(image: The Straits Times)
Settle in, folks.
Comfy? Great! Now, you can check out our list of inspiring ideas to keep you entertained at home throughout the now-extended circuit breaker (see the latest restrictions here). Some of them are so cool, you may want to work them into your regular things-to-do rotation. Just sayin’.
1. Make Art (Win Money!)
(image: Urban Sketchers Singapore/Facebook)
Feeling a little anxious these days? We feel you. Why not channel that nervous energy into art with a 28-day #circuitsketchbreak challenge (through 4 May), hosted by Urban Sketchers Singapore?
The drawing interest group will offer optional themes every other day and participants are encouraged to share their sketches on social media. Sketches should be done at home.
Submit a compilation of all your sketches at the end of April for a chance to win a $70 voucher from art supplies store Overjoyed.
Info: Join the challenge on the Circuit.Sketch.Break Facebook page.
Those who prefer other mediums, such as sculptures and collages, can upload photos of their artwork to a Facebook event, CCB (Covid-19 Circuit Breaker) Art Exhibition. Visual arts studio Kamal Arts Limited in Geylang Serai will hold an exhibition for the artworks when it is safe to do so.
Info: Visit the CCB (Covid19 Circuit Breaker) Art Exhibition Facebook page.
2. Go on a Virtual Hike
Lose yourself in Virtual Yosemite, an online exploration of the national park in California. You can view more than 200 locations within Yosemite and its surrounding areas via high-resolution, 360-degree interactive panoramas.
Zoom in to dizzying views from the tops of Yosemite’s famous cliffs and waterfalls or take on challenging hikes and climbs.
Scale El Capitan, for instance, known as the tallest granite rock face in the world at over 900m high. (Fun fact: It was popularised by the 2017 documentary, The Dawn Wall, which is available on Netflix.)
Virtual Yosemite even has close-ups of climbers in a hanging bivouac, or tent, suspended along the sheer rock wall.
Couch potatoes, however, take note: This does not count as actual exercise. (Want to get your sweat on? Check out our roundup of 10 fab fitness apps that you can use from home.)
Info: Venture over to the Virtual Yosemite site.
3. Read Magazines for Free
Did you know that all of the digital editions of The Finder and The Finder Kids are available for free download on Magzter? Now you do!
On top of that, through the end of June, SPH Magazines is granting free access to some of its digital publications.
Select three magazines from its various beauty, fashion, luxury lifestyle, business and tech magazines, namely: Her World, Female, Harper’s Bazaar Singapore, HardWareMag, Home & Decor Singapore, Icon, Nuyou, The Peak and The Singapore Women’s Weekly. Sah-weet!
4. Try Some New Recipes
Fan of Aussie-style cuisine? Some of the top chefs from the Australian state of New South Wales are sharing recipes over Instagram.
For example, Mitch Orr (@instakrill), the head chef at Sydney’s CicciaBella restaurant, renowned for his pasta dishes, has been posting step-by-step recipes to dishes such as rigatoni alla vodka, bolognese (above) and carbonara.
Danielle Alvarez (@daniellemariealvarez), head chef at the restaurant Fred’s in Paddington, who is known for her careful approach to sustainable and local produce, is sharing recipes to dishes such as chicken paillard with sage and brown butter, as well as cinnamon rolls.
Troy Rhoades-Brown (@troymuse), chef-owner of Hunter Valley’s Muse Restaurant, is also sharing how to make salt-baked pork belly and sourdough flatbread.
While you’re at it, check out The Singapore Women’s Weekly’s treasure trove of recipes, and try some from The Red Dot Melting Pot Cookbook by The Finder’s friends at the International Cooking Club Singapore (ICCS).
Info: Click on links above.
5. Tour Top Museums Online
(image: Musee d’Orsay)
Many renowned museums are offering virtual tours right now. The British Museum in London, for example, has a tour that allows viewers to select exhibits based on themes such as “living and dying” as well as “religion and belief”.
