Philomath, or lover of learning for those of you that don’t speak ancient Greek, describes the kind of person that yearns to continue their own education, be it scholarly pursuits, or simply learning a new skill. To keep from getting bored during the shutdown, many philomaths put their noggins to work and started new hobbies or academic ventures.
Top Quarantine Hobbies
Where Traveler has rounded up some of the most popular quarantine hobbies Americans have been getting into since March.
Learning a Language
Learning a new language can be much more difficult as an adult than as a child. But today, many apps and other language learning tools make learning fun instead of a chore. One of the first language tools to use games as a way to increase retention and understanding was uTalk. They offer lessons in over 60 different languages and each lesson enhances both speaking and listening skills. Purchase a language (or group of languages) and you have access to the lessons for life. Those looking for free language learning apps can download Duolingo. This is also a game-style learning format where users can accrue points to level up as they learn. Students that want more of a classroom-style guide to languages use Babbel. The online platform focuses on the language tools that real people in the real world use every day. After mastering the basics in vocabulary and grammar, some experts suggest borrowing familiar children’s books from the library. Knowing the plot and central characters in advance can help build increased language understanding.
Sewing and Knitting
Arts and crafts are a rewarding and creative way to spend extra time. Learning to knit and crochet became a very popular quarantine hobby. Knitting Genius, a free app, is an excellent guide for beginning knitters. The app including video tutorials, step-by-step instructions, stitch counting tools, and patterns to follow. Learn to knit everything from scarves and socks to sweaters and baby shoes. YouTube has a wealth of videos that teach crochet for beginners. Clearly it is a popular hobby because many videos have more than 14 million views! As the pandemic continued to grow worldwide, thousands dusted off old sewing machines, found scraps of cloth and elastic, and got to work learning to sew face masks. Community-minded individuals sewed hundreds of masks and donated them to the elderly, to essential workers, or anyone in need. It also led to the widespread use of fun patterns and colors on face coverings. Cover your face, but make it fashion!
As food shortages threatened nationally and grocery stores limited the number of customers, many folks took a look at their backyard and decided to put the plot to use. It’s easy to follow these steps to start your own vegetable garden. Those that learned to garden in the spring are now reaping the benefits of homegrown produce for salads, sides, and vegetarian meals. It doesn’t get more farm-to-table than that. City dwellers didn’t let the lack of a backyard stop them from starting gardens during the shutdown. Always check to be sure it’s legal to start a garden on your fire escape, but usually, plants are allowed as long as they don’t block paths during an actual emergency. Minimalist fire escape and balcony gardens are great places to grow herbs, flowers, and vegetables. Since these gardens tend to be small, it’s easy to take them with you if you move!
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, millions of Americans swiftly lost their jobs. However, for the tech-savvy, one skill became far more popular during quarantine: coding. Basically, coding is the process of creating commands and instructions for computers using specific programming languages. It is used to create apps, websites, and other tech platforms that the public interacts with every day. Since the use of online platforms is on the rise, so is the need for good coders. Codecademy is one of the most commonly used and respected websites for beginning coders. It uses an interactive learning style to teach beginners the basics of programming. YouTube has a variety of channels for would-be coders too. The LearnCode.academy channel focuses on web development. There are tutorials on coding as well as the different kinds of language and tools programmers use. Many beginning coders hope to hone their skills enough to join the rapidly expanding tech workforce.