Baking cookies or other new recipes is an ideal activity to do while social distancing. 

When it comes to being stuck at home, students often see it as a chance to watch movies or binge an entire season of a TV show. Although streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are entertaining, it’s refreshing to step away from the screen and engage in other activities to keep one occupied. Here are a few alternatives when staying at home.


No matter one’s age, puzzles can be an entertaining activity to do whether one’s looking to be alone or trying to find a way to pass time with family or friends. If one doesn’t complete puzzles often, beginning with a simple 50- to 100-piece puzzle is a good place to start. Someone who’s more experienced or who wants to challenge themselves might choose a puzzle with 500 to 1,000 pieces.

Go through old pictures

People typically have a few boxes of pictures from their childhood sitting somewhere in their house that are never looked at. Now is a good time to get one’s family together and flip through all of the moments from when they were little and talk about the memories or people in the photos.

Art projects or “Do it Yourself” activities

Doing an art or DIY project is easy while stuck at home. There are several websites such as DIY & Crafts that offer different packages used to make things like a wall pocket organizer with an old CD or DVD and a “no-sew” pillow using unwanted household items. If one prefers simple crafts using art supplies, Crayola has a web page of ideas for crafts.


Go for a drive

Just because people are told to stay home and quarantine, it doesn’t mean they aren’t allowed to drive around and get fresh air. Staying inside for a long time can get overwhelming, and driving to a nearby park or somewhere not crowded can help. For those being cautious about going outside, they can stay in their car with the windows down. 

Write a letter to a relative

Typically, people communicate with relatives through social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram. Now that everyone has more free time, it may be nice to write to a person that one sees only on a specific holiday, or someone in another state, to see how they’re doing. It’s a great way to have extra company and bring joy to a family member who one doesn’t talk to often.

Read a book

Professors are constantly giving students reading assignments in required textbooks. Now, students can make time for a novel or anything else they want to read. One can choose their favorite book that they’ve read repeatedly or search through a bookshelf to find something they’ve never read before or haven’t picked up in a long time. 

For some, reading may get one lost in the story and away from reality, which some people might need, especially now. For those who don’t want to go out to a crowded bookstore, using an e-reader such as a Kindle from Amazon, a Nook from Barnes & Noble or any e-book apps can be an alternative.

Try a new recipe

Part of staying indoors can mean having a real home-cooked meal. But, it could be fun to cook a meal independently with an interesting or new recipe. If one looks on Pinterest or websites such as Food Network, they can find fun and simple dinner ideas. They can also look through a cookbook to find new meals to make by themselves or as a family activity.

Although JMU students might see remote schooling as an excuse to stay at home during the pandemic and watch Netflix, there are plenty of other things to do that don't involve a screen.

Contact Gracie Brogowski at For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.