One exhibit on the virtual tour is an intricate torc, made of gold alloy, which dates to around the first century BC. An ornament worn around the neck, it was found with other torcs in Ipswich, east England.
The famous Musee d’Orsay in Paris also has an online exhibit, titled From Station To The Renovated Musee d’Orsay, which traces the museum’s history from its installation in the former Orsay railway station, which was built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900.
Info: See links above, and read about six more world-class museums offering virtual tours here.
6. Peruse Art Collections from Around the World, Too
(image: Ng Sor Luan, The Straits Times)
Fun fact: On 7 April, 1989, the Empress Place Museum reopened after a renovation, showcasing rare Qing relics being exhibited out of China for the first time.
The building is now occupied by the Asian Civilisations Museum (shown) and you can explore it via the Virtual Collection of Asian Masterpieces, which houses more than 2,700 prized artefacts from from more than 140 museums from around 40 countries.
Other Singapore museums on the exclusive list? The National Archives of Singapore and Singapore Art Museum.
Info: Go to the VCM page.
7. Master Yo-Yo Tricks
(image: The Straits Times)
The hobby sport of yo-yo is seeing a revival of sorts – buoyed by new tricks, better makes of yo-yos and a fresh wave of young players from primary school.
If you are worried about your child racking up too much screen time during the circuit breaker’s home-based learning, this is a good alternative.
Check out yo-yo speciality store Spinworkx‘s site, which offers photo tutorials and handles FAQs. And if you are still hooked after the circuit-breaker period ends, pop into the store to learn simple tricks such as rock the baby, brain twister and man on the flying trapeze, taught by its owner Hans Wong-Jensen.
Info: See link above and read more about yo-yo culture in SG here.
8. Read E-Books For Free With National Library Board
(image: National Library Board)
You do not have to leave your home to get access to the National Library’s vast collection of books, magazines and newspapers.
They are available in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil on digital platforms.
For English-language readers, make sure you have an active library account, download the Overdrive app (shown) and, voila, instant access to everything from Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians (e-book or audiobook, take your pick) to Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror And The Light (great to read on digital because the hardcover weighs 1.3 kg., just SYK).
Info: Check out the full directory of resources on the NLB’s website.
9. Dance Your You-Know-What Off
Given the current state of the pandemic, it’s obviously inadvisable to go out to the clubs and shake your booty as per uzh. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it at home. To that end, Ubisoft has started a “Just Dance at Home” movement, which is aimed at helping people stay active during this period.
Basically, all you have to do is set an alarm at 12 p.m. each day and “clock” a daily movement quota or whatever activity they’ve got planned. Then, take to social media and toss in a picture of yourself with the #JUSTDANCEATHOME hashtag.
Info: The campaign works with both the full game and the demo, the latter of which can be downloaded here. These games not your thing? Peruse HardwareZone’s dozens upon dozens of Game Awards 2019 winners.
10. Explore Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher
Located along the western coast of Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher are known as one of the most beautiful places in the country.
They are also known for their changeable weather, which includes fog and strong winds blowing in from the Atlantic ocean.
A virtual tour, however, guarantees blue skies and brilliant sunset hues. Two different tours are available – the Google 360 inside tour is more interactive, but the views are more impressive on the virtual visit.
Stop by the visitor centre for some of the best vantage points including O’Brien’s observation tower, known as the highest point of the cliffs. You won’t even have to huff and puff your way to the top.
Info: Hike over to the virtual tour.
11. Make Vanda Miss Joaquim Arts and Crafts
(image: The Straits Times)
Happy birthday, Vanda Miss Joaquim! On April 15, 1981, the orchid was selected as Singapore’s national flower.
A cross between Vanda hookeriana and Vanda teres, it is named in memory of Miss Agnes Joaquim, who bred the flower in her garden in Tanjong Pagar in 1893.
Among the several varieties of the plant, the variety “Agnes” was chosen for its vibrant colours, hardiness and resilience – qualities that reflect the Singapore spirit.
This is a great time to do some Vanda Miss Joaquim-related arts and crafts with your children? Draw this beautiful flower and colour it with enchanting hues. Those up for a challenge can make a sculpture of the plant with modelling clay.
