Now that we’re in the thick of summer, it’s time to sit down and relax. It’s also time to start on those creative projects we meant to get going during the spring but were too busy to actually begin.

Are you lacking in a little bit of creative energy despite having more time to actually utilize your left brain? We’ve got a few tips for how you can utilize the energy of the summer to fuel your creative spark.

Go to Water

This might have said “go to the beach,” but of course we all don’t have the luxury of living next to the sand and surf. If you DO live near the beach, you know exactly where to go. If not, go to water at all — a river, a lake, a babbling brook.

Use it as a point of reflection and inspiration. Take in the nature around you and ask yourself questions about the world. How did all of these plants get there? What have they seen? What would they say? Draw them, photograph them and listen to the water around you.

Work with Food

Who says your creative source has to be pen and paper? The best way to get creative is to utilize materials you don’t usually use, and chefs are of course artists in their own right.

Summer is a time for BBQing and drinking, whether it’s a cold adult beverage or a fruity, virgin cocktail. Experiment with the food you make and eat, for yourself and your family. Try out a new type of rib rub, or come up with your own summer cocktail menu. Get inspired and use your brain to figure out what tastes good and what tastes really good.

Creative Materials

You might have done this in elementary school, but take some time out this summer to create a nature collage. Summer means going outside a lot, and this also means you have more than enough opportunity to collect some great materials to work with.

Collect shells, flowers, leaves, plants, or even things you find on the sidewalk. The original idea is that you create something with these items, but you can also use them to create a scrapbook. Document what you find, where you find it and why you were in that particular location. This also allows you to expand your horizons in terms of locations.

Get the Family Involved

Finally, the summer is a time for vacation and taking the weekends off for cookouts and trips to the water park. In general, it’s the season for spending time outside with your family, and what better way to get the creative juices flowing than by bouncing ideas off of others?

Your family may be one of your greatest organic sources of creativity, no matter how old they are. In fact, interacting with a pool of family members within a wide generation range can also help your creative motivation. While a child might not be able to hold an adult conversation, their unique take on the world can inspire you.