by Carrie Spencer | The Spencers Adventures
When your child finds something that piques their interest, there are many things you can do as a parent to encourage their recreational pursuits. Not only are hobbies a fun way to relieve tension and stress, but engaging in activities you enjoy has a host of benefits.
Kids tend to have two modes: “completely interested” or “I couldn’t care less.”Even when they find something they enjoy, they may change their minds quickly. While this can be frustrating when you’ve invested time and money into their latest pursuit, remember that children need mental stimulation, and it’s much better to let them move on than to force them to participate in something they’ve tried and dislike. Live Science explains that children need autonomy in order to cultivate a passion. Providing their hobby of choice doesn’t put them in harm’s way, it’s best to step aside and let the proverbial chips fall where they may.
Hobbies for Kids
Hobbies for children run the gamut from drawing and painting to skipping stones and collecting geodes. Hobbies can encourage critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, improve manual dexterity, promote physical fitness, and teach important life skills. Drawing and painting, for example, require a child to use their hands, which can help improve their handwriting.
Cooking and baking have regained popularity in recent years thanks to Netflix and other television services showcasing cooking shows, such as The Great British Baking Competition. There are even multiple kid-sized cooking sets inspired by popular programs. Cool Mom Eats encourages using subscription cooking kits, such as Raddish and KidStir, which will help your child enhance their culinary skills and expose them to foods from different cultures.
Children who constantly want to know how and why things happen may enjoy scientific hobbies. Think bug collecting, fossil hunting, chemistry, and astronomy. This rainbow magic milk science experiment is great for young kids, as it utilizes non-toxic materials you likely already have at home. As they get older, they can further refine their interests and practice more advanced scientific hobbies like astronomy using a telescope, binoculars, or an interactive sky map app on a smartphone.
If you aren’t really sure what type of activity your kids would enjoy, give them plenty of options. You can also visit your local craft store to spark their imagination. Many offer classes and workshops geared toward children. This is a fun and social way to let them experiment with different hobbies without making a huge financial commitment.
Finally, don’t rule out sports! Whether they’re into basketball, ping pong, or jogging, sports provide a number of benefits that benefit the body, both mentally and physically. Naturally, you’ll need to spend a little money on gear — athletic wear, accessories, and a great pair of sneakers are almost always a given — but you may also need to spring for lessons or league fees. Fortunately, you can cut down on some expenses by purchasing second-hand gear and looking for neighborhood leagues and teams that could introduce your child to like-minded players.
Helping Your Child Decide
As a parent, it’s up to you to set a good example by engaging in your own hobbies. Let your children see you take time out for yourself, and they will be more inclined to do the same. You should also be prepared to give up a room or other space in your home so your child will have a designated area to make messes to his heart’s content without interfering with the rest of your house. Outfit it with kid-friendly furnishings, easy-to-clean work surfaces, and areas for them to proudly show off the fruits of their labor, be it a watercolor work of art or a crystal collection.
Unlike video games and television, having a hobby gives your children an opportunity to express themselves. They will learn without trying and have their own personal escape from stress, which is sadly all too common in children as young as elementary-school age. Participating in a favorite pastime, even if just for a few moments, can boost your child’s mood and may even help them perform better in the classroom.
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Image via Pixabay
Carrie Spencer created The Spencers Adventures (thespencersadventures.net) to share her family’s homesteading adventures. On the site, she shares tips on living self-sufficiently, fruit and vegetable gardening, parenting, conservation, and more. She and her wife have 3 kids, 2 dogs, 4 cats, 3 goats, 32 chickens, and a whole bunch of bees. Their goal to live as self-sufficiently and environmentally-consciously as possible.