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Falling down the rabbit hole

If I’m not working, sleeping, cooking or dancing, chances are I’m watching videos on YouTube. The video-sharing platform is home to millions of unique content creators, and almost 5 billion videos are watched on the website every day. At least 4 billion of those views are from me.

There is nothing I enjoy more than going down the “YouTube rabbit hole” as I like to call it. There’s something for everybody on the website, whether it’s cooking videos, makeup tutorials, music videos, what have you.

One of the best parts of YouTube is that there are countless videos on the site that help you learn something new. Since many people have nothing but free time right now, I thought I would compile a list of just a few things you can learn for free by watching a YouTube video.

• Learn to cook dishes from your favorite books, movies and TV shows

The YouTube channel “Binging with Babish” follows American filmmaker Andrew Rea (alias Oliver Babish) as he teaches you how to make hundreds of famous recipes from popular entertainment. Babish will teach you how to cook the Big Kahuna Burger from Pulp Fiction, Turkish Delight from The Chronicles of Narnia and, if you’re brave enough to make it, Rachel’s English Trifle from Friends. Some of Babish’s recipes border on the ridiculous, but others will leave your entire family wondering where in the world of fiction their delightful dinner came from.

• Learn how to make the world’s prettiest soap bars

“Royalty Soaps” is a YouTube channel created by Katie Carson. Carson, the self-proclaimed Duchess of Soaps, runs an extraordinarily successful soap-making business by crafting one of a kind, gorgeous soap “loaves” which she then cuts into individual bars. Carson explains her process from start to finish, including scent oils, dyes, and how to make soap that can only be described as a work of art. Carson also goes into the necessary safety precautions for handling the chemicals involved in soap making. Give her channel a look. I’ve spent hours watching the Duchess at work.

• Learn about abandoned places

YouTuber Dan Bell has made an online career exploring abandoned buildings across the country. Several of his episodes have taken place right here in Virginia. Bell’s videos document his walks through the nation’s abandoned and decaying buildings, many of which have grim backstories. His extremely popular “Dead Mall” series is a great chance to learn about the decline in America’s shopping malls as Bell wanders among the ruins of 80s-style shopping centers. Beware that some of Bell’s videos are not suitable for younger viewers. Watch Bell’s videos on his channel, “This is Dan Bell.”

• Learn about the depths of the ocean

“EVNautilus” is a YouTube channel that will eat up all of your attention. Watch as a deep sea exploration vessel traverses the bottom of the ocean conducting research for the Ocean Exploration Trust. The channel showcases amazing clips as researchers use the exploration vessel to explore the undersea, meet amazing ocean creatures and better understand our blue planet. From the cutest looking cuttlefish to the freakiest sharks, this channel provides entertainment that’s both educational and captivating.

• Learn how to build and survive in the wild

If you’re an outdoorsy person that every now and again briefly considers wandering into the wilderness and building a hut out of mud and sticks to leave modern society behind, then “Primitive Technology” is the YouTube channel for you. Created by Australian John Plant, the immensely popular series teaches you how to build everything from scratch with no tools or modern conveniences. Plant will teach you how to grind snail shells into a primitive limestone, hunt with a spear and, yes, even build an entire home out of mud and sticks.

There’s millions and millions of YouTube videos to discover, with endless opportunities to learn something new. The platform also has a kids app that helps filter age-appropriate clips for younger children. I hope you enjoy falling down the YouTube rabbit hole. I’m going to go build a house out of dirt for fun.

Alexa Massey is a staff reporter for The Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Alexa.Massey@KVDispatch.com.