San Rafael Public Library

Things to do Online while Social Distancing 

Posted by jill on

The following is a list of online recreational activities that you can do in your home while practicing social distancing. A few suggestions require a local library card and a PIN to access. If you do not have a library card, visit the library’s Services page to obtain an electronic library card which provides online access to the library’s digital resources. If you have a library card, but have forgotten your PIN please use this link to reset your PIN 

We hope that these ideas will make your time at home more enjoyable. 

Cook: Use the food you have on hand by matching the ingredients to recipes available online. Apps such as FridgeToTable, Epicurious, Big Oven, and AllRecipes, allow you to search by ingredient name in order  to create delicious meals. 

Find your Roots: Genealogical research is the perfect activity for when you’re home and feeling disconnected from people. Cyndi’s List (  is a great place to find resources for tracing your family history. Start with the section for beginners or go directly to one of the thousands of other categories that Cyndi provides.  

Fine Arts: Head to a virtual museum – many museums won’t be open to the public for an in-person visit, but why let that stop a good dose of culture and history when you can make a virtual visit? 

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, National Gallery of Art and the Guggenheim Museum’s virtual galleries offer plenty of opportunities to see and experience the magic that museums have. International museums such as the Louvre, the Vatican Museum  and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris also offer virtual tours.﷟HYPERLINK “” 

Google has a rich library of information and images from over 1200 museums click on this link to explore Google Arts & Culture 

Go to the Zoo:  The San Diego Zoo, the Georgia Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium are offering live webcam viewings of pandas, penguins and beluga whales. 

Learn a language: Take advantage of your local library’s language learning program. The local San Rafael Public Library offers  Mango Languages which will help you to get started in over 70 languages. All you need is a library card. Another good free app is Duolingo. 

Listen: The Metropolitan Opera is offering free streaming of a different opera every night while they are closed at 

You can stream music without downloading for free by using sites such as Pandora, Spotify, You Tube Music, Slacker Radio, JangoMusixhub, My Space, iHeart Radio, Deezer, and Soundcloud. 

Play:  You don’t have to be over 65 in order to enjoy the free games that are available on AARP’s website 

Read:  If you haven’t tried to use one of the library’s electronic book or magazine platforms, then you’re in for a treat. Go to the library’s homepage and select the ebook tab for a variety of free ebook choices ( The Libby/Overdrive platform has the largest number of selections in audio and in print, while Hoopla also includes streaming videos and music. You can read entire issues of magazines on your computer, smartphone, or tablet using the RBDigital database which is under the eresources tab ( All you need is your library card numbern and a PIN. 

To do:  Tackle some of those minor repairs and home improvement projects that you’ve been putting off- use that leftover paint you’ve been keeping for touch-ups, tighten those loose screws, etc. Need help? Besides the thousands of YouTube videos that helpful homemakers and handypersons have posted, many do it yourself magazines such as This Old House ( and Family Handyman ( have free articles available online. 

Travel: Plan for a future trip. Don’t want to fly for a while? No problem. Plan a future road trip with, which helps you find quirky roadside destinations sorted by categories like “abandoned places,” “swimming holes,” “vegetarian restaurants,” and dozens more. Nasa (  and the National Park Service ( offer virtual tours and videos so that you can travel vicariously. 

Write: Take time to write a heartfelt letter to a loved one or a friend. Consider making your own hand-decorated card or notepaper to make it extra-special. Who doesn’t like getting “snail-mail” that isn’t bills or advertising? Enhance your letters with poems from websites such as or and learn how to make unique cards by googling the phrase “handmade cards” (you will find thousands of inspiring examples). 


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