We know you know The Times reports the news, but maybe you didn’t know that you can also use our site to play games and watch videos, listen to music, learn a skill, hear a podcast, find recipes and work out.
From now until Sept. 2021, high school students across the United States can get free digital access to NYTimes.com. We hope you’ll use it to follow the news and keep up with this global pandemic, and we’ve got tips for that, below. But we also want to introduce you to 20 more ways the paper can keep you entertained and informed.
1. First, Just Explore.
There are as many ways to read The Times as there are Times readers, so click around and see what catches your eye.
You can start with the sections that interest you most (Fashion? Movies? Technology? Politics?) — or check out what’s trending. You can also use the search function at the top of the NYTimes.com home page or at the top of the “sections” navigator on the app to look for something specific.
Then, if you like, tell us about it. Our site, The Learning Network, is dedicated to helping people teach and learn with The Times. We’re running a special shelter-in-place April version of our annual Summer Reading Challenge for teenagers right now, and all you have to do to participate is post a comment on our question “What Got Your Attention in The Times This Month?” We’ll be choosing favorite responses to publish on our site later this month.
2. Take Care of Yourself.
Here are the basics for keeping yourself physically safe and healthy during this pandemic, but The Times can help you cope mentally too.
Well Mind can teach you how to meditate and how to be happy. It will introduce you to a Buddhist teacher’s five simple steps to quiet your mind and soothe your stress, and can offer you specific tips for controlling your anxiety in the face of this crisis.
Style’s Self-Care section will encourage you to keep a quarantine diary to document your experience in words and images; explain how to get a good night of sleep; and reassure you that it’s fine to stop feeling like you have to be extra productive right now.
For many, many more ideas, check out this collection, which rounds up articles from all over the paper.
3. Play Games.
Though playing the full Times crossword online requires a separate subscription, the daily Mini crossword, pictured above, is free and, according to people of all ages, addictive — as are logic challenges like Sudoku, SET and KenKen, and several new games like Vertex, Tiles and Spelling Bee. You can gain access to them all on this page.
And if you really get hooked, visit The Times’s Wordplay column, where you can find tips galore for becoming a better solver.
4. Find New Music.
Every Friday, pop critics for The Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos via a column called The Playlist, but you can also skip the column and just hear the music, on Spotify.
Or check out Diary of a Song (on YouTube), which provides an up-close, behind-the-scenes look at how pop music is made today, using archival material — voice memos, demo versions, text messages, emails, interviews and more — to tell the story behind the track.
In March, The Times Magazine published the 25 Songs That Matter Now, which gave us an excuse to ask teenagers, “What songs matter to you now?” Check out what other kids have recommended, and if you’d like to answer our question yourself, please post a comment.
5. Lose Yourself in Stories About Modern Love.
Modern Love is a weekly column and podcast about relationships, feelings, betrayals and revelations. Click around and find a story that interests you, or read or listen to some of the classics, like “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This (and the related “36 Questions That Lead to Love”) or “What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage.”
Or just read the pieces that have won the College Contest over the years, like “My So-Called Instagram Life,” “Want to Be My Boyfriend? Please Define” or “White Shirt, Black Name Tag, Big Secret.” You can find more here and here.
If you have only a little time, there’s always Tiny Love Stories, which is Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.
6. Follow the News and Figure Out What to Do About It.
The news is grim right now, but, for many of us, it’s hard to think about anything else. If you want to keep up, here are some easy ways to do it:
Visit The Times’s regularly updated section on the coronavirus for both the news and guidance, including an FAQ, maps and graphs, the latest on how to protect yourself, and more.
Listen to The Daily, a 20-minute podcast you can hear every weekday morning. It can help you understand the race for a vaccine and why the United States is running out of medical supplies, but can also offer a bit of relief and advice.
As you read the news, you might pair reporting with a range of perspectives on it. Click around the Times Opinion section to find out what experts and ordinary citizens think. Which Op-Eds, editorials or Letters to the Editor best match your own point of view? Which challenge your thinking?
If reading the news makes you want to lend a hand, The Times has lots of advice, including: “5 Ways to Help Your Community Combat Coronavirus (While Still Social Distancing)” and “How to Help the Helpers.” And if you need inspiration, here is what Times readers shared about small moments that have heartened them in this crisis.
7. Live Smarter.
Smarter Living is a Times section devoted to tips and advice for living a better, more fulfilling life. Here are just a few of the things you can get better at with their help:
8. Learn a Skill.
Even if you have only a few minutes, the Magazine’s short, weekly how-to column, Tip, can teach you practical skills like how to sing in tune or how to build a sand castle, moat, bat box or latrine; survive a shark attack, rip current or bear encounter; thwart facial recognition, prepare yourself for space, attract butterflies, talk to dogs, hold a venomous snake or find a four-leaf clover.
Smarter Living, described above, also has fun how-tos, like this one, perfect for quarantine: How to Do 2 Simple Magic Tricks — and Why You Should Learn Them.
The Times Food section is full of ideas for easy, comforting meals. Though many are in the Cooking section, which requires a special subscription, these delicious self-quarantine recipes are all free, including the made-in-the-pan chocolate cake you see above. And, as one article argues, there’s no need for recipes now anyway — open your pantry and follow your cooking muse. (The Times food columnist Melissa Clark can teach you how to think creatively about ingredients.)
10. Have Fun With Data.
The most popular thing The Times published in 2013 was an interactive quiz that was created by an intern. To take it yourself, just click here and answer the questions to generate your own personal dialect map.
