Chances are, you’re looking for free things to do online or indoors while you’re stuck at home right now. Government advice is to stay indoors and only leave your home for essentials like groceries shopping and exercise. Many people will be working from home and will be very busy, but many will have little to do and could be looking for the opportunity to self-improve, educate children, or find new ways to pass the time. With finances an issue for the majority of households, many companies and providers have been offering free content to help people do all of the above and more, including staying healthy, nurturing their mental wellbeing, and learning how to better manage their money.
We’ve rounded up all the best free things to do right now, from the best TV streaming services with free trials, through to online exercise classes, free eBooks, and technical lessons. Many are limited time offers, others are free trials that require payment afterwards, but some offer free items or software that you can keep forever. There are music gigs, photo lessons, smartphone apps, coloring books and so much more. Check out our list of free things below, which we’ll be updating constantly until (and after) the current quarantine restrictions are eased.
For ease of use, we’ve split all of these free things into categories, so that it's easier for you to find the right thing for you. And remember, if you are signing up for a free trial of something, make sure you create a reminder to assess whether or not you want to keep the service once you start needing to pay for it. A quick calendar reminder in your phone now could save you money in a few weeks time.
Physical and mental health
Fitbit Premium is free for 90 days
Look after your physical health, and get all kinds of feedback on your physical levels and various wellness goals with 90 days free access to Fitbit Premium. Premium works with your Fitbit device to provide you with all kinds of data on your workouts and acts like a personal trainer to help you get fitter more effectively, and in ways that are more fun for you. Don't own a Fitbit but want to? We recommend the top ones in our best fitness trackers guide.
Peloton is also offering a free 90-day trial
If you own one of the best exercise bikes for at-home workouts, you may enjoy taking advantage of 90 days free access to Peloton's digital fitness platform. This gets you access to motivational streams, the Peloton community (which is fantastic for personal support), and all kinds of data to help you exercise more effectively. Exercise cycling with Peloton is way more fun and effective than doing it on your own, or with your cat.
Free personal trainers online
There are a whole host of personal trainers and celebrities offering online courses for free. Harry Styles, Barry's Bootcamp, Planet Fitness and loads more are doing daily streams and activities for zero dollars.
Two weeks free trial at Headspace
The wellness and mental health app Headspace has doubled its free trial period from one to two weeks, to help people practice mindfulness to relax, de-stress and strengthen their mental wellbeing during their time at home.
Hobbies and food
Free Art lessons with Aaron Blaise
One of the top online art and creative design tutors, Aaron Blaise, is offering a whole bunch of lessons for free (or heavily discounted to $1) for a limited time. The site has everything from traditional drawing to 3D animation, and is perfect for creatives.
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems
Hosted on the Kennedy Center website, Mo Willems takes you through a quick art lesson (aimed at all ages) every day. Although the live lessons have now finished, all 15 of them are archived on the page for you to try. They're very accessible and entertaining.
Official Audi coloring sheets
A random one, but car manufacturer Audi has made a bunch of free coloring sheets available via its website, featuring its cars and logos in various scenes. Ideal time-wasters for the bored car enthusiast trapped at home with nowhere to go.
Fender Play dishes out three months free access
Looking to improve your guitar playing while staying at home? Fender Play - one of the places to find the best guitar lessons online - is giving new customers a full three months free access. Great for beginner guitarists through to seasoned players.
Free New York Times cooking shows
Being at home means you may need to cook more. If you're looking to improve your culinary skills, check out this series of free cookery shows from the NYT, featuring guest chefs including Jamie Oliver and Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski.
America's Test Kitchen - 50 free recipes
Normally locked behind a paywall, America's Test Kitchen has selected 50 of its most essential recipes, and made them free for all to access. If you're struggling to expand your recipe knowledge, this is how to do it with style.
TV and entertainment
Disney Plus has a 7-day free trial
With a massive library of classic Disney movies and shows, along with the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe AND Star Wars, there's loads to keep the whole family busy on Disney Plus. And you get 7 days free.
Free music concerts via Together At Home
With actual music concerts cancelled globally, the best way to watch live music is via the Together At Home initiative. Artists like Coldplay and John Legend have already streamed live music to millions globally.
Free digital comics at Comixology
The world's biggest digital comics site, Comixology, has a whole range of free comics on offer. And now, for a limited time, it is giving away a stack of Marvel comics too, including Civil War and Avengers vs X-Men.
HBO is offering free TV shows
While it normally offers a handful of free taster episodes, HBO is now letting you stream some amazing full-seasons via its website. You can watch Succession (2 seasons), True Blood (seven seasons), The Sopranos (6 seasons) and loads more.
Free Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals
Andrew Lloyd Webber - famous for stage adaptations of Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom of the Opera, etc - is streaming live shows via the YouTube channel 'The Shows Must Go On'. They stream live and stay on site for 48 hours, every Friday at 7pm ET.
There's free theatre too
There are free plays going live every Thursday at the UK's National Theatre YouTube Channel. Included is Jane Eyre, One Man Two Guvnors, and loads more. There are new shows each Thursday at 7pm UK time.
