February is the month of love, and love is very much a part of resilience. It is love that often propels a person to keep going in the face of struggle. Whether that be love for another person, love for a pet, love for doing good in the world, or even love for a hobby or interest.
In fact, research by three renowned sociologists documented in the book, “Coming of Age in the Other America,” shows that when children are confronted with challenging conditions at home, a hobby, passion or project was one reason children overcame their circumstances to graduate high school and college. Passion, mission and inspiration build resilience.
Not only that, but a success with a hobby can give kids confidence. Mastery of skills can make them self-reliant and independent. Many hobbies—whether they be sports, musical instruments or brain games—instill discipline and encourage problem solving skills. Team activities teach team spirit and compassion, plus they promote connection.
And in today’s technology-laden world where the almighty screen is the ultimate vortex, a new interest or hobby can be the perfect antidote.
How can we help kids discover their passions and nurture them?
If your child loves soccer, baseball, or playing the violin, it’s quite simple. You put them on the team. You get them lessons or sign them up for these programs at school. Opportunities abound. Afterschool activities are a big business these days. Even for low income families, there are often economical options through neighborhood rec centers or community learning centers like 21st Century.
But what if your child isn’t interested in run-of-the-mill activities or hobbies?
One good way to uncover your child’s interests is by visiting interesting places such as museums, historical sites, natural landmarks, plays and concerts. Heading to the library is another wonderful way to see what sparks your child’s fancy. And once you see what lights the kiddo up, there are podcasts and You Tube videos galore to learn more.
To get the ball rolling, here are our suggestions for some hobbies and activities you may not have thought of.
Activities and Hobbies to Inspire Your Child
Photography or videography
Though specialty cameras certainly take your photos and videos up a notch, there are a gazillion apps that can be downloaded on a smart phone or tablet to get your child going. These hobbies inspire creativity. And when children explore their surroundings in search of new subjects, they learn about the world around them.
For this pastime, all your child needs is a pair of scissors and some old magazines. A wonderful way to foster self-expression and creativity, scrapbooking can bring serenity and produce cool artwork too.
Spending time in nature is known to reduce stress. Learning about the fauna of your environment is awesome for science-minded kids or for those who just love animals. Tweet, tweet.
Whether your kids are younger or older, cooking is hands-on, creative, and a lovely bonding activity for families. Plus there is the obvious benefit that you get to eat your creation.
A great hobby for kids that like to get their hands dirty, sculpting can involve multiple artistic pursuits—sketching out a vision, modeling with clay, and finally, painting.
A hobby you can take on the plane or in the car or anywhere along the way, knitting builds dexterity in the hands, pattern recognition, and provides a wonderful opportunity for concentration.
Sewing or Quilting
It’s often fun for kids to learn to use a sewing machine, and today’s models are so kid-friendly making it easy to stitch in straight lines. Sewing is both a left and right brain activity and is great for patience, focus and concentration.
Comic Book Art
Cartooning teaches kids to focus on how little details, characters, and a storyline can lead to a bigger picture. Drawing improves fine motor skills and is an excellent creative outlet.
This hobby is excellent for improving fine motor skills and concentration in kids. And if your little maker gets really good, you can consider selling their wares on Etsy or at the farmer’s market to hone their business acumen!
A perfect creative outlet, kids can exercise their imaginations, get in touch with their emotions and learn the lifelong skill of written communication. Plus journaling is known to be a wonderful mindfulness technique.
Hobbies that involve performance and entertainment can boost confidence in kids! Learning magic also encourages reading (in order to learn tricks) and it helps develop critical thinking skills. And let’s face it, magic brings joy to all involved!
Even if you don’t have a rocky crag in your backyard, climbing gyms are popping up all over the country. This activity will build your child’s strength, endurance and flexibility. Figuring out the best way to get up a wall encourages problem solving and decision-making. There are even rock-climbing teams that convert an individual sport into a team activity.
This hobby builds physical skills like strength and hand-eye coordination. It also improves spatial awareness. Your child can practice math skills through scorekeeping. And judging angles to figure out the best move is a lesson in physics!
Wonderful for both fine and gross motor skills, this hobby also hits the nail on the head of creative expression. (No pun intended.)
Gathering flowers gets kids outside and on the move. It fosters exploration and encourages your kid to get on their science mind! And you’ve got creativity at work when your child arranges and presses the blooms.
Coin or Stamp Collecting
What a way to learn about history, geography and politics! When you’re on the hunt for a new specimen, you get the opportunity to connect with others in the trade. Plus collecting teaches organizational skills!
For the budding geologist, this hobby is a way to learn about different rocks and minerals while turning them into semi-precious gems to collect or even turn into jewelry. (Hello creativity.) Rock tumbling also teaches patience. Getting rid of jagged edges doesn’t happen overnight!
Where to start, there are so many benefits here. The obvious is it teaches patience. It also improves fine motor skills. (Have you ever tried tying a hook on a line?!) It also encourages an appreciation of nature and fosters a connection to community. After all, the best way to find out where the fish are biting is by talking to other fishers.
Where there is dirt, there are worms, which has obvious appeal for most kids. But gardening is also a great calming activity, in addition to being a physical work-out. If you don’t have a yard or your weather isn’t friendly to plant growing, try planting seeds inside or many neighborhoods have community gardens where you can get a plot.
Snow and Water Skiing
These activities are highly physical, building endurance, strength and coordination. They get kids outside and can be wonderful opportunities for family bonding. Plus there are both snow and water skiing teams in communities that have these sports.
This classic game of strategy is fun and challenging. It’s a great way to exercise the ol’ critical thinking muscle and kids can join chess clubs and compete in tournaments through many schools.
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