Whilst we all know lockdown is necessary to keep our loved ones safe, there’s no escaping the fact that it can be pretty boring at times; not to mention the impact it can have on your mental health. Staying busy and keeping up your morale with fun activities is key to staying happy during lockdown. To help you out we've thought up 26 ideas for you to try!
Not only is a nice hot bath a great way to relax but they’re particularly satisfying during in the winter months when the temperature drops and the weather is less then pleasant. Now, to truly get the most out this experience you’re going to want to go all out; half measures simply won’t do. We’re talking bath bombs, candles, wine, a good book, music, beauty products - The works! If you’re short on supplies then Lush is the first place that comes to mind; it’s their specialty after all.
If you’re missing restaurants and nights out then you’re not alone! That said, there’s a lot of fun to be had creating the perfect date night at home. The more effort you’re willing to put into this, the more you’ll enjoy the results so really go to town on your planning and ideas. Try transforming your dining area with candles, fairly lights, and anything that will help create a lovely atmosphere for you. A delicious meal is a big part of part of any successful date night so be sure to look up some recipes and plan it all out in advance. If you’re not much of a cook then have a shop around. Mark’s and Spencer often have some really tasty pre-prepared meals for two that include a dessert and a bottle of wine. Last but not least, make sure to rid yourself of any distractions. Turn off the Tv, put your phone on silent and spend some quality time with your partner! You’ll feel great for it.
Forget “all dressed up and nowhere to go”. Lockdown is the perfect time to update your style and find a look that really works for you. Not only does it offer the opportunity to de-clutter your wardrobe but ditching the comfy clothes and dressing to impress every now and then can do wonders for your mood. What’s more is you’ll have an abundance of amazing outfits to show off once lockdown is lifted. You won’t be alone either, take a quick glance over your Instagram and you’ll discover a multitude of people doing this exact thing right now. With many retailers currently offering delivery (New Look, River Island and Zara - to name a few) the possibilities are endless.
If you’ve never heard of Animal Crossing then here’s a short introduction for you. The game is a social simulator created by Nintendo in which your character moves to a blank island and sets to work transforming it into a thriving town by collecting materials, building things and interacting with the island’s other inhabitants. There’s a lot of charm to the game, from the adorable art style to the relaxing (yet catchy) music and the overly positive attitude of each character; it very quickly becomes difficult to put down. Other cool features include a real time clock and seasons that change with the real world. This doesn’t just affect the weather but also what vegetables you can grow.; expect to see snow during winter and plenty of pumpkins around in October. If you’re looking to escape from the real world for a while then Animal Crossing may just be your best bet. Of course, you’ll need a Nintendo Switch to be able to play but unlike the latest Xbox and PlayStation; they’re usually readily available at places such as Game and Currys PC World. The Switch Lite is our recommendation for those on a budget.
With the exception of Monopoly which has been known to cause all out war, board games are a surprisingly fun and social way to spend time with your family. If anything, board games are seriously underrated. They get you talking, laughing and most of all; having fun with your nearest and dearest. If you’re one of those people who haven’t played a board game in years then you’re in for a treat because the variety of games available nowadays means you’re almost certain to find something you enjoy. The Works are home to a good number of those games and currently offer delivery so go ahead and start browsing.
If you’re working from home right now then you’ll no doubt be taking part in your fair share of Zoom meetings. To shake them up a bit try creating a homemade bingo card filled with the stereotypical (and at this point, comical) things that happen on the daily. To get you started we’ve listed a few ideas below but do your best to get a creative as possible with them!
Not only is baking a useful skill to learn but it also provides an opportunity for you to tap into your creative side. Once you get the basics down there’s really no limit to the tasty creations you can make. Okay. So at this point you’re probably wondering “but why does the cake have to be so big?”. The simple answer is because it’s challenging and the initial results will almost definitely make you chuckle (ever seen ‘Nailed It’?). That said, if you’re somewhat of a perfectionist then there’s just has much fun to be had sticking to something more achievable. If nothing else you’re going to preoccupy yourself for a few hours and end up with a tasty treat at the end! If you’re short on equipment then Lakeland have a pretty solid range of baking supplies.
Remember how many hours you’d spend colouring in as a kid? Well it turns out that it’s just as enjoyable as a grown up! The concept is still the same but the designs are a lot more intricate and will take you a fair few hours to finish if done with care. The experience is said to provide therapeutic mental health benefits for many people and will add a period of calm to your day. If this sounds like it may be for you then you’ll be glad to know there’s an abundance of books readily available that are packed with all sorts of designs. Waterstones have an impressive collection if you’re not sure where to start.
