Senior News Line

Virtual art classes can open up new areas of interest.

by Matilda Charles

With most of us spending most of our days at home, it’s time for us to take advantage of the internet. Here are some resources that can enrich our lives.

Inquire at the local senior center about any exercise classes online. Some classes will be live on Zoom and others will be videos that the instructors record and post on the center’s website. If they’re not hosting any classes, search online for “seniors exercise at home” and look for some that are produced by other senior centers.

Virtual art classes can open up new areas of interest and reveal talents you didn’t know you had. Better yet, if you’re a beginner or are exploring a new art medium, look for videos that you can review over and over. Look online for free art classes online for seniors.

Exercise and art aren’t the only free classes you’ll find online. Yoga and tai chi, sewing, baking and cake decorating, creative writing, a new language — if it can be done online, there’s a class for it somewhere.

And don’t forget Class Central ( Check the website for a list of MOOCS (massive open online courses). There 15,000 different free and low-cost classes in its searchable database from colleges and universities around the world. Imagine taking a philosophy course from the University of Edinburgh or Introduction to Classical Music via Yale University. (I put art history into its search box and got back 165 results.) Read the details for any class you’re considering. It will tell you if the class is self-paced, whether it’s free to audit, the class level and how much time per week you can expect to spend on the work, as well as reviews from other students.

Winter is fast approaching, but at least we’re no longer getting those constant election phone calls, and the endless calls about signing up for a Medicare Advantage Plan have ceased. The one thing that hasn’t gone away is the coronavirus, and our lives are nowhere back to normal. After we’ve baked yet another loaf of pandemic bread and can log on to a Zoom neighborhood chat with our eyes closed, it’s time to look for other things to do.

Here are some of the things I’m checking into to stay busy (and indoors) this winter:

Becoming a remote reading tutor for a child. This would be done via the school’s chat program, so there’s no risk of transmission of the virus. A school aide will send me links to copied pages of books that my assigned child is learning to read, and we’ll hook up while he or she is at school.

Growing plants with grow lights. I’ve arranged shelving in a spare room with space for plenty of plants, both houseplants and herbs. The plan is to have a mixture of small houseplants such as pothos and spider plant, and give them as gifts to neighbors once they are big enough to divide. With fingers crossed, I’m also going to try growing English ivy and asparagus fern from seed.

Experimenting with pottery. I’ve been curious about air-dry pottery, so I’ve ordered 10 pounds of white modeling clay and a smaller package of terra cotta. The reviews say it’s good for sculpting and doesn’t require a kiln or baking in the oven. If it works, I’m thinking of creating jewelry and painting them with acrylics or trying to produce miniatures of famous sculptures from museum websites. (Rodin’s “The Thinker” seems appropriate right about now.)

These projects should keep me busy over the winter. How about you?

(c) 2020 King Features Synd., Inc.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email