Woman decorating flowers for cake - the concept of creativity

50 Creative Things To Do When You Aren’t Creative

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Spoiler Alert: We are all creative beings. Yep – even you!!! Each of us realizes our creativity more or less – but we all have it. Did you know that stretching your creativity muscles can lead to health benefits such as increasing positive emotions, decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety, increasing problem solving skills, refreshing your body and mind, and even increasing immune function. For anyone wanting to get started exploring your creativity – this is the perfect list of creative things to do to get you started!

image of woman looking at painting in museum with text 50 Creative Things to Do When You Aren't Creative

Sometimes, I just want to sit and color or doing something crafty with one or both of my boys. And the time that we spend together connecting through art is, to be honest, a bonus. Because sometimes it’s really mostly about me wanting creative things to do.

Learning to Be Creative

I know what you’re thinking: “But I’m not creative!!!” Confession: I don’t always feel creative either! But I still love finding creative things to do! And here’s why:

Creativity is a skill that can be taught and learned. It’s not something that we are either born with or doomed to suffer without.

Learning to be creative doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, Sir Ken Robinson teaches that:

“If someone tells you they cannot read and write, you don’t assume that they are not capable of reading and writing, but that they have not been taught. It is the same with creativity. When people say to me that they are not creative, I assume they just haven’t learned what’s involved.”

Ken Robinson – Out of Our Minds

Here’s a fun way to start off – take this quick quiz from Northwestern University to find out how creative you are. And then come right back!

Find Creative Things to Do by Being Curious

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that curiosity is decadent, a luxury, or a waste of time! Curiosity is an integral part of living that keeps our brains healthy and our spirits boosted.

Think of something that you are interested in. Do you enjoy historical fiction? Maybe a character or setting from a book you’ve read or a movie you’ve seen. Start being curious and asking questions. Maybe do some investigation or additional reading on the subject.

Create your own rabbit trails to fall into!

Ideas You Can Try Right Away:

  • Begin your own creativity journal – you can quickly jot down thoughts, surprises, ideas, doodles – anything that comes to you in the moment. This is a terrific way to make sure you don’t lose any of those great ideas!
  • Begin a habit of brainstorming ideas. The wackier the better! Stretch your brain! You can do this with your partner, your children – any time that a decision arises is an opportunity for brainstorming! Dinner ideas, Saturday afternoon ideas, or school projects, the list is endless.
  • Surprise somebody today.
  • Look for something to be surprised by each day.
  • Find something interesting outside and research to learn more about it.

Creative Activities With Kids

Find Creative Things To Do By Actively Seeking Inspiration

Inspiration can be found anywhere you care to look. I remember seeing the cover of a children’s dinosaur puzzle and thinking it would be a beautiful color scheme for a room! Inspiration can be found everywhere if you stretch to think of the creative things you see in a different context.

Read a book, visit a museum, listen to your favorite music or engage in a lively debate with a friend. Utilize whatever strategy or technique works best for you.

Ideas You Can Try Right Away:

  • Wherever you are sitting right now, look around and choose something to see in a different way.
  • Take note of a color that you love. Imagine as many things in that color as you can – especially things that aren’t normally that color.
  • Make up an outlandish story. (This is a super fun way to get started!)
  • Play the “who are they?” game – when you see somebody anywhere, say in the grocery store, take a look at what they have in their carts and create a story.
  • Visit an art museum
  • Visit the library
  • Rent a foreign film (I just found this one and thought it was fabulous!!!)
  • Join a local group of creatives
  • Watch a free movie or documentary
  • Start a book club
  • Have girls’ night at a sip and paint place
  • Visit a science museum
  • Use these brain teasers for family game night!
  • Spend an evening at a planetarium
  • Escher was one of my favorite artists as a kid (NERD alert!) and this book is SO much fun!
  • Start a Creativity & Camaradarie Club
  • Grab a book on architecture (While this may be an unusual topic – you don’t get any more fascinating!)
  • Plan a date night for your partner somewhere new
  • Plan a day date for your partner and do something you’re afraid to do!
  • Take a risk! It can be physical or emotional – but something that feels slightly risky to you.

Make Time To Find Creative Things to Do

It doesn’t take a lot of time each day, but you need to commit – even if it’s only a few minutes each day or every other day.

Creativity is a way of living life that embraces originality and makes unique connections between seemingly disparate ideas. Creativity is about living life as a journey into seeing and communicating the extra-ordinariness of the simplest, most every day acts. (cite)

No one is creative under pressure. Positive emotions are conducive to creativity. Take time to think, to relax, to be happy. Taking a few minutes to yourself to relax and find your happy place each day is a great start on your creativity journey!

Finally, as you’re collecting all of these inspirational ideas – DON’T interrupt your inspiration by starting something you’re inspired to do! Not just yet…

It has been shown that we are particularly terrible at creating when we try to combine the gathering of information / inspiration and actually create at the same time. (cite)

Woman decorating flowers for cake - the concept of creativity

Grab your free guide

10 Creative Things To Do

In 10 Minutes or Less!

There’s never been an easier way to jumpstart a new practice or habit. Ten minutes is all it takes – get this fool-proof quickie guide to ten creative things you can do in ten minutes or less!

Intentionally Remove Barriers to Your Creativity

Highly creative people are often seen as rebels and mavericks because they question traditions and rules. I can’t tell you how much I want to be a rebel or a maverick 🙂 In my 40’s, I no longer care whether people approve of what I create. I want to express myself and share those expressions. Caring about the judgments of others is the biggest barrier to your creativity.

As we grow up, we stifle our creativity because we worry about how people will judge our efforts. We learn ways of thinking and doing from an early age. We learn what is acceptable and what is outside of acceptable behavior. Societies that prize conformity inhibit individuality. (cite)

But just as children are joyful, the act of being creative – being a maker – brings joy.

They say necessity is the mother of invention. You may find that restricting yourself in some way will naturally force you into more creative thinking. Famously, Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs & Ham after betting that he couldn’t produce a story using less than 50 words!

image of artists brushes with text 50 Creative Things to Do When You Aren't Creative

Ideas You Can Try Right Away:

  • Make dinner with only ingredients from the refrigerator.
  • Make dinner all one color (spinach pasta with pesto and asparagus).
  • Paint or color something with only one color (ie: all variations of blue).
  • Write a story in 500 words or less.
  • Write a love letter in 5 minutes or less.
  • Brainstorm 10 solutions to one of your current challenges.

Just Do It!

Here are some ideas to help remind you what you may be passionate about, or what you might want to explore further.

Ideas You Can Try Right Away:

  • Plant something.
  • Take a photograph.
  • Choose a photo editing software to use.
  • Throw a small dinner party and create the table scape of your dreams.
  • Create a Scrapbook.
  • Decorate your deck or porch for the season.
  • Create a she-shed (be still my heart!).
  • Find the perfect frame for a photo you love.
  • Design a photo wall in your home.
  • Tie dye t-shirts alone or with your kids.
  • Create your own gifts for birthday party attendees instead of the typical goodie bag.
  • Take a favorite recipe and change it up – or change the way that you serve it.
  • Gather some friends – have each friend share 5 words that describe each of you.
  • Challenge your kids to a dual of creating the strangest (funniest, shortest ) story.
  • Try your hand at quilting.
  • Read a classic book that you’ve always wanted to read.
  • Practice embracing changes – both small and large.
  • Invite change into your life.
  • Try something that you are certain you cannot do. And do it anyway.
  • Create a special space in your home where you can be creative.
  • Play the kazoo or any other instrument.
  • Create a “theme” lunch for your kids and see if they can guess the theme.