By Sophia Mao
The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly disrupted our daily routines. During this time of social distancing, people are becoming less engaged in the world as they find their days getting longer from boredom. Although this problem is not the most pressing issue facing humanity, it is affecting the mental health of students and should not be disregarded. Separated from outside support systems, many students are overwhelmed: adjusting to new schedules and habits, planning out uncertain futures, dealing with family issues, and just being away from their friends. Luckily, there are plenty of free and discounted resources that have become available online. Many companies, organizations, and others are lending their services to help us all get through these uncertain times with a bit more ease.
Books and audiobooks
- Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited is offering a free two-month trial. Users will have full access to over 1 million titles, as well as popular magazines and audiobooks on any device.
- Audible is offering a large selection of free audiobooks. From literary classics to teen reads, students can stream a wide collection of audiobooks that have the ability to entertain, teach, and keep students’ minds active and engaged.
- The New York Times is offering free access to news and information about the coronavirus. From live updates to helpful advice, this resource is a great way to stay informed about the world around us as we continue to stay in isolation.
Movies and television
- The NFL is offering free access to NFL Game Pass until May 31. Users can watch full length and condensed replays of games from 2009- 2019, as well as breakdown tapes and original shows.
- The NBA is offering free access to NBA League Pass. Users can watch full length and condensed replays of games from the 2019-2020 season, as well as a large archive of classic games and other content.
- PBS has teamed up with award-winning documentarian Ken Burns to show his films for free until June 30. His works are well known for including primary sources and archival video footage, as well as for being thought-provoking and multifaceted.
- Sling TV is offering free access to movies, television shows, and live channels. Students can stay entertained and informed by browsing thousands of options.
- Because the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival has been postponed, organizers are posting a new short film everyday, each from a different filmmaker. The daily series is titled “A Short Film a Day Keeps Anxiety Away.”
- The Metropolitan Opera is offering a daily series of free opera performances. The schedule includes complete performances from the past 14 years, with each being accessible for a period of 23 hours upon its availability.
- Playwright Lauren Gunderson is teaching free playwriting classes on Facebook. Thousands of people tune in to learn about the art of shaping stories, crafting characters, and penning effective stage directions.
- Many musicians are live-streaming mini concerts on social media. Although fans can no longer visit their favorite artists, they can still catch them in action online.
- Down Dog is giving students and teachers free access to all of their apps until July 1. It is the highest-rated app for practicing yoga at home, as well as for HIIT, barre, and other workouts.
- Planet Fitness is live-streaming daily workouts on Facebook. Their workouts are hosted by trainers and even some surprise celebrity guests.
- The Ivy League schools are offering more than 400 online courses for free. Other course providers are also offering learning content for free or at a discounted price. These offers are kept track by Class Central.
- As part of their new MasterClass Live series, MasterClass is offering one free class per week. Their first guest was Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown. In these one-hour live streams, which can be accessed on their website or YouTube channel, guests answer questions that have been submitted beforehand or in real-time.
- Google’s Arts & Culture collection can take people on virtual tours to explore the art and history of people around our world. Users can access over 2,000 museums from 80 countries through their screen, as well explore other features.
- The History Channel is offering a free video series of history lessons from presenters such as Laurence Fishburne, Billie Jean King, and Max Brooks. Topics include the origin of handwashing, the history of toilet paper, and more.
Aquariums and zoos
- The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is the largest aquarium in the country. Their live streams feature a variety of fish and animals, as well as dive shows, feedings, and sea otter training sessions.
- The Monterey Bay Aquarium features a wide variety of habitats and aquatic life. Their webcams show sharks gliding through a three-story tall kelp forest, tropical fishes swimming through coral reefs, and more.
- The San Diego Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the country. They feature baboons, penguins, koalas, polar bears, and more. Viewers can watch the animals in their habitats and enjoy archival footage of pandas.
- Zoo Atlanta only features one live cam—the Panda Cam. The giant pandas, who don’t hibernate, can be seen every hour of the day, all year long.
- Cards Against Humanity is releasing a free beta version of its family edition. Bored families can now print it at home and play together.