Remember when you were a child and imagination and creativity were natural parts of your day? Sticks became swords and mud became pancakes. Backyards became new worlds and recess was a time to invent new stories and characters. Creativity ran rampant through our brains as we spent each and every day fostering our imaginations with play.
So why does imagination seem to fade as we get older, and creativity becomes more of a burden than it used to be? Probably because “have fun” isn’t something we pencil into our calendars. Think about all of your activities in the past month. Did you ever do something that was 100% for you and 100% for fun? It doesn’t happen very often, and when it does, we can feel guilty about letting ourselves spend time solely on what we love.
5 WAYS TO ADD SOME FUN AND IMAGINATION TO YOUR DAY
But just because we haven’t been penciling fun into our schedules doesn’t mean it’s too late to start. By fostering your creativity and childhood imagination, you can build a better sense of self that will translate positively into the rest of your life. If you’re ready to kickstart your creativity and add some fun to your life, check out these 5 activities that will help you feel renewed, inspired, and ready to jump into your next project.
1. Play the Crayon Game
This is a great activity if you’re feeling stuck but you only have a short time to look for inspiration. Find a box of crayons (or colored pencils) and pick three random colors from the box. Then use only those three colors to draw a picture. Don’t think too much, and let your mind wander where it wants to go. If you feel like drawing a blue sun, then draw a blue sun. The sky is the limit!
Notice where your imagination takes you, and see if you can draw inspiration from your picture for your next project.
2. Ride Your Bike Somewhere You Normally Drive To
This activity will help you see the world from a new perspective, fueling creativity and idea generation. Take a spot you drive to on a consistent basis. This could be a local coffee shop, a lunch spot, the farmer’s market or the library. Then map out a bike-able way to get there, making sure to stay safe along the way.
You’ll either discover a new route, or you’ll take your old route at a slower pace, letting you absorb different aspects of a familiar place. And if biking isn’t your thing, try the same activity but walk to your normal location. You’ll get the same benefits!
3. Read a Short Story from Your Childhood
We all have that one story that is particularly nostalgic; for me it’s “Armadillo Rodeo,” the story of Bo the Armadillo who leaves his family to pursue what he thinks is a new, fancy, red armadillo (it ends up being just a pair of cowboy boots, but it’s a fun story all the same).
Reading and seeing pictures that make you think back to your childhood will have you considering memories you haven’t thought about in years. This is a great tool for idea generation, because you’ll be transported to a time where your imagination was at work deciphering and developing your own mental image of the particular book you were reading. You may walk away with inspiration for your next project or have new insight into how you perform your creative work.
4. Do An Activity From Your Childhood
When I was a kid, I used to love going horseback riding; it was an activity I did at least three or four times a week and it was pure fun. I didn’t have to ride, I wanted to ride. But as an adult, I may go horseback riding once a year. But every time I do, it’s very nostalgic and brings back memories from my childhood when I was more creative.
Think back to your childhood and consider activities you never do now that you loved to do as a child and recreate those activities in your adult life. You may find a sliver of inspiration from your childhood self.
5. Join a Consistent Group Participating in Something You Love
The two criteria for this activity are: it has to be a group that meets consistently, and it needs to be something you’re doing solely for fun. As a designer, you probably have a few networking groups or groups you use to help grow and develop your business. This group should be 100% for your enjoyment.
Maybe it’s a Salsa dancing class, a weekly hiking group, or a community garden collective. You’ll start to make connections with people who you have this group in common with, but who you may otherwise never meet. New conversations with new people will spark new ideas and help you see your creativity from a different perspective.
By consistently incorporating more fun into your weeks, you may find you’re consistently more imaginative, and creative inspiration on projects comes much easier. Mark “have fun” on your calendar at least once a month, and use these 5 ideas to kick-start your creativity.
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