When it comes to advice about children generally and hobbies specifically, I am far from an expert so I can only really speak to my experiences with my children and my nephew as well as what I have seen with friends and family.
When I say the “5 Best Hobbies,” what I mean are the best hobbies for busy parents with limited talents of their own such as myself. The hobbies that are best for each family vary greatly as do the needs of the kids, but almost anyone can latch onto one of these hobbies for kids without an issue.
When it comes to our kids my wife and I like to engage in things where we can bring value directly to and we get outside assistance for the things that we aren’t great at.
I am an excellent planner and organizer but I don’t have the patience or creativity to home school our kids for example. I know for a fact that I could not separate myself the parent from myself the teacher so we send our children to an amazing preschool that does that for us.
That idea carries through to the hobbies and activities that you choose to do with your children as well. It’s ok if you don’t know how to do something, because we need to teach our kids how to learn new things and to improve and what better way than by watching us. Get started by using the resources around you to give you and your children the biggest impact.
i find that this separation in hobby related skills and not trying to do everything on the would be hobby list allows me to be more in the moment. The hobby becomes more valuable if we are fully engaged and in the end, that’s all our children really want right?
Don’t be afraid to jump in full throttle with your children and just be that big kid they want you to be. We all want our hobbies and those of your kids to intersect but it has to remain fun for both for it to be a great hobby that lasts.
Otherwise, it just becomes seen as something else that we make our kids do and they will naturally push back against it. Get started with a discussion about some options that are available that you want to get them involved in.
When my kids didn’t have an opinion between soccer or tball for example we chose tball for its simplicity. As they acquire more knowledge they have the more input in the choices. I have found that speaking to kids like they are adults brings about a more mature response (most of the time at least).
Below is a list of hobbies that I find allows bonding, while improving things like motor skills, team work, thinking skills, hand eye coordination, language skills and improve self esteem.
Use this as road map to get started with your kids, or simply as one of a hundred resources you peruse in order to help you and your children make your own list of hobby ideas.
5 Best Hobbies for Kids in 2021
1. Video & App Games as a Kids Hobby
I am not a gamer, so that makes bonding with my 4 year child over video games a little more difficult, but he has drawn me in sometimes very aggressively.
At his persistence and without realizing it I have played more video games with him than I probably had the rest of my life and I guess this would now qualify as a hobby for me as well.
For those of you that are gamers you may be the one pushing them toward this, but for those that aren’t don’t be afraid. Our kids are very forgiving of us and our lack of skill when we play these games with them, because they understand it’s a great way to spend quality time.
For those of you with older children this is one of the few hobbies for kids that allows the age gap to be bridged and all participants can connect over something mutual.
My 4 year old son and 9 year old nephew will play the same game in person and online and it has allowed them to stay connected even as their lives diverge a bit.
Whether it is games based on comic books, apps you have never heard of or old classics video games there are a bevvy of tangible benefits for children. There are a lot of factors to consider before allowing a specific game in your home such as game rating, game material, amount of game time, if you approved it with their mother, etc. but nothing is insurmountable.
These are all discussions based on how your home functions, but it is best to have them in advance so you don’t find yourself literally changing the rules of the game on the fly. I find that when kids know the rules in advance when we have to enforce them there is minimal push back.
When we run in at the end and start putting guidelines that’s when conflict is more likely, and we tend to pay the price. This can be especially true with older children.
For newbies, no matter what rules you have I highly suggest child locks if only for the reason to avoid the risk of unwanted in app purchases. Those bad boys can really add up and quickly turn an inexpensive hobby into a very costly hobby.
Our kids are on allowance for accomplishing their tasks throughout the week. We primarily require them to spend their own money if they want a purchase from within the app and then we make them pay us back from their funds.
If we can combine learning survival skills like finances with fun then even better. If you have that under control, consider that video games are no longer just a dead end hobby for kids and overgrown kids.
Video gamers now have the ability to lead viable careers that didn’t used to exist. The way that some parents used to view sports as a gateway to a career, video games can also begin to be seen that way. Just like sports, only the best of the best can become professional gamers.
Although just like sports there are ancillary careers as developers or testers so its not a guarantee of riches by any means but it is one of many paths in a modern world. Don’t be afraid of video games, give it a shot and put it on your list of hobbies for kids.
2. Youth Sports as a Kids Hobby
Sports are a tried and true kids hobby that we know through years of study teaches them valuable skills and self confidence.
We want our little ones to be the best, the fastest, the strongest, etc. when they walk out on the soccer/football field, basketball court, jump in the pool or take up skateboarding.
However if they are like most of us they aren’t those things but they can focus on progress and becoming the best version of themselves.
Youth sports have changed a lot in the last few decades as we learn more about the complexity of concussions, over training and specialization too early but they are still an amazing hobby.
Our oldest child as I mentioned is 4 and has been doing swimming lessons for over 2 years, has played Tball for the last year, and has done Tae Kwon Do and yoga at his preschool. He is a busy 4 year old, and our daughter started swimming even younger.
I am a huge proponent of youth sports because it allows the children and parents to bond in a way that few things do. As far as great hobby ideas go when done right almost nothing beats sports.
I say that you start them early (if you have the patience to handle their tantrums and still see it through) and show them the importance of trying lots of different things. They are still children and it has to be fun for them or they will scratch and fight you tooth and nail.
When sports are fun the results you see from their development are like magic tricks that turn a crazy little one into a focused and motivated child. Of course they quickly return to their previous state, but at least you get a few minutes of clarity.
If you want to be even more involved many youth sports are begging for coaches to work with the kids and it is even more of an opportunity to bond with your own kids. I actually did this and currently am doing it for the second time.
It is a lot of fun, more than I expected but after the first season my son did say “I want a real tball coach.” Since then he seems to have forgotten that and is ok with his dad as his fake tball coach. If you don’t know where to start just google “how to find youth sports in your area,” it gave me 4 different national sports leagues you can check out.
As a kid that grew up playing youth sports I decided to approach sports with my kids in the way that I (as an adult) would have wanted my parents to.
As a child I chose the sports I wanted to participate in but I would have liked having my parents push me. For that reason I try to be the force that pushes my kids to do better in anything they do, while not being overbearing.
That will obviously get more difficult as they get older and more serious. However, i also don’t want to be too soft on them and let them quit things that provide value and teach the kids tangible skills. it is a fine balance, even at this age but the important thing is to know that the edge exists.
If you can handle that you will help to keep youth sports fun for your children and they will get the most out of it. So, go out there and be active, enjoy outdoor activities and be healthy together. However, if youth sports aren’t for your our your kids then maybe the next one is.
3. Instruments, Dance & Singing as a Kids Hobby
This guy here is not much when it comes to artistic talent and until recently I thought I literally had no musical talent. I can’t paint or draw pictures, I failed at playing the recorder in elementary as a child and my hips are a little stiff for dance classes but I don’t want my kids to have the same weaknesses.
My nephew has a great voice and we have tried to get my sister to put him into singing lessons. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite so I wanted to introduce my children to the arts as well.
They do a lot of singing and dancing at school, which were previously foreign concepts to me. So instead my wife and I thought a harmonica to play around with would be a great way to introduce them to music.
I was very surprised because both of them naturally had some rhythm and especially our daughter that just turned two. I was very impressed because I knew I couldn’t possibly do that now let alone at their ages.
By this time it’s the middle of the pandemic I had a great idea that their new hobby wouldn’t be puppet theatre or dance lessons but it would be the guitar.
We happen to have a small guitar at home from a family member and it was just gathering dust. In addition I have a good friend that sings and plays guitar in a lot of live gigs and he happened to be working his day job from home.
All of a sudden I had a zoom teacher and an instrument so I nominated my son to learn guitar. We attempted two lessons with complete disinterest from my son and it was a failure. However, that actually spurred me to take some interest and instead I started taking those zoom lessons.
