7 Things To Do If You Can’t Leave The House

“Quarantine,” “isolation,” “social distancing”—there are a lot of names for the same problem. Millions of people are being forced to alter their schedules and stay indoors due to the spread of COVID 19 (coronavirus). If you’re stuck at home, you may be asking yourself exactly what you’re going to do all day… and the Internet Archive is here to help!

If you’ve got an internet connection and some time to kill, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself entertained. Here are some of our favorites!

1. Celebrate Cinema

Feel like watching a classic movie? Our Feature Film Archive contains thousands of public domain films, shorts, and trailers, including classics such as Night of the Living Dead, His Girl Friday, and The Most Dangerous Game. You can browse Charlie Chaplin’s movies, watch modern animation such as Sita Sings The Blues, or learn about the life of Aaron Swartz; you can also check out our sizeable collection of silent productions, film noir, and historic comedy. With a huge range of genres, there’s something for everybody!

2. Become a Bookworm

There’s nothing like a good book to take you somewhere else. Both the Internet Archive’s Book Collection and Open Library feature thousands of engaging reads, from ancient classics to popular new additions. Browse thrillers, romance novels, biographies, self-help books, science fiction, political works, educational material, or whatever other genre sparks your interest; check out what’s popular and what’s recently available. And even if you don’t know what you want to read yet, then try picking a book at random—or even just asking a question and seeing what you find!

3. Let The Games Begin

If gaming is more your speed, then check out the MS-DOS Games in our Software Library. This collection includes dozens of classic favorites such as Pac-Man, Sim City, The Oregon Trail, Doom, Prince of Persia, Donkey Kong, and Tetris, as well as many more lesser-known titles such as Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter! and Freddy Pharkas, Frontier Pharmacist. Enjoy simulations of popular board and card games such as Monopoly, Stratego, Hearts, or Mah Jong, as well as flight simulators, sports games, and this treat for Monty Python fans.

4. Tune In To An Old Radio Show

Before podcasts (or the internet, or even TV) there were radio shows. Even if you’ve never listened to an old-time radio broadcast, chances are you’re familiar with some of the pop-culture touchstones they created—from My Favorite Husband (which was later adapted into the TV show I Love Lucy) to Dragnet (with its famous catchphrase “Just the facts, ma’am.”). If you want to shake up your listening habits, you can explore sitcoms like The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, mysteries like The Whistler, or iconic Westerns such as Have Gun, Will Travel, Tales Of The Texas Rangers, and (of course) Gunsmoke.

5. Pick Up A New Hobby

If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, then you can put it to good use by learning a new skill! Ever wanted to take up origami? Knitting? Woodworking? Want to sharpen your drawing technique or become a maze-solving master? If cooking is your thing, maybe you can attempt a new cuisine or learn to bake a fancy dessert—if you have to stay home, at least eat well!

6. Listen To Live Concerts

Want to enjoy a musical performance without having to leave the house? The Live Music Archive contains thousands of concert recordings for hundreds of artists. Our most popular collection by far is The Grateful Dead, but you could also explore Smashing Pumpkins, Robert Randolph (and the Family Band), Disco Biscuits, Death Cab for Cutie, John Mayer, or Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. (If wizard rock is more your style, we also have several concerts from Harry and the Potters.) Take a look and see if any of your favorite artists are in here!

7. Do Some Exploring

This list only scratches the surface of what’s available within the Internet Archive. Relive the 80’s and 90’s (and learn how to style your scarf) with the Ephemeral VHS collection, or roam the cosmos with the NASA Image of the Day gallery. Learn about the history of advertising with this collection of retro TV ads or enjoy some psychedelic screensavers. No matter how long you’re stuck indoors, the Internet Archive will have something new to offer you—so happy hunting!

53 thoughts on “7 Things To Do If You Can’t Leave The House

  1. Don Huschle

    I spend mt winters in Mexico and have used Internet Archive for years. I love the old movies and radio shows. When we were kids my brother and I went and fished an old Admiral radio out of a dump and took it home cleaned it up got it working and put it in our room and would listen to all the old shows at night. They really take me back to a very happy time.

  2. Holly Weaver

    I was just wondering, of all the movies out there, why dod you choose to list Night of the Living Dead first!?
    Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had an unexplained primal fear of zombies. Even long into my adulthood.
    And IF I’m being completely honest, I’ve found myself praying quite a bit here lately that what we’re facing doesn’t end up being a zombie apocalypse. Seriously!
    So I’m really curious why that was the first movie you suggest we watch?