Info: Bust out your art supplies and creativity, lah!
12. Play Cards Against Humanity Online
You can now play the popular, irreverent card game Cards Against Humanity remotely, without having to meet your friends in person – and, you know, spread germs via the exchange of cards.
Head to virtual card table site PlayingCards.io for a free version you can play in real time (just SYK, it’s called Remote Insensitivity, and is not affiliated with CAH). It even lets you keep your individual hand private.
Ideally, set up a conference call with those you are playing with, so you can hear whose turn it is or whose card was selected as the winning one. (Want to see their faces while play? Learn how to use the latest videoconferencing apps safely.)
Info: Deal yourself in on PlayingCards.io.
13. Plan Your Next Room Makeover
Spending so much time at home may be inspiring you to spruce up some of your rooms or do a full-on renovation once this circuit breaker is over.
You’ll find lots of ideas on Home & Decor Singapore‘s newly revamped website. Its enhanced features include more content in categories such as house tours, shopping and design, as well as H&D TV, Home & Decor‘s inaugural online video channel.
Can’t wait to get started on your pad revamp? Read H&D’s complete list of what homeware and furniture stores can do during the circuit breaker!
Info: Have fun on www.homeanddecor.com.sg.
14. Try a Mindfulness App or Follow a Meditation Session
(image: Jay Shetty/Facebook)
Stating the obvious: The Covid-19 pandemic has people facing more stress and uncertainty than usual and it can all get overwhelming.
Why not try a mindfulness app on your phone that will help to settle the mind?
Take Headspace, which has a section of free audio-guided mindfulness exercises curated for Covid-19, as part of a larger collection of meditation, sleep and movement exercises.
United States-based content creator and former monk Jay Shetty (shown) also leads daily 20-to 30-minute-long meditation sessions via his social media channels.
15. Go on a High-Altitude Hike
(image: Google Maps)
Those who have trekked to the base camp of Mount Everest report challenging terrain, frigid weather and lung-busting climbs – along with glorious views of towering peaks near the top of the world.
Skip the hard part and go straight to the views. Google Maps offers an impressive 360-degree panoramic view of South Base Camp, including tents, prayer flags and hardy climbers speckling the rugged terrain.
Also check out iconic pit stops such as Tengboche Monastery, bedecked in vibrant hues, and other mountains on the journey such as the 6,812-metre-tall Ama Dablam.
Learn about expeditions to other iconic peaks from Google’s Street View gallery. For instance, climbers attempting Russia’s 5,642-metre-tall Mount Elbrus can rest in diesel huts, which are shelters made from fuel storage tanks.
Info: Go to Google Maps’ Everest base camp site.
16. Be Your Own Bartender
(image: Envato Elements)
You’ve probably read about the SG bars who are delivering cocktail kits during the circuit breaker, which allow you to get your drink on in the comfort and safety of your own home.
Prefer to DIY? Try these easy cocktail and mocktail recipes to pass the time.
Info: See links above.
17. Experience an Ambient Walk
If you miss the buzz of Changi Airport, ambling down a tranquil park connector or the bustle of a hawker centre, take an ambient walk through these spaces.
A series of videos by artist Heman Chong captures the sights and sounds of these local spots, as well as overseas attractions such as parks and temples in Japan.
The appeal of these walks lies not in grand scenery or iconic landmarks, but in their meditative, immersive nature. The sounds of crickets and leaves crunching underfoot can transport you to a humid morning at MacRitchie Reservoir while hearing the British accent on a London bus may make you feel as though you are 10,000 kilometres away.
Info: Visit the Ambient Walking YouTube page.
18. Take an Online Course
You’ll find a range of courses – both free and paid – online on major online course platforms edX, FutureLearn and Coursera.
Wannabe fashion experts, for example, can take a FutureLearn course titled Understanding Fashion: From Business To Culture, which is taught by Professor Benjamin Simmenauer from Paris’ Institut Francais de la Mode.
