Boredom Busted With Malibu’s Virtual Recreation Center

Cook. Eat. Clean. Eat. Sleep. Rinse. Repeat. Did I mention eat? That’s been the pandemic routine in many households for the past six weeks. 

Despite all those chores, there’s still a lot of downtime, but there’s no need to be paralyzed with boredom—not if the Malibu Community Services Department has anything to do with it. Its clever staff has come up with a virtual rec center and it’s chock full of activities to keep our youngest and most senior citizens engaged with enriching activities.

If you go to malibucity.org/virtualrec, you will find a compilation of links for virtual activities for people of all ages. At the top of the page, you’ll find Malibu Mondays.

This page features City of Malibu instructors—people already partnered with the city prior to stay-at-home orders. 

“There are live streams—completely free—through our yoga teacher, our soccer classes, science, violin, cooking, art, skateboarding and more,” Katie Gallo, a City of Malibu recreation supervisor, explained. “As you scroll down, you’ll find links to other resources that families can utilize for fun and fitness programs and health and wellness. There’s also a section on travel. You can visit museums around the world, virtually.” 

I reconnected with my former ukulele teacher, James Swing, for a free zoom class, tried a fitness class from a national boutique gym and found a recipe for something irresistibly cute: a baby Yoda deviled egg.

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There’s also a special seniors resource section featuring the city’s silver sneakers fitness program, brain teasers, crossword puzzles and more. The content seems endless, ranging from science activities and meditation to language learning, crafts, and astrology. Many links connect to YouTube videos. One link to watch a Broadway show required a subscription, although it did include a free trial period.

Last week, a Malibu city activity called Postcards from Home asked participants to upload uplifting pictures or poems that were transformed into postcards and mailed by community services (formerly parks and recreation) staffers.

The Malibu Mondays virtual series features themed content that changes every week. Daily activities are released through the city’s social media accounts. 

“We hosted a TikTok dance party to engage the teens,” Gallo noted.

The social media exposure is driving success. 

“Our Instagram following has almost quadrupled since the start of the coronavirus,” Gallo said. “We’re up to almost 1,600 followers on our community services department Instagram. We’ve seen an increase in Facebook and Twitter.”

Upcoming themes are art and culture, where you’ll find online art demonstrations such as watercolor, drawing and cartooning and physical fitness with classes for seniors along with classes taught by community services department sports instructors. The classes are first live streamed then accessible online. 

Visit Malibu Community Services on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more info

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