Ideas to Make Self Isolating So Much More Interesting!

Here are lots of ideas for what to do with your extra time while you are self-isolating…
We’d love to hear other ideas that you have!

An Intro to Butterflies

While not everyone may have the opportunity to go outside, you can still enjoy nature at home! This week (May 27) , Naturalist Interns, Jenny and Kitty, talk about butterflies- featuring a newly emerged Black Swallowtail butterfly!  An Intro to Butterflies

Activities for Mind and Body

You might also check out GWSA’s growing page Activities for Mind and Body

Please keep in mind that these include free content, but connect to external sites not associated with the GWSA, each with its own terms, conditions and promotions.

Visit Guelph

Virtual tours of our city.  https://visitguelph.blog/author/visitguelph/

Arboretum Tour

You can still enjoy nature at home! Follow along with Jenny and Kitty, Naturalist Interns at The Arboretum, as they explore different habitats and discover animal signs left behind by local wildlife. This a new video (May 13) All About Nests at The Arboretum


Greetings from My Heart, by Sharon Wolters

We are working on a project with the administrative staff teams at our Guelph hospitals and nursing homes to spread Goodwill and not covid-19.

There is little we can do but stay home if we are not on the front lines of this pandemic. And if you are like me, my heart goes out to the doctors nurses and all staff that are working diligently around the clock, but especially to those that are confined to a sick bed or or a room in either a hospital or nursing home. We thought as there are no visitors allowed, we can still share some love and support to those in need. 

Project ~ Greetings from My Heart, 2 ways to show someone is thinking of them: 

  1. A simple homemade greeting card with an encouraging message, made from paper and crafts materials
  2. A store-bought card that you already have on hand, with an encouraging message. 

You may sign it from "The Community" or your own family name. Please do not seal the envelope if using one. Anyone can do this, and we know there are many families with children at home looking for something to do. This would give them purpose while bringing joy to the recipient and giver. Can you imagine the faces of the sick lonely or hard-working recipients when they open their card!! Get creative and have fun!

There are for drop-off boxes located in Guelph:
95 Ingram Drive 
68 Pleasant Road
471 Whitelaw Road 
19 Oak Street
For more details visit Instagram @greetingsfrommyheart or email swolters2013@gmail.com
Note: there are safety protocols that we will follow, to keep everyone involved safe from contamination.


An Astronaut's Guide to Self Isolation

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield provides four useful steps to productive self-isolation  (2:05)

Education resources

Try a free online university course
Universities in Canada and the United States sometimes offer Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). These either have a dedicated start date or you can take them at your own pace. Courses often take a few weeks to complete, but only require a couple hours a week. This is ideal if you want to explore a subject that interests you. Coursera.org hosts many of these online courses. For free courses offered by Canadian universities, check out this list. If you want to explore courses offered by Ivy League universities (U.S.A.), visit this link.
Tip: If you need to take a course at your own speed, look for courses that are self-paced.
 

Learn a new skill
What’s great about YouTube is that you can pause a video whenever you need to take a break and learn at your own pace! If there’s something you want to learn, chances are you can find it there.
 

Spend a few minutes a day learning a language
Duolingo is a free service designed to teach languages with quick daily lessons. You can choose from all kinds of languages and have some fun trying something new.

Virtual tours

Take some of the world’s coolest tours – all from the comfort of your own home.

Museum tours around the world
Visit international museums and take in some of the world’s most celebrated art.

You can relax and take your time exploring the sites.

Check out Mars
You can go to a whole other planet! Explore the surface of Mars with this digital 360° camera.

Animal fun

Thanks to live webcams and videos, it’s possible to see some pretty incredible animals we wouldn’t normally get to see.

Explore all kinds of animal life
Explore.org has hundreds of live cams that let you check out all kinds of animals – including puppies!
Visit the Vancouver Aquarium
The Vancouver Aquarium has 4 live cams featuring some of their cutest critters. You can find them here.
Beluga whales
There’s a beluga whale webcam set up at the Georgia Aquarium – and they know how to work the camera! The Georgia Aquarium also has more live cams you can check out.
Watch the Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams
Monterey Bay Aquarium has multiple live cams that explore all kinds of marine life – including sea otters!
Africam
Africam offers people a live safari from the comfort of their own home. Find their cams here.

Cooking activities

Have an indoor picnic
This is great for kids (or kids at heart). Find a space in your home to spread out a blanket and have your lunch or dinner picnic-style!
Pizza night
Homemade pizza night is fun for everyone. You can use premade dough and everyone can add their own toppings. It’s a fun, collaborative way to make dinner – and a great introduction to cooking for people who are just learning.
Check out some cooking tutorials
If you have some time on your hands, try out some new recipes or cooking tutorials, or practice your prep skills.

