As the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, continues to spread, more state and local official are issuing orders for people to stay at home and practice “social distancing.” The goal is to slow the spread of the virus, but unless you live in a mansion or own a giant yacht where you can entertain yourself during the distancing, you may be looking for a few ways to pass the time until we can all get back to normal. Here are 7 smartphone apps to download to keep you busy, learning, informed, and more.
Video conferencing and chat apps have exploded in popularity as everyone from at-home workers to families use technology to connect to one another. Many of them also offer free versions for those who don’t need enterprise-level technology and just want to be able to chat with a group of friends. Some of the most popular are Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts.
Smartphone games are another great way to kill a few hours on the weekend when you can’t go out with friends, and there are plenty to choose from. You can do everything from simple card games like solitaire to multi-player challenges. There are games to exercise your brain, like Sudoku or Scrabble, and others for fun like Soda Crush or Mario Kart.
If you want to make the most of your time away from work and school, think about downloading one of the many language apps and spend your days learning to speak a foreign language. Once the virus threat is gone, you can travel and use your new skill. Some of the most popular are Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and Drops.
If news of the coronavirus is stressing you out, this might be a good time to brush up on your meditation skills. Apps like Headspace or Calm can help you learn how to meditate, although many only offer limited options without paying for a membership.
For people who spent a lot of time at the gym, stay-at-home orders are putting a dent in your strength and conditioning. You could go out for a run (as long as you still practice social distancing), but there are also apps available with at-home workouts that require little or no equipment. Home Workout, BurnAlong, Nike Training Club, and others are available. Many large fitness groups like Beachbody on Demand are also offering a limited free trial for home workouts.
Spending a lot of time at home means you have more time to catch up on all the books you want to read, but with libraries and bookstores closed, and Amazon prioritizing deliveries based on immediate health needs, it can be hard to find actual books. Apps like Audible and Kindle allow you to keep reading via audiobook or electronic pages.
Finally, if you’re looking for ways to keep up with information about COVID-19, including important information about restrictions, testing, and more, you can download apps for the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both have valid, verified information to stay up to date.