With families spending more time at home at the moment, it can be a challenge to fill the days with new and exciting activities. With homeschooling taking precedence, learning a new hobby in your spare time as a family is a great way to take the pressure off. We've put together a list of ideas of hobbies that the whole family will enjoy getting stuck into, and hopefully, learn something new!
1. Learn A Language
Intimidating? Yes. Difficult? Not necessarily. Children are naturally adept at learning languages and are great at soaking up new information. Here are some ways you can enjoy learning a new language with the family and brush up on some of your own skills on the way!
- Apps: There is a huge variety of language apps that can be accessed on any of your devices, and offer an interactive option to aid learning. We love Gus on the Go for learning Spanish, and Duolingo, which has a variety of languages and can be used by kids and parents.
- Word games: A really fun way to encourage learning language is through play. Flashcards, Scrabble (try only using foreign words!), and Pictionary are all great ways to test each other and have fun.
- Talking: Whether you know another language or not, simply attempting to converse in your language of choice is a great way to develop your skills and have a laugh in the process! You are sure to make mistakes, but that's all part of the process.
2. Start A Board Game League
We could be at home for a while, so why not get in the competitive spirit and start up your very own board game league! Kids will love improving their skills with a little friendly competition, and this is a fun way to enjoy some well-earned quality time as a family.
You will need:
A large piece of paper or card
Blu tac or tape
A board game (or games) of your choice.
What to do:
Start by deciding what board games you would like to play. Do you have a favourite family game, or would you like to learn something new? Card games, chess, Scrabble or even Monopoly are all great suggestions. For younger children, even a simple game like snap can work too. Take your piece of paper, and draw out a table with the same number of columns as players, and have each player write their name at the top. Now, you can either decide how often you would like to play and add in rows or simply leave it blank and fill in your scores as and when. Decorate the league board however you wish, and stick it up on the wall in your designated gaming area (the kitchen table is fine). Now you are ready to start! Play as often as you wish (daily, weekly, it's up to you) and tally up the scores on your scoreboard.
3. Make Your Own Quizzes
Since lockdown started, people have loved putting on 'Pub Quizzes' over the internet with friends. Why not have a go at writing your own family-friendly quizzes? You could try playing Mastermind-style, with a hot seat and each person taking it in turns to answer questions. Or, assign each person a topic, with each person creating 5-10 questions. Then, go round the whole family and ask the questions! At the end, reveal the answers and compare scores. The quizzes can be adapted to the ages of your family members and can be a great way to encourage the kids to learn. Examples of fun quiz topics for kids are: Animals, the natural world, science, art, TV characters, Disney movies, book characters, geography and languages!
Top tip: If you have a more artistic, or musically-inclined family, try including a picture/drawing round, or a music round where people can guess the song and artist!
4. Nature Watching
Whether you have a garden or not, nature watching is a great way for kids to get involved in their surroundings, and learn more about the environment. If you don't have an immediate space where you can access nature, your local park is the perfect spot to learn all about our furry and feathered friends.
There are lots of ways to enjoy nature watching as a hobby- why not start with some of these fun ideas:
- Do a wildlife survey: The RSPB are always on the lookout for keen nature enthusiasts to help them, by partaking in their wildlife survey. Birds, butterflies and bees are all important to keep an eye on, so grab a pen and paper and do some investigations of your own!
- Make bird cakes: Bird cakes are nutritious treats that are filled with fatty goodness to help the birds in your local area keep full and warm. While they might be called 'cakes', they don't require baking and can be made easily using ingredients you already have at home. This is a messy but fun activity for the whole family, and it is extra rewarding to go back and see the birds enjoying their homemade snack!
- Go birdwatching: Really, it's as simple as stepping out the front (or back) door. Take binoculars if you have them, or if not, just use your eyes. The RSPB has a great birdwatching guide for kids that will get you started- make sure you listen out for the birdsong!
- Get creative: A great way to encourage the whole family to engage is to make something based on their experience. Take some paper and crayons out with you and make rubbings from all the textures you see in nature. You could make a scrapbook from your discoveries, and not to mention drawings and paintings!
