Looking for activities beyond rewatching movies and listening to podcasts? We’ve got a few ideas.

Makers Mess cocktails craft kit
Casey Fyfe

Calling all the folks who are stuck at home and need something to watch, a DIY project to try, or really any way of avoiding their actual to-do list. This guide is for you.

Maybe extreme winter weather conditions are forcing your family inside. Perhaps you’re still working from home. Or maybe you’re choosing to stay put as rising numbers of COVID-19 cases push many of us back inside our own friendly confines. Luckily, there are plenty of simple but imaginative things to do at home right now—many of which are free and fall short of an entire kitchen remodel (though we dream of that, too).

We’ve gathered some of our favorite cooking challenges, meditative gardening activities, DIY projects, armchair travel excursions, and more to help you pass the time. Think adult craft kits, plant swaps, epic documentaries, and camping in the backyard. For the more ambitious among us, we also included some of our favorite home redecorating projects that can bring new life into your interior space if you’re tired of looking at the same four walls. (Can we get an amen for no- to low-cost backyard spas?!) And we’ve got a guide to building a restaurant-quality rotisserie that works for your own grill for less than $100.

More Videos From Sunset

Who needs to clean, or do paperwork or taxes, when there are puzzles to finish? Read on for 22 creative ideas that we’ve got our eye on to fill our days and jazz up the extra time at home.

DIY

Compose a Handwritten Letter

Noteworthy Paper & Press stationery

Courtesy of Noteworthy Paper & Press stationery

Missing that feeling of a personal letter in your mailbox? It’s safe to say others are, too! Send a loved one a handwritten letter with colorful, bold, or just plain unique stationery made across the West. 

Craft Kits

If you’re feeling semi-productive and want something to keep your hands busy while ignoring the TV, may we recommend a craft kit? There are hundreds of options for both kids and adults. You can try your hand at paint-by-numbers, pottery, embroidery, crochet. Los Angeles-based Makers Mess, for example, offers an array of adult craft kits as well as virtual workshops ranging from poured candles to wood-burned coasters. If you get seven of your other friends stuck at home to join you, we can’t think of a cooler way to connect than a private digital session.

Puzzles! 

Puzzles are a classic family activity for good reason. Gather around your dining table (that has been used for anything but dining for months) and put together a beautiful creation. Sunset even has puzzles of our vintage covers, which are perfect for displaying after they’re completed. Try the new harvest puzzle, made from our September 1935 cover. 

FOOD & DRINK

Make a Charcuterie Board out of, Well, Anything

luxe bite la hot cocoa charcuterie box

Luxe Bites

If meat and cheese is your thing, take it to the next level with our tips for building the best charcuterie board. But really, you can use anything in your fridge or pantry. Exhibit A: This hot chocolate board that’s a great activity for a cold night in. 

Build Your Own Rotisserie

Take your spit-roasted meats to the next level with a handmade rotisserie for your grill. There are plenty of brand-specific kits out there if you want to make it easy on yourself, or you can swing for the fences by building your own.

Order Some Pie

When a big box arrives and it’s mail-order pie, that’s amore. We put together a list of our favorite Western bakeries that are making the very best pies, and shipping them right to your door.

Join a Wine Club

Founded by a Seattle couple, Fatcork wine club curates Champagne shipped directly from France.

Courtesy of Fatcork

If having a highly curated collection of wine dropped off for an at-home evening testing sounds like a fantastic way to pass the time, then a wine club is for you. There are plenty out there, from ones focused on grower Champagnes to high-quality Oregon vino.

GARDEN

Plant an Herb or Cocktail Garden

Photo courtesy of Bradley Tuck

Head out into your garden, or set up shop in a windowsill, and start growing a bunch of herbs. When it’s time to make salsa, or guacamole, or whatever it is that you garnish with cilantro or rosemary, you’ll thank yourself for the foresight. Want to up your cocktail game? We’ve got a guide for that kind of garden, too.  

Host a Spa Day for Your Houseplants

OK, OK, this might sound a little absurd; but it’s a fun way to beat boredom. Pamper your plants with ​​Léon & George’s L’Alchemie Botanique, a new line of houseplant care spays and potions inspired by parfumeries in the South of France.

