BIST’s April Community Meeting, Activities to Keep You Engaged during COVID-19 and Beyond, was hosted by BIST staff Ryan Natale and Isabelle Rivaletto. And while April seems like a long time ago now, we still need ways to stay meaningfully engaged with our time – so read on!

Ryan and Isabelle discussed their creative outlets to help spread the fun to anyone in need of distraction from the nightmarish reality that is COVID-19, something we are all too familiar with as we’re almost done with June.

Ryan says he has become adverse to watching the news. So, let’s hit up YouTube!

Did you know that:

  • YouTube has 2 Billion users worldwide (Statista, 2019).
  • 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute – that’s 30,000 hours of video uploaded every hour. (Tubefilter, 2019)
  • 720,000 hours of video uploaded every day to YouTube.
  • It would take close to 82 years to watch the amount of videos uploaded to YouTube from in just one hour.

What can we find on Youtube?

Open up YouTube and type, “Learn how to,” in the YouTube search bar. YouTube provides me with the following list of suggestions:

Learn how to…

Play guitar
Play piano
Read for kindergarten
Draw for kids
Shuffle dance for beginners

Yes, these suggestions are all in order.
No, I have never searched, “Learn how to twerk.”

I asked my friend in New Jersey to perform the same experiment. She opened up YouTube and typed, “Learn how to,” in the YouTube search bar. YouTube provided her with a near identical list.

She also claims to have never searched, “Learn how to twerk.”

Ryan shares some of his personal favourite YouTube Videos below:

  • Music lessons
  • Learn guitar – in particular Justin Guitar
  • Meditation – John Vervake, a professor at the University of Toronto, is committed to holding a guided meditation at 9:30 (Monday to Friday) for the duration of the pandemic.
  • Yoga
  • Learn a language – Lingo Steve– he provides tips and tricks

Did you know that Ryan also loves podcasts – here are some of his favourites:

My Dad Wrote A Porno – Comedy

A British podcast where host Jamie Morton reads a chapter of an amateur erotic novel, Belinda Blinked, written by his father under the pen name Rocky Flintstone.

How Did This Get Made – Comedy

Actors Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas discuss movies that are so bad, they’re good. With special guests every episode.

Big Grande Teachers’ Lounge – Comedy 

Actors Drew Tarver, Dan Lippert, Jon Mackey and Ryan Rosenberg play four unskilled teachers who discuss their fictional careers teaching at a high school

The Daily (New York Times) – News

A daily, 20-minute news podcast from the New York Times.

Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction (CNN) – News 

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta gives the latest news about the Corona Virus.

Other online activities to keep you engaged – Ryan’s picks

Loyal Books – FREE audio books available for downloads.

Duolingo -Play games while learning a new language.

Sporcle – Thousands of online quizzes to entertain you for house Google Earth

Google Earth – is another cool site to visit right now. Scroll down to ‘Voyager’ – there are games!

Toronto Public Library  – Digital Services – People living in Toronto can get a digital library card to access OverDrive – a collection of e-books, audio books and more.

House Party App

Phone Apps can be a fantastic tool to connect with friends. The House Party app is where  multiple people can “join your house” and play trivia games as a group.

A COVID-19 Discussion  

Ryan directs our attention to Kahoot, a site for quizzes. During the online community meeting, all participants were asked to join a group quiz about COVID, just for fun. We input a code, and were randomly assigned a code name.


Warm weather kills coronavirus – False.

Exposing yourself to warm temperatures kills the virus – False.

If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds you do not have covid – False.

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will kill the virus – False.

There is no vaccine right now – True.

Don’t touch your face – True.

Wash your hands – True.

“It’s useful to see what we think,” says Ryan. “It was a silly kind of quiz. But it’s good to challenge our thoughts.”

Only one participant answered all questions correctly. Keep an open mind. There’s a lot out there we don’t know, and that’s okay! Reach out to people you trust and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

COVID Tips and Tricks  

Vox – Hand Washing Tutorial

We watched a video of someone wearing gloves with dye on their hands. The video allows you to see all the spots that they missed while washing. The good news, washing your hands for a full 20 seconds, with any type of soap,  destroys the coronavirus. Hand sanitizer also works, but as sanitizer is alcohol-based if your hands are sweaty or dirty, it actually cuts down the effectiveness of the hand sanitizer.

BIST Warm Line: 416-830-1485

Remember, BIST also offers a warm line. Physical distancing has been hard for all of us. It’s isolating. You can call the warm line for resources, or just to chat. There are many ways to connect with other people. There are also 24 hour crisis lines.

For more information, on resources which are available right now, go to:

Thank you to all our presenters for this webinar. I hope everyone has a blast as they explore all these incredible resources.

I will be on YouTube — still trying to find the best search result for, “Learn how to meow.”

Hilary is a Toronto-based non-fiction writer and UofT master’s student. Hilary is recovering from TBI, PCS— and spends much of her free time on FaceTime with Isla, her baby niece.”

This post originally appeared on her Instagram, @halite_brain_beads