Generally one for older children/teens, knitting is a great stress-reliever and lots of fun. Kids will enjoy making something that they can keep, or even wear! If you don't have the tools already, there are lots of options online that cater to kids of all ages, or you can buy the equipment yourself.
For basic knitting, you will need: Knitting needles and a ball of wool in a colour of your choice!
For basic crocheting, you will need: A crochet hook, yarn and scissors.
You can learn the beginning steps of how to knit and crochet with basic videos, and once you've got the basics down you can let your imagination go wild! This is an incredibly calming activity that is a great way to wind down after a day of schoolwork.
Scrapbooking is a fantastic way to document the time you spend together as a family. Using your time together to make something is not only a great opportunity to help you bond, but it also creates something that you can keep and look back on forever. Gather whatever materials you have lying around and get creative! You could try making Lockdown Memory Scrapbooks, or a larger one that the whole family can contribute to.
Top tip: Instead of working straight in your scrapbook, allow the kids to get creative on whatever materials are available to them - then you can help them curate their work in the scrapbook!
If you've read our articles on how to start learning yoga, you will know there are many ways to get the kids engaged in this calming and relaxing hobby. All you need is a yoga mat (or the carpet) and yourself! There are thousands of tutorials on how to start with yoga as a beginner, so we've selected a few child-friendly options:
- Cosmic Kids Yoga is an imaginative and fun channel dedicated to helping kids learn yoga while keeping them entertained! Jaime uses a storytelling approach and even includes themed episodes based on your children's favourite shows (Pokemon yoga anyone?)
- Yoga With Adrienne gives a variety of simple yoga moves that are appropriate for all ages (bonus points for her adorable dog!)
- Yoga With Kassandra has a great 10 minute morning stretch that is perfect for older children, teens and parents.
Yoga is one of those fun hobbies that, while very rewarding, can take some time to master- this makes it a great activity to enjoy with kids, so you can progress together and reflect on your yoga journey as a family!
8. Cooking For Kids
During lockdown, you might find yourself making a lot more meals. Why not let the children chip in and the whole family can enjoy cooking together! We've come up with a list of easy recipes that are not only manageable for kids but are also loads of fun to make. Cooking together is a fab way to bond and learn a new hobby, and the children will treasure these memories long into the future!
Here are some easy cooking and baking ideas that the whole family will love making:
The great thing about cooking is that even if it all goes wrong, you'll still have something tasty to enjoy!
Like knitting, embroidery is a fun craft activity that is simple to learn and, once you're hooked, it's hard to stop! We recommend this hobby for older children or teenagers, due to the use of needles. With embroidery, it is easy to spend a lot of money on equipment before starting. If you have embroidered before and you know you enjoy it, or you're just ready for a stab at something new, go for it!
For basic embroidery, you will need: An embroidery hoop, sharp scissors, fabric, embroidery thread and needles, and a pencil or chalk for marking out your patterns.
There are lots of great tutorials online that cover the basics of embroidery. Once you feel confident, you can apply this new skill to almost anything- clothes, cushions, artwork, the possibilities are endless!
Top tip: Cheap, easy wooden kits such as these are great to help kids understand the basics before investing in equipment.
Contrary to what you might think, you don't actually need a garden to do some gardening! Of course, having lots of outdoor space is ideal but there's still loads you can do inside. The perfect plants to grow indoors are herbs because they don't need much space, so pick your favourites and get planting. Basil, oregano, parsley - the possibilities are endless! Work together to research when your plants will grow and what kind of attention they need by the end of summer you'll have created the perfect plant patch.
Get rid of some of that extra clutter while getting creative! Yoghurt pots, empty tin cans, and leftover cardboard can all be upcycled into something beautiful. Try our list of fun Kids Upcycling Projects for some easy suggestions on how to turn your trash into treasure. This hobby is a fantastic way to help reduce waste, and teach the kids all about the benefits of recycling!
Sarah was born and raised in the North West. Her love of art and culture brought her to study in London and she never left! She can be found teaching painting classes, trying out new recipes, or drawing with a cup of tea.