Ever feel like you need to recharge with a fun activity? A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology supports the theory that engaging in creative activities outside of the office can result in better work performance. And beyond the professional benefits of flexing our creative muscles, engaging in the arts has been proven to be therapeutic. So regardless of whether or not you fancy yourself the next Leonardo da Vinci, getting creative can be a productive, fun, and relaxing way to make use of your free time, especially when you're bored.
If you're looking for ideas and inspiration, our list of creative things to do will help you find the right activity. We broke it down by art form so you can easily plan your day of creativity based on your own interests. The best part is that these activities don't require you to have any expertise or talent in them.
From making music to writing to crafts, find your match in the list of 40 creative things to do below.
Did you grow up playing an instrument? If you still have it lying around and miss playing, pick it up and start brushing up on your skills. You could also invite some old friends or bandmates over for a casual reunion.
If you've been considering picking up a new instrument, or you've never learned how to play one, why not book a lesson now? It's never too late to start.
Plan a fun karaoke night with your friends or go for a long drive and sing your heart out. It's a fun way to let loose on a night out.
Listen to Music
See if any of your favorite bands or musicians have upcoming shows in your area and attend a concert. Can't get tickets? Watch a music documentary instead.
Create a Playlist
Discover some new music and make a few playlists for different moods so you have them ready to go on every occasion. You might even become your friends' resident DJ.
If you've always wanted to try slam poetry or have been thinking of participating in an open mic night, now's the time to see what's out there and get involved. Not only will it be cathartic to actually perform, but you'll also get to tap into your creative side during the process.
Sign up for a dance-based workout class or a dance program. If you were trained as a dancer growing up, gather up some friends or co-workers and pitch in to book a studio.
If you're looking to expel some energy and break a sweat, but scared to try something new, consider trying an online workout that you can practice from the comforts of your own home, like NYC-based The Ness, which has a full online platform for at-home workouts.
Attend Immersive Theater
If you've only ever gone to mainstream stage performances, consider something a little more intimate. You'll observe and get involved in the narrative by joining the actors.
Take a Class
Get out of your comfort zone and sign up for an improv class. Who knows? You might be good at it, and even if you aren't, at least you'll practice taking risks and taking yourself less seriously.
Attend a Stand-up Comedy Show
Make sure that you have a night full of laughs by going to a different type of evening stage show. Or, you can even put one on with your friends.
Dabble in the Studio Arts
Set up an easel, don a smock or an old T-shirt, and settle in for a day of painting, drawing, sculpting, and collaging. If you don't have any ideas of what you want to create, keep things informal in a sketchbook.
Upcycle a Piece of Furniture
Scour a flea market (or your own home) for a worn dresser or bedside table deserving of a makeover. Give it new life through paint, updated hardware, and a little elbow grease.
Redesign a Room
Shake things up at home by rearranging your furniture. You could reconfigure your bedroom or living room so that your space adheres to the principles of feng shui, or you could simply hang up a new set of curtains. Feeling ambitious? Treat your walls to a fresh coat of paint, or create an accent wall with wallpaper.
Rediscover the Zen of Coloring
When you don't feel like doing a full-blown art or redecorating project, opt for an adult coloring book instead. Put on some music, sink into your favorite spot on the sofa, and let your mind wander as you stay between the lines (or don't).
Play Tourist in Your Own City
Get some fresh air and exercise by exploring your hometown's most famous attractions. You might just see parts of your own home that you've never experienced before.
Phone a Friend to Meet You for a Walk
Even if you have no destination in mind, take a walk with a friend. Use the time to catch up, or stroll in silence and absorb the stimuli of your surroundings.
Spend the Day at a New Museum or Exhibit
All your local galleries and museums have a constant rotation of exhibit, so it's likely you can find something new on the docket. If you have, in fact, seen everything in your area already, research other local art galleries to visit.
Practice Your Photography or Videography Skills
Go to your favorite part of town or find some new subjects to record. A camera in your hand is a great excuse to explore places you might not have otherwise headed alone.
Give the Gift of Self
Volunteer at an animal shelter, donate to a food pantry, or visit a senior center. The best kind of activities are the ones that give back.
