In the Eyes of a Teen: 20 Things to Do During Lockdown

By Tiffany Kuo



Lockdown is hard. There is no doubt about it. On the bright side, since people all across Shanghai and in other locked cities are suffering together, it’s built a lot of camaraderie among neighbors. However, as a student, it is difficult to get past the fact that you are missing out on precious social events (as a high school senior, I relate). As an adult with a 9-to-5, it has become more difficult than ever to separate work time from leisure, especially if you are always in the same space. Whether you’re alone or with your family, there’s a solid chance you are looking for something fun, constructive, or relaxing to do with your time.

During spring break, I have compiled a list of 20 things to do in lockdown to bring you joy and fill your time (other than Netflix, of course).



No matter if you’re an introvert or extrovert, the lack of social interaction in lockdown has undoubtedly taken a toll on your mental health. Luckily, with the advent of group video calls (Tencent Meeting has lots of fun beauty filters for you to play with), group online interaction has never been easier. Here are some fun things to do on call with your friends:


1. Play a drawing game together. I recommend Gartic Phone ( for a telephone-style drawing game filled with giggles and ( for something similar.


2. Play board games! Whether with your family for a collective relaxation time (though sometimes Monopoly can get quite competitive) or with your mates online (Board Games Arena has lots of good options:, this activity will be sure to help you forget your stress for a solid few hours.


3. Play a round of MasterChef with the limited ingredients you and your friends have at home. On a Zoom call, decide together which ingredients you share. Set a 1.5-hour clock, and go make a dish Gordon Ramsey would be proud of!


4. Do a makeup challenge. Find a cool theme, such as Mardi Gras or Met Gala. Video call with the camera off, and have a grand reveal in 20 minutes. Have partners and people in your WeChat contact be the judge.


5. Work out with your friends! This is something I’ve particularly enjoyed–God knows I wouldn’t be able to get through a 30-min HIIT workout without pausing if I didn’t have my friends encouraging (and challenging) me through the camera. For good HIIT workouts, I love this one:


6. Have a plain-old chat once a week. Bring a cup of coffee and a few cookies, and set aside an hour or two every Saturday, just to catch up and check in on everyone’s mental health.


7. Watch a movie together. Make popcorn for movie night with your family or set up a Zoom/Tencent call with a loved one, and pick a heartwarming movie (or horror, dealer’s choice).




8. Take an online course! EdX ( and Coursera ( offer many classes for you to audit for free, while Masterclass ( offers courses from professionals. Perhaps even learn something foreign on DataCamp (data engineering is a highly sought-after skill today). Find DataCamp through:


9. Learn to knit, crochet, or cross-stitch. Most people have some knitting material at home. Newbie? That’s fine–call your grandma or a friend for tips!


10. Do a drawing challenge. Mo Willems has a series on YouTube ( created during the very first pandemic lockdown where he teaches simple doodles in 30 minutes (even if you’re not a natural artist, trust me, it’s lots of fun). Or, finally crack open that coloring book collecting dust at the bottom of your shelf.


11. Read. To be honest, I find it even harder to focus and read now that I’m on lockdown. During these times, read something lighthearted or helpful–I’ve been learning useful tips from Atomic Habits and improving my Chinese by reading some modern classics. The WeChat Reading app has many Chinese digital books for free. Perhaps you can even start a lockdown book club!


12. Work out alone. Set a goal for yourself to accomplish in the next two weeks! CCS provides many free online workout sessions – make sure to check it out!

Sample course schedule. Scan the QR codes for updated schedules


13. Do a photoshoot! Have an outfit for a special occasion that has been canceled due to the lockdown (ahem, prom)? Put on makeup, dress up, and turn on the flash option on your phone. Upload on Instagram and wait for the compliments to flood in.


14. Blog your feelings. Medium ( provides an easy-to-navigate, non-committal platform for writing, where you don’t have to worry about website design or finding an audience. Or, sign up for a subscription on Wix (, WordPress, or Squarespace to create your very own page.


15. Try out new recipes! I’ve dug out my air fryer and made an easy, three-ingredient French toast. Look online for easy, few-ingredient recipes for mug brownies. Or, if you’re running out of candy, make your own caramel.


16. Try journaling. If you’re scared your entries would all be the same (“Woke up at 12. Ate dinner. Slept at 3”), @joclub_ on Instagram has lots of amazing, self-reflective journaling prompts for you to choose from.


17. Self-care: paint your nails, do your makeup, do your hour-long skincare routine (clay face mask, hydrating sheet mask, body lotion, the works). Set aside some time each night to do something you know will make you feel good!


18. Write letters. To your loved ones, lost friends, even people who have wronged you in the past. You don’t have to send it to them, it’s just a good way to reflect and maybe even recover some lost memories.


19. Do some personality tests–horoscopes, Myers-Briggs, Buzzfeed tests… Send them to your friends to compare! Find your personality categorization here (warning: this is not scientific): I’m an ESFJ!

20. Create a passion project. What do you love? Photography? Animal protection? Create a passion project (online lecture, pamphlet, website…) to add some knowledge–and good–into the world. ( is a great place to make posters.) Who knows, maybe this will go somewhere!



My name is Tiffany Kuo and I am a senior at Shanghai American School Pudong. I love reading, doing makeup, and listening to music. I also enjoy writing and sharing my experiences with other people so I hope you enjoyed this list!