Pasttimes for sad children
April 18, 2011 10:27 AM   Subscribe

I have three weeks off and I've forgotten how to amuse and improve myself.

It's been a long time since I had any time off, and now I have three weeks before me! I'd like some ideas for fun and marginally useful/productive things to do, preferably without spending any money.

College student, female, in Vancouver BC. I like rock-climbing and baking but you can only spend so much time climbing rocks and making food. I also like learning new languages and am currently picking up German. Reading is good too. It seems like I should be busy, but instead I'm spending too much time doing nothing on the Internet and coming away feeling icky. Ideas please! thank you hive mind.
posted by Xianny to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
posted by cashman at 10:31 AM on April 18, 2011

Response by poster: where?
posted by Xianny at 10:32 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


It depends on how much money you have, but with travel brings excitement. You also get a chance to meet new people in cities different than your own and hopefully expand your world view.
posted by chrisdab at 10:33 AM on April 18, 2011

Response by poster: I literally have no money right now after groceries, rent, tuition and investing in some gear for the summer camping/climbing season - I could spend maybe $15/week on random stuff. I would love to travel but I'm afraid that's not possible right now.
posted by Xianny at 10:37 AM on April 18, 2011

I'm not familiar with Vancouver, so I couldn't tell you precisely where, but museums, zoos, homeless shelters, community centers, with the elderly, or look on craigslist. Why be bored on here when you could be researching dragon boats and putting together an exhibit for the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society?!
posted by cashman at 10:41 AM on April 18, 2011

Do you have transportation? Travel in your own backyard. Look up parks, free museums, festivals and so on in your area that you never knew existed.
posted by Gordafarin at 10:42 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, just turn off the computer and point your body in a direction and ride your bike some-a-wheres. I mean, it's Vancouver. You have clothing-optional beaches within the city limits.
posted by alex_skazat at 11:00 AM on April 18, 2011

I don't know Vancouver or your interests, but here are some things I like to do in London when I have more free time than money (you should be able to find Vancouver-equivalent activities):

Visit free museums and art galleries
Hang out in a free mediatheque watching documentaries and vampire movies
Hang out at big national arts centres and libraries using their free wifi to write and surf the internet
Go look at the ocean
Go catch a free or cheap ferry for no reason
Skype with far-flung friends and family
Take a camera outside and take pictures of things at golden hour
Hang out in cemeteries with a sandwich and watch squirrels run between the gravestones
Learn how to use a new piece of software
Work on creative projects: write, draw, etc
Go to a park or botanical garden and get some sun on my face
Go swimming
posted by hot soup girl at 11:36 AM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

When I was in a place where I didn't have access to much entertainment other than tv and a few books for several weeks, I taught myself a bunch of yo-yo tricks.

Are you interested in anything like that, like juggling or card tricks? Sometimes it's good to learn something that you can do by yourself that requires some physical skill. If you have time on your hands, repetition and practice are the keys to success. Plus, it's handy when you have to entertain kids on short notice.
posted by zoetrope at 11:42 AM on April 18, 2011

A small project: Make yourself a cookbook/recipe binder if you do not have one. You could either print out, typo up, or re-write favorites from cookbooks or family recipes. Spend a bit of your $15 to get a nice binder (I recommend Target, they have some quite pretty ones) and plastic sheet protectors. Then go to town with decorating, annotating, etc.
posted by maryr at 12:14 PM on April 18, 2011

I spent a couple of years up in Vancouver and loved it. I don't know how the weather is right now, but if it's not bad, go check out the parks. Stanley Park was always fun to hike around in.

There's also the Chinese Tea Garden in Chinatown, which has a free section and a paid section (was $7 when I was up there, many years ago). It's a great place to just chill out, read, write, take pictures, etc.

Then there's the many museums which you can check out. Many give discount to college students. Another great way to spend an afternoon and more.
posted by yeloson at 12:20 PM on April 18, 2011

- Research places for future vacations -- public libraries usually have lots of travel magazines and guidebooks.
- Cook and freeze a bunch of meals to be eaten as lunches later. This has a bigger up-front cost, but could save you money down the road over buying frozen meals or eating out.
- Buy a cheap mud mask and some nail polish at a drugstore, and have a home spa day.
- Borrow an exercise DVD from the library and get buff. Netflix has a ton on streaming too, if that's available to you.
- Read the paper and do the crossword at a coffee shop.
- Find a record shop with listening stations and see what the staff recommends.
- Go thrift-store shopping, or check out yard sales on the weekend.
- Meditate daily, or try yoga (see previous note about borrowing dvds).
- Watch an entire season or series of some show you missed.
- Get a plant identification guidebook from the library and see which trees or plants you can ID at a park.
- Deep clean the room where you spend the most time. Play awesome cheesy music at top volume while you do it, and sing or dance along.
posted by vytae at 1:14 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

For a good online resource, check out the Fun Toronto Wiki. There is more than enough to keep you entertained.

This sounds partly like a chicken/egg problem, though. Try an Internet vacation. Turn off the Internet and make a 3-week rule that you have to check your email at the library. Free/cheap IRL entertainment will find you.
posted by aniola at 2:46 PM on April 18, 2011

Go and read or surf the Internet, but in a different place. Search up a list of the coolest coffee shops or parks you'd never normally go to, and make an adventure out of getting there and hanging out and people watching for a while.

More importantly, though, don't give in to the urge to sleep in late and stay up later. Maybe this is not a problem for you, but nothing wastes a day faster than sleeping in until 3 PM. Uh, so I've been told...
posted by MadamM at 4:38 PM on April 18, 2011

UBC has some awesome museums (check out the MOA and Beatty if you haven't). They're free to UBC students, not sure if others are too.

I would plant a garden (or even just planters) if you have space for it.

Also the library downtown is awesome and totally worth exploring!
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 5:58 PM on April 18, 2011

Please, please - go do nothing AWAY from the Internet.

I never seem to have enough time to just watch clouds, or leaves rustling in the breeze, or waves. (Vancouver? Waves. Yes.)

Go outside, anywhere where there's green or blue. Find a park bench or a comfy rock. Sit. Watch. Relax.

Maybe alternate do-nothing days and do-a-lot days? Go to a museum and read a book Monday; sit and watch clouds Tuesday.
posted by kristi at 10:44 AM on April 20, 2011

So what are you doin?!
posted by cashman at 6:50 AM on April 28, 2011

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