- Games, Toys, and Hobbies
An Enormous List of Hobbies
Trying to Choose a Hobby or Research One?
Hobbies are an amazing way to pass time, meet people, learn new things, and have fun.
It’s difficult to overstate the benefits of taking on new hobbies. When you do something new your brain has to create new "maps" or neural pathways. The more new paths you make (instead of doing the same activities over and over and creating a "rut" of only one pathway) the less likely you are to experience dementia, the more creative you'll become, and the more successful you'll be. Who can say no to that?
But if you’re like me, the minute you have enough free time to take on a new project, your mind just goes completely blank and you can’t think of anything that sounds interesting. Well, I'm sure you'll be able to find something to pique your interest in the list below.
You’ll find an ever-expanding list of possible hobbies and resources about them to help you get started. You’ll find hobbies you can do both indoors and out, that will relax you and get your heart pumping, that are well-known and kinda strange, and that both children and seniors can do. This is one big hobbies list!
The following are all hobbies for the more active and athletically inclined.
This sport is often pegged as preppy, but don’t let that stop you. It's too cool and fun to worry about stigmas like that! Archery can be a stress release, a form of exercise, and a fun social activity. And if you’ve seen The Hunger Games, you’d also know it can be a kick-ass form of self-defense.
Once you pick up a bow, you can probably hit a target after an hour's practice, but the fun only begins there. It takes years of mastery to fully master this neat skill.
Part of the reason it's often pegged as a preppy sport is because it's seen as expensive. Not so! You can get a small kit for under $50 or so if you get a youth sized one.
To get started, here are some handy resources. It's probably best to get involved with other people to learn this sport, but there are some tutorials below as well if you insist on going solo.
- There's one reason I'd try out archery: trick shots! Check out the sample video below for all the cool shots you can make and then just imagine all the cool ones you could come up with yourself. (Skip to 2:00 to see moving targets, etc.)
- Checkout this other Youtube video on how to aim your bow and arrow
- Here's a quick guide on choosing the right bow or the right arrows.
- If you’re in the UK, you can even join an archery guild.
BMXing is an incredibly cool sport where riders do some pretty amazing tricks. Despite being a pretty extreme hobby, it’s still a pretty great way to spend time with friends. Here's an awesome site with tons of videos, photos, tips, blogs and even desktop wallpaper about BMX riding. Watch the video below to see the kinds of tricks that BMXers are capable of.
Check out this page to watch videos on how to do BMX tricks.
Here's a video with some beginner tricks.
Here's an easy way to make dirt jumps for BMXing.
To start BMXing, you can just try a local park, a trail, or even a spot on your street to try things out. Check out some beginner tricks online and copy them. Eventually, you will find a style that you like and start going for bigger tricks. You can get a half-decent BMX Bike from a local shop in the $200-$300 range. If you're comfortable, the best way to learn is to start hanging out with other people that are riding.
If BMX seems a little too extreme for you, there are other ways to have fun on a bike. Cycling is a great way to stay fit and have fun. You can keep it simple and just jump on a bike to start exploring a nearby city or trial. But, there are also lots of other great activities you can do as a cyclist.
Mountain bikes are different from road or street bikes in that they have larger wheels, a sturdier frame and often shocks. Mountain biking doesn't necessarily require mountains, either; you just need to go off-road over some rough terrain.
You can go on a tour and really get to know you city, province, or country by bike. Many people have made travel guides that suggest routes for tours lasting just a day and upwards of several months!
If you want to nerd out on the mechanics of how a bike works, you can teach yourself how to build one from parts.
Even if you’re not Lance Armstrong, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the thrill and excitement of cycling races - or follow the world-class athletes that dominate the professional circuit. Here are some resources for the aspiring competitive cyclists!
Hand combat, sports with weapons, and mixed martial arts (MMA)
Combat sports are physical and competitive. While it doesn't mean you're going to get all beat up, it can be a great place to learn some self-defense. A number of martial arts fit in this category including both hand-to-hand contact and mixed martial arts.
The amazing thing about these sports is that they are literally for everyone and anyone. Many women now participate in these sports, and there are even classes solely for female fighters. You can even mix genders in some combat sports, like fencing, