If you’re anything like me and my family, then the internet has become a great source of entertainment and a bit of a timewaster! From streaming the latest movies to checking in with social media, we clock up many internet hours a week, but we don’t always have something to show for it.
There’s a load of cool activities and things to do online that don’t cost anything and can be quite productive. Some of them are arguably just for fun, but here’s a list of some of those activities that might pull you out of an internet rut.
Go Back to School
One of the most useful and free ways in which you can use the internet is to go back to school and learn a new skill or subject. The financial and time resources involved in physically attending college or taking a regular class you can always justify, especially if you’re already working full-time or have your hands full with your family. That’s why the following online education resources are my first recommendation for a free new thing to do online.
- edX (www.edx.com) – This site brings together a vast array of courses on all manner of subjects from top academic institutions like Dartmouth, Cornell, UC Berkeley and even Harvard.
- HubSpot Academy (www.academy.hubspot.com ) – This site offers free courses and certification in the core business development subjects of marketing, sales and customer service.
- MIT OpenCourseWare (www.ocw.mit.edu) – The highly regarded Massachusetts Institute of Technology site has made a selection of university-level courses available to study online, covering a wide array of topics from engineering to mathematics, fine arts as well as health and medicine.
Broaden Your Horizons
If you don’t have the time or inclination to try your hand at the free online educational resources listed above, then you can still broaden your horizons and knowledge of the world with some other great online content.
You probably already spend a fair amount of time online watching entertaining videos on YouTube, but did you know that there are hundreds of channels that specialize in educational, factual content that are as engaging as those “Top 10” compilations? You can find videos on all manner of topics, whether it’s neuropsychology, self-help, programming and coding, blogging, social justice issues; the list is endless. Plus, watching, liking and subscribing to content from indie makers on YouTube supports them financially through ad revenue without you having to spend a penny, enabling them to create even better videos in the future.
Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO are often a great value for your money, but when you’re living on a budget, it’s not always possible to splash out on paid subscriptions. That’s when sites like Documentary Heaven (www.documentaryheaven.com) come in handy where you can watch a selection of free documentaries. And let’s not forget the huge array of free podcasts that are available on iTunes, etc.
Play in a Virtual Casino
The internet and mobile technology have had a significant impact on the way we play games in the 21st century. We can team up with fellow players from the other side of the world to enjoy community RPGs (role-playing games), with all manner of strange new worlds opened up on our screens — especially when you factor in advanced technology like virtual reality — and it’s even possible to become a poker or casino pro just by playing online.
A common misconception about playing casino games online is that you need a lot of money in the bank. But there are many variations of casino games available from reputable platforms that are completely free to play. In many cases, you can sign up for an account and deposit a minimum amount or nothing at all and choose from different bonuses and offers that can give you free plays on games like online slots, roulette and video poker.
Try a New Hobby
There’s nothing like a fun hobby for a productive way to pass the time, especially if that hobby is something you can enjoy with your partner or spouse. The sheer diversity of activities, tutorials, how-tos and interactive websites that are available online mean that you can pick up a brand-new hobby instantly and for free. It’s become a bit of a trend to monetize hobbies, but even if yours doesn’t suddenly turn into a business empire, regularly participating in creative hobbies can still increase your happiness levels.
Here are some of my favorite and free family-friendly websites where you can learn some fab new hobbies:
- Patatap (www.patatap.com) – This innovative site is an “interactive instrument” where you can create unique sounds and animations.
- Goodtricks (www.goodtricks.com) – If you’ve ever wanted to learn famous magic tricks, then this is the site for you.
- Duolingo (www.duolingo.com) – With this site, also available to download as a mobile app, you can quickly and easily learn the basics of most global languages.