For many people, lockdown provides a lot of additional downtime; making it a great time to take-up a new hobby. Crafting is not only a popular choice but also has a lot of avenues you can explore depending on what takes your interest. We recently discovered that John Lewis now sell a range of all-in-one crafting kits that provide all the necessary tools and supplies to get you creating. The cool part is the amount of variety on offer. From glass painting to embroidery and candle kits, there’s something for everyone to get stuck into. If you want to take a browse then you can see the full collection here.
The immensely popular show was recently added to Netflix in December and has 9 seasons for you to dive into. Lead by Steve Carell (who plays the office manager), the show is a mockumentary series that follows a team of office workers at a fictional paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Things quickly become ridiculous and the shenanigans are endless. Just so you know, we’re not recommending this based on our personal opinion of the show but rather by its numbers. In 2020, 57.13 BILLION minutes of the show were streamed in the U.S alone. Whether or not you’ll enjoy the series will of course depend entirely on your personal taste but with that many people watching, it’s at least worth a shot right? (Quick disclaimer that we wouldn't recommend this one as a family show and that none of the views in the series represent our own)
Learning an instrument is a skill that takes plenty of time, practice and patience. For many for us, lockdown has gifted at least one of those 3 things. Exactly which instrument you decide to learn is entirely up to you but it’s worth considering a few variables before making up your mind. For example, if you live in an apartment building then a drum kit won’t be ideal as you won’t be able to practice much without annoying your neighbours. That said, if you are set on the drums then electronic kits exist and they’re much quieter than their acoustic counterpart.
For people looking for an instrument that’s affordable and offers much more flexible practice hours, the Ukulele may be a good option. Not only is it relatively quiet but the short neck and soft strings make it much easier to play than something like a guitar which requires a bit more ground work before you’ll start to see results. That isn’t to say you won’t need to put in plenty of practice if you truly want to master the instrument but you’ll likely be able to play some basic versions of your favourite songs sooner rather than later. Sold on the idea? Music Room offer a great range of instruments for beginners.
Top tip: Buy the best instrument you can afford at the time as it will still meet your needs as your skills progress later down the line.
If, like many people, you’re missing favourite coffee house then you’re not alone! The good news is it’s never been easier to make great tasting coffee from the comfort of your humble abode. To get started you're going to need to invest in a little equipment which will vary in price depending on the type of coffee you’re looking to make. The most affordable option by far is an aeropress coupled with your favourite ground coffee. The simple yet effective machine makes it easier than ever to create a great tasting cup of joe. If you're more interested in learning latte art, the upfront cost will be pricier as you’ll need a machine capable of making espresso and frothing milk. Whilst more costly, owning such a machine will provide you with the means of creating a much larger variety of drinks. Our recommendation would be a Sage machine from 200° Coffee. There are a few to choose from but the base model does more than enough for those just starting out. 200° also offer a very good barista course that will teach you everything you need to know to make quality coffee at home. Enjoy!
Nottingham is a city full of rich history and few establishments do a better job of bringing it to life than The National Justice Museum. Throughout lockdown, the museum have been filling up with their website with free learning materials that are perfect for teaching the little ones. Not only is the material packed with interesting facts but they make for a fun, educational lockdown activity that the whole family can enjoy. Interested? You can download all the available activities directly from The National Justice Museum’s website. Get started here.
This one is super simple, fun and creative! All you need to get started is plain white T-shirt and some fabric pens. Don’t worry about creating the perfect design, just come up with a few ideas on paper before you begin and then get to it. Even if it doesn’t come out exactly how you hoped, it’ll still make a great memory and if nothing else, you’ll have a one of a kind item of clothing. This is a perfect activity for both adults and children and will go down well with families. If you’re not sure where to pick up the fabric pens, check out this starter pack from WHS Smith.
With the success of Netflix’s massively popular 'The Queen’s Gambit', chess is seeing somewhat of a resurgence lately. If you never learnt how to play then now is the time. Not only is chess a fun pass time activity but it’s also great for keeping you mentally stimulated. The rules may seem a little complicated at first but it doesn’t take long to pick up and start playing. Grab a board from The Works and start strategising!
Also, if you haven't watched 'The Queen's Gambit' then add that to your list of things to do.
Not only is Yoga easy to do at home but it’s also well-know for its physical and mental health benefits. Research shows that Yoga can relax you, help you build strength and even (in some cases) ease physical illnesses such as back pain. There are plenty of tutorials available online for you to follow and all you really need to get started is a yoga mat which can be picked up at places like John Lewis or Sports Direct.