Download a meditation app and dedicate a few minutes to practicing mindfulness. If you start with just a few minutes every day, you might just end up with a half an hour or more each morning.
Put Together an Online Photo Album
Assemble an album using photos you've already printed out. As you take the trip down memory lane, pause to reflect on how the people and occasions captured in the pics have helped make you you.
Challenge Yourself to a Game
Download a brain-teaser app, or break out your playing cards for a round of Solitaire. Prove to yourself that you don't need two people to play a killer game of cards.
Make a Time Capsule
Include photos, mementos, and a note to your future self. Seal it shut, only to be opened five, 10, or 20 years down the road.
Create a Mood Board for Your Dream Home
Even if it's just in your imagination, this will get your creative juices flowing and help you feel more inspired to achieve your goals. What's more, it's a great use for a blank wall in your home or office space!
Go to the Movies or a Restaurant by Yourself
Even if you're used to heading out to eat with a table full of friends, consider trying to take some time for yourself instead. You'll feel empowered knowing that you're in total control of how your solo adventure plays out.
Experiment with New Makeup or Hairstyles
Watch a few online tutorials and perfect the cat eye, once and for all. Eye makeup not your thing? Why not try to master that ever-pesky french braid instead.
Try Out a New Recipe
Even if it's ambitious and completely outside your wheelhouse, give it a go. Invite your friends over to taste-test the results (just be sure to have a pizza place in mind in case it's a total bust!)
Host a Tasting Party
Whether you'll be studying the flavor nuances of wine, tea, cookies, or something else altogether, you can expect to sip and nibble your way to a more refined palate. It's a great way to try a ton of new things—and you might just learn a little something, too!
Make a Reservation at a New-to-You Restaurant
Explore new flavors and cuisines. Bonus points if you order solely based on the server's recommendation.
Pick up Your Journal and Start Freewriting
You can write about an early memory, a random encounter from last week, something that's been troubling your mind, or even about nothing in particular. Pick up your pencil and don't put it down until you've been writing for five full minutes.
Visit the Library
If you don't already have a library card to your local library, go get one. Browse the stacks and take your time compiling a must-read list.
Try Writing a Children's Story
Getting into that mindset will be a challenging creative endeavor alone. What do you wish you could have known as a child? Write it!
Pen a Letter to a Friend or Family Member
Pick up some beautiful stationery to inspire you to practice your penmanship more often. Not to mention that receiving a hand-written note is, more often than not, better than a gift.
Have a Brainstorm Session
If you've had some ideas floating around about a great premise for a poem, short story, or even a series of novels, take the time to commit your ideas to paper. If the time's not right to bring your ideas to fruition, you'll be able to revisit your notes at a later date.
Take up Knitting, Needlepointing, or Sewing
The repetitive motions can help you get rid of stress and anxiety. Plus, if you pick up sewing, you can do fun DIY projects like customizing vintage sweaters or cheap tees.
Sign up For an Art Class or Craft Workshop
From candle-making and Claymation to floral design and ceramics, the creative options are endless. You might even meet some new friends in the process.
Plant a Terrarium or Dish Garden
Get your hands dirty, then step back and enjoy the mood-boosting (and air-purifying) benefits of houseplants. The best part? They're pretty low maintenance...you know, for all those without a proper green thumb.
Shadow Some Online Origami Tutorials
The Japanese art of paper-folding will help ease your mind into a meditative state. You can even experiment with crafting your own sculpture-like designs.
Make Friendship Bracelets
Making friendship bracelets is a truly cathartic experience. Keep a few for yourself, then gift the rest to your friends at your next get-together.
Craft Your Own Bath and Body Products
Look up some DIY recipes for face masks and body scrubs, then treat your skin to some well-deserved pampering. You might never shop for bath products at the store again.
Eschleman KJ, Madsen J, Alarcon G, Barelka A. Benefiting from creative activity: The positive relationships between creative activity, recovery experiences, and performance‐related outcomes. J Occup Organ Psychol. 2014;87:579-598. doi:10.1111/joop.12064
Mastandrea S, Fagioli S, Biasi V. Art and psychological well-being: Linking the brain to the aesthetic emotion. Front Psychol. 2019;10:739. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00739