21 Things Teenagers Can Do With a New York Times Subscription

Until Sept. 2021, The Times is providing free digital access to all high school students and teachers in the United States. If you’ve never explored NYTimes.com before, here are some things we offer that might surprise you.

If your only association with The New York Times is front-page news, this post can show you how to find everything from games to recipes to <a href="https://www.nytimes.cf/2019/06/05/reader-center/youth-beat-teen-reporting.html">reporting on young people</a>.
Credit...Luis Mazón

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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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How a Teen Rapper With Braces Took Over the Streaming World

He was only 16 when an out-of-the-blue tweet brought him to Los Angeles to record what would become his breakthrough hit, “Ransom.” In our latest Diary of a Song video, see how the internet stars aligned to make Lil Tecca a new king of streaming.

“Hey.” “What’s up?” “Happy birthday.” “Thank you.” “Was your 16th year the craziest year of your life?” “Yeah, so far. Singing: “I got black, I got white, what you want? Hop outside a Ghost and hop up in a Phantom. I know I’m ’bout to blow, I ain’t dumb. They try to take my flow, I take they ass for ransom.” “Did you ever think that this song could be top-five on the Billboard Hot 100?” “Yeah, I did. You want to know what’s crazy? I’d never been to the studio until, like, last year. So before that, all my music I was recording it myself and I was mixing it myself.” “And where were you getting the beats?” “YouTube. YouTube, always.” “We love you, Tecca.” Singing: “Yeah I know you see the drip and you like it. Wanna text me but your pride tryin’ to fight it.” “At the time, I was the only person in Long Island that had like a wave going on.” “Who’s the hottest rapper on Long Island?” “Lil Tecca.” “Lil Tecca was the [expletive].” “You’re really hot in these streets.” “Yeah.” “From the first day I met Tecca, I knew he was going to be a global superstar. There was something different about him. His place was to be at a major label and partner with one. We just became like really close off rip.” “We consistently just try to focus on like breaking artists and building artists, and if we never did that, people like Tecca wouldn’t be here.” “Internet Money, bitch.” “What is Internet Money?” “It all started because we were on the internet, and we were all internet producers. I was just like, man, y’all are cool kids, man. I just want to like help develop y’all. I was making, like, half a million a year, you know, just selling beats on the internet. Tight beats is a way that you can just use to get yourself out there. The minute the door cracked just a little bit from that, I just kicked it open, brought everybody in with me. Then, Nick surpassed everybody and started becoming like this legendary super-producer.” “Where are you today?” “I’m in Virginia, in my house here.” “Is this like your parents’ house?” “Yeah.” “Can we see around your bedroom?” “I mean I guess.” “What’s the plaque?” “This one is ‘Lucid Dreams’ going one on hip-hop songs. We got the ‘X’ album going platinum, a single over there. Bunch of Juice stuff. Got some more down here for just like Billboard ones.” “Too many plaques to hang on the wall.” “Yeah, not enough wall space, really.” “Tell me about discovering Lil Tecca.” “I’d seen him at first and went, man, this kid looks goofy. But then, I think I heard like ‘Love No Thot.’” Singing: “I can’t love no thot. A thot is a girl is a girl that can’t get no love from me.” “From that moment forward, I always told everybody, ‘Man, I feel like this kid is going to blow up.’” “I told my mom that a producer wanted me to come to L.A. to work on a project. She was like, ‘What, boy?’ So, like I had to explain to her and stuff first before I was allowed to go.” “Working with Internet Money was an honor because it was like our first time that a producer as talented as them was like, ‘Yo, we really want to work with you.’ We booked our flight to L.A. the next day.” “Were you nervous?” “No. I was just meeting a dude and we’re going to make some songs. It was a fire-ass house. There was someone in the back making beats, so I knew I wasn’t at the wrong place.” “He wanted some Gunna Lil Baby beats or something. And I was like, ‘No, I don’t really see it. I was like, bro like —’ because my favorite song from him was ‘Love No Thot,’ which is real like melodic, dancehall records. I was like, ‘You should do those.’” “Taylor hits me up on FaceTime. ‘Dude, I want you to make some dancehall melodies, like that you could really see if you like some dancehall drums too, but I want you switch it and do trap stuff on it.’ I know like dancehall beats — they’re really simple, so I didn’t want to complicate it, but I wanted to sound full so I layered it with like another keyboard in the back. I added another background snare. So that gives it a lot of bounce.” “And you made that in how long?” “I don’t know, think it was like six, seven minutes.” “What kind of feeling do you get when you hear a beat that you want to rap over?” “It’s like an anxious feeling that you want to get the song done, like this.” “So what was the first line you put down for ‘Ransom?’” “I got black, I got white — My dad always told me the beat talks to you. If the beat’s not talking to you, don’t do it. So, the beat was just talking to me.” “What else did it tell you to say?” “After that, I just started going.” “When he started laying down lines for ‘Ransom,’ was there something that stood out to you?” “I’m going to be real, man, no. Because at that point, it was like the third or fourth song we did, so I’m already tripping off like the first two songs. To me, I was like, man, how many are we going to get out of this night, you know what I mean?” “And that one night, they made six or seven songs, like each song was so perfect.” “He definitely was in the zone, you know. I think he made ‘Did It Again’ and ‘Ransom’ back to back.” “My favorite was ‘Ransom.’ Everyone else’s favorite was like, ’Yo, ‘Did It Again’ is harder.’” “Were you signed at this point?” “No.” “Nobody was really giving him a deal at the time, and I was like, yo, this kid’s fire. I want to sign this kid. And they were just like, ‘No, I don’t see it. I don’t think he’s a star. I don’t think he has the ability and the quality looks to pop.’ And I was just like, ‘What?’” Singing: “I got black, I got white, what you want? Hop outside a Ghost and hop up in a Phantom.” “He’s really good at getting people’s attention with the Triller videos and everything like that. And even before a song drops, he’ll have it stuck in your head.” Singing: “Now they say they want some. I got two twin Glocks, turn you to a dancer.” “I would play the song for months, and I would be like, ‘When is the song going to come out? Is it ever going to come out?’ Then randomly, I saw Cole Bennett and Lil Tecca together like on Instagram.” “When did it become a thing that every up-and-coming SoundCloud rapper needed a Cole Bennett video to help them take off?” “I get DMs and messages and people come up to me all the time and say, you know, ‘If I get a video from you, I promise I’ll blow up.’ Just kind of saying, you’re kind of like the one-way ticket.” “A compelling artist plus an Internet Money beat plus a Cole Bennett video, is that a hit?” “Yeah, 100%.” “We wanted to go somewhere tropical and just have fun and shoot a video. And it was a small video, budget — he wasn’t signed. So after we started getting all the flights, I was like, ‘Yep, there goes the budget for this video.’” Singing: “I got red, I got blue, what you want? The Chanel or Balenciaga, Louis and Vuitton. She know I got the Fendi, Prada when I hit Milan. I needed me a die or rider, I need me the one.” “A week after we dropped ‘Ransom,’ I just got random calls, ‘Like, hello, who’s this?’ ‘This is Alex from Billboard Magazine. I was calling to get information about Lil Tecca because we have him charting him here with ‘Ransom.’” “I think I found out in the morning, and my mom told me.” “Had there been label interest?” “For a fact.” “A bidding war broke out and it was just a really hectic 48, 72 hours.” “When the time was right, I signed.” “Is it a little bit bittersweet now to see Tecca signed to a major label and blow up?” “Yeah, it hurts, you know what I mean? Because I knew he was going to be this big.” “Three, two, one.” “When positive things happen you can’t be surprised, because that’s what you wanted to happen in the first place. You can’t be like, ‘Gee, this is crazy.’ This is what is supposed to be going on.” “So the success you’ve had with ‘Ransom,’ you feel like you earned it?” “Of course. Me and my fans earned it. Singing: “I know that I’m gone. They see me blowing up, now they say they want some. I got two twin Glocks, turn you to a dancer.” “How have you seen Lil Tecca change since the success of ‘Ransom?’” “He’s the same person. I don’t know, a change in what sense?” “I heard he grew a bit.” “Well, that he did.” “He was small. Whenever we recorded this record, he just hit puberty or something. Every time I see him, I’m like, ‘God damn, boy, you getting tall.’”