It has been slow going and it is still not one of my strengths, but I have been making time to pick up the guitar and practice my chords and parts of some basic songs.
I am far from a performer, but my daughter for a toddler has quite an interest in the guitar now and my son passively enjoys the musical environment.
I am hoping that my walking the walk will help keep both of them interested in the arts. Action figures and video games have their place but so do music, and dance.
4. Projects & Experiments as a Kids Hobby
Some of you reading this are probably extremely creative and crafty and you might be known by name at Michael’s or your local craft stores but my wife and I fall well short in this area.
When I see an old sock, I see a potential rag or trash I don’t see a cool butterfly that just needs some stuffing, eyes and wings. If your mind works in that creative type of way then you already know the value of projects and home science experiments as a hobby.
Your children probably know to save bottle caps, and old egg cartons for awesome projects instead of just putting them in recycling. You probably have a list of 5 origami paper folding techniques at the ready and I commend you.
For the rest of us schmoes there are lots of resources and tools available. If you want to work on putting together a project or experiment you can find a ton of resources on line with a craft store list written by those creative parents for us beginners .
I have chosen to go an even easier route and I have purchased creativity boxes ready to go with the basics. Koala crates which is one I have used for projects comes ready to go with no drama.
There are simple instructions and all of the pieces you need to complete the project, and if you want to dress it up with your own touch the sky is the limit. As far as hobbies for kids go, I couldn’t ask for more. My biggest problem is just sitting down to do them but that’s a me problem.
These types of resources exist for science experiments as well, and I am sure there are lots of resources I am not aware of. The point is that our adoption of this hobby no longer has to be limited by our creativity or time.
Get your older children exposure to these hobbies as well and you will see the bond between your kids grow. Modern hobbies have gone far beyond comic books and pencil sketching so embrace the on demand world and do some projects.
Speaking of projects, this last section is always a great place to get started.
5. Vegetable Gardening & Composting as a Kids Hobby
Driven by the pandemic combining time with a clarity that the world is in a very uncertain place our family picked up gardening again and added composting to the mix. Our children in usual times get to do gardening at school with their friends and teachers and learn about plants and caring for them.
We wanted to fill that gap a bit and help teach us all to live a little more sustainable life. Although composting isn’t necessarily on most lists of hobbies for kids gardening usually is and the two go hand in hand.
I had no idea how much food waste we were really throwing away until we started bagging it up and dropping it in the composter. That alone became an issue, so I found these awesome biodegradable plastic bags.
We simply lay one on the counter, put the scraps in and drop it in the composter when we are done. At our house we are using a spinning composter and at our cabin we are using a worm composters.
The kids have embraced all parts of the gardening process and by seeing us do these things they are building an understanding of what they contribute as well. There is something soothing about seeing plants that you put in the ground as seeds or small plants grow up big and produce food.
I had an opportunity as a child to spend time on family ranches and that experience is unique. Not every child can do that, but nearly every child can participate on a small level that has big impacts.
Don’t even get me started on watering, I have no idea what it is but it doesn’t feel like a chore. Small kids, big kids and adults all find some relaxation with watering plants.
So if you aren’t doing some sort of gardening or composting now do some research and get started because there is no better time than now to add a new hobby.
The word hobby used to conjure up in me the feeling of something for nerdy kids or adults that needed a break from their lives, but the reality is that we should all have hobbies.
Those hobbies vary by age and skill level and where we are in our lives but we all need a way to better ourselves. Hobbies for kids bring about new learning in adults and hobbies for adults can help your children develop. What can be more of a win win that that?
I know that my list was not all encompassing but I am always exploring new ways to better myself which in turn betters our children.
So stop thinking about hobbies as a vague topic and start focusing on what can improve quality of life for you and your family. Kids seem to be the driving force for a lot of decisions we all make, but our kids also want to see that we enjoy what we do as well.
I would love to hear about some hobby ideas that you participate in. Until then feel free to use any part of my list as a guide while you and your kids figure out some hobbies that you can bond over.