January has been designated as National Hobby Month. This is a great time to encourage your kids to start a hobby: The weather might be pretty frightful where you are, and there is usually a bit of a letdown after the holiday season is over. If your child has a hobby that he’s passionate about, then you know that it’s something that can keep him entertained for hours. Some kids need a bit of a push in order to encourage them to pick a hobby that isn’t watching television or playing video games. If your child is looking for a new hobby or you want to find something to do as a family, here are some ideas:
- Photography When we were kids, photography would have been a very expensive hobby for a child: Just think of all of the film that our parents would have had to pay for us to have developed, only to find many prints with a thumb covering the subject! Now that digital cameras can be purchased fairly inexpensively, it’s a reasonable option, and a hobby that can take your child into adulthood. If you have a camera that you no longer use, let your child practice with that. Take some books out of the library on all the different settings, or see if a camera-savvy friend can help her if you don’t know how to take good photos.
- Birdwatching At first pass, this might not seem like an exciting hobby, and your child might look a little bit skeptical at the suggestion. My kids, however, have really enjoyed our forays into birding. Pick up a bird identification book and set up a bird feeder outside. Leave some sketchbooks, markers and colored pencils near a window seat, and see if any of it piques your child’s interest. Birdwatching is a hobby that the whole family can enjoy, especially if you like hiking or visiting state parks.
- Gardening I know, it’s only January, and in most parts of the country, you can’t start a garden yet anyway. It’s never too early to plan a garden, however, and your child might enjoy reading up on which veggies should (and shouldn’t) be planted near one another, how to deter deer from eating your crops and maladies that commonly affect the crops you plan to plant. She might also like sketching out a plan of what should go where; this can help her to develop mapping skills! Once it’s time to start seedlings in the house and prepare the garden beds, this hobby will keep her (and you!) quite busy and away from the television.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to possibilities for hobbies to pursue. Some other options include playing chess, taking up an indoor or outdoor sport, joining a gymnastics team or dance troupe, drawing, crafts, quilting, scrapbooking, biking, acting, writing poetry, reading, building robots, painting, filmmaking, learning a new language, skateboarding, cooking… the list is almost endless. Try to find something that the whole family will enjoy, or pursue your own individual hobbies. No matter what you like to do, January is a wonderful time to try something new or dust off an old interest that you’ve been neglecting.
What are your family’s favorite hobbies?