1 June 2009 04:14 PM

Hobbies for Kids

by Dr. Rick

I may be showing my age, but one of my favorite on-line columnists/bloggers is Dick Cavett at the New York Times.  In March he wrote about his childhood hobby, magic (and included a cool 1977 video of The Great Syldini that you should watch with your kids).  He wondered whether kids today are still interested in baffling friends and family with amazing tricks.


It got me to thinking.  Even if “hobby” is a hopelessly old-fashioned word and concept, is it still worthwhile for parents to encourage kids to have pastimes that encourage activity and creativity, pastimes pursued purely for pleasure and knowledge?  The answer is a no-brainer.  Of course it is.


Anyone who’s been around kids knows that they like to do different, new, and exciting things.  They’re naturally inquisitive and love to learn new skills, to discover new things about themselves and the world they live in.  They’re pleased when they learn they have a special talent or interest.


What are some kid-friendly hobbies?  After talking with teachers and kids, I’ve accumulated a small list.  (You can see tons more at www.listofhobbies.net.) 

  • Music
  • Reading
  • Magic 
  • Baking
  • Cooking
  • Crafts
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Sports
  • Board games
  • Coin collecting
  • Stamp collecting
  • Rock collecting
  • History
  • Building things
  • Yes, video games, too, but they hardly need more encouragement.

We adults have a special role in helping our kids find their natural talents and interests.  Guide them.  Show them our interests beyond our professions and jobs, interests that make life more interesting, interests that teach us about ourselves and others, interests that keep us active, interests that keep us from wasting our lives passively in front of a screen.


When I was a kid, my father started a family interest in stamp collecting.  He sent envelopes, which he had me address to myself in my elementary school handwriting, off to distant post offices for first-day-issue stamps.  The envelopes would come back to me with a new stamp attached, cancelled with “First Day of Issue” inked on it.  I felt special when my self-addressed envelope came back to me.  As I grew older, he gave the honors to my younger brothers and sister as they entered sixth grade.  He’s ninety now, and the honors have gone from my brothers and sister and me to our children.  There are hundreds of first-day-issue envelopes, dating from 1959, all bearing the names of our family over the years.  Dad’s kept them organized in neat, chronological albums.  We love to look at them, marvel at a seven cent air mail stamp, note the increases in the prices, learn about the men and women pictured on them, and see the collection grow with our family members’ names on the envelopes.  The collection’s become a keepsake, and we’re grateful to Dad for maintaining it.


Other benefits of hobbies?  How about these?  Besides providing limitless hours of entertainment and fascination, hobbies can:

  • Help build and improve organization skills.  (Organizing their various collections will give a new and personal meaning to organizing.)
  • Help develop time management skills.  (“Yes, you can work on your collection – as soon as you’ve done your homework.”)
  • Help develop fine motor skills.  (Kids love to make things, so have plenty of construction paper, glue, sparklies, markers, crayons, water colors around the house.)
  • Encourage creativity.  (“Hey, look what I made!”)
  • Encourage socializing.  (Kids with like interests can support and motivate each other and create unique friendships.)
  • Build confidence.  (What a sense of accomplishment when your kid finally beats the neighborhood chess champ – or at least gives him a nervous run for his money.)
  • Encourage reading.  (He’ll feel proud when he discovers an interesting fact he was motivated to read on his own.)
  • Get kids outdoors for sports and physical activity.  (Kids need more, not less, physical activity.)
  • Provide opportunities for family sharing and fun.  (See my comments above about stamp collecting.)
  • Lead to lifelong passions.   (Most old hobbyists have been indulging their interests since childhood.)
  • Lead to fame and fortune.  (You never know.  Bill Gates’ hobby was electronics.  Stephen King’s was writing scary stories.  Walt Disney’s was doodling.)

So, consider your kids’ talents and interests.  Steer them, guide them, but don’t pressure them. Let them experiment, try a lot of things first before you spend lots of money.  (Hobbies, by the way, don’t need to be expensive.)  Guitar.  Crafts. Horseback riding.  Whatever.  Just get them up and moving and thinking and creating and learning.


And having fun.


What are your kids’ hobbies?  We’d love to hear stories about them.  Just click on “comment” below and share your family’s experiences.