Have you ever been reading a blog and thought to yourself “hey I could do this!”? Well there’s never been a better time to give it a try than during lockdown. Blogs can be a fun way to really dive into a topic or topics your passionate about and give your own take on them. All you need to get going is a basic web page and an idea of what you want to write about. Don’t let the tech side of things overwhelm you, there’s an abundance of easy-to-use website builders out there nowadays. It’s also a good idea to note all your ideas on paper before you start writing so you can build a plan for your work. This bloggers journal from Paperchase should do the trick.
With the help of handy DIY kits, making your own beer or wine has never been easier. That said, there’s still an art to perfecting the craft and this hobby is sure to fill your time if done well. If you’re interested then you should head over to Wilko’s website and take a look around. Not only do they have a fairly larger selection of kits available but you’ll also find a beginners guide to help you out.
Due to the advancement in smartphone technology, many people probably don’t think about investing in a real camera as much as they perhaps would’ve done a few years back. The thing is, if you’re one of these people, you’re seriously missing out! There’s so much fun to be had mastering the art of photography with a DSLR camera, not to the mention the results you can achieve. If nothing else, it’s a great excuse to get outdoors and explore the most photogenic spots in your local area. Of course, you’re going to need a camera before you can get snapping but there’s a lot of great affordable options out there for beginners (take a look at this range from PC World). Once you get the hang of things you can start filling up your walls with all your favourite photos or create a scrap book to document your progress.
Fat Hippo are a fairly new addition to Nottingham but they’re quickly becoming one of city’s most popular venues for delicious, juicy burgers. The restaurant recently launched their brand new DIY Home Burger Kits and we think they look like a lot of fun. Each kit comes with everything you need to make your very own Hippo Burger, including the restaurants signature burger sauce! There is also a Vegan version available so there’s no need for anyone to miss out. Sound good? You can order yours directly from Fat Hippo Burger’s website here.
With the end of lockdown looking like it still may be a while away just yet, investing in your home makes a lot of sense right now. Throwing yourself into a project will not only be a fun use of your time but the end result will be something you can enjoy every day for years to come. This doesn’t have to be particularly expensive and creating a realistic budget will be a part of the process. Even re-arranging your furniture and adding a few decorative items can completely change the look of your room. If you’re in need of a little inspiration then it may be worth checking out the John Lewis Home Design Service. Their friendly team will help out with suggestions and advice that you may not have considered yourself. The service is free so it’s definitely worth a shot if you’re thinking of changing things up a bit around your home.
If “I’m just not much of a reader”, “I don’t really have time” or “I struggle to get into it” sounds like you then you’re missing out. It takes a little dedication and some hunting around for a genre that appeals to your interests but once you find it, there’s countless little worlds just waiting for you to escape in to. Not only is reading great for mental stimulation but when you find a book you really enjoy, there’s few things more relaxing than diving into a good read with your favourite wine, beer or hot drink to hand. Try to find a book that’s a part of a series, that way if you love it, there’s plenty more content waiting for you at the end. With many titles available around the £5 - £10 mark, reading is also a fairly inexpensive pass time to keep you entertained during lockdown. Waterstones, WHS Smith and Five Leaves Bookshop all have an impressive selection to choose from so have a shop around and get started.
With a massive surge in new breweries and unique beers over the last few years; there’s arguably never been a better time to be a beer fan. Sadly, pubs and bars must remain closed for now but that doesn’t mean you can’t sample some of the latest hoppy creations with your best friends. Try hosting your own beer tasting night by linking up with your fellow enthusiasts over Zoom. All you need to get started is a list of beers you’re all going to try and a laptop/tablet. Brew Cavern are well known for their variety of products and dedication to showcasing new beers so have a browse around their website if you’re thinking of giving this activity a go. Try secretly scoring each beer as you progress through the evening and then sharing your results at the end to see if there are any clear favourites in the group.
This one is super easy to create and, if done well, should keep your children entertained for a good while. If you want make the hunt a little more complex then try hiding the actual items in more difficult to find places but leaving easy to find clues around the house. Having a prize for finding all the items would be a nice touch if possible but not necessary. A new book from Waterstones or WHS Smith would work well as it’s another activity your kids can enjoy after the scavenger hunt is over.
Grab the popcorn, get cosy and settle in for an evening of movies and quality time with your family. Try to involve your children as much as possible with the organisation process. What snacks should you have? What movie are you going to watch? There’s plenty of family friendly content readily available on popular streaming services but if you’d like to support a cinema in Nottingham then you may want to take a peek at Broadway Cinema’s new rent on demand service. ‘Come Away’ looks particularly fun and is available to rent right now.
In an age of screens, things like pillow forts may seem like a thing of the past but we think your little ones will love this activity. All you need to get started is pillows, a few blankets/throws and a lot of imagination! Try giving bringing the fort to life by coming up with your own back story for its existence. For example: You need to project the king and queen from a giant dragon and only the best fort in the land will do!