Cold winter months can feel endless, especially when your favorite outdoor activities are put on hold. While you wait for warmer days, consider focusing your attention indoors with a new, creative outlet.
Challenging yourself to learn something new or engage with cultural creations is an excellent way to keep active as you age. These simple activities will keep your mind engaged—all from the cozy comfort of home. Many are also a great way to connect with new communities and old friends! Take a look at eight great opportunities and choose a few to try this winter.
Cold weather outside doesn’t mean you can’t cultivate a luscious garden inside. If you don’t have much experience with indoor gardening, start with a beginner’s guide to learn the basics— everything from materials needed to types of gardens (food, flowers, etc.). The best part about indoor gardens is their versatility; you can use any size space and make it portable or permanent to fit your individual needs. Plus, the burst of greenery and color will boost your mood during the gray winter months.
Puzzles are a wonderful indoor activity—you can complete them alone or with friends, all in one session or over time. For a creative twist on traditional puzzles, choose pictures that feature landscapes, buildings, or people from around the world. You’ll be able to glimpse life beyond your four walls while challenging your brain with the intricate patterns.
A new year is the perfect time to learn a new language! With many platforms available, from free to paid, you can find the program that works best for you. Popular options like DuoLingo and Rosetta Stone offer comprehensive classes designed to take you from zero to fluent in a few short months. For something more casual, try YouTube channels dedicated to learning your target language.
If you’d like to get your creative juices flowing this winter, join a virtual art challenge! You can find prompts for daily inspiration in mediums ranging from sketching and journaling to poetry and challenges that explore the senses! Many challenges have online galleries on their websites or social media for participants to share their creations throughout the month.
Work Your Way Through the Oscars
Something about being warm and cozy inside (while it’s freezing outside) inspires movie marathons. Instead of watching new releases, consider catching up on past Oscar winners. You can choose to focus on Best Picture winners and nominees or branch out into more obscure categories like Achievement in Cinematography or Costume Design for a look at the hidden skills behind blockbuster hits. With so many streaming services available, you can easily find these movies for free or a small rental fee on various platforms. Pop some popcorn and enjoy!
Sometimes our cooking skills need a refresh, especially when new techniques and dishes gain popularity. Use the time indoors to master current trends like making the perfect charcuterie board, fancy hot chocolate bombs, or meals with a new gadget like an air fryer. Invite your friends and family to taste the delicious results!
Youth and community organizations need volunteers year-round to share their expertise and stories with kids and special populations. Many organizations are using virtual volunteers to give online classes, send video clips, or chat with people one-on-one. To find an opportunity that fits with your talents and background, try searching on VolunteerMatch for available openings.
If you’re interested in history and making it more accessible to future generations, consider volunteering as a transcriber! From the comfort of home, you can review historical documents and work with a team to transform them into digital archives. Everything from personal diaries to newspaper announcements, ledgers to photograph captions are waiting to be transcribed. You can find a comprehensive list of these opportunities from AARP. Search for the projects that interest you, or sign up with a friend to work together! Whether you’d like to learn a new skill or cozy up with old friends and a classic movie, these activities are sure to keep your creative wheels spinning throughout the winter months.