Personal History Activities 

Memories for the coming generations
Choose the items in your home that have personal meaning for you.  Take a picture of them, or describe them well, and then write a bit about why they have meaning for you (i.e. this platter was a wedding gift to my grandparents, Shirley and Tom in 1915)

Write your memoirs
You do not have to be an accomplished writer to do this … it is just a way of preserving your memories and history for family to read. There are lots of websites that offer helpful suggestions to get you started and keep you writing!  Check this list.

Feel-good activities

Go for a walk
Walking is completely fine during social distancing – just remember to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others.
Write letters
Not many people take the time to write letters anymore – but everyone loves receiving them. If you want to work on your fine motor skills or just do something a little old-fashioned, letter writing is a great activity.
In order to make sure we all do our part to keep everyone safe and healthy, you should only send letters if you’re not showing any symptoms. It is possible for COVID-19 to live on paper for a period of time. Alternatively, you could write your letters and send them at a later date.
Please note: Canada Post is providing updates on their response to COVID-19.
Exercise
People feel better when they get some physical activity in – even if it is just a light walk. If you want more of a workout, there are plenty of online videos and apps that offer free workouts.
Yoga at home
If you have a small stretch of floor, you can do a little yoga. Yoga is an excellent way to relax and gently move your body. Community Yoga for all ages will continue Sunday afternoons from 3:00 – 4:00 pm at Trinity via Zoom. YMCA Free programming of online videos for Yoga classes. 
Meditate
Meditation is a lovely calming practice that works to clear your mind and help ease negative feelings. Each week there is a new meditation being posted on the Trinity website.  Experience those … or find others you might like!
Spring cleaning
There’s something satisfying about spring cleaning – many people use it as an opportunity to purge unused items and rearrange their home to create a fresh new space. Just make sure to take breaks and ask for help when you need it.

Entertainment

There are tons of ways to stay entertained thanks to digital media, games, and crafts.

45 places you can download tens of thousands books, plays and other literary texts completely legally for free
Professor Wu's Rulebook

Streaming services
There are tons of streaming services out there that can give you access to hundreds of movies, television shows and documentaries. All you need is an internet connection and an account. Prices for streaming services range, but many have free trial periods so you can test them out first. Some streaming services available in Canada include:

  • CBC Gem (psst! This one is free)
  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime
  • Crave
  • Disney+
  • AppleTV+

The great thing about streaming is you can pause whenever you want. You also don’t necessarily need a television – just a computer with Internet access. Here are free services available through the Guelph Public Library.

  • hoopla - Contains free, downloadable, entertainment media content such as movies, television, music, books and more.
  • Kanopy - Contains a free streaming service for movies, documentaries, Great Courses, and independent films.
  • Curio.ca - A database of educational content, both new and archived, curated by the CBC and Radio-Canada. Contains documentaries, television shows, radio reports, and news reports from a wide of range of subjects.

Play board or card games
Board games and card games are a great way to pass the time, and can be incredibly helpful with memory as well.
Make your own board game
Have you mastered all your board games? It’s time to take it to the next level and make your own. This is a great craft idea you can spread out over the coming days and is a great group activity if you’re home with other people. Instructions on how to make a board game.
Complete some puzzles
Puzzles are interesting, take lots of time, and great for all ages! You can even do them online if you don’t have any in your house.
Check out library books online
Many libraries in Canada have online services where you can check out electronic books and audiobooks. Your local library will have information on available services. Here are free services available through the Guelph Public Library.

  • cloudLibrary - An online library of eBooks and eAudiobooks that can be downloaded to most personal devices and enjoyed offline.
  • hoopla - Contains free, downloadable, entertainment media content such as movies, television, music, books and more.

Read from your own shelf
If you have a couple books you’ve been wanting to get to, now is the perfect time!
Video message your friends and family
Video messaging is a great way to stay connected to family and friends while respecting the social distancing rules. Here are some free video chat apps you can use.
Listen to music
Not many of us take the time to sit quietly and listen to music we enjoy. Now is the perfect time to do just that.
Listen to podcasts
Podcasts are a great alternative to television or reading. They’re easy to download and there are so many different podcasts from which to choose. There’s something for everyone!
Follow some YouTube tutorials for crafts
Painting, knitting, crocheting, sewing – there are so many crafts and skills you can learn. Being creative is a great way to boost your mood, and it can be incredibly relaxing as well.
Colour a masterpiece
Colouring is incredibly therapeutic and relaxing – and what better way to spend your time than colouring some works of art? Some museums and libraries have made colouring books that are free to download. You can find them here. Here are a few from the Togetherness Project: