As the days of social distancing drag on, most of us are finding ourselves spending more time in our homes. Frankly, for some, it’s getting boring. We’ve compiled some ideas and digital resources that will (hopefully) help you stay sane during your time inside.

Visit a Museum

Many museums have ceased operations for the time being, but many of them have online exhibits and some have virtual 360 degree tours.

MCN, an organization working to advance digital transformations in museums has composed a huge list of more than 50 museums and art galleries with digital experiences.

The full list can be found at bit.ly/MCNdigital, but here are a few highlights:

— The Louvre

— Museum of Flight

— Museum of the American Revolution

— National Museum of Natural History

— Benjamin Franklin House

— Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum

— National Women’s History Museum

Additionally, the list includes national parks as well as destinations like aquariums that offer virtual tours.

Watch something new

If you’re tired of binging typical TV shows on Netflix, you might need a change of pace. For those missing their local dose of the arts, there are streaming platforms available dedicated to Broadway and independent films, as well live streamed concerts taking place around the country.

Broadwayhd.com is offering a 7-day free trial for new users and offers entire Broadway productions including The Sound of Music and Cats. After the free trial, the subscription is $8.99

— The National Theatre is steaming past broadcasts every Thursday in April on the organization’s YouTube channel. One Man, Two Guvnors is set to kick things off this Thursday, with Jan Eyre, Treasure Island and Twelfth Night rounding out the month. Clips of these are currently available the National Theatre Youtube channel.

— The Metropolitan Opera is offering nightly life streams of a new programing showcasing various beloved operas. To accompany the program, the Opera Omaha Facebook page will offer pre-show talks for each Met production.

— The Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln is offering steamed concerts. The first took place March 27, but it can still be watched at liedcenter.org

Learn something

Make some of your screen time productive and take a course or two.

— Free apps like Duolingo offer language learning. Duolingo is available on both desktop and as a mobile app, and is completely free.

— Websites like Coursera.org offer thousands of courses spanning about every subject you can think of. Many of the classes delivered by major universities, including Ivy League colleges. While there is a paid option on Coursera, they offer many of their courses for free.

KhanAcademy.org offers free courses, many covering high school subjects such as biology, but there are also test prep courses, advance placement classes, and career development courses.

— Interested in learning to code? Check out codecademy.com, where you can learn everything from basic HTML to more advanced programming languages – for free.

Get a hobby

Those who enjoy crafting also have several digital options, many of them free. Maybe it’s time to actually make some of the things that you’ve pinned on Pinterest.com.

Skillshare.com offers free video courses centered around artistic hobbies including painting, embroidery and visual journaling. There is also a premium membership available.

Bluprint.com is typically a paid site, but right now its offering free unlimited access to every class until April 9.

Creativebug.com is also offering a free trial and creativelive.com is offering 50 percent of some memberships.

— Don’t forget about the endless videos on Youtube offering step-by-step instructions for just about any hobby or craft you can think of.

Stay Social

Social distancing doesn’t mean not socializing, especially with the tools available to us through computers and smart phones. Many people are finding creative ways to get together via Skype, Facetime and other video messaging platforms.

— Online watch parties can be a great way to combine seeing something you’ve been meaning to watch with the company of your favorite people. Instead of piling on a couch in front of a TV, hop on to a Facebook Watch Party or create a group chat so you and your friends can discuss what you’re watching.

— Those missing out on tabletop games should check out roll20.net, which offers a virtual tabletop for you and your friends.

— Websites like playingcards.io offer a different games that you can play with your friends online including Go Fish, Checkers, Crazy Eights and Cards Against Humanity.

— Platforms such as POGO will keep you busy with thousands of games, including Monopoly. Many of them can be played with your friends.

Although the days may be running together and there’s no end in sight, hopefully these ideals will make the time pass a little faster.

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

Kamie Stephen is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9041 or via email at kamie.stephen@starherald.com.

Kamie Stephen is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9041 or via email at kamie.stephen@starherald.com.

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