Activities that can be done during Mid-Winter Break

Due to the COVID-19 precautions restricting traveling and large gatherings, recreational buildings such as theaters and ice skating rinks have been temporarily closed. In spite of Newson opening California up and expanding the variety of activities the public could engage in, there are other activities that can be done that not only follow the guidelines but also provide entertainment. 

PODCASTS

Listening to podcasts relieves the eyes, giving students a break from online school. There are a variety of podcast topics that can be accessed through apps such as Spotify, Pandora, or iHeartRadio. They can be both entertaining and informational to the listener, and also allow them to multitask. 

S.T.E.M. teacher Nick Williams hosts his own podcast called Teach ‘Em Up.

“In Teach ‘Em Up, I talk to great teachers about what they love about teaching and how we can do it better,” Williams said. “It’s designed to share [the] best teaching and learning practices with other teachers, give families and students a ‘look behind the scenes’ of what teachers are thinking and planning, and (hopefully) share my love of teaching and encourage folks to consider teaching as a profession,” 

Williams also shared his top three podcasts that he listens to and recommends which included: This American Life, The Anthropocene Reviewed, and Reply All.

“I think like any medium, podcasts can be great, or totally trash,” Williams said. “It’s nice to be able to find detailed analysis of pretty specific niches. The downside is that it can kind of separate some of our discourse and you can get caught just listening to things you curate for yourself, so you’ve got to be pretty intentional in searching out diverse perspectives and different opinions.”

Williams podcast Teach ‘Em Up is available on Apple, Spotify, Google Play, etc. Podcasts open a variety of topics, allowing enjoyment and expression of opinion. 

DECORATION AND RENOVATION

With the stay at home order, students have more time to renovate and clean out rooms. Redecorating a room creates a comfortable atmosphere and a new space while stuck at home. Some ideas include rearranging or adding furniture, picking a room theme, repainting walls, etc. A simple and affordable way to add more decoration could be through online arts and crafts. Sites such as YouTube, Pinterest, and Etsy provide inspiration and templates for various projects. The wide range of arts and craft ideas online provide different levels of difficulty and pricing for materials. 

Graphic depicting how a room could be rearranged. Being able to redecorate and add more to a room can take up additional time during break when bored. 

MINI INDOOR GARDENS

The addition of plants is another way to change the scenery in rooms. There are distinct types of plants that can be taken into account when starting a miniature garden inside due to the colder weather. An indoor miniature garden can consist of herbs, microgreens, or flowers. Herbs such as rosemary, basil, parsley, cilantro are easier to tend to and can, later on, be used as an ingredient for cooking. Microgreens are young vegetable greens and can be grown as lettuce, spinach, or broccoli. Microgreens are also edible and can add a sweet or spicy flavor to foods. Some flowers that are easier to tend indoors include the African violet, peace lilies, orchids, succulents, etc. These plants being indoors allows for the implementation of growth lights that act in place of the sunlight. A miniature indoor garden will take up the extra time during break because of all of the different choices and materials needed but will create a visual appeal.

A miniature garden of various plants and tomatoes. Having a miniature indoor garden gives more decoration to rooms and being able to measure the progress of the plants growing. 

VIDEO CHATS

As large gatherings aren’t advised, an alternative way to meet up with distant friends and relatives is through video chats. For more casual conversations, Zoom and Google Meet have the simplicity of offering a camera and microphone feature. Houseparty and Bunch allow group video chat while having the ability to play the built-in games from the apps. Houseparty provides Trivia, Uno, Karaoke, Quick Draw, and more. Bunch offers similar games but is different from Houseparty because it has the ability to support third-party games. 

“[Houseparty] has helped me stay in contact with friends I couldn’t hang out with during this pandemic,” junior Raquel Anguiano said. “I’m able to talk to multiple people at once and spend time with them for hours regardless of location. It’s also a great way to include everyone in your friend group.”

(Clockwise from top left) Apps such as Bunch, Zoom, Google Meet, and Houseparty have provided entertainment to those social distancing. These apps can be interchangeable with each other because they all include group video chat.

VIRTUAL MUSEUM/AQUARIUM TOURS

With educational institutions such as museums and art galleries being temporarily closed down, some have turned to provide a free digital tour. In London, the British Museum uses an interactive history timeline, connecting the art with the time period. In Paris, the Musée d’Orsay art museum partnered with Google to create a “tour” throughout the exhibits, showing off oil paintings, modern art, statues, and more. Other educational institutions such as aquariums and zoos have started live webcam broadcasts of their animals. At San Diego Zoo there are 10 animal live cams that can be viewed, ranging from platypuses to tigers. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has also provided live cams consisting of sea otters, moon jellyfish, sharks, aviary, and penguins. They also provide scenic live cams of their coral reef, kelp forest, open sea section, and of Monterey Bay. 

The British Museum was able to host a virtual tour through the partnership with the Google Cultural Institute. The tour includes object highlights, timelines, fun facts, and family activities for free. 
The moon jellyfish live cam at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. These live cams can be accessed from their website or streamed off of Youtube. 

HIKING

COVID guidelines have also limited the number of ways to stay active, but there are recreational activities that still follow the guidelines, such as hiking. A few of the hiking trails nearby include: 

  • Bay Area Ridge Trail located at Mount Burdell Open Space 
  • Miwok Trail/Coastal Trail at Mill Valley
  • The Ad and Gloria Schwindt Trail at Indian Valley
  • The Marin Headlands
  • The Coast Trail at Point Reyes National Seashore

“Any outdoor activity is good to break the isolated mode, biking, hiking, kayaking, etc. Throw in exercise as well to sweat and bring the heart rate up,” AP Computer Science and Multimedia Design Teacher Luis Santos said. “Hiking and running [are] simplest and we are lucky to live here in Marin with all the trail heads, parks, and open spaces.”

Courtesy of Claire Choi
Pictures of hiking trails from Mount Burdell (top)  and the Coastal Trail in Mill Valley (bottom). Taking different hiking trails throughout the break allows people to get outside and get a workout.

Author: Reiko Suzuki

Reiko Suzuki is a junior and one of the duties for the features page. One of her hobbies is drawing. Her favorite thing to do during her free time is spend time with her pets.

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