Exploring Your Creative Side: 7 Playful Activity Books for Adults

The intersection of childhood and adulthood is a frequent area of curiosity around here, from beloved children's books with timeless philosophy for adults to quirky coloring books for the eternal kid. Today, we turn to seven wonderful activity books for grown-ups that inject a little more whimsy and playfulness into your daily grind.

1. CHEERFUL IN 3 ½ MONTHS

"The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over, and then expecting different results," Einstein famously proclaimed. In Cheerful In 3 ½ Months, spotted last week at the NY Art Book Fair, author Gerard Jansen invites you to do precisely the opposite, finding your sanity by doing things a bit differently than you're used to. The utterly delightful pocket-sized volume, with gorgeous illustrations by Dutch designer Sue Doeksen, offers one offbeat daily task each day to put some cheer in your life.

Here's a sneak peek at the Dutch version, subsequently translated in English:

2. THE OPEN DAY BOOK

You might recall The Open Day Book by LA-based writer and artist David P. Earle and our friends at Mark Batty -- a wonderful interactive perpetual calendar with artwork by 365 of today's most exciting visual artists, one for each day of the year. Each dated page allows you to fill in your schedule or jot down a creative response to the artwork, turning it into a weird and wonderful hybrid of datebook, sketchbook, and daily art journal. Featured in the book are favorite artists like Chuck Jones, Miranda July, Dallas Clayton (), Stefanie Posavec ( ), and Christoph Niemann ( ).

Christoph Niemann

Dallas Clayton

Miranda July

Chuck Jones

Stefanie Posavec

Catch our full review, with more images, here.

3. EVERYTHING THAT CAN HAPPEN IN A DAY

Also from our friends at Mark Batty comes Everything That Can Happen in a Day -- a playful activity journal by artist David Horvitz, who every day over the course of 2009 posted a different exercise on his blog, encouraging readers to follow along and insert some art into daily life. From poetry readings in ATM kiosks to tagging along with the mailman on his route, this compendium collects Horvitz's favorite ideas for injecting art and humor into the ordinary, with plenty of negative space for you to doodle and take notes on your own experience.

4.WRECK THIS BOX

Author, illustrator, and guerrilla artist Keri Smith is a masterful and prolific creator of the interactive journals. Wreck This Box is a wonderful box set of her three masterpieces: Wreck This Journal, a lovely illustrated journal inviting you to conjure your best mistake-making skills and indulge your destructivist demons as part of the creative process, This Is Not a Book, which rethinks the purpose and function of a book and invites you along for the journey, and Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes, a potent antidote for your lifelong conditioning for overthinking and fear of being wrong. Even the box set itself comes with instructions for how to wreck it and ample encouragement to "make a mess."

Originally featured here.

5. WALLS NOTEBOOK

Presented by

Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings. She writes for Wired UK and GOOD, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow.

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