Does Your Child Hate Soccer? Here Are 28 Hobbies for Kids You Haven’t Thought Of
Hobbies are skill-building activities that relax and inspire you on the regular. In fact, a good one is downright therapeutic for kids and adults alike. If the young person in your life is spending too much of their free time sitting passively in front of a screen, a new interest is likely the only intervention they need. Of course, you can’t pick a hobby for another human, since the ones that really stick are those that speak to a person’s individual interests, but chances are you know your child pretty well. If you’re hoping to give your kid a gentle push in the right direction (i.e., away from Roblox), plant the seed by suggesting one of these unique and stimulating hobbies for kids.
Aside from the obvious appeal of a hobby that allows kids to get their hands dirty, gardening is also an excellent activity for mindfulness, so it will calm your kid down while providing a physical workout to boot. Bonus: You don’t even need to have an outdoor space of your own for your child to put their green thumb to work, because time spent at a community garden can be equally rewarding.
Regular volunteer work is a crash course in compassion that teaches kids the importance of giving back to the community. It’s also a fun way for kids to make new friends and meet interesting people from all walks of life. Plus, given the huge variety of volunteer opportunities available, this hobby will never get old.
This classic game of strategy provides a stimulating challenge at every level of play. The critical thinking involved in chess also has major brain-boosting benefits and kids can join chess clubs and compete in tournaments for some friendly competition as their skill-level increases.
Yoga is a well-known and widely practiced activity that strengthens muscles, improves physical fitness and calms the mind—and it’s not just for grown-ups. Yoga classes for kids are an excellent option for young people who want a hobby that involves physical activity, without the competitive component of most other sports.
Older kids can nourish their creativity with photography as a hobby. Of course, you’ll have to provide the camera and your child will need to put some effort into learning the skills that go into getting a good shot, but the process of exploring their surroundings in search of new subjects is sure to inspire budding artists.
Any kid who’s old enough to work with a pair of scissors can take up scrapbooking—a hobby that encourages self-expression and creativity, while producing pieces of art that will continue to inspire pride any time your child decides to take a walk down memory lane.
With birdwatching for a hobby, your kid will regularly be one with nature, which is never a bad thing. Plus, birdwatching is also a particularly low-key and quiet activity, so it’s an excellent choice for any child who could benefit from some chill time in their extracurricular routine.
Remember those tender toddler years when you first noticed your child was interested in what went on in the kitchen? Well, if you do, it will come as no surprise that cooking can be an engaging hobby for older kids (i.e., ones that can reach the kitchen counter). This hands-on activity is lots of fun for picky eaters and budding gourmands alike—and because cooking requires a degree of adult supervision, it’s an excellent bonding opportunity to boot.
Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, is a unique and creative hobby for kids that helps hone both fine motor and critical thinking skills. It’s also particularly budget-friendly since there is a wealth of free tutorials and resources available online, which kids can use to teach themselves the craft. (Also, a quick Google image search will confirm that origami is seriously cool.)
Sculpting is often neglected in standard art curriculum, but a kid who tries their hand at it might just discover a new passion. This art form is a hands-on hobby that allows kids to bring their imagination to life with 3D models—a decidedly rewarding fine motor activity that encourages creativity (and can yield pretty impressive results).
Kids as young as five can learn how to knit pieces of wearable art that inspire pride and a sense of accomplishment. This relaxing hobby engages both sides of the brain and comes with some impressive benefits: Knitting promotes mindfulness and improves dexterity, attention span, reading skills and pattern recognition. Oh, and it builds positive self-esteem, too.
Much like knitting, sewing is a creative activity that uses both sides of the brain. As such, this hobby offers a wide range of benefits to kids—namely, because it helps hone fine motor and problem-solving skills while requiring patience, focus and concentration. In other words, sewing helps build confidence and critical life skills alike.
13. Martial Arts
Martial arts are an excellent outlet for kids who’ve got energy to burn, but don’t dig the competitive vibe of team sports. Aside from the obvious physical benefits (balance, coordination, strength and overall fitness), this hobby also promotes individual growth in other areas—including discipline, goal setting, focus and even basic respect for others.
Spatial task performance, hand-eye coordination and abstract thinking all get a major boost from this classic, boredom-busting activity. As a hobby, puzzles are an ideal way to get kids to kick their afterschool screen time habit in favor of something more stimulating...and it’s hard to beat the sense of the satisfaction that comes when a jigsaw is complete.
