving the house

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

On some winter weather days, it can be challenging to want to do anything but cozy up on the couch. Perhaps you've already explored our previous lists of amazing free internet activities. So, now what? We've got 19 more amazing activities to try. Get your brain pumping with an online escape room, awaken your creativity by making poetry and more. These awesome free games, museums, experiences and classes will inspire and entertain through the dead of winter and beyond.

New skills

Express your innermost poetic thoughts and ideas with the help of an online poetry workshop. The California Institute of the Arts offers a six-week poetry workshop course via Coursera that covers everything from metaphors to rhyme and rhythm. (This may very well be your first step to one day shortlisting for the CBC Poetry Prize.)

Dust off that DSLR camera that's been sitting in a box since your smartphone started taking centre stage and put it to good use with some new-found digital photography skills courtesy of Udemy's photography course for beginners. You might also be able to trade camera jargon with your fellow photographers.

Games

If you've ever done an escape room IRL, you can attest to the adrenaline-pumping experience that it is. Online versions, like Mystery Escape Room's Castle Escape, are less demanding, as you're not physically trapped in a room, but you still get to utilize your problem-solving abilities.

If you're looking for a game to test your patience and perseverance, QWOP would be it. It's a brilliantly simple game with one goal: get the runner to the finish line. Seems easy enough, except you have to manually move his calves and thighs using the letter keys Q-W-O-P. One gamer, in a video with over 10 million views, commented that it was the most difficult game he's ever played in his life. But it's worth playing for the hilarity of the running fails alone.

Level up your visual perception and cognitive skills by doing jigsaw puzzles regularly. Jigsaw Explorer serves up a couple of fresh puzzles every day, which you can customize from six pieces up to nearly 1000.

Infinite Story requires more reading than most other games; it's interactive fiction created by users for users. You can pick one of the choose-your-own-adventure stories by genre, like the adventure story, "Suzy's Strange Saga," or the humourous "Blind Date," among others. You can even write your own for all to read.

In GeoGuessr, you can explore neighbourhoods around the world, while guessing the locations to gain points. Each place offers a 360-degree view as well as the ability to travel around to get more visual clues. While GeoGuessr only allows for 20 minutes of free game play every 24 hours, it's easy to squeeze in a number of games within the free time frame, and GeoGuessr will save your progress until your next free attempt.

Health habits

Regular journaling can help boost psychological health, but building a habit can be intimidating to those who may be less practiced in writing. Enter Daylio, an app that helps you to track your mood and take notes as you please (or don't please). This easy tool serves as a way to check in with yourself daily.

When you think of internet activities, yoga probably isn't the first thing to come to mind. But you won't regret diving into Adriene Mischler's (aka Yoga with Adriene) gentle approach to feel-good stretches and body movements. Beginners should try "Cozy Flow" or "Yoga to Heal Stress," while intermediates might enjoy "Move: A 30-Day Yoga Journey."

Add to your happiness toolbox with the University of California Berkeley's 11-week course, The Science of Happiness, which teaches science-based principles and practices for a happy and meaningful life.

Expanding your knowledge

The University of Alberta offers an educational 12-week course called "Indigenous Canada," which explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues. Taught from an Indigenous perspective, this course covers a variety of topics such as treaties, land claims, environmental impacts as well as contemporary Indigenous art.

In collaboration with Google Cultural Institute, The British Museum allows virtual visitors to explore and learn about artifacts from the 21st century all the way back to 2,000,000 BC, spanning multiple continents and organized under five themes: art and design, living and dying, power and identity, religion and belief, and trade and conflict.

Get to know the trailblazing women of Canadian history with the Canadian Encyclopedia's collection of timelines, quizzes and articles, featuring influential characters like Elsie MacGill and Lady Aberdeen. For the women's movement south of the border, the National Women's History Museum offers virtual exhibits, where you can learn about the women of NASA, women in STEM and important figures like Harriet Tubman

Animals, nature and the galaxy

Relax with Monterey Bay Aquarium's multiple live cams, where you can watch marine life swim, float and play. With nine live cams to choose from, complete with ambient music and staff-narrated feedings, there's no shortage of entertainment.

Go on a virtual field trip and explore the natural environment with the Nature Conservancy, which has put together 11 educational excursions for students and educators — though anyone can benefit. Discover the secret life of corals, explore a coastal ecosystem in Peru and more.

Space enthusiasts can easily get lost in the awesomeness of the Hubble Space Telescope website, which has countless images, videos and discoveries to dig into. Plus you can check out what the telescope is capturing live in real time, too.

Arts and culture

Watch notable authors read from their books in these recorded readings from Writing by Writers. With 62 readings to choose from, prepare to get lost in hours and hours of stories, while seeing these writers up close and personal.

Brooklyn-based bookseller Books Are Magic not only offers past recordings of in-person interviews with authors but has live ticketed events, too. Not all the virtual events are free, but it's worth keeping an eye on the store's upcoming events listing. Past interviewees include Ethan Hawke, Esi Edugyan and Shiori Ito.

Tour the Vatican Museums without leaving your house, and see some of the world's most famous and breathtaking examples of art and architecture, like the Sistine Chapel and Raphael's Rooms. From the mesmerizing floor tiles to the window detailing and intricate ceilings, every inch is a work of wonder.


Janet Ho is a writer and nature enthusiast. You can follow her at @janetlynho.

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