6/10/2009 5:24:36 PM

board games are always lots of fun to play, I love monopoly a lot used to play it during my summer vacations and its one of the greatest way to pass time.

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6/13/2009 3:34:18 PM

Great checklist, Dr.Rick. I think a hobby for child must be inexpensive. So, the child will be able to work on autopilot without depending on parents money.
Also it must involve him\her in communication with other peoples to develop networking skills. This will help in adult age. Plus it must include some researching to teach a child to work with information.

Dr. Help

7/24/2009 12:49:36 AM


Chess is been so interesting sport to the kids,The earliest precursor of modern chess is a game called Chaturanga, which flourished in India by the 6th century, and is the earliest known game to have two essential features found in all later chess variations — different pieces having different powers (which was not the case with Checkers and Go), and victory depending on the fate of one piece, the king of modern chess........

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7/24/2009 12:52:14 AM


Chess is been so interesting game...kids can develop this sport has a hobbie....

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7/27/2009 6:09:41 AM

Hey, I'm 15 years ago and i love to play Board games..Your blog is really nice for me as well as all the children.


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8/14/2009 9:58:29 AM

This was an interesting read

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8/15/2009 7:36:29 AM

My hobby was baseball card collecting. That ended about 10 years ago when the players went on strike for more money. That discouraged me and I stopped collecting. they ruined the only hobby this kid ever had. Today I am no longer a kid, and my hobby is blogging. But as a kid my only hobby was baseball cards and that was over due to the strike.


8/31/2009 7:21:53 AM

I have so many hobbies, playing board games, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, Online Video games, I love those things. When I have nothing to do I us ally play those games it helps me improve my skills depending on what game I will play. On children this might be an experiment on discovering the hidden talents of your child.

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9/10/2009 3:20:26 AM

I like your blog so much, it just reminds me of my childhood. The findings of yours are so true and nice.In the first list,the cooking and baking hobby has just surprised me. Thank you very much.

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9/19/2009 11:43:18 PM

I do  agree that parents should encourage kids for a hobby, but the hobby should be the kids want. So, in my opinion parents should be aware of what the kids are interested to do and support it.

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9/24/2009 11:25:45 AM

All my childhood memories refreshed. I really appreciate the way you have tried to portrait the importance of hobbies. I think this is a nice way to influence parents with a reason to encourage hobbies of their child. Hobbies should be highlighted as they help in the personal growth of the child.      

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9/24/2009 1:12:32 PM

Life is like a game of TAG!once you're IT...the world becomes your playground and the people around you, especially children are what makes you run and reach your goals!

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9/26/2009 1:36:25 AM

It has been an outstanding blog because it reminds me of my chile hood!  

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10/13/2009 8:36:04 AM

We keep kids so busy these days that they hardly have time for hobbies. We need to slow down, give out less homework, and allow kids some time to do what interests them.

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10/18/2009 8:57:31 PM

thanks for giving those tips. hope that works for my kid, since kids nowadays tend to be different..

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11/27/2009 7:46:15 PM

I may be showing my age, but one of my favorite on-line columnists/bloggers is Dick Cavett at the New York Times.  In March he wrote about his childhood hobby, magic (and included a cool 1977 video of The Great Syldini that you should watch with your kids).  He wondered whether kids today are still interested in baffling friends and family with amazing tricks.


12/9/2009 7:45:42 PM

I think there are very few hobbies that can match the fun and cost effectiveness of folding paper airplanes. I mean all you need is paper and a little patience and you'll have a toy that's can as fun as any toy.

You know I've trying folding all the paper airplanes found at http://www.paperairplaneshq.com and trust me, you'll spend more than one weekend before you fold all 50!

Anderson Bode

3/11/2010 9:06:56 AM

i exposed my child to chess even at his young age.  I believe that if you involve them in this kind of game, it will help develop their cognitive function and help them to be more sharp. My son has shown much intellect and very good in problem-solving games (puzzles as well) and just love chess.


6/2/2010 11:39:18 PM

Is every post on your blog this good? Thanks for writing.

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6/3/2010 2:13:12 AM

Superb article, I am a big time fan of your site, keep up the superb work, and I will be a repeat visitor for a very long time.

Toney Delaluz

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