I grew up in a household of hobbyists. My dad is a fisherman, a hunter, and skilled cribbage player, chef, gardener, and bowler. My mom is an avid reader, pianist, flutist, singer, sewer, cross-stitcher, macramé creator, Ikebana flower arranger, Haiku writer, and so much more. I vacillated between all of my parents’ hobbies as I truly loved everything they did in addition to taking up my own hobbies like Karate, dance, playing piano & keyboard, painting, and writing. As a family, we loved to all get together and work on challenging puzzles. Family hobbies were something on our collective minds.
While I have retained many of the interests/hobbies I had as a child, I also found myself stepping back from some and exploring new ones after I became a mother. This is mostly due to time, money, and the age of my daughter. It is also due to the interests (or lack thereof) of my current partner. Sometimes it is tough to maintain a hobby when your partner has zero enthusiasm for or interest in it.
So I got to thinking. What family hobbies make sense? What can families do together, especially when you have children under the age of 7 or thereabouts. The world of family hobbies seems to open right up as your children get older but really, you are not as limited as you might think even with young children.
After a good late night brainstorming session with myself, I came up with a pretty good list, or at least I think so!
10 Family Hobbies To Do With Young Children
1. Gardening! My favorite family hobby. Kids love dirt. There is lots of dirty fun to be had in gardening. You get to connect with the earth and watch the fruits of your labor as they blossom, grown, and eventually end up as food on your plate. Gardening is such a wonderful experience for children as they not only learn about where food comes from but they develop an appreciation for all the work it takes to bring food to the family table. It is also a great way to blow off steam. Nothing like digging to release energy!
2. Make music together! Who cares if you actually know how to play an instrument. Learn as a family or have each family member pick a different instrument to play. There are actual music classes designed with this idea in mind.
3. Collect together! My mom and I used to go to antique stores. She collected antique boxes from Japan and I collected vintage photos. Even though our collections were different, we were scouting out cool additions to our collections together. There are also lots of collections that can be turned into more than just a family hobby. They can also serve as fodder for at-home education. Stamps and coins have lots of potential for discussions about history, geography, and math. Rocks, crystals, and shells are another wonderful tool for furthering studies in geology and oceanography. In addition to opening up discussions with an educational focus, collecting also develops certain skills related to sorting and classifying.
4. Take up photography. Even the littlest member of your family can help take photos. Babies who can hold objects can hold a play camera and mimic picture taking. It doesn’t take long until they are actually able to take pictures. Some of my favorite photos are through the eyes of my daughter as she snapped random shots of our normal day. Photography brings about an awareness of the world around you and can be lots of fun for everyone. Comparing photos and seeing how the same shot taken by different people turned out is pretty cool.
5. Explore nature. I have yet to meet a young child who isn’t thrilled with getting out in nature. No matter where you live, there are at least one or two places you can go to get out in nature. Be it hiking, a long walk, discovering plant life, bird watching, or simply just breathing in fresh air, getting out into nature together as a family can be a beautiful thing. Each adventure will be different. Even brand new babies will enjoy getting outside in a sling or baby carrier.
6. Get moving! Exercise! Bike riding, horseback riding, swimming, and the like are all family friendly activities. Whether your child goes along for the ride or is an active participant, there is always a physical activity that families can do together.
7. Volunteer! Not only does this instill some very important values in children, but it serves a need as well. Some of our families best memories center on helping others.
8. Geocaching. This is a pretty fun GPS based treasure hunt that the entire family can get involved in at different levels.
9. Scrapbooking. What a great way to share memories while making new ones in the process. Young children love to hear stories about themselves as well as their family. Putting stories together through scrapbooking is a great way to bring a family together. I absolutely love this “Adventure” scrapbook for families.
10. Building model trains, airplanes, and automobiles. While I am not into as this myself, my daughter’s father loves trains. Before Moldageddon we had a very small train set that he hoped to expand as a family. And I will admit, it is kind of fun to go to the model train store and see all the cool miniatures. Children of all ages certainly would enjoy seeing the fruits of their labor grow over time.
Does your family have any hobbies that everyone enjoys equally? Any tips on involving young children in an existing family hobby? How do you find one you all love? Share your advice on family hobbies!