13 Creative Wellbeing Ideas for All Ages

Feeling in need of some everyday inspiration at the moment? You’re definitely not alone. Immersing yourself even briefly in creative activities can offer welcome distraction, fresh perspectives and unexpected moments of joy.

We’ve put together a creative survival kit of activities that you can do from home. Whether you’re short on time and looking for a half an hour distraction, or you’re up for a longer term creative project, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re short on time…

Make Play at Home: Bubble Snakes!

Developed as part of our early years programme for 0-5 year olds, these activities are easy to do using common items found around the house. To make these Bubble Snakes you’ll just need washing up liquid, a plastic bottle, an old sock, scissors and an elastic band.

Line drawing on a yellow background of a bowl of washing up liquid, a plastic bottle, a sock and a pair of scissors - what you need to make a bubble snake

Try a 5 minute mindful meditation with yoga teacher and artist Najia Bagi

Take just 5 minutes out of your day with this calming breath meditation, designed to help you find space within, take notice and be with your breath.

Wander around a virtual exhibition

Escape into the magical world of American artist Kiki Smith. Our online exhibition allows you to explore her works at your own pace, making it the perfect activity to dip in and out of, whenever you need a creative escape.

Check out our interactive activity sheet as you explore the show.

Discover the fairytales that inspired Kiki Smith’s works, and learn how to make your own origami bird. Download the activity sheet to find out how!

Learn about the pioneering women that inspired our current exhibition with Mariana Castillo Deball

Take a closer look at the remarkable and inspiring stories of Maori guide and anthropologist Makereti (1873-1930), British anthropologist Elsie McDougall (1883-1961), American explorer Matilda Coxe Stevenson (1849-1915) and Zuni weaver and potter We’wha (1849-1896) in our blog series.

Makereti © Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford (1998.277.73)

If you have a bit more time…

Design your dream gallery with Made with MAO

This activity pack was designed to introduce our young visitors to the way buildings affect how we move and feel in the places where we live, play and work.

Explore the architecture of the gallery, see what local materials have been used in the building’s design, and discover how the individual spaces have changed over time. Click here to download the activity pack and get started.

Learn how to make a stop-motion animation on your smart phone

In this fun and easy how-to video, our City as Studio lead artist Kate Mahony takes you through the process of making an animation on your mobile phone. This can take as long as you like, and it’s a great one to work on a little bit each day if you want to make a longer film.

Be curious and explore our current exhibitions

Uncover the stories that are often hidden in traditional museum displays as you explore our current exhibition with Mexican artist Mariana Castillo Deball.

Join in with #MyResponse

Wander through the virtual tour above until you come to Responsive Space, where you’ll find a display of art projects created during the coronavirus pandemic. We invite you to think about the questions raised in this part of the exhibition, and to join in with the #MyResponse conversation via social media.

Breathe and stretch at your desk

Take a break from work with this short grounding meditation led by yoga teacher and artist Najia Bagi. Take just 10 minutes from your day to listen, take notice, and find a moment of calm.

If you’ve got a few hours…

Create your own organic dyes

Follow our easy step-by-step guide to making your own natural dyes at home using beetroots and onions. Get inspired by Chilean artist Johanna Unzueta, who makes and uses her own dyes in her work.

Get inspired by Johanna Unzueta’s radiant exhibition

Find calm in the organic colours and shapes of Tools for Life, Johanna Unzueta’s exhibition at the gallery in 2020. Click here to download a fun and accessible activity sheet to inspire you as you visit.

Make Play at Home: Rice Snakes!

Another one for our younger audiences, or simply those that are young at heart! To make these Rice Snakes you’ll need just an old pair of tights, a bag of rice, a funnel and a pair of scissors. Once you’ve made your snake, you can spend all day giving it a personality!

A line drawing on a yellow background of a bag of rice, some scissors, a funnel and a pair of tights - the items you need to make a rice snake

Change up your ideas with this exhibition tour by Uncomfortable Oxford 

Delve deeper into the art and research of Mariana Castillo Deball, as the team from Uncomfortable Oxford take you around her exhibition. Uncomfortable Oxford is dedicated to highlighting uncomfortable histories and their modern legacies, and will make you see the exhibitions, museums, and perhaps even history in a whole new way!

Join the conversation with #MAOAssembly! Share the activities or creative strategies that have been keeping you inspired during lockdown. Use the hashtag #MAOAssembly on Instagram (@mao_gallery) or write to us at media@modernartoxford.org.uk ~ We love seeing what you’re up to!