Fun and Cheap Ways to Get Creative When You’re Bored

Time is short, you have a pile of things to do, and you’re feeling a little less than stellar. Seems like every drop of creative energy has all but dissipated into thin air. And you’re oh-so-bored with your ever increasingly mundane, do-the-same-thing-every-day lifestyle. So what can you do to amp up your creative juices and get some of the good stuff flowing down on the page (writers), on the canvas (painters), in your job (anyone), and in your life in general (everyone)?

Fire up your fingers and get painting

Finger painting, that is. And it’s not just finger painting, really. It’s finger painting; it’s foot painting; and it's any other part of your body you’d like to slather in paint (think clean thoughts here!) and apply to a canvas or piece of paper. Elbows make fine tools for swiping long swaths of paper. Big toes are good impromptu brushes.


It’s cheap to get a basic set of primary colors — around $8. Plus you can do this with friends, family, kids, and adults — anyone who likes their art to be a little more physical. I’d say do some pottery, but that’s a little more complicated and expensive. But a chunk of clay at the art store could be only a few bucks too.

Dust off the pencils and get drawing

It's easy to do anywhere you go. All you need is a pencil and a piece of paper, and you’re all set. You can draw anything, anywhere, anytime. If you want to engage the other side of your brain, use your non-dominant hand and see where it takes you. Sometimes all you need is twenty minutes of doodling and, wham! There’s the new idea you’ve been looking for right there in front of you, where you couldn’t see it because you were too busy looking.


A pencil and some paper. Sometimes that’s free, and sometimes you need a couple of bucks to get it.

Pull on your tennis shoes and get moving

A little bit of physical action may be all you need to spark your creativity. A jog, a walk, some yoga, a round of serious salsa dancing, maybe a bike ride through your neighborhood. Bonus points here because getting your exercise gets both your creativity and your health on. My best ideas hit me on bike rides in the countryside.


If you’ve got the shoes already, this one’s totally free.

Change up the scenery and get traveling

Even if it’s only to a different neighborhood. It’s all too easy to get sucked into a routine that bores you to death. A simple walk somewhere new or a conversation with a stranger in a new café can be the perfect solution to your doldrums. And you never know, you might even meet someone who will become a great friend later on. I’m all for random meetings. Some of my best friends are people I met in very random and unusual ways.


Somewhere close to your house? Possibly free. Somewhere a little further out? Depends on where you want to go. Could be the cost of a bus or subway ride.

Dig out some pens and get writing

Writing is not only creative, it’s therapeutic. So don’t worry about what you’re writing. Just pull out a piece of paper and go for some serious stream-of-consciousness writing. Whatever’s in your heart and soul can hit the page and free up some space in your head for new ideas and concepts. Do it every day for 10 minutes, and see what happens.


Paper and a pen. Could be free or could be a few bucks. If you want to do it on your computer, it’s totally free.

No matter the cost, really, it’s all about making space in your head and your heart for the good stuff to reach you. And doing a little something new in your life every now and again is the best way to create the space to receive those goods. So let’s get to it.

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Fun and Cheap Ways to Get Creative When You’re Bored

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Guest's picture

"If you want to do it on your computer, it's totally free."

You're kidding, right?

Guest's picture

I think it's fair to say that most of the people "you" refers to either own a computer, can borrow a computer, or are using the computer in a web cafe or public library.

Guest's picture

For inspiration and instruction in drawing, see the New York Times series caleed "Line by Line" by James McMullan. It "begins with installments on line, perspective, proportion and structure, and continues from there, using examples from art history to illuminate specific issues. Pencil and paper recommended."

Guest's picture

Great and fun article! I made a similar article on ways how I get creative too:

Guest's picture

These are really good tips to generate creativity. Really, any time you are activity an area of the brain that hasn't been activated recently, it will generate new ideas. I find that biking or walking, mentioned here, really helps to stabilize my brain, and piece together ideas into long contiguous strings simply because I am moving in a long continuous fashion.