The course features input from personalities in the fashion industry, including designers Simon Porte Jacquemus, Christelle Koche and Paul Smith, as well as CEOs from Chanel, YSL and Hermes.
Info: Check out The Straits Times‘ list of the top 10 online courses to try at home.
19. View Cambodia’s majestic Angkor Wat – Then and Now
You can literally spend an entire weekend exploring the history, culture, geography and impact of the Angkor empire at not one, not two but three websites.
Not quite better than the real thing, but Google’s Street View of Cambodia’s famed UNESCO World Heritage Site is not your average boring street view.
There is a time-lapse beauty shot of the archaeological landmark, which gives way to a dizzying “zoom in from a planetary to a bird’s-eye” view of the site.
Scroll further and you can explore each of four temple complexes and tap little highlight boxes which give you a quick precis of buildings.
Meanwhile, Monash University’s Visualising Angkor project is an intriguing collection of 3D simulations which shows what life in the mediaeval city might have been like for its estimated 25,000 inhabitants. The animated visualisations are based on archaeological and architectural surveys as well as historical records.
Similarly, Virtual Angkor brings together a series of 360-degree visualisations of the city. This digital recreation, targeted at students, won the Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History awarded by the American Historical Association in 2018. So you can explore more complex themes such as Power & Place, and Trade & Diplomacy, using the online class modules.
Info: See links above.
20. Do Simple Science Experiments at Home
(image: The Straits Times)
Re-create a science laboratory for kids with items from your pantry. Teach them how acids and bases react using household items such as white vinegar and baking soda.
Or make your own colourful slime that will – hopefully – keep them entertained during your conference call. (Speaking of, here are some other smart hacks for working from home with kids underfoot.)
Other fun experiments include making a bubbly lava lamp, a sparkly eruption and getting a piece of tissue paper, shaped like a ghost, to rise in the air.
Info: Get the goods on these gooey ideas courtesy of The Straits Times.
21. Delve into Google’s Arts & Culture
Google’s immense resources means this site is not just eye candy for art lovers – check out the eye-poppingly high-resolution scans of classic works you can zoom in so much that you can see individual brushstrokes.
You can get a quick crash course on everything from artists to mediums to colour. There are videos and mini-exhibitions organised by various museums around the world. The massive range of curated, quality content is positively mind-boggling.
With recommended links by Google’s algorithms and slick, easy- to-navigate layouts, this sets the high bar for premium arts content.
Info: Click on the link above to dive in. Warning: You may never want to leave.
22. Visit the Grand Canyon (Even Though it’s Closed)
The attraction in Arizona, one of the most remarkable natural wonders of the world, allows for many virtual experiences.
You can go on an interactive virtual field trip and marvel at one of the deepest gorges on Earth, and hear experts discuss topics like the types of rock found there.
You can also take a virtual raft trip where you travel along the Colorado River through the canyon, starting at Lees Ferry and ending at the Lake Mead National Recreational Area.
The Grand Canyon National Park is closed until further notice, due to public health concerns related to Covid-19.
Info: Cruise over to the Grand Canyon National Park virtual tour.
23. Smarten Up Your Space
With more time at home during this period, why not spend it smartening up your abode? Check out The Straits Times‘ roundup of five easy ways to set up smart home devices, ranging from smart lights to plugs to sensors that measure temperature and humidity.
They are all compatible with Google Assistant, the tech giant’s artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant that you can use on your mobile phone.
24. Break Out the Board Games!
Even though our five favourite board game cafes are closed for the circuit breaker, it doesn’t mean you can’t stage the same kind of fun at home. Added benefits? You can squeeze in some family or partner bonding plus they’re a way to stimulate your brain without a device.
Mind Cafe, in particular, is delivering its curated a list of games boasting tens of dozens of options for every sort of gaming interest and age level. The six most popular games at the mo’ are: Citadel, True Colors, Bodyguard, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, Rats to Riches and Codenames: Pictures.
Info: Scan the games menu above, and go to Shopee’s page to purchase the ones you like. There’s free delivery on purchases above $30, and you can use the promo code THEMWK004 for $4 off $50 or THEMWK010 for $10 off $100.
