Senior Savannah Rosenzweig plays the Just Dance video game. (Photo courtesy of Rosenzweig)

Hobbies at home: High schoolers explore new activities during quarantine

With hours of free time thrust into your hands, you may have wondered at least once what to do with it all. 

Sure, there’s the typical binge-watching shows and movies, baking, exercising and getting arts-and-crafty. 

But if you’re like me, you probably tired of your usual hobbies a month ago, so here are some new activities to stave off boredom during this uncertain time.

Explore Music Genres

Listening to music is a given, but now is the perfect time to dive deep into Spotify — or however else you get your music — and find some gems outside your comfort zone. 

   Maybe that means getting into acid jazz (try The Brand New Heavies — it’s a vibe) or bringing back Christmas music (to remind us of simpler times).

   A change in taste could even evolve into a growth in mindset, as it has for junior Hana Lee.

   “Recently I rediscovered my love for country music, and now I don’t listen to K-pop as much,” Lee said. 

   According to Lee, indulging in country music has influenced her self-image.

   “When I listened solely to K-pop, I thought I had to be pale and skinny (the stereotypical Korean beauty standard),” Lee said. “Listening to country music reminded me that being beautiful can mean being tan and having muscle.”

Arts and crafts on steroids

We’ve all heard of arts and crafts projects, but if you’re serious about killing time, you’re going to need something a little more intense. 

The easiest way to increase the length of a project is to go big. For example, create chalk murals on your driveway — think Country Day’s tradition. 

This is a fun excuse to get some sunlight, and its impermanence means you can create a new one each day.

On the other hand, you can scale down like senior Bill Tsui. 

“Since I’m home with pretty much nothing to do, (model kit building) is a good pastime,” Tsui said during spring break.

He says it takes him between 24 and 36 hours to complete a model, but the one he’s currently working on — a Gundam model from the popular Japanese media franchise Mobile Suit Gundam — has taken him four days. 

“Model kit building is like piecing together a puzzle, but rather than just being flat, it is three-dimensional,” Tsui said. “When I paint the models, I can really bring out my creativity and imagination.”

Senior Bill Tsui’s Gundam model. (Photo courtesy of Tsui)

Pick up a book

OK, hear me out. Don’t just pick up any book; pick up a book you’ll learn something from. 

It doesn’t have to be a textbook, but like board games (see below), reading is a great way to keep your brain in shape while staying entertained. 

Of course, this includes leisure reading, but trying a different genre can expand your horizons, as it has for sophomore Arjin Claire.

He recently finished a nonfiction book called “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell.

“I really liked it because it’s different from the genre I normally read (fiction),” Claire said. “My parents recommended it to me, and I was surprised at how good it was.”

I have been trying to read a manga (comic book) in Japanese. This keeps me busy deciphering words and grammar, and it’s more interesting than a textbook. 

If it’s a topic you’re genuinely interested in, learning isn’t such a chore, so why not take this chance to indulge that curiosity?

Have a photoshoot

This both kills time and gives you some cute photos.

Set up a camera on self-timer mode, put on a cute outfit, find a decent background, and you’re golden. 

If you want to go minimalist, take your photo to Photoshop and paste in a background there. 

Or you can stick to the classic selfie like junior Stephanie Ye, who’s been sending a selfie a day to reassure her parents back in China.

It even provides Ye with a mood tracker.

“It is interesting to see changes of (myself) throughout the week,” Ye said. “Sometimes, I take a selfie with full makeup; sometimes I take it with greasy hair.”

Junior Stephanie Ye takes a selfie for her parents in China. (Photo courtesy of Ye)

Learn a board game

This is a great option if you can rope a family member into it. But if you can’t find anyone, the internet has free, online versions of nearly any game. 

One game tricky enough to spend hours on is Go. It’s over 2,500 years old and is typically compared to chess because it’s a strategy game. But it’s much more complex, with 250 possible moves per turn on the typical 19 x 19 square board. 

Board games are a great way to keep your brain in shape, especially after hours of binging shows. Plus, if you’re a student-athlete whose season was canceled, this offers a new channel for that competitive drive.

Just Dance

Are you tired of sitting around all day? Do you find in-home workouts boring? Well, senior Savannah Rosenzweig has the perfect solution: the Just Dance video game.

“I do it at least twice a day with anywhere from five to 10 songs,” Rosenzweig said. “I’m able to work out and have fun.”

Rosenzweig plays using a Wii, but Just Dance is also available for Xbox and PlayStation systems.

If you don’t have any of these, try searching up Just Dance dances on YouTube. 

And if you want to dance outside the box, try following a K-pop group’s choreography on YouTube.