People are connected to the Internet much more than prior generations. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey on Internet usage from early 2021, 85% of Americans say they go online daily, and 31% of U.S. adults now go online “almost constantly.”
If you fall into the ‘almost constantly’ category, why not explore some new things you can try online?
What are the things you have been enjoying on the Internet? If you are tired of scrolling through your social media feeds or getting sucked into mindless games, there are other things to make your time on the Internet more productive yet still entertaining. Here are ten things that will be well worth your time exploring online.
Learn a new skill or improve an old one
Albert Einstein once said, “wisdom is not a product of schooling, but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” One of the most convenient and productive things you can do online is self-learning. From accessing a wide variety of courses on Coursera to personalized language learning on Pittsburgh-based Duolingo, and from free computer programming lessons on Codeacademy to expanding your vocabulary on Vocabulary.com, there are multiple ways to learn.
With the limitless resources on the Internet, you can also start a new hobby or train to be the next trivia champion on sandwiches.
Bring trigonometry or other school knowledge back
For parents who are worried about their children falling behind in school with remote learning or hybrid learning, it may be time to refresh your memory on whatever subject your child might be struggling with by hopping onto Khan Academy. Even though Khan Academy’s primary goal is to help students learn, it doesn’t mean that adults can’t use it to refresh their knowledge and help their children with schoolwork or learn together with their children.
Discover a whole new world with Podcasts
If you are tired of staring at a screen constantly, then listening to a podcast is a refreshing alternative! No matter what topic you are interested in, you can always find an enjoyable podcast. Love great stories? There are exciting mystery, true crime, and true story podcasts like Serial, which tell one true story over a series of podcasts.
Do you dream of becoming an entrepreneur? There are business podcasts that share stories behind prominent brands like NPR’s How I Built This with Guy Raz or explore the world of economics with Planet Money.
For art lovers, you can hear artist interviews on podcasts like The Jealous Curator. Most podcast apps like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher allow you to discover podcasts across different topics and download podcasts for offline listening.
Tape, mix, and make music online
Think outside of the box and have fun creating your own tunes with free apps and music websites. You can find apps to mix existing sounds or experiment with the more advanced music editing tools. We especially had fun with the toolbox on Building Beats, which gives you a chance to try various free online music tools from the simple BeepBox to fully-featured beat-making software like MPC Beats. If you are not in the mood for music creation, try Patatap instead. It is a fun website that matches visuals and sounds with every click on the screen.
Get creative with decor
Home is where our heart is. No matter what type of abode where you dwell, it can be fun and refreshing to try out new design ideas, rearrange the furniture, or show a bit more of your personality. If you live in a rental, you might be afraid to take on DIY projects that may get you in trouble with the landlord. Still, you can find many creative, temporary home decor ideas on the Internet for renters and homeowners who want to mix things up with decor.
Check out websites like Apartment Therapy and Architecture Digest or stream home improvement shows for new and exciting ideas. We’ve found some doable and easy projects such as mood-setting with string lights, creating accent walls with peel-and-stick wallpaper, lining peel-and-stick vinyl tiles, lighting the kitchen workspace with under-cabinet lighting, and so much more.
Record and savor life’s moments
If you want to remember a moment in time, try online journaling, blogging, or vlogging. With more of our lives spent online, there are ways to document life events, inspirations, and thoughts through various free Apps and platforms in text or video formats. The benefits of online journaling include:
- Less clutter in your physical space
- The ability to keep it private or public
- It can be accessible through multiple devices
- Store and back it up on the cloud
- Easily add images from your device
Keeping up with journaling, blog writing, or vlogging can be hard when you first start. If you are doing this only for yourself, forget the fancy rules and best practices and do it the most natural way. Keep it up for a full 30 days, and it’ll turn into a habit.
Time to read or listen to a book
Are you a book lover? Have you explored reading on your laptop or a device? Project Gutenberg, an online library of free eBooks, has a vast selection of books in the public domain in various formats, like Kindle files, PDFs, or plain text. For parents with kids, you can find children’s books at the International Children’s Digital Library. It includes an outstanding collection of historical and contemporary children’s literature from different cultures and languages.
If you live in Pittsburgh and have a library card from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, you are in luck! The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh website has a rich collection of ebooks, audiobooks, music, video, and magazines you can borrow, stream, or download with a library card.
Explore cooking, be a master home chef
We have all done our part ordering take-out and supporting local restaurants and food joints, but sometimes you crave the taste of home cooking. Besides calling home and asking for family recipes, there are ways you can try other people’s prized recipes, discover new cuisines, and explore the potential of your taste buds.
The Internet has billions of recipes. You can find easy-to-follow instructions on Youtube by professional chefs and home cooks or from websites like AllRecipes or Epicurious. If you only have a few ingredients at home and don’t know what you can make, try SuperCook, a recipe search engine that finds recipes with the ingredients you have. In addition, you can take online cooking classes or try a tasting workshop with friends to broaden your understanding of food and cooking.
Start a 30-day fitness challenge
According to the American Psychological Association’s “Stress in America” 2021 report, more than 40% of the Americans surveyed said they gained undesired weight since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Combining food and exercise is always a good idea to keep your mind sharp and energized. If you don’t have an exercise routine yet, a 30-day fitness challenge can be a cool thing to try.
Practicing a new behavior every day helps you develop better habits (If you want to read more about its science, check out this medically reviewed article). There are many free resources on the Internet on 30-day fitness challenges, but before choosing one and committing, make sure the routine matches your body strength. If you have not exercised for a long time, start with a beginner 30-day fitness challenge and take it slow.
Volunteer through the Internet
Volunteers make a difference in the world. Sometimes, all you need to volunteer is an Internet connection. In Pittsburgh, nearly 15% of all adults urgently need literacy services. Literacy Pittsburgh is ready to change that with the help of their volunteer tutors through virtual and in-person tutoring sessions.
You can also help make the collections more accessible at the Smithsonian Institution by volunteering online to transcribe historical documents or edit Wikipedia articles related to their artifacts and research. Another impactful virtual volunteering is being someone’s eyes through the Be My Eyes app. When a visually impaired person needs assistance checking expiration dates, distinguishing colors, reading instructions, or navigating new surroundings, the volunteer can help through a live video on the app.
There are lots of virtual volunteering opportunities available within reach of a quick online search!
Did you find one or more things from our list that you will be exploring on the Internet? If you end up trying one of them, feel free to tag us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and show us how you rocked out a new thing using your determination and an Internet connection.
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