The act of making, or the state of being made. It’s a trendy sentiment, but it’s truer than most people realize: Creating, whether with your hands or your brain, is good for you. Art and crafty activities stimulate the brain in a variety of ways, positively impacting cognition, mental health, visual perception, and how we absorb our surroundings. The process of making can be therapeutic, especially when you’re dealing with difficult emotions.
It builds community. Whether you’re in an online crochet group or part of a local quilting guild, crafting creates a sense of belonging and support. In addition, many crafters join altruistic groups to donate their work to hospitals and other worthy causes.
It helps relieve depression and anxiety. When you’re engaged in a creative project, such as knitting or painting, your brain activates the same areas of the brain that are stimulated when you take a hike or listen to music. This activity also releases serotonin, a natural anti-depressant.
Getting started with a new project can be overwhelming, but once you find your groove, you’ll start to get into the “flow” and begin enjoying yourself. Then there’s the satisfaction of finishing a project and feeling proud of what you’ve accomplished. This is a feeling that can be even more rewarding when you have helped someone else by volunteering your talents.
Whether you’re looking to boost your creativity, or you simply need something to do with your free time, there are plenty of things to make. You can even find a few crafts to make with items you already have lying around the house. For example, you can turn an old book into a wall hanging or transform those empty paper rolls into creative knick-knacks. To help you get started, we’ve categorized these ideas by material—click through the links below to find lists of cool things to make with your favorite materials!