Virtual Fun

  • By:  Stephanie Allen

Inspiring fun awaits at local museums and arts centers.

While you're stuck at home, you may as well make the most of it. Here are some great ideas for having fun at home and growing your creative imagination.

Virtual Theater

Craving some drama? Virginia Stage Company is hosting virtual readings, audition workshops, and sharing sessions at vastage.org/virtual. Enjoy a virtual reading of Nat's Last Struggle by Terrance Afer-Anderson. Then, join Jessica Holt to learn the secrets of a successful audition. Participate in a round table discussion about self-care during this period. Finally, learn how to use your life experiences to create a narrative-based solo performance. Sessions are free to attend, but registration is required.

Learn Something New

Got some extra time on your hands these days? Learn something new! Udemy.com is offering plenty of free courses in a variety of subjects including marketing, web design, and more. Pick up a new hobby like cooking, drawing, or photography. Or, learn the art of self-care with meditation and motivation courses. There are even some courses available for kids! Visit udemy.com/courses/free to browse their selection.

Cook Up a Hobby

Looking to brush up on your cooking skills? Join the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts on Facebook and Instagram every Tuesday at 10 a.m. for "Virtual Art Education" to experience art training in various forms. Through May 12, you can learn how to cook simple recipes like pancakes and quesadillas to get you through the week. Perfect for beginners and children! Visit facebook.com/suffolkcenter.

Yoga with Emily

You don't have to give up fitness just because you can't leave the house. Join Emily Wells of Wells Therapeutics on Zoom every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11 a.m. for yoga. All ability levels welcome. Each class, Emily will guide you through yoga moves, and you can follow along from the comfort of your own living room. Contact 757-409-6409 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register.

Self-Care Day

There's no doubt that the current pandemic has brought on a lot of stress and uncertainty. It's important to take time to care for yourself, too. Paint your nails or use a relaxing face mask. Take a long bubble bath. Apply some essential oils and curl up with a good book (or TW magazine!). Write in a journal or bake a pie. Or, spend some time meditating. Go out for a walk or get some aerobic exercise. Find ways to reduce your stress and you'll be in better spirits in no time.

Explore Art

Many art museums have set up virtual exhibitions for your family to enjoy. For example, Virginia MOCA offers virtual galleries, artist interviews and more at virginiamoca.org. Looking for something hands-on? The Artists Gallery at Virginia Beach Art Center hosts demos and artist talks on Facebook. For creative family fun, visit chrysler.org, where the Chrysler Museum has lots of printable activities for artists of all ages. There's plenty more art out there, too, so be sure to look up your favorite museum!

Escape to a Faraway Place

Longing to hop on a plane and fly away? At least you can travel from the comfort of your own home! Visit us.media.france.fr to virtually tour several popular regions of France including Normandy and Paris, while also exploring some national historic monuments and famous museums. Want more adventure and flair? Browse dozens of dreamy destinations near and far on our own website, tidewaterwomen.com/travel.

Dive into History

Learn intricate details of Civil War history Fridays at 2 p.m. with the Mariners' Museum and Park. Join author and historian John. V. Quarstein for presentations on Youtube Live to discuss the Siege of Yorktown, Fort Fisher, and the CSS Albemarle. Viewers will have a chance to submit questions and comments during the presentation for interactive learning. Visit marinersmuseum.org/events for details and links to each week's presentation.

Send Some "Love Mail"

We could all use a reason to smile these days. Send some love to residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes! Brighten someone's day with a letter, poem, picture, or other kind of "love mail" to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and the Tidewater Arts Outreach will forward it to their facilities. It's a simple way to show the residents that they are remembered!

Enjoy Nature

It's spring! Don't stay inside! Get outdoors for a walk or bike ride. Local parks remain open as long as you follow social distancing guidelines. Walk the trails and take in the sights and sounds. Check out some bird-watching videos on Youtube and try to identify the calls as you walk along. Or, try to capture nature's beauty while brushing up on your photography. There's plenty of fun waiting in nature!

Date Night

Dinner and a movie is still an option when you think outside the box! Support a local business and order dinner to-go while streaming a movie together on Netflix or Vudu. You can recreate the movie theater experience with personal bags of popcorn plus tasty toppings and customize to your liking. Dim the lights and raise the volume, grab some pillows and blankets and enjoy the film!

Thrills and Entertainment

We're lucky to have Busch Gardens Williamsburg right in our own backyard. Even though we can't visit in person, Busch Gardens offers tons of fun just a click away on buschgardens.com/williamsburg. Browse educational resources, activities, and coloring pages of some of your favorite animals. Then, virtually ride some of your favorite coasters and explore various attractions.

Create a Family Tree

Discover your family's history as you put together a family tree! FamilySearch.org, one of the leading directories of historical records, is a great place to start. Just create a free account and begin putting in the information you know. The database will help mine data for connected relatives, census records, marriage records, and more. Who knows, you might even be related to the Queen of England!

DIY Fun

Looking for a way to keep your mind and body active? Chesapeake Parks, Recreation and Tourism are providing online video tutorials in adult fitness like martial arts and chair yoga. For the 55 & Better community, learn how to make a popsicle stick flower pot or a pretty wreath. Explore local history with virtual tours of Chesapeake's parks, including Battlefield Park next to the Great Bridge bridge. Visit cityofchesapeake.net and search for virtual classes, activities, and engagement.

Play Classic Games

Instead of playing hours of video games, try introducing a good old-fashioned board game like Monopoly or Yahtzee. It's a great way to spend time together as a family while learning to follow the rules of the game. Toddlers as young as three years old can learn to play simple games like Candy Land or Count Your Chickens. Plus, everyone will have loads of fun competing to win...game on!

Virtual Voyage

You can bring the Virginia Zoo right to your living room with their latest Virtual Voyage series, posted daily at 2 p.m. Go behind the scenes, tour the Zoo, and learn more about the zoo animals. The Virginia Zoo also offers augmented reality tours, downloadable activities, keeper chats, and the Virginia Zoo blog. It's a great way to explore your wild side while staying home. Visit virginiazoo.org/virtualvoyage to choose your adventure.

Explore Virginia

If you're missing all the wonderful sites Virginia has to offer, why not take a virtual tour of some popular attractions? Visit Mount Vernon online, test your history knowledge with Colonial Williamsburg online, explore art museums, and more. Take notes so you can plan to visit your favorite spots in person in the future! Visit blog.virginia.org/2020/03/virginia-virtual-tours for a list of virtual experiences.

Look for new virtual fun ideas every week on TW's Facebook page!

Stephanie Allen is the publisher's assistant for Tidewater Women & Tidewater Family. She is also a success coach helping creatives learn effective strategies for putting their work in front of others while making quality connections. Follow her on Facebook & Twitter for free tips and resources!

 

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