If you like data, maps and graphs, you might consider this quiz just an introduction to the section of The Times called The Upshot, which examines politics, policy and everyday life through a mix of text, data visualizations, images and interactive features. In this post you can learn what the Upshot staff members say are their favorite, most-read or most distinct work.
11. Get Recommendations for What to Watch and Read.
The Times is keeping up a steady stream of recommendations for movies, TV shows, books, podcasts, music, games and recipes, many of which you can find in this article. We recently asked the teenagers who come to our site to make their own recommendations for fellow students. You can read over 250 that have already been posted, and add your own if you like.
Here are a few other places to find expert recommendations.
The Times’s Watching section asks, “What are you in the mood for?,” then lets you choose from categories like “Bloody,” “Strong Female Lead,” “Dark,” “Joke-Heavy,” “Informative,” “Suspenseful,” “Binge-Worthy” and “Family-Friendly” to help you find recommendations.
As for what to read, the Books section’s got you. Take a look at the Best Sellers, get lists like this one, this one or this one to help you choose, and find out “How to Get Books When Bookstores and Libraries Are Closed.”
Finally, a new daily section, At Home, collects some of the best recommendations from across sections.
12. Follow Sports, Even When There Are No Sports.
Even if 99 percent of sporting events on the planet are locked down right now and the only games you can still reliably play or watch are these, the Sports section is still finding creative ways to keep you diverted.
There’s the freelance rugby commentator in London who has turned to covering everyday life like it’s a game. There are N.F.L. plays on Twitter and brackets for everything, virtual NASCAR races, a live platform tennis championship happening in a backyard, and recommendations for baseball movies to stream. And, of course, there is lots of advice for cooped-up gamers, whether you’re new to the world of interactive entertainment or are experienced and already bored.
Need even more? Here are 12 places to watch dance online.
The New York Times brings you the world, and even if you can’t currently go to any of the 52 Places the Travel section recommends this year, you can escape to different countries and cultures by viewing and reading across sections. Here’s a start:
Enjoy the Travel section’s “Best Travel Photos of 2019” and consider where you might like to go when the world opens back up again. While we’re all quarantined, however, you can read pieces like “How to See the World When You’re Stuck at Home,” “The 18 Best TV Shows for Vicarious Travel Thrills” and — as Easter, Passover and Ramadan approach — “For Shut-In Pilgrims, the World’s Holiest Sites Are a Click Away.” Or, be like this couple and just travel via Photoshop.
But don’t just confine your virtual travels to foreign lands. Consider visiting worlds you never knew existed, some of which might even be in your own hometown. Via Surfacing, a Times visual series about the intersection of art and life, you can experience skateboarding’s anti-Olympics, homecoming at Howard University, a Brooklyn drag show that celebrates Arab queens, a New Orleans female biker club, the work of the Cloud Appreciation Society and shopping on haunted eBay.
The Learning Network has been providing daily writing prompts every school day since 2009. That means there are more than a thousand topics to choose from, and you can use either our daily question or our daily Picture Prompt to get started.
Write just for yourself, or post your thoughts online where other teenagers from around the world can see what you think. These directions explain everything you need to know.
16. Listen to Podcasts — or Make Your Own.
You already know about The Daily, The Times’s popular 20-minute news podcast hosted by Michael Barbaro, but you can find three more great listens — Modern Love, Popcast and Still Processing — on this page.
The Times also has these recommendations:
And if you would rather make your own podcast than listen to one, well, we have a contest for that, too. The Learning Network’s Third Annual Student Podcast Contest runs from April 9 to May 19 this year.
17. Go Behind the Scenes of Your Favorite Films.
The long-running Anatomy of a Scene video series features directors commenting on the craft of moviemaking.
You can watch scenes from “Uncut Gems,” “Pokémon Detective Pikachu,” “The Joker,” “A Star Is Born,” “The Hate U Give,” “Ford v Ferrari,” “Us,” “Crazy Rich Asians” and many, many more — including a special edition called “From ‘Mission: Impossible’ to ‘Godzilla’: Plane Jumps in the Movies.”
18. Enjoy Three Minutes of Science.
ScienceTake videos are usually less than three minutes long and combine cutting-edge research from the world of science with stunning footage of the natural world in action. You can see how spiders fly, water droplets dance, ants build towers, wolf puppies get wild, snakes slither, frogs leap, scientists brew lava, and Japanese monkeys lower their stress.
(And if you would like even more small “nuggets” of fascinating science reporting, we also recommend the Trilobites column.)
19. Work Out.
20. Learn About Teenagers Around the World.
The Times regularly covers stories about young people in every section, and every month The Learning Network rounds them all up.
Scroll through an edition or two of Teenagers in The Times to find stories about young athletes, artists and activists — as well as TikTok pundits, comedians, dancers, and viral challengers, eagle hunters and motivational speakers, planet-finders and quinceañera-redefiners.
Or, scroll through #ThisIs18, a project in which young women photographers from places all over the world — from Bangladesh to the Bronx, Kenya to Clarksdale, Miss. — were asked to show Times readers, “What does life look like for girls turning 18 in your community?”
The Learning Network has been running contests for teenagers for over a decade now, and you’re invited. Right now, our Editorial Contest is live until April 21, and our Podcast Contest and Summer Reading Contest will follow — and in August, we’ll announce our new challenges for the 2020-21 school year.
But to inspire you in the meantime, take a look at the excellent work of …
The 2020 winners of our 15-Second Vocabulary Video Contest
What got your attention on this list, or anywhere else in The Times? Tell us here. We’ll be choosing favorite responses and publishing them this month.