Though it’s necessary to stay home and minimize person-to-person contact during a pandemic, the inescapable reality of “sheltering in place” is: It’s boring. The trick is to defeat the dullness. At WIRED, we’ve always loved a good indoor activity, and we’ve made lots of videos over the years of master-class practitioners doing everything from building world-record airplanes to Rube Goldberg–style kinetic art projects. Now you can find them all in one place—here! Whether you’re a restless kid, a stretched-thin parent, or just another citizen doing their part to slow the spread of the coronavirus, sailing a mini boomerang around the room can really rescue the mood and save you from the WFH blues.
Boom Your Rang
Got a few minutes, some paper, and glue? Follow this tutorial with world champion boomeranger Logan Broadbent to make an indoor “roomerang” that’ll come right back to you in the living room.
Fly a Plane
John Collins, better known as “The Paper Airplane Guy,” spent more than a decade perfecting the art and science of folding up regular old paper and turning it into world-record airplanes. Get inspired to fold and fly with this video and then follow along in this detailed tutorial as he demonstrates how to make five of his amazing planes.
Fold Some Paper
Collins (the guy above) spent a decade learning origami, and he obviously put it to good use. To learn even more about the Japanese art, watch this video with origami master and physicist Robert J. Lang:
Solve a Puzzle
Rubik’s Cubing has enjoyed an amazing resurgence in popularity lately, and one reason is that people can solve them faster than ever. Just how fast? WIRED talked to some of the fastest cubers, as well as mathematicians who use supercomputers to calculate minimal moves, and got a lesson in quick solves in this episode of “Almost Impossible.” Want to try your own hand at the speed cube craze? Watch our tutorial on cube solving here.
Play Catch (With Yourself)
Need to move? Juggling is equal parts physical education, physics, and beautiful mathematical patterns. This episode of “Almost Impossible” delves into the wacky world of numbers juggling—people who try to juggle ever greater numbers of balls, rings, and beanbags. Marvel at the hand-eye coordination of Alex Barron, who makes keeping seven balls aloft look effortless and holds the record for most launched and caught in succession: 14! If double digits seems a bit daunting, check out this tutorial on how to get started with three balls.
Open Those Hips
For a core-blasting indoor workout, not much beats hula hooping. We got some pointers from world-record hooper Marawa the Amazing, who kept 200 hoops in orbit for three astounding rotations. Marawa is hosting live virtual hoop-a-longs (no hoop needed, but probably a lot more fun) on her Instagram: @themajorettes
A lot of us are stuck inside, but that doesn’t mean we can’t transform our spaces, no matter how cramped, into something magical—and spend hours doing so. Get some ideas from Joseph Herscher of Joseph’s Machines and watch him build an absurd Rube Goldberg–style contraption to feed himself lunch in his tiny New York apartment.
Want more controlled kinetic satisfaction? Set up some dominoes and watch them tumble into mesmerizing patterns with Lily Hevish, the undisputed YouTube domino chain-reaction authority:
Find Your Old Yo-Yo
Yo-yo’s have come a long way since the days of the Smothers Brothers. New string materials and ultra-smooth bearings have unlocked a whole suite of tricks that were previously impossible. World champion of yo-yoing Gentry Stein walks us through his mind-bending moves and the string manipulation that cinched him the title.
You know how to whistle, don’t you? Yeah, there’s a lot more to it than that. Like lip balm and peaches. Let Sean Lomax, a world champion whistler, explain the finer points of this pastime and musical art.
More From WIRED on Covid-19
- Gear and tips to help you get through a pandemic
- The doctor who helped defeat smallpox explains what’s coming
- Everything you need to know about coronavirus testing
- Don’t go down a coronavirus anxiety spiral
- How is the virus spread? (And other Covid-19 FAQs, answered)
- Read all of our coronavirus coverage here