By now – in the new norm of social distancing and isolation – many people have begun using video calling to stay connected be it on Zoom, Skype or Whatsapp. There is also an abundance of online fitness streams, music and art lessons as well as educational courses. We’ve found a few more things you can use your broadband for to fill your day when you’re not digi-dining or on a conference call.
Enjoy some zen snowboarding with Alto’s Adventure & Alto’s Odyssey
Alto’s Adventure and sequel Alto’s Odyssey are both computer games, yes, but they are also a form of meditative relaxation. Beautiful landscapes slide by as your character snowboards or sandboards indefinitely.
You can choose to play these endless runners in two ways: aim for a high score or in “zen mode”.
The game advises you to use earphones to get the most out of the zen soundtrack, which rises to a crescendo as Alto whooshes down mountainsides and the day slides into night. This beautifully designed game is genuinely relaxing and can be played by all ages.
In solidarity with those in self-isolation, developer Snowman is giving both Alto games away for free for a limited period of time. Go grab them before they’re back to the paid versions.
Free Kindle Books
If you’re homeschooling the kids Kindle via Amazon are currently offering some free downloadable books for learning and for when you just want to escape into a classic story. There’s a range of fiction including classics, education, entertainment and special interest magazines
Museum hop with Google Arts and Culture
You can take virtual trips to famous venues all around the globe with Google Arts and Culture. You can access this app on a laptop but it works best on a smartphone for one main reason: the art projector feature.
This augmented-reality overlay places full-size works of art in your living room.
Don’t wait in line for an hour at the Louvre for a glimpse of the Mona Lisa over the heads of hundreds of other tourists when you can inspect it at your leisure while eating cereal and wearing yoga pants.
The virtual museum tours are also pretty impressive. Using Street View technology Google has free tours of the Guggenheim, the British Museum, Paris’s Musée d’Orsay and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam among others. And if it’s cultural sites you want, there are also 360-degree tours of the Colosseum in Rome, Alcatraz, the Taj Mahal, and the Palace of Versailles.
It’s good to talk
Want to help but not sure how to start when you can’t go outside? Register for Quarantine Chat and you can talk on the phone with someone else stuck at home.
Edinburgh Zoo Live Stream
A good one for the kids, see what the animals get up to when there’s no one around!
Panda Cam / Tiger Cam / Penguin Cam / Rock Hopper Penguin Cam / Koala Cam
Throw a Netflix Party
Netflix Party is the most talked-about Chrome plug-in right now. It is so popular that it has crashed out several times so hopefully, by the time you read this, it is up and running. Created by an independent third-party developer, it enables synchronisation of Netflix video playback and adds in group chat.
Install from the Chrome Web Store, visit Netflix and choose your poison. Once you have selected a movie, click the NP button in your browser menu and when the pop-up appears, click on “Start the party”. This generates a URL to share with friends and family. As long as they have Netflix Party installed and click on the button to initiate, their Netflix playback will sync with yours and a chat window appears on the right-hand side.
Microwave some popcorn, get into your PJs and fire up Netflix Party. It’s like having a sleepover except without the annoying aspect of having to make snacks and clean up after everyone.
Stay safe and stay at home!