Five things to learn in 2021

Learning something new is a great way to keep your brain active.

From computer programming to the art of calligraphy, there are plenty of strings you could add to your bow in the New Year. If you're struggling with where to start, here are five suggestions for your 2021.

15 minutes: Simple coin vanishing trick

This simple but effective coin vanishing trick is a great way to pass time and impress your mates. We’ve tried and tested and determined that a 20p is generally best, but other coins or even a ring can be used, providing it’s not too wide.

Give your thumb and fingers a little stretch beforehand so you can practise in comfort.

Close up of a hand holding a 20p piece between the index and middle finger.

A beginner coin vanishing trick

Place the coin between your middle finger and index finger.

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For extra flare, you (or your audience) could do a countdown and then click your fingers the moment the coin ‘vanishes’.

One day: How code works

As the digital world thrives, coding is a skill which is very much in demand. Coding languages are used in programming and give a computer instructions to complete. Examples of coding languages are Python, Java and HTML. Before you start writing code, it may help you to understand a bit more about how code works. Bitesize has your back.

One week: Calligraphy

Calligraphy is a fun and useful skill to learn if you want to zhuzh up your bullet journal or diary. It is most commonly believed to have originated in China and was used in the 15th Century to embellish Bible manuscripts.

However calligraphy isn’t just ‘fancy writing’. There are a couple of rules to follow and consistency is key. Why not have a go at practising the same word in a new calligraphy style every day for a week? If you practise until you're advanced and it’s something you enjoy, it could even turn into a side hustle and maybe even lead to a career.

Calligraphy can be used for anything!
Practise the basic strokes of calligraphy and see how you improve over a week

One month: Crochet

Arts and crafts are an excellent way to stay occupied and crochet (pronounced crow-shay) is a popular pastime. The name comes from French meaning ‘little hook’ - this is because the yarn is looped on a crochet hook instead of knitting needles. An earlier form of crochet was commonly made by nålebinding (Danish for ‘needle-binding’), a different looped yarn technique.

It’s a very versatile skill as you can make almost anything, from jumpers to hats to headbands to bags and even toys. If a blanket is 100 rows (depending on how tight your stitches are) and if you manage three rows a day, you could have a cosy double-stitched afghan in just over a month!

One year: Breakdancing

With breakdancing (also known as b-boying/b-girling) entering the Olympics, you might have admired the spins and tricks of professional athletes and dancers.

Breakdancing is a style of street dance from the black and Latin communities in the early ’70s in the USA. It’s widely agreed that the technique was pioneered by DJ Kool Herc (Clive Campbell), a Jamaican DJ in New York who mixed the percussion ‘breaks’ from two identical records.

Routines generally consist of:

  • The top rock: the standing up part of the routine
  • The drop: how you get from standing up to the floor
  • Footwork: where both feet and one hand must be on the floor
  • And finally the freeze: where you stay in a position for a few seconds to end the routine.

Like any sport, breakdancing is a great way to exercise. However, this is definitely not one to learn by yourself as the nature of some moves can be dangerous, particularly for the head and neck. Get advice from a professional breakdancing coach and, if social distancing rules allow it, make sure you take classes.

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