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He was only 16 when an out-of-the-blue tweet brought him to Los Angeles to record what would become his breakthrough hit, “Ransom.” In our latest Diary of a Song video, see how the internet stars aligned to make Lil Tecca a new king of streaming.CreditCredit...Arik McArthur/WireImage

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.


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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.


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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:


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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:


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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.


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Credit...Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.

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.)

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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.


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Credit...From left, Justin Lubin/NBC; ABC Kids; Claire Folger/Lionsgate

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.


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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.


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Visit #SpeakingInDance on NYTimes.com or on Instagram to watch voguing, or “How the Rockettes Fall Like Dominoes” or “Where Subway Dancers Practice Their Art” — and, perhaps, imitate a few of the moves yourself at home.

Need even more? Here are 12 places to watch dance online.

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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:


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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.


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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.


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Anatomy of a Scene | ‘Black Panther’

Ryan Coogler narrates a sequence from his film featuring Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther.

I’m Ryan Coogler, co-writer and director of “Black Panther”. This scene is an extension of an action set piece that happens inside of a casino in Busan, South Korea. Now, T’Challa is in pursuit of Ulysses Klaue, who’s escaped the casino. He’s eliciting the help of his younger sister, Shuri, here, who’s back home in Wakanda. And she’s remote driving this Lexus sports car. And she’s driving from Wakanda. She’s actually in Wakanda. T’Challa’s in his panther suit on top of the car in pursuit. These are two of T’Challa’s comrades here. It’s Nakia who’s a spy, driving, and Okoye who’s a leader of the Dora Milaje in the passenger’s seat in pursuit of Klaue. The whole idea for this scene is we wanted to have our car chase that was unlike any car chase that we had seen before in combining the technology of Wakanda and juxtaposing that with the tradition of this African warrior culture. And in our film we kind of broke down characters between traditionalists and innovators. We always thought it would be fun to contrast these pairings of an innovator with a traditionalist. T’Challa, we kind of see in this film, is a traditionalist when you first meet him. His younger sister, Shuri, who runs Wakanda’s tech, is an innovator. So we paired them together. In the other car we have Nakia and Okoye, who’s also a traditionalist-innovator pairing. Nakia is a spy who we learn is kind of unconventional. And Okoye, who’s a staunch traditionalist, probably one of our most traditional characters in the film, you know, she doesn’t really like being in clothes that aren’t Wakandan. And this scene is kind of about her really bringing the Wakandan out. One of the images that almost haunted me was this image of this African woman with this red dress just blowing behind her, you know, spear out. And so a big thing was, like, you know, for me was getting the mount right so that the dress would flow the right way. It wouldn’t be impeded by the bracing system she was sitting on. So that took a lot of time. We had to play with the fabric and the amount of the dress to get it right.

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Ryan Coogler narrates a sequence from his film featuring Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther.CreditCredit...Marvel/Disney

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.”


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The Story Behind Japan’s Bathing Monkeys

For the famed snow monkeys, a troop of Japanese macaques that live near Nagano, soaking in hot springs eases the stress of cold winters. But how did they come to adopt this habit?

The snow monkeys of Japan live further north than any other nonhuman primate. And one troop has become downright famous because they’re the only monkeys in the world to spend hours in the winter soaking in hot springs. Only recently, scientists have started investigating the behavior of the macaques. But before we get to that, here’s a brief history of how a group of macaques developed the hot tub habit in the first place. Macaques live all over Japan. But this group’s home is near Nagano, where the winter temperatures are often below freezing, but the landscape is sprinkled with natural hot springs. But it wasn’t until 1963, so the story goes, that a monkey first joined human visitors in a hotel bathing pool. Of course, one macaque in the pool soon became many macaques, which upset the humans. The solution: build a park and hot spring bathing pools just for the monkeys. Happy monkeys, happy humans. The macaques soon became an attraction, drawing more attention and more visitors to the mountains of Nagano. Back to the present. Researchers are now focusing on why the monkeys bathe. Probably to stay warm, but that’s just an assumption. Since cold causes stress, increasing levels of hormones called glucocorticoids, scientists tested levels of these hormones in the monkeys. They didn’t draw blood or collect saliva. They collected and tested feces. And since the monkeys are so used to human tourists, they paid no attention to the researchers. As suspected, stress levels were lower during periods when the macaques were bathing. Interestingly, the higher-ranking females had more access to the pool and more time bathing. Takeshita herself found a kind of nonscientific inspiration in the monkey bathing. Many times after coming back from the field I would go to hot springs. They also show how a small group of animals can develop a unique behavior, their own kind of culture, passed down from generation to generation. I wonder what they think about while they soak.

