May 2020

Take a break in the comfort of your own home

A vacation does not necessarily require a plane ticket, hotel room, or even a tank of gas. In fact, whether you’re on a budget or just looking for a way to unplug from the stresses of day-to-day life, there are plenty of relaxing options if you never leave home.

After all, any break is a good break, so here are a few resources, suggestions and tips for those interested in unwinding without heading out.

Books and Music

  • Did you know there’s a free digital library of classic books? Project Gutenberg offers digital downloads of titles ranging from “Pride and Prejudice” to “Peter Pan.” Just visit Project Gutenberg.
  • If you need help selecting a book to read, do a quick Google search for Time magazine’s All-Time 100 novels. If mysteries are your thing, visit The Edgars for a list of the latest award winners. And for sci-fi fans, pop over to Nebulas SFWA.
  • For those who believe “all the world’s a stage,” Play Bill offers a range of resources, including guides to finding streaming videos of stage performances.


  • Are you a burgeoning birder? iBird, Peterson Birds of North America, the Audubon Society, and others have created apps to help both novice and experienced birders. Apps may include photos, artwork, and birdsongs to help you identify birds where you live. You can even earn an online certificate from Birder Certification Online.
  • Backyards are meant for play and family barbecues but take a closer look. Grab a magnifying glass and learn what’s out there beyond the grass. Create a nature trail for kids and learn about the plants, insects, and animals living in your backyard.
  • Arbor Day Foundation offers an online database for identifying trees across the U.S. along with its “What Tree Is That?” pocket field guide. Snap a photo of a leaf and the website will help identify it.

Get Playful

  • Coloring isn’t just for kids. It can help adults reduce stress and anxiety, improve vision and focus, and even sleep better! Best of all, coloring supplies are inexpensive and available at stores and online retailers everywhere.
  • Piece together a pretty picture and flex your mental muscles at the same time. Family jigsaw puzzles use a combination of small, medium, and large pieces so everyone can join in on the fun. Try Puzzle Warehouse for a giant selection of puzzles for all ages.
  • Discover your inner Monet with an online art class. A quick internet search for online art classes yields results of everything from basic drawing to comic book art to figure drawing and more!
  • Pull the board games out of the closet and dust them well. It’s time for a family-friendly faceoff. Traditionalists may prefer games like Monopoly, Life, or Scrabble, but conservative estimates count tens of thousands of available board games. Also, check out Famisafe Wondershare for some of the best online options.