Turn Your Backyard into a Wildlife Oasis

hawk in bird bath

LouAnne Brickhouse

You wouldn’t think an average backyard could attract nesting Western screech owls, bobcats, and a pregnant squirrel named Ms. Bonita, but the Daily James, a website about a backyard wildlife habitat, is here to prove it. And the owner has some tips for creating your own.

Order Some Bulbs

Plantgem is a bulb delivery service based in Colorado that will ship you corms, seeds, and gardening tools. Right now, we suggest perusing the indoor plants section to brighten up your space.

Start a Little Free Plant Library

Leaf a Plant, Take a Plant Sign

Deanna Kizis

All you need is a wood pallet and some extra plant cuttings to make your neighbors smile with a Little Free Plant Library. Get inspired by this one we found in Los Angeles!

Build a Birds and Bees Watering Station

Bee and Butterfly Watering Station

Deanna Kizis

This is an easy DIY that’s not only a pretty addition to your porch or patio, but it’s good for your garden, too. Thank your local pollinators with their own watering hole.

HOME & DESIGN

Turn Your Closet into a Bar

Have an under-used closet? Awkward alcove? Empty built-in shelving? Turn it into a pocket bar. Building another desk in your house won’t improve your work-life balance. But creating this small nook might.

Marie Kondo Your Home Office

Palm Coffee Bar's home office
“Her whole process is transformative. It’s not the tips she gives, she leads by example, and through doing the process, you start to see the big picture. Finding the joy in a space is all about why you own something.”

Courtesy of Zina Dichoso

It’s not all about getting rid of your belongings—make sure you’re surrounded by things that inspire you.

Curate a Picture Perfect Gallery Wall

Gallery Wall

Jenna Peffley

Got some nails, frames, art, or photographs lying around that you don’t know what to do with? Try putting together a gallery wall for an easy afternoon project. Here are some of our favorite prints from Western artists, if you’re looking for new pieces to add to your space.

Create a Reading Nook

Built-Ins Reading Nook Closeup
A custom-made mattress and bolsters and a coordinating Roman shade give this space its charm.

Molly Rose Photography

Are you itching to redecorate but lack the time, energy, or all-around design know-how? A small but satisfying, project is creating a reading nook. Get some help with your 2022 literary goals with a cozy space under stairs, in a window seat, or in a corner of a rarely used room. Add subtle lighting, soft pillows, a spot for your tea, and you’ve got a reading nook you won’t want to leave.

Create a Cozy Backyard Fire Pit

If you, like us, are finding yourself spending more time in your outdoor spaces, add some warmth with a fire pit to extend those long, winter nights! We prefer to get the cozy and chill vibes of a beautiful campfire without the pollution, and danger, of smoke, thanks to these efficient combustion stoves and fire pits.

Create a Backyard Spa

This sounds like a luxury, but it actually doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. We chatted with herbalist and ayurvedic practitioner Kari Jansen of the self-care brand Poppy and Someday about how she created her Laurel Canyon oasis, complete with a vintage clawfoot bathtub and wind chimes.

TRAVEL

Plan Your Next Trip 

vineyard in southern oregon with mountains in background
Stroll the vines along the Applegate Valley Wine Trail, which includes 19 wineries in southern Oregon.

Courtesy of CSNafzger and Shutterstock

So maybe you won’t be traveling far and wide this month, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dream! Take some advice from National Geographic, which recently compiled the book 1000 Perfect Weekends: Great Getaways Around the Globe. Start making wish lists for your next adventure.

Take a Virtual Tour of a National Park

Many national parks across the West offer live webcams and virtual tours of the incredible views and memorable monuments visitors explore every year. Try a 360-degree tour of Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park. 

Watch Some WildLands-Recommended Documentaries 

Still from The Alpinist
‘The Alpinist’

Courtesy of Red Bull Media House

In the mood to experience the great outdoors … from your couch? No argument here. The Alpinist, about climber Marc-André Leclerc, is now on Netflix. Jeremy Jones’ Purple Mountains streams free, and Discovery+ documentary series The Last Unknown is available to watch on the platform anytime. 

Camp in the Backyard

Kids with Tent

Thomas J. Story

Itching to get away but can’t leave the confines of your home? Create a guest-ready, teen-approved backyard glampsite with sleepaway camp style that’s almost as fun as the real thing.


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