Jigsaw puzzles, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Settlers of Catan… since the COVID-19 pandemic started and our everyday lives changed dramatically, all this extra time at home has suddenly made a bunch of pretty retro hobbies cool and popular again. Looking for something to do this weekend? Why not try one of these…
Stereotypically a pastime of the elderly, jigsaw puzzles are seeing a huge revival at the moment: walk into any games store in Australia and you’ll find the jigsaw shelves are suspiciously empty. When restrictions were at their strictest across Australia, people across the country were desperate for puzzles. Why? Well, studies have shown that during quarantine, people were seeking little successes, and the spark of excitement that comes when you find puzzle pieces that connect together is exactly that! It’s a little reward for your brain.
Luckily, jigsaw puzzles are incredibly easy to find, either online or in retail stores that have reopened. Whether it’s Marvel, Disney, classic art or cats, there’s something for everyone. There are even Australian-designed, independent jigsaw puzzle brands, like Okay Lady and Journey of Something, whose puzzles, when finished, are unique pieces of art you can glue together and hang on your wall (or break apart and build again!).
The days of simple Lego cars, smiling Lego people and six-piece space rockets are long gone. Lego sets are now in huge demand and selling out quickly, with an almost cult-like following. Some Lego sets are now so intensive you have to be 18+ years old to build them!
If you’re looking for a model of a miniature Trafalgar Square, a giant portrait of The Beatles, or even a desk organiser for your study space and picture frames for photos of family and friends back home, start checking out what Lego options are available.
Just note that a lot of the larger sets aren’t very student-budget friendly, but building them will provide a good number of hours of mindfulness and calm when you’re feeling stressed. Keep an eye out on eBay or at stores like Big W or Kmart, which often have big toy sales where you might be able to grab some discounted Lego.
With the COVID-19 pandemic stalling the release of a number of popular TV shows, many people have been returning to the classics of the ‘90s. With whole series available on streaming platforms, it’s never been easier to watch entire seasons of Friends, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Neon Genesis Evangelion (you can even watch this in its original language, Japanese, and practise your English reading skills with the subtitles), and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
The best thing about watching these older shows is that you don’t have to wait for new episodes to come out; everything is there, perfect for binge-watching on the weekend.
Board games have been increasing in popularity across the world in recent years, but during lockdown, they made for the perfect evening activity to enjoy with friends and housemates without having to leave your home.
There’s Exploding Kittens, Medium and Secret Hitler, which are perfect for groups of people. If you have more time to spare to learn the mechanics of a game, try Settlers of Catan – you can make a regular games night out of playing it with friends. Of course, there’s the classic Monopoly (you can even find the Australian version if you want to learn more about the country from the comfort of your living room) and Scrabble, which is perfect if you’re practising your English language skills.
There are independent games stores across Australia, like Games World in Victoria and Western Australia, a different Games World in South Australia, or check out The Gamesmen and Gameology for online shopping and delivery.
People who love trivia will argue that trivia nights and ‘pub quizzes’ (a popular pastime here in Australia) have never been ‘uncool’, but there has definitely been a renewed interest in attending quiz nights since the pandemic started.
Apps such as Houseparty have their own in-built quiz functions, while many well-known trivia companies have moved their quizzes online, making them more accessible and open to trivia-lovers across the country. For example, you can enjoy Quiz Meisters quizzes online with their livestream trivia nights, or buy a trivia pack to play with friends at home. We run through some other online trivia night options here.
The quizzes are also a good way to get up-to-date with Australian pop culture. Alternatively, you could make your own!