    1. Jenica Jessen Post author

      Night of the Living Dead is the most popular feature film in the Internet Archive—it’s been viewed or downloaded over 3 million times.
      But zombies aren’t for everyone! We also have an extensive comedy collection (https://archive.org/details/Comedy_Films), thousands of cartoons and animated works (https://archive.org/details/animationandcartoons) and many silent films for fans of historic cinema (https://archive.org/details/silenthalloffame). There’s plenty of material out there, whatever your personal tastes are!

  3. Becky Thacker

    Social distancing needn’t keep us indoors. Gardening, walking, lots of outdoor activities are open to folks. Archives might include places to explore nearby.

  4. robin coles

    Start building your family tree. Family search is free, Wikitree is free, Ancestry has some free records, Find a Grave is free. Start with yourself and work your way up the tree.

  5. Alexandros

    You forgot the case ” talk and play with your family” which is the most important!! You promote personal activities for yourself only. Signs of our times unfortunately

    1. Sykie

      SELF-quarantine. Did you pick up on the self part of that? Even sometimes hanging out with families can be dangerous right now. If you are in a low risk level and everybody else in your family is then, yeah go hang out. But if there are multiple cases in your town, and your dad is at a high risk level then don’t.

  6. martin Nelson

    1.Learn a new /skill on FutureLearn an on-line UK MOOC @ futurelearn.com
    2.Begin a journal- expressing your feelings and hopes
    3. Contact friends you have lost touch with
    Its a great opportunity to do something new
    Good luck and stay well

    1. Paul Devlin

      Hey, is that just a sneaky way of boasting that you’re lucky enough to live in beautiful France??? L Wish I did too

  7. Marcia

    Thank you ever so much for all the wonderful suggestions!
    Keep up the good work and take care!

  8. Sylvie de Berg

    Very good idea !
    Thank’s a lot, I transfer to some beloved ones.
    Joy and courage, and fairy-tales indeed – i’m a storyteller !
    Sylvie from France

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  10. Danita Dyess

    I’m not sure how I became a part of your database, but I am glad I did! Can’t wait to share Archive.org with others!

  11. Peter ward

    Lots of inspiring good ideas, but what if I would like to take an hours drive in my car, no getting out and no contact with others, would that be a good suggestion for relief?

  12. Fraser McKee

    Now THIS is a really practical & useful sight, not just a re-hash of what happened/is happening, what to do isolation-wise, and market crashes … about which I personally can do almost nothing. But I do like the idea of things I CAN do!

  13. Ronald Shelton

    Thank you for your positive proactivity and non-politicized introspection to provide meaningful assistance during this world tribulation.

  14. Ann Ferguson

    I think the hour’s drive is a good idea if this relaxes you. What I do is try to take a walk every day. One can even talk to others you meet along the way if you remain 6 feet away and do not touch them or surfaces they’ve touched unless you have hand sanitizer with you! Something I don’t think is mentioned here is to talk to loved ones more on the phone and use Skype and Zoom online group meetings to assuage that social bonding need I think most of we humans have!

  15. Nancy O

    Good job on making your website an integral part of today! We enjoy old radio programs for kids. So glad you are archiving the world for us to enjoy now and for our children in the future.

  16. Carmen Paterson

    Thank you for the excellent list! Just today I got an email from someone saying they were bored because everyone is supposed to stay home because of the Coronavirus (we’re in Canada). I’m going to forward this to her.

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  19. Gary Kent

    I was wondering what I would do while it rains for the next two days – now I know. Thank you!

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  22. Claudia Hall

    Thanks for all the tips! It’s also super nice for a change to read so many positive comments in comparison to other sites!

  23. Elif kareni

    Thank you for those useful advices! Choose the best one for you, you are free, it is up to you, you say. You are absolutely right!
    I hope these hard times will end soon and everything will be normal for all! God bless all!

  24. Ferry Adrian

    Thank you for sharing this useful and interesting tips to try my self at home. Hopefully the Covid19 global pandemic will be over as soon as possible

  25. Pinta A.

    If you’ve got an internet connection and some time to kill,

    Am I the only one wondering how American Internet connections are going to hold up when everyone is stuck at home streaming (or attempting to stream) video down the pipes?

    The Internet, as I understand it, was not designed to have everyone online simultaneously, which is what ~70 million people will now be trying to do.

  26. Reese Hewitt

    I have only ever used the internet archive to read books and never realy thought about/used any of its other features, so this is realy new for me. But mostly THANKS FOR THE BOOKS!

  27. jacques cressaty

    Thank you Brewster for your vision and thank you to all the staff around the globe that make archive.org one of the most visited site. The Internet Archive is really a treasure for all generations to visit and support.

  28. yehrishtatv

    thank you so much for this great advice, Its a great pleasure reading your post” Great work.

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