In times of trouble, there’s something soothing about channelling your attention into a project and keeping your hands busy (and away from your phone for a couple of hours). In response to lockdown, a host of places that usually offer in-person classes or experiences have shifted online, giving you a chance to redirect your attention away from Netflix, news feeds and Instagram for an hour or two. After last year’s lockdown, we’re all pretty realistic about the fact we may not come out of this with a newfound ability to knit like a pro, a vim for sourdough starter or a whole new fitness routine we’ll actually stick to. But these classes and kits – for cheesemaking to pottery and more – will at the very least keep your mind occupied for a little while.

Make cheese with Omnom
Making cheese at home isn’t all that difficult – you just need the right equipment. Omnom usually hosts fromage-making classes in its Sydney HQ, but it also sells kits with everything you need to whip up batches of ricotta, halloumi, burrata and more in your own kitchen. They include all the ingredients you’ll need (apart from milk), equipment (such as a thermometer), and instructions to guide you through the process. You’ll never go cheese-less again.

Pick up pottery with Clay Sydney, Crock’d, Clayground or Bondi Clay
There’s nothing quite like taking your lockdown angst out on a piece of clay. And luckily for us, a bunch of studios are hosting online pottery classes, and delivering everything you need to get started.

When you buy one of Clay Sydney’s Clay at Home kits, you’ll not only get everything you need to start building a pottery piece, but access to its on-demand classes, which are ready to roll whenever you are. You can also tune in every Friday during lockdown at 7.30pm for a live-streamed class; Clay strongly encourages you to pour yourself a glass of wine and sip as you build.

Meanwhile, Gold Coast company Crockd’s DIY kits are all about getting people talking about mental health. Each pack includes everything you need to make four cups, including step-by-step instructions, a block of clay and carving tools. They also come with “clay breakers” – conversation starters to stoke meaningful discussions while you get your hands dirty; you might be asked to describe what scares you, or share who you admire. Once you’re happy with your creation there are more than 100 kilns across the country you can drop your piece off at for firing.

And Bondi Clay and Clayground are also getting in on the action. They’re live-streaming classes on Friday nights at 7.30pm, on Instagram, and streaming kids classes on Wednesday afternoons at 4pm. Their clay kits include six kilograms of clay, tools and instructions for making your first pot; pick them up from their Bondi or Rosebery studios, or get them delivered. They’ll also fire up one kilogram’s worth of pieces for free.

Practice your brushstrokes with Champainting
Painting a simple artwork while sipping wine sounds like the ideal lockdown activity: it’s low-effort, and there’s booze involved. Cork and Canvas has launched 13 on-demand classes to help you wind down solo, with your household, or virtually with mates. Choose between painting Sunset Boulevard, a colourful jellyfish, a tropical island and more. Classes don’t include materials – you can buy them here.

Try a lot of things with Redballoon and Classbento
A while back – before lockdown – Redballoon launched an at-home element to its experiences platform, which paid off in spades when the concept of “lockdown” became part of our lexicon. Its providers are offering a host of experiences and classes, including online massage lessons, pasta-making kits, online cooking classes, virtual astrology classes and gin-making kits.

Similarly, experiences portal Classbento offers a range of online classes with craft kits delivered to your home to get you started. There’s a whole lot to keep your hands busy: DIY silversmithing for beginners, botanical watercolour painting, cocktail classes, making a clay planter, pasta-making and crochet. Videos are either live-streamed or pre-recorded to watch whenever you’re feeling particularly creative.

Build a terrarium with Little Succers
When we’re not in lockdown, Sydney’s Little Succers teaches punters how to make terrariums. Now we’re all stuck in our homes, it’s sending out DIY terrarium kits with charcoal, sand, soil, decorations, succulents and instructions so you can build a greenery-filled orb in your living room. And if you get the hankering to craft your own little eco-system, it offers same-day delivery across Sydney.