Life on the inside: 10 educational activities to make the best of lockdown

People in the UK are spending more time at home than ever before during the coronavirus lockdown.

While this may mean less activity outdoors, it can also be the perfect opportunity to learn something new.

Here are 10 educational activities to try during lockdown:

1. Learn a language

Learning a language can be time-consuming, and with plenty of unfilled hours, understanding an extra vocabulary may be a useful skill to acquire.

Though it always looks good in a CV, learning a language could also enable you to work abroad, or to socialise with locals while travelling overseas.

Classes are available online and there are many applications such as Duolingo, Memrise and Babbel offering engaging lessons, quizzes and games to help immerse you in the language in less than 30 minutes.

There is also a wide selection of YouTube videos available which extend from beginner to expert levels.

2. Learn a musical instrument

The 40th Cambridge Folk Festival
Learning music can relieve stress and anxiety during the lockdown period.

There has never been a better time to learn to play your favourite instrument.

Music can be a reliever of stress and anxiety and could be the source of relaxation you need to get through this difficult period.

Lessons can be done online or there are plenty of Youtube tutorials to get you started.

3. Learn to cook

Salt stock
There are many recipes for those on a budget to use items already in their cupboards.

Being at home a lot means you can finally find the time to cook things from scratch.

With just the ingredients lying around the house you’ll be able to whip up a meal following various recipes and tutorials designed for those on a tight budget.

And with most of us not having to go through the time-consuming commute to work, why not ditch the takeaway and go healthy?

4. Online classes

Working your way to a qualification or patching up a few things on your CV could be the most productive way to spend your time during the lockdown.

Subjects on offer range from academic classes such as maths and English, to creative classes like photography and writing. Other useful classes can help to improve communication skills or general workplace knowledge.

Many Brits are flocking to learning websites, as more are dedicating a chunk of their day to add to their CV or finally begin an online degree.

5. Learn to paint

Learning to paint is another therapeutic way of spending your time.

Royal visit to Scotland
A watercolour painted by The Duchess of Cornwall, known as the Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland after she joined pupils from Tough Primary School in painting watercolours at Alford Community Campus in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Perhaps now is the time to take up painting while in lockdown (Andrew Milligan/PA).

Paint sets and canvasses can all be bought cheaply online and there are lessons to help people of all ages.

Various YouTube channels such as WowArt show how to make the most of various household items such as cotton buds, toothbrushes and spoons to turn into your very own masterpiece.

6. Coding

Taking the time to pick up a new digital skill such as coding could also be a worthy addition to a CV.

The Institute of Coding has partnered with web developer Rifke Sadleir to launch a series of virtual coding course, completely free.

It will include video tutorials and how-to guides for people working from home to develop and learn new digital skills.

7. Learn calligraphy

There are also calligraphy classes for those who wish to take up an affordable hobby in decorative writing.

Obby is now offering face to face group classes and has beginner sets of a nib, straight pen and black ink for £14.

Calligraphy would be perfect for designing gifts or invitations for weddings or birthdays for when the lockdown is over.

Obby is also offering other one hour long group sessions in watercolour, photography and mandala flower drawing classes from £10 per person.

8. Learn first aid

First aid stock
Understanding how to use a defibrillator would be vital in an emergency.

It is always useful to be prepared for an emergency, especially when health care centres are overwhelmed or you may not want to leave self-isolation for a minor injury.

Learning skills such as  CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), how to use a defibrillator and what to do if someone stopped breathing could be vital when trying to care for loved ones.

9. Learn to dance

If you have a passion for dancing, but have never quite been good at it, why not take part in some online classes to stay active?

8. If you're inspired to get moving at home, we have a series of workshops for families with children aged 2 – 6 plus our Company of Elders workshops, specially designed for over 60s but open to anyone keen to try out different dance styles! https://t.co/FdRHwTDLtBpic.twitter.com/CrcE8WQm9i

— Sadler's Wells (@Sadlers_Wells) April 17, 2020

Plenty of experts are running classes to get you moving and relieve some of the stress, with varying styles and rhythms.

Professionals at Sadlers Wells Theatre in London have launched a new platform called Digital Stage where it will present performances and curate classes for children and older people to complete at home.

10. Reading

Hay Festival 2015 – Hay-On-Wye
There is plenty of time to get through some unread books.

There are potentially plenty of books probably lying around the house unread, so now is the best time to start reading them.

Putting down electronic devices to read something for at least an hour a day would relax and focus the mind, and get some much needed rest time away from our screens.

By also joining an online book club, staying connected and talking about some of the things learned or sharing recommendations would also give you the incentive to read and learn more.

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