14 day free trial on Sling TV
If you head over to Sling.com, you'll get a 14 day free trial on its TV service. You'll get a wealth of TV channels on Sling, depending on the package you choose for your free trial. Just don't forget to cancel in 14 days if you don't want to continue with the service.
Amazon Prime 30 day free trial
Not only does an Amazon Prime free trial give you access to all kinds of movies and TV shows via Amazon Video, you also get free delivery on all items from the shopping site. Essential, if you can't leave your home.
30 days free documentaries on Magellan TV
If you're in the mood for some non-fiction, there are a whole array of documentaries on Magellan TV, and right now there's an extended free trial period of 30 days. That's more than enough time to binge plenty of docs.
Free Harry Potter digital Escape Room
If you're looking for something a little different, try this Harry Potter digital Escape Room. It's a Google Doc and is easy to use, but it'll tax your brain while you're sat indoors, and Potter fans will be delighted by the details.
Listen to Sirius FM free until May 15
If radio is more your thing, Sirius FM is free until May 15, enabling you to stream shows like The Howard Stern Show XL and The Today Show. Plenty on there for everyone.
Spotify Premium is free for one month
Sure, you can listen to Spotify with ads enabled, but signing up for Premium right now nets you a whole month for free – the offer isn't available to anyone who has previously tried Spotify. Making playlists with friends, and being able to download and listen to unshuffled music really is essential when staying at home.
Free Focus Features movie every Monday
Every Monday sees a movie livestreamed on the Focus Facebook page. You'll find Gosford Park, Mallrats, and My Summer Of Love among the movies getting streamed each Monday at 8pm EST.
Free Opera via the Met website
This week the Metropolitan Opera is streaming one performance every night via its website. A perfect opportunity to get some culture while locked in, you can watch from 6.30pm EDT every day.
Apple eBooks are free
Simply tap into the Apple Books app on your iPhone or iPad, and you'll be presented with a range of free eBooks, audio books and educational documents to keep you entertained and informed while stuck at home.
Netflix Party app lets you stream with friends
If you want to recreate the fun of watching movies and TV with friends, while stuck at home, download the Netflix Party app on the App Store or Google Play Store and you can stream TV and movies with buddies for free.
Free camera lessons
Nikon is offering a suite of camera lessons for free, until the end of April. Head over to the website and you can watch tutorials on Getting Started With DSLR, Photographing Children and Pets, and loads more.
Duolingo ABC will teach your kids to read and write
If you're looking to help your children develop their reading and writing while they're away from school or kindergarten, download the Duolingo ABC app for free and teach them how to read and write at home.
Student get free access to Adobe Creative Cloud
If you want to carry on using programs like InDesign and Photoshop while away from school or college, Adobe is giving students free access to Creative Cloud while they're stuck at home. That runs through to May 31.
ABC Mouse is free for 30 days
Another great early-learning app, ABC Mouse is free for 30 days for all pre-K students currently at home driving their parents crazy. There are heaps of fun activities for them to try.
Skillshare is offering free lessons for students
If you have a .edu or .k12 email address, you can sign up for free online lessons via Skillshare. Head over to the website, input your details, and you'll get a whole host of options free, regardless of whatever you're studying.
Scholastic learn from home for free
If you or your kids are missing out on school, you can sign up to Scholastic and get free lessons online. Handy if you're looking for reliable resources to keep kids learning.
Become an Amnesty Decoder
So you want to do something worthwhile with your time? Amnesty is looking for volunteers to help them search through documents and maps to expose human rights violations all over the globe. No experience necessary, so just head to the website to sign up.
Transcribe for The Smithsonian
Famed institute The Smithsonian is always looking for volunteers to transcribe historical documents for its archive. Not everyone's idea of fun, granted, but it's very relaxing. Plus, you'll feel like you're contributing to the preservation of history.
Volunteer for Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is an app that enables volunteers to help blind or partially sighted people with everyday tasks, such as distinguishing objects and colors, and reading expiration dates on food containers. It has a wide network of volunteers and requires no prior experience.
Help Missing Maps find vulnerable people
If you want to learn new skills and volunteer, check out Missing Maps. You'll get lessons on mapping, and then you'll be able to help add information to maps for parts of the world that have been underserved by humanitarian services. This will, in turn, help organizations understand where and who to send relief to.
Health Insurers are covering coronavirus testing
Ok, so not a lot of fun, but the Government announced that testing for COVID-19 will be completely covered by most of the best health insurance companies. At least you know it won't cost you to get tested.
eBay has removed sellers fees
If you're looking to sell anything online, eBay recently announced that it has removed sellers fees, enabling you to advertize your unwanted or trade goods for nothing. Handy if you're currently having a clear-out at home.
Get free Practical Money Skills lessons
Learning about money isn't always the most interesting thing, but Practical Money Skills is giving away its selection of games for free, and they actually make financial learning fun. Give them a go and learn how to better manage your finances.
File your taxes for free
Ok, this is zero fun, we know. But the IRS has partnered with several of the best tax software online companies to help you file your taxes for free, and with ease. You'll need to do it if you're claiming the Coronavirus Stimulus Package, so this is marginally more fun than having no money.