There are loads of good reasons why we should get creative during the coronavirus outbreak. Creativity is relaxing and can calm the mind, focussing thoughts away from worry or stress. It can also help lift your mood and give a reason to smile in these challenging times.

There are lots of ways you can get creative – whether it’s painting, drawing, doing a craft, dancing, writing, reading or photography in your garden – the list is endless.

While you’re staying at home, you may have the opportunity to do the things you never usually have the time to do. Start writing a novel, try crochet or paint a picture – this is your time to rediscover old hobbies or find a new one.

Get ideas to do at home

Arts and Minds has given us some great ideas, that you can do, now, at home:

Take part online or learn a new skill

Arts and Minds are working with Leeds Recovery College, which is delivering free creative courses at the moment, including:

  • Creativity, Recovery and You – where local artists from the Arts and Minds network have developed one-off creativity sessions.
  • Words that move me – a 6-week course exploring how bibliotherapy and the written word can inspire resilience, hope and recover.
  • Mehndi Design Class – a 6-week course for all abilities, exploring how to design, draw and apply traditional Mendhi patterns.

Courses are free to attend and are open to any adults who live, work or study in Leeds and would like to learn more about mental wellbeing (this includes staff and carers). You do not need a referral to join a workshop. Find out more on Leeds Recovery College’s webpage, or find out about dates and times and book onto a course by emailing leedsrecoverycollege.lypft@nhs.net.

Stitch Up – Craft and Wellbeing group starts online from Wednesday 27 January, from 6.30 to 7.30pm. This free online craft group aims to be a creative, welcoming and inspiring space to try new crafts, share skills and ideas with like-minded people or just take the time to listen in and work on your own craft projects. You can book a place using Eventbrite. The group will meeting using Zoom and you can find out more by visiting their website stitch-up.org.uk or following them on Instagram @stitch_up or Facebook @stitchupleeds.

Swarthmore in Leeds runs classes and workshops on lots of subjects, including painting, drawing, languages, wellbeing, computer skills and lots more. You can explore what creative opportunities they have on their website and also keep up-to-date on new workshops via Twitter @SwarthmoreLeeds.

WEA are running online courses – find out more on their website. Some courses are free for eligible learners, see more details on www.wea.org.uk/will-my-course-be-free.

Isolation Art School on Instagram has video tutorials from professional artists, and inspiration from artists or all ages, backgrounds and abilities posting their work. Anyone with an Instagram account can view this for free.

Inkwell Arts offers creative activities online, with blog articles and You Tube videos with ideas for cooking, arts, crafts and meditation. You can even find more on their Facebook page.

Assembly House in Armley, Leeds is running a digital programme this year, which includes creative workshops online. Their Creative Wellness page has Mindfulness for Creativity sessions on You Tube and you can try their Drawing and Collage videos for new ideas.

Leeds University Library (LUL) – has created some online jigsaws of items in their archive.

Learn something new with Skillshare. Find what fascinates you whether that’s drawing, photography or creative writing.

Leeds Wood Recycling – are running woodwork tutorials online using Zoom for people in Leeds who are struggling with social isolation and loneliness. People will need to be online (computer, smartphone or tablet with access to the internet) and a have safe space to work. These tutor-led sessions are suitable for people with no woodworking experience. There will be two morning or afternoon sessions per week, for two weeks, and Leeds Wood Recycling will provide a flatpack of all the materials and loan a pack of tools if needed. Follow them on Twitter @Leeds_Wood for information about their latest courses. Find out more by contacting their Community Engagement Worker Sam Williamson: Tel 07812 403 772 or email leedswoodrecycling.community@gmail.com

Take a virtual museum or gallery tour

You can travel to the Louvre in Paris, the ruins of Pompeii or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, from the comfort of your armchair. Or, your can discover objects and stories at the Science and Media Museum or tune into Leeds Museums and Galleries Podcast or try a Virtual Visit. You could also take a virtual stroll around the National Gallery, or, visit explore anywhere in the world and beyond with Google Arts and Culture – perfect for some creative inspiration!

Curl up with a good book

You can access a vast collection of eBooks and eAudio books courtesy of Leeds Library and Information Service. You can also find online magazines and register for a library account via their website. See their Get Lost in a Book page for their health and wellbeing collection and mood-boosting books.

Local creative events

Keep checking Leeds Inspired for the latest listings for online events including creative cafes and cinema hang outs.

Music sessions

Shared Harmonies – currently running free singing sessions on Facebook on Mondays at 10am and Fridays at 12.30pm, where you can warm up your voice and learn a song. There’s also a weekly singalong session using Zoom, for anyone at any level of singing experience. It runs on Wednesdays from 5-6pm. Find out more by messaging them on Facebook or emailing emma@sharedharmonies.co.uk.

Space2Sing – choir for adults of all singing abilities running on Thursdays from 3.30 to 5.30pm at Space2 in Gipton. Contact paulb@space2.org.uk for more details about how to join them in person or online. Space2 also runs The Old Fire Station Children’s Choir every Thursday 3.45 to 5.15pm. Contact jelenaz@space2.org.uk about children joining them in person or online. Both choirs will have limits on how many can attend, but offer more places via Zoom.

Cloth Cat Leeds is running music online workshops for different ages groups, including their Get Your Act Together project for 11-18 year olds, Man About Town music and digital art activities for men experiencing low mood and a range of music courses.

Activities and resources for people with learning disabilities

Purple Patch Arts runs activities and groups for people in Leeds with learning disabilities. Their Daily Activities page is open to anyone who fancies adding some creativity to their day. Check out their growing calendar, which have activities suitable for any age to use.

Pyramid of Arts is a collective of artists in Leeds with and without learning difficulties. They’ve added a page to their website with galleries of artwork and ideas for creative activities at home to inspire people.

Through the Maze – has put together links to things to do for people with learning disabilities.

Ideas for children and all the family

The Book Trust for a wealth of book recommendations for childen of all ages and The Reading Agency has lists of books to read for wellbeing and quick reads and a readilng group network.

Leeds Community Healthcare has produced a family toolbox with creative ideas for time with your kids as well as guidance about how to talk to them about coronavirus.

Leeds Museums and Galleries have Activities for Kids on their website – a range of creative ideas, craft activities, videos and online learning resources to bring Leeds’ museums and galleries into your home.

My Learning has free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage resources available on their website.

The Happy Newspaper has free online resources you can download to inspire children to look for good news. New packs are released quarterly.

Your Space has created a booklet called 5 Ways to Wellbeing for Families, with lots of activities to help us stay well, including being curious and learning more, moving your body, being mindful, kindness and supporting each other. It’s aimed at families and children, but it’s good for adults too!

Watch free performances online

You can find a lists of stage shows, muscials, dance and opera that are free to watch online from What’s On StageFilmed On Stage and Watch Theatre Online.