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.
Make Some Music
Practice: 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.
Study: 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.
Sing: Plan a fun karaoke night with your friends or go for a long drive and sing your heart 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.
Move Around and Get on Stage
Perform: 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.
Work out: 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.
Attend immersive theater: 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: Or put one on with your friends. You could also record a silly spoof video at home with friends.
Make Some Visual Art
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.
Use wallpaper to add color and pattern to dresser drawers and the backs of bookshelves.
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.
Phone a friend to meet you for a walk: Even if you have no destination in mind. 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: If you've 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.
Give the gift of self: Volunteer at an animal shelter, donate to a food pantry, or visit a senior center.
Meditate: Download a meditation app and dedicate a few minutes to practicing mindfulness.
Put together an online photo album: Or 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.
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.
Go to the movies or a restaurant by yourself: 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.
Treat Your Tastebuds
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 fail).
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.
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.
Channel Your Inner Author
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.
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, needle pointing, 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.
Plant a terrarium or dish garden: Get your hands dirty, then step back and enjoy the mood-boosting (and air-purifying) benefits of houseplants.
Shadow some online origami tutorials: The Japanese art of paper-folding will help ease your mind into a meditative state.
Make friendship bracelets: 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.
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