25. Or, Try Some Old-School SG Games
And no, they’re not just for kids.
Ever wondered how children in Singapore kept themselves entertained before technology came into our lives? The Finder has rounded up five simple yet fun games that most Singaporean adults would be familiar with.
While some require outdoor space to run and play (which may run your kiddos foul of the current social distancing rules), there are several including Five Stones, Goli and Kuti-Kuti that are indoor-appropriate, too.
26. Appreciate #SGCultureAnywhere
(image: National Heritage Board)
Just because you’re all #StayHomeForSG these days, it doesn’t mean you can’t explore the Red Dot’s unique culture! The National Heritage Board has curated a list of must-try heritage activities and stories to hear, read and/or watch.
Take virtual tours of heritage places like old-school Orchard Road of SG’s beautiful bridges. Gather the kids and grab some crayons to colour in heritage-themed colouring sheets. Take up the Malay Heritage and Indian Heritage Centres’ challenge to recreate works of art posted on their Facebook albums with things you can find around the house (FYI, you can win cool merch!). Or, try its so-called Conversation Starters, a selection of 40 images of buildings, landmarks, scenes and objects, accompanied by helpful questions.
27. Listen to Podcasts about the Environment
If you have cut down on plastic bag use or started rejecting straws and disposables at coffee shops (you know, before the circuit breaker), go one step further by picking up new insights about the changing environment. (Side note: Earth Day is 22 April, so this is a way to do your part… from home!)
In The Straits Times‘ Green Pulse podcast, environment correspondent Audrey Tan and climate change editor David Fogarty discuss topics ranging from the bleaching of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting sustainability in Singapore’s cleaning industry.
Subscribe to ST’s Green Pulse podcast for free on audio platforms Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts or Home.
Info: Listen to the podcast here.
28. Be Your Own Interior Designer
Want to spruce up your home environment? We’d already mentioned Home & Decor‘s new site, which is chock-full of design inspo for DIYing your room makeovers.
Easier said than done? Take an online course in interior design and home styling ($19), which covers aspects such as design elements, popular interior styles and sustainable design. Alternatively, learn to grow, store and process your own herbs in an online course on herbology ($19).
These are just some of the courses offered on activity-booking platform GoLivMo. The website also offers suggestions for virtual tours and concerts users can watch at home. Cool!
Info: Swoop over to the GoLivMo website.
29. Admire the Netherlands’ Famous Flower Garden
(image: Keukenhof Garden Fans/Facebook)
Feeling restless at home due to the circuit breaker? Go on a virtual walk around the popular Keukenhof flower garden in the town of Lisse in the Netherlands.
Admire fresh blooms in their prime as the park’s gardeners show viewers around Keukenhof and talk about their favourite spots and flowers, such as hyacinths, daffodils and, of course, the tulips for which the Netherlands is famed.
The flower garden’s seven million bulbs attract some 1.5 million visitors from more than 100 countries a year during tulip season.
It has been temporarily shut down due to the Dutch government’s measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Info: Visit the Keukenhof YouTube channel.
30. Do Fitness or Dance Workouts on Social Media
(image: boOm Singapore)
Okay, so maybe working out isn’t your idea of fun, per se? But, now that everyone is limited to doing only short exercise sessions outdoors, you may be craving activity.
Even though gyms and fitness studios have shuttered due to the circuit breaker, many of them have taken to their websites and social media channels to help members keep up with their fitness regimes at home.
Yoga, barre, boxing, dance and functional fitness studios have posted free workout videos on their websites and Instagram livestreams or IGTV, the platform’s long-form video feature.
By Benson Ang, Prisca Ang, Ong Sor Fern, Clara Lock, Eunice Quek and Anjali Raguraman with input from Sazali Abdul Aziz and SPH Information Resource Centre, Text adapted from The Straits Times; also by Kenneth Ang, some text adapted from HardwareZone / Additional Reporting: Sara Lyle Bow, April 2020
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