Things to Do for Free from Home

Persona working on a laptop computer

Stuck at home with nothing to do? Don’t have the time or money to leave the house? Here are some free things you can try from home!


Streaming Services

Broadway HD: Broadway HDis offering a 7 day free trial for their database, if you’re a lover of musicals.

Metropolitan Opera Free Streaming: The Metropolitan Opera is doing nightly streaming of their shows, available through their website.

Complexly: is making its entire catalog of over 2000 educational videos available for free indefinitely.


Crash Course (dozens of AP-aligned courses)

Eons (history of Earth’s life)

Origin of Everything (history and culture)

Healthcare Triage (analysis of healthcare and medicine)


Ours Poetical (poetry performed)

Journey to the Microcosmos (chill reflections on tiny life)

Animal Wonders (caring for cool animals)

The Art Assignment (activities, art history, and contemporary art)

Science News and Information

SciShow (science news and information)

SciShow Space (space news and info)

SciShow Psych (psychology news and info)

For Kids

Crash Course Kids (grade school education)

SciShow Kids (science experiments and learning pre-k through elementary)

Criterion on Demand: UBC Students can stream a whole database of movies in French and English from the comfort of their home! (They even have Parasite!) Just make sure you download the free Microsoft Silverlight plugin, because otherwise, it doesn’t always work. Once you’re there, I recommend looking in the “Search by Genre” tab, as it’s a little easier to navigate. Happy streaming!

Go to the UBC Library Homepage, and search in the Indexes & Databases tab for Criterion on Demand:

UBC Library Homepage, Indexes & Databases tab, search Criterion on Demand
Then, select the first result, and download Silverlight from the link in the listing.

Criterion on demand URL

Once you’re there, I recommend looking in the “Search by Genre” tab, as it’s a little easier to navigate. Happy streaming!

Criterion on-demand full catalog search


eBooks and Online Library Catalogues

Lots of libraries, both academic and public, have public collections and recommendation lists for reading. If you want a handy example, look under Read Next at the VPL or follow UBC English’s Facebook for reading guides (also available here).

Public/Academic Library online databases: You can browse the UBC library’s database for ebooks and more! Both Vancouver Public Library and Richmond Public Library have excellent online editions of books, and those are still available if you have a membership with them.

Cambridge UP Core Free Access: Cambridge University Press has made over 700 textbooks accessible for free, so if you’re in a more academic mood (or have projects), you can browse their collection! Read more about their release here, or if you just want access to the textbooks, here’s a quick link for that.

Humanities Coronavirus Syllabus: Humanities scholars and students around the world have been compiling relevant resources to better learn and think about this outbreak. From academic articles to novels set in similar crises, here’s a free resource open to the public!


Active Entertainment

Is sitting around and not moving driving you crazy? Do you desperately need to do something with your hands? You can also take this time to be creative, and pick up a hobby like painting or mending your clothes. You might need to learn a few skills (thank goodness for video tutorials), but what else is there to do, anyway?

Colouring: UBC Library’s Colour Our Collections and various other museums are offering free colouring books based on the art and texts in their collections.

Digital Drawing: If you want to try your hand at digital art or design, Affinity is offering a 90-day free trial and a 50% reduction in their product prices right now.

Sewing: You may not have learnt to sew as part of your education — or maybe it’s been way too long to be confident in your skills — but now’s as good as any time to learn. has put together an easy guide to altering and fixing your clothes, so if you have clothing that would otherwise go to the thrift shop (or if you have something from the thrift shop you’ve been meaning to alter), have at it! They also have a variety of patterns and guides of other projects, too, if that’s more what you’re looking for.

Exercise and dance: Gyms and dance studios around Vancouver are streaming classes for free! Check out your local locations for more options, but here’s one example of where you can access classes like these: Baza Dance Studios Inc. Their current schedule is as follows:

Baza Dance Studios' Live Stream Schedule



If you’d rather get down to work, here are some resources that you can contribute to.

Archival Work: Museums and archives have online opportunities for helping transcribe letters, diaries, etc. in their historical collections. Check out some cool artifacts of history and contribute to research being done on various historical figures and events! Find these opportunities through google searches, on websites like the Smithsonian or Zooniverse, or on lists like this one created by Indiana University East.

Providing or Receiving Support: If you’re of able-body and you feel like you can contribute to making someone’s life easier, or if you’re struggling yourself and need support, look into crowd-sourced support programs like Coming Together Vancouver. You can choose to offer or receive support in various areas, such as dog walking, grocery shopping, and more.


Even if you’re stuck at home (for whatever reason), make sure you get fresh air and keep up a regular schedule. Utilize the wonders of the internet to stay social, and check-in with your friends to maintain a healthy amount of social interaction. Showering, waking up at a set time, and going for a walk a day can also do wonders for your mood.

In the meantime – enjoy these resources that are freely available and honestly a delight!

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