Learn and Play in Pittsburgh-Based Online Fun

We researched local activities that can help keep your mind active and entertained during the quarantine.


School closures are extended for another two weeks, and Gov. Tom Wolf’s latest stay-at-home order means self-quarantining and social distancing are here to stay for a while. Before you feel too dejected, consider this an opportunity to learn or play something you’ve been meaning to but never had the time for, or to discover something entirely new.

Gen Zers are already talking about quarantine glow ups such as spending more time on exercise and self-care, but other ways to fruitfully spend your quarantine — if you want a break from virtual cultural activities or local YouTubers — include learning a skill or picking up a hobby.

Textile, paper and other crafts might seem difficult to start, but with a Carnegie Library card and some time spent on Creativebug, you can learn to do things from mending clothing to knitting slippers to creating your own zine. These classes range from several minutes to several hours, and you can see what others have created to help boost your inspiration and creativity. 

If you don’t have a library card but still want to get in on the learning and fun, you can register for a library card online and start taking classes. 

If you’d prefer to participate in a live-stream art class, Miss Gabi’s Art is Good Studio is offering classes on Facebook. All you need are some paper, markers and crayons and you’ll be ready to create your own masterpiece. The stream will stay available if you aren’t free while it’s live, and you can always revisit it if you want to create something new.

Duolingo is another fun way to keep your mind active during the quarantine. Whether you want to learn a language to get in touch with your cultural heritage, improve employment potential or sharpen your cognitive skills, the Pittsburgh-based language learning company has more than 30 languages. If you’re an English-speaking learner, you can even learn fantastical languages such as High Valyrian and Klingon to get in touch with your inner geek.

The cute, green owl will send you reminders to study, and despite the memes, it’s a user-friendly app that lets you customize your learning goals and offers in-game incentives free of microtransactions. 

While Duolingo has gamified language learning, Schell Games offers an assortment of education and entertainment games that are available on mobile and desktop. It also offers virtual and augmented reality games, and its library spans a wide array of genres from superhero dating and friendship visual novels to virtual reality puzzle and action games.

Simcoach Games is another Pittsburgh-based games company, and its games allow players to explore different career fields and even take a gamified approach to job hunting. During a time when many jobs have had to adapt or come to a halt, the games are a fun way to explore a different reality and step back into normalcy, even for a moment. 

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