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Virtual Recreation Center



Care for your physical and mental health, satisfy your curiosity, engage in experiences and explore the world from home.

Share what you're learning and how you’re having fun at home by tagging our Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #FlattenTheCurveSJ. We appreciate your input on ways we can keep growing this page!

If you have any ideas on classes, activities or resources to include in the Virtual Recreation Center, fill out the Virtual Recreation Center Idea Suggestion Form.

We all have a duty to stop the spread of coronavirus by staying at home. Thank you for doing your part to keep our community safe. Let's continue to build community through fun during shelter-in-place!

Try-It-Out Thursday: Daily Recommendations for Recreation

The only failure is not trying! That thing you've been meaning to do... GO FOR IT!

  • Date: 06/18/2020  (all day)

The Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services will be providing recommended activities to do within the comfort of your home through the Virtual Recreation Center.

Try-It-Out Thursday Activities

Here are some recommended activities related to inspiring creativity and trying new things at home:

 Link to Activities  Description
LIVE Virtual Cooking Event with TRIO's Chef Mario

Thursday, 6/18 at 9:30 a.m. 

Join TRIO's Chec Mario in preparing a refreshing salad  with ingredients that are good for brain health. Joined by Stephanie Pradun, a TRIO Registered Dietitian, who will share a number of foods that support a healthy brain. More information on how to join here.

Live Citizen Science in the Bay Area with Merav Vonshak Thursday, 6/18 at 5:00 p.m.

Many birders are familiar with eBird and other websites where they can share bird observations and contribute to global databases, but there is much more out there for citizen scientists -- from other databases where you can upload observations of any living thing, such as iNaturalist, to great local projects you can be a part of. Some of the local projects are still going on while sheltering in place and can provide an enjoyable activity for families and individuals. More information on how to join here

Gene Goop: At Home DNA Extraction

DNA extraction experiment with City Vendor, Mad Science. 


Materials needed:

  • Tomato
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Dish soap
  • Large reusable plastic bag
  • Strainer
  • Spoon
  • 2 bowls
  • 3 pieces of craft sticks or wooden skewers

*Safety note: Do NOT drink experiment at any time!


  1. Have your adult helper place the isopropyl alcohol in the freezer.
  2. Wash and dry the tomato, remove its stem and then place the tomato into the re-sealable bag.
  3. Add 1/4 tablespoon of salt, seven tablespoons of water, and one tablespoon of dish soap to the re-sealable bag.
  4. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and then seal it closed.
  5. Use your hands to squeeze the bag until the tomato is completely squashed. This should take about five minutes.
  6. Place a strainer on the bowl. Pour the contents of the bag through the strainer into the bowl. Use a spoon to push all the liquid through the strainer.
  7. Rinse the strainer and strain the tomato solution again into another bowl.
  8. Have your adult helper take the isopropyl alcohol out of the freezer. Have your helper gently add four tablespoons of the cold isopropyl alcohol to the bowl.
  9. You should see strands and clumps form after a minute. That's the tomato's DNA! How long a strand can you lift up with the craft stick?

What's going on? 

You extracted DNA! DNA is the set of instructions that tells your body how to make... you! DNA looks like long strings twisted into tight coils. Every cell in your body has a copy of your DNA. We can get DNA out by bursting the cells. Cells are like little bags made up of fatty layers called membranes. The water, salt and soap mixture act as a DNA extraction solution. The soap dissolves the fatty membrane. The salt removes anything that may be attached to the DNA, such as proteins. The DNA uncoils in the extraction solution. It mixes with the alcohol and clumps up. The fat and proteins stay in the salty, soapy part of the mixture. You can use a craft stick to pick up the clumped up DNA

Share what you're learning and how you’re having fun at home by tagging our Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #FlattenTheCurveSJ. We appreciate your input on ways we can keep growing this page!

We all have a duty to stop the spread of coronavirus by staying at home. Thank you for doing your part to keep our community safe. Let's continue to build community through fun during shelter-in-place!

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Virtual Resources

The City of San José does not guarantee the authenticity, accuracy, appropriateness or security of the link, web site or subject matter linked thereto.


Stay Active

The health and well-being of our community is our top priority. The activities are endless when it comes to staying physically and mentally active from home.


Physical Health

All Ages 

En Español

Trong Tiếng Việt


mental-healthMental Health

Take breaks from engaging in coronavirus related news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can increase stress and anxiety.

All Ages 


En Español

Trong Tiếng Việt

learnKeep Learning

We know how much you love to learn. Take advantage of some extra down time to read, learn a new language, watch movies, listen to music, or explore something fascinating.  

All Ages

All Subjects

  • eLibrary Card: All San José residents are eligible to apply for an e-library card, which gives you access to eBooks, eMovies, eMusic, eMagazines, and eNews
  • Lynda Resources: A San José Public Library card also gives you access to the extensive resources on
  • Class Central: Free online classes for adults from Ivy League schools

Learn a New Language

  • Duolingo Application: A free platform to learn over 30 different languages on your smartphone or desktop computer


Kids, Parents, Educators 

All Subjects

  • Learn in Shelter: Free tutoring services for students by students via Zoom. High school volunteers can offer help with academic subjects, including math, science, English, history, foreign language and computer science.
  • Microsoft Education Center: Educational resources and activities for students from 3 to 12 years old
  • PBS Kids Videos, Games and Adventures
  • Scholastic Learn at Home: Day-to-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking and growing
  • Free online learning resources categorized by grade and/or subject
  • El sitio de Magisterio: Una compilación de recursos educativos gratuitos creada explícitamente para la continuación de la educación durante la pandemia del coronavirus. Puedes escribir un diario, escuchar a música y crear proyectos en un entorno virtual de aprendizaje 


En Español

Reading and Language Acquisition

ExploringEngage and Explore from Home

Shelter in place is an opportunity to spark creativity and wonder. Engage in the world around you — virtually!

En Español

Trong Tiếng Việt

socialConnect Socially

When practicing home isolation, mental health and communication are vital. Call friends and family regularly to hear another person's voice and stay engaged in relationships.

  • Virtually Hang Out with Friends and Family: Use Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or other platforms to get together with friends digitally.
  • Watch a Film with Friends: With Watch2gether, movie nights can continue as you watch videos online with friends in real time.
  • Support Local Restaurants: You can support your favorite local restaurants by ordering out! Many establishments remain open for take-out or delivery. Visit delivery websites to see which San José restaurants are still cooking savory food.
  • Covia: Whether you like art or zoology, music or meditation, there is a program for you. Join other seniors for a 30 minute phone program to talk, discuss your interest, and simply socialize with each other. Workshops offered in English and Spanish.

creativeCreate, Craft and Play

Although our bodies are inside, our minds are free to wander. Here are some ways to exercise your creative, constructive, and playful self.

Shelter-In-Place Recipes

All Ages

Trong Tiếng Việt


New Hobbies

Family Arts & Crafts


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