Among the many reasons that I love listening to audiobooks is the fact that they allow me to multi-task. As long as I have a good book going, I can happily clean the house for hours. I get so much laundry folded. I bust out errands like nobody’s business. Thanks to audiobooks, household chores have turned into sought-after opportunities for reading.
I think we can all agree that audiobooks and chores are a match made in heaven. But there’s a whole world of non-chore activities out there, and some of them go just as perfectly with audiobooks as cleaning the kitchen. While the bulk of my listening time happens while I’m cooking, cleaning, and commuting, sometimes I treat myself to listening to a book while doing something totally fun and not at all productive.
Here are twenty ideas for things to do while listening to audiobooks that aren’t chores.
We’ve even got some recommendations for what to listen to while you knit, along with pattern ideas!
do a jigsaw puzzle
This is my absolute favorite thing to do while listening. Puzzle + audiobook + favorite beverage = utter perfection. Check out this roundup of bookish puzzles for some inspiration.
go for a long walk or take a hike
I often listen to audiobooks while walking the dog, but sometimes that’s just a short stroll around my neighborhood. Setting out for an afternoon of walking in a beautiful place with a good book is a different kind of treat.
Exercise may or may not be a chore, depending on who you are. But a few minutes of luxurious stretching in the morning or before bed can be a treat, especially if you’re not in a rush, and you’re listening to great book. And if you do fall into the exercise-is-fun camp, check out these recommendations for audiobooks for exercise.
Sit on the beach (or the park, your porch, a hammoCk, etc.)
In the summer, relaxing outside in the sunshine with an audiobook is the ultimate treat. Check out this list of great audio beach reads, pack your sunscreen and your floppy hat, and enjoy.
color in a coloring book
Coloring books are perfect for listening to audiobooks, because coloring in a book engages your hands but it doesn’t take, you know, a ton of talent and concentration. Check out our adult coloring book archive to find the perfect book for you.
play with a fidget spinner (or thinking putty)
For the most part, I’m much better at concentrating on audiobooks if my hands are engaged. So even if I’m lounging on the beach, I like to bring along something to fiddle with.
people watch at your favorite coffee shop
Your favorite cafe, a cup of coffee, your a delicious pastry, a good book. Does it really get any better than that?
Snuggle up in front of a fire
If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with a fireplace or wood stove, try watching the flames dance while listening to a book; it’s comforting and mesmerizing.
play with your pets (or a very COOPERATIVE baby)
My dog is obsessed with belly rubs, and recently I’ve discovered that I can spend copious amounts of time snuggling with her while listening to books. I’ve tried this with very happy young babies, too, although they tend to get distracted.
Go to an art museum
Some art definitely deserves and requires more attention than I can give it while also listening to a book, but strolling through the galleries at your local art museum can be a great place to listen to a book, especially if it’s an exhibit you’ve seen before.
Treat yourself to a great meal
I often listen to audiobooks while eating, but sometimes I take it one step further: take myself out to breakfast, or treat myself to a burger and an (audio)book on a Friday night after a long week.
go apple picking
Loved ones aren’t into apple picking? No problem. Just grab an audiobook and you’ve got everything you need for a perfect afternoon alone at your favorite orchard.
work in the garden
Some of us hate gardening; some of us love it. If you’re in the “gardening is my happy place” camp, a great audiobook can only add to the magic.
Take a scenic drive
Listening to audiobooks while driving around town doing errands is one thing. Listening to audiobooks while driving along the California coast or the Blue Ridge Parkway is another. We’ve got lots of suggestions for great audiobooks for road trips!
Take a bath
One Rioter has got you covered on how to have the perfect reading experience in the bath. And if you’re listening to audiobook, you can play it from across the room and don’t have to worry about getting the pages wet!
work on a craft project
The possibilities are pretty much endless. Whether you’re into fabric arts, making notecards, crocheting, scrapping, or some obscure craft I’ve never heard of it but is totally awesome—audiobooks and crafting go hand in hand.
paint your nails or do your hair
It’s not really my thing, but I can imagine listening to audiobooks as a great addition to any home spa experience.
Sometimes strolling through your town or city just for fun can be relaxing. I like to put on a good audiobook and wander around town on a weekend morning, with no agenda but enjoying the day and the book.
take on a cooking or baking project
Cooking can be chore, but it can also be a joy. Making my first apple pie of the fall is one of my favorite moments in the whole year. Listening to a great book only adds to the joy of it.