7 Fun Things I’m Learning While in Quarantine

Confinement doesn’t mean that learning has to stop

Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash

For a lot of countries, it’s now been at least a few weeks since the Coronavirus lockdown started. That’s a long time to stay inside, sometimes with no backyard, and with as little as 1 hour per day allowed to go run some errands (like in Italy or France).

It’s very hard to maintain a healthy routine when you’re locked up, even if you were healthy before. Your brain might be constantly foggy, your motivation close to zero, and your schedule completely disorganised. The worst thing is that you have more time than you know what to do with! Yet you can’t seem to fill up those hours.

To try and help you with that problem, I put together a list of fun things to learn, on your own or with others (if you’re lucky enough to not be alone at your place).

These activities are not about exercising, working, or maximising your time use. Of course this huge amount of free time can be an opportunity to work on side projects you’ve postponed a dozen times already. That’s for you to decide. But it’s also important to have fun, and to train your brain a little bit. Especially while in confinement, you need to put your brain cells to work, because there’s nothing to stimulate them. This can go a long way into bringing back motivation and momentum.

Let’s get to it!

1. Rubik’s cube

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Learning to solve a Rubik’s cube improves problem solving and dexterity. It won’t take you more than a few days to memorise how to do it without the instructions. Once you know how to do it by heart and start getting tired of it, you have a lot of other options. That’s the thing with the world of Cubes. It never stops, you can always find a new one to learn.

Try speed cubing

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With super fast rotating Rubik’s cubes like the GAN356 X, you can train and increase your solving time, to maybe beat the world record of 4.22 seconds.

Try bigger cubes

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Different cube sizes

Move up to the 4x4 cube, then 5x5, 6x6, 7x7… It’s the same algorithms for all of them. It just takes longer than a regular 3x3, which is perfect to kill time.

Try another shapemod

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A classic Megaminx

It doesn’t stop at the cube. Check out the Pyraminx, the Megaminx, the Fisher Cube

Go next level

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There are even crazier cubes to try. Check out the Gear Cube, the AI Bandaged Cube, or the Siamese Cubes

Rubik’s cube resources:

2. Chess

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Chess improves spatial skills, memory, problem solving, and it’s just a fun game overall. The possibilities are endless, and no 2 games are ever the same. If you’re in confinement with someone, it’s more fun to learn together, or to play right away if you already know the rules.

If you’re alone, you can play online, and there are a lot of resources to teach you everything about the game, no matter your level.

Chess resources:

3. Juggling

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3-ball Shower

Juggling sharpens concentration, and it’s a great stress relieving activity. Plus, it actually qualifies as exercising, which is great when you’re forced to stay inside. It doesn’t take long to learn either, and once you’ve learned, there’s also a lot of other levels you can try:

Try other juggling techniques

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3-ball Mills Mess

The cascade, the fountain, the columns, the half-box

Try juggling with something else than balls

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Stuck at home, you can be creative.

Try juggling with someone else

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Pass Juggling

If you live with someone, you can learn to juggle together, and then practice pass juggling.

Juggling resources

4. Have fun with paper

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Origami

Origami is the art of folding paper. It is a lot of fun, is really creative, and all you need to get started is paper. If you’re able to get yourself some coloured paper, you can get even more creative.

Paper toys

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If you get bored of origami, you can switch to paper toys. It’s not as minimal because you will need glue, a printer, and scissors. But it’s also fun, it’s easier, and it will keep you busy for hours.

Paper art

Amazing artwork by Margaret Scrinkl

Another option you can try is Paper Art, which is essentially a mix of origami and paper toys. It is absolutely beautiful, and the inspiration you will find online is incredible.

Origami resources

Paper toys resources

Paper art resources

5. Moonwalk (or any dance move)

Amazing animation by Floris de Wit

It takes less than an hour to learn how to moonwalk, and it’s a great skill to celebrate the end of confinement, next time you’re on the dance floor. To keep you busy, you can keep going and learn other dance moves. An easy one once you know how to moonwalk is the air walk (see link below).

Dance resources

You can also learn any type of dance you want on youtube. Salsa, waltz, hip-hop…

6. Learn the flags and capitals of the world

Some flags of the world

Learning capitals of other countries if a great way to increase your knowledge and memory. You often learn about other geographical/political facts in the process. Plus, it is a surprisingly fun skill to have at parties/get togethers, again for when the confinement is over.

In my experience, if you bring up the fact that you know almost all of the capitals in the world (which are not that hard to memorise), people will quiz you all night long. You can have a team battle and be on the team that wins all the time.

Learning about flags trains your visual memory. Some of them are really beautiful and worth knowing about, and there’s also a wealth of culture and knowledge behind every flag design. You can turn this skill into a fun party activity as well, by asking people to tell you the name of a country, and describe its flag to them as best you can.

If you live with someone, you don’t have to wait for your next social event. You can start playing together!

Geography resources

7. A language

A lot of people want to learn another language their whole life, but never make time for it. Well, that excuse doesn’t hold anymore, we all have plenty of time now! Learning a new language is an amazing skill to have, and it opens up your world like never before. You don’t only learn about a language, but also about a culture, food, people, music…

Another upside of starting right now is that other people have a lot of time too. Online communities, chats, forums and coaches have more time than ever to help you learn from home, with just a laptop and an internet connection. Seize the opportunity!

Language resources:

  • Babbel.com. Widely considered the best platform to learn almost any language online. Monthly subscription required.
  • Duolingo.com. Really good tool too. A little less complete, but fully free.

Thanks a lot for reading! Feel free to let me know in the comments what your quarantine activities are!

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