Budding scientists need only turn their gaze towards the sky to find an inspiring hobby. Astronomy is a fascinating subject that will fill kids of all ages with a sense of wonder while encouraging their natural curiosity. Take a trip to a planetarium to see if astronomy sparks an interest in your child—if it’s a good fit, all you need is a decent quality telescope and a room (or yard) with a view.
16. Playing an Instrument
Fact: Learning an instrument will make your kid smarter. Research shows that studying music builds confidence, improves math, reading and memory skills and is generally associated with increased cognitive ability. Plus, mastery of an instrument requires dedication, discipline and focus—which is why it’s a skill that your kid will be proud and grateful to have acquired. In other words, this is a character-building and brain-boosting hobby that will pay dividends well into your child’s future.
Breadmaking is both an art and a science; it’s also a great way to keep your kid busy with a rewarding, hands-on activity. There are a variety of beginner-friendly bread recipes, as well as more skilled recipes for kids to tackle once they’ve learned the basics. Best of all, the breadmaking process leaves plenty of room for creativity and the end result pairs well with a few of our favorite things (i.e., butter, cheese and wine).
18. Jewelry making
This craft encourages creativity and self-expression—and, when taken on as a hobby, jewelry making does a bang-up job of improving fine motor skills and concentration in kids. Also, there’s something uniquely thrilling about being inside a bead store. (So many tiny treasures!)
Considered to be a high art form in China, calligraphy is basically fancy and beautiful handwriting, done with a special brush or pen. This hobby will improve handwriting, motor skills and concentration—but don’t worry, it’s actually a lot more fun for kids than a lesson with the stodgy cursive teacher at school. In fact, calligraphy is an excellent creative outlet that encourages mindfulness and builds confidence in kids.
20. Coin Collecting
Young history buffs will have a blast searching for and collecting rare coins to commemorate the past, while expanding their knowledge of politics and geography in the process. Needless to say, a good find is rewarding, as is seeing the entire collection come together over time. (Psst: This hobby also happens to be an excellent opportunity to improve organizational skills.)
21. Creative Writing
Kids can put their imaginations to work, explore their emotions and get a leg up on cognitive and language skills by engaging in creative writing as a hobby. With some passion and practice, your offspring might even end up penning the next great American novel one day. (Who knows?)
Any hobby that involves entertaining and bringing joy to others is sure to boost confidence in kids, and magic fits the bill. Other than the benefits to self-esteem, learning magic also helps develop critical thinking skills...and it’s just plain fun for children of all ages.
Bowling provides a physical challenge that improves hand-eye coordination, strength and balance. This entertaining sport is also a great social opportunity for kids, since the game typically features more laid-back competition and time to chat with new friends in between turns. One last neat thing about bowling: It can even help with math and counting skills (i.e., as your kid keeps a running tally of their score).
This sport has been the subject of serious controversy in recent years. Still, recreational (as opposed to elite) gymnastics is a safe and fun way for kids of all ages to challenge themselves and build physical ability in the areas of balance, strength and coordination. The thrill of learning new skills in gymnastics is hard to beat and mastery is equally rewarding—just be sure to thoroughly vet any gym before you sign your child up for classes and go with one that prioritizes the physical and emotional wellbeing of athletes above all else.
We already sang the praises of learning how to play an instrument but neglected to mention that you don’t need to invest in a baby grand or a brand new Fender for your child to explore their own musical talents. That’s right, the voice is a powerful instrument—and with discipline and proper training, your child can reap all the rewards that musicianship brings.
26. Crossword Puzzles
Children can do this activity during boring bus rides to school, on lazy afternoons or rainy days...you name it. In other words, crossword puzzles have the advantage of being a budget-friendly hobby your kid can engage in anytime—and no matter when the activity takes place, it’s guaranteed to give a boost to your kid’s cognitive function, while expanding their general knowledge as well.
If you’ve got a ham in the house, sign that kid up for acting classes. The performing arts in general are great for building confidence and character; acting, in particular, can also be a beneficial exercise in building empathy and serve as an outlet for self-expression and emotional exploration.
Oh, wait...your kid doesn’t actually hate soccer! In fact, many young athletes gravitate towards soccer—probably because every game delivers both strenuous physical activity and fun from start to finish. Competitive team sports aren’t for every kid, but for those who take to it, soccer provides an opportunity to challenge one’s own physical limits, while simultaneously working in harmony with peers—and that’s a winning combination.