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For the famed snow monkeys, a troop of Japanese macaques that live near Nagano, soaking in hot springs eases the stress of cold winters. But how did they come to adopt this habit?CreditCredit...Toshio Hagiwara

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.)


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Well Challenge Workout

This is Asmeret. She’s going to do today’s workout with you. There are four simple exercises. Jumping jacks, standing lunges, kneeling push-ups and plank. You’ll repeat them twice, giving you a total body workout. Each exercise is 30 seconds long. Do them at your own pace. You’ll rest for 15 seconds after each exercise. Give yourself enough space to move around. And grab some water, a towel, or a mat, if you like. Are you ready? Your six-minute workout starts in three, two, one. Let’s go. Jumping jacks are a great cardio exercise. As you jump, make sure you stay on your toes, with your knees slightly bent. Try to keep up with Asmeret, or go at your own pace. You have 10 seconds to go. Three, two, one. You have 15 seconds before your next exercise. Great job. Now rest, stretch or grab some water. Rested? Let’s go. Standing lunges work the lower body. Keep your back straight as you bend both knees and press down. Now switch legs. If you’re off balance, slow down to keep your body stable. Three, two, one. Kneeling push-ups tone your upper body. Keep your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart and your body straight from head to knees. Push-ups can be hard. Bending slightly at the hips, like Asmeret is doing, can make the exercise a bit easier. Ten seconds to go. Three, two, one. Plank pose strengthens your core. Lower onto your forearms and keep your body straight from head to heel. Don’t forget to breathe. If a regular plank is too hard, try a kneeling plank, which puts less stress on your back. Ten seconds to go. Three, two, one. You’re halfway there. Grab some water. We’re going to repeat each of these exercises one more time. Ready? Three, two, one. Jumping jacks keep your heart rate up. As you jump, spread your legs about shoulder-width apart. Asmeret has picked up the pace. Try to push yourself, too. Ten seconds to go. Three, two, one. Standing lunges work your glutes, quads and calves. Rest your hands on your knees to steady yourself. Now switch legs. Pay attention to your body. If you feel pain in your knees, don’t go as low. Three, two, one. Kneeling push-ups are the hardest part of today’s workout. Try to keep your body straight from your head to your knees. But if you need to, you can bend at your hips, like Asmeret. If you’re struggling, you can try a standing push-up against the wall to make it easier. Ten seconds to go. Three, two, one. A plank should engage your abs, as well as your back, quads and glutes. To keep your neck and spine straight, look at a spot on the floor about a foot from your hands. Plank time is a good moment for mindfulness. Keep breathing and remind yourself why you’re making this change. Ten seconds to go. Three, two, one. Congratulations. You just completed your six-minute workout. Grab some water. In a few seconds, we’re going to cool down with two easy yoga stretches. This is child’s pose. Bow forward with your arms outstretched and rest your forehead on the floor. Allow all the tension in your shoulders, neck and arms to drift away. Stay here for 10 deep, slow breaths. Now let’s finish in Shavasana. Empty your mind and relax into the floor. Take a moment to be aware of your body. Feel gratitude for your health and your strength. Stay here as long as you like.

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Use this 6-Minute Workout or a host of other really, really short workouts to stay in shape. The Move column can also teach you how to start running, how to use yoga to relax, and how to do moves from push-ups to body-weight split squats.


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Credit...Hannah Reyes Morales for The New York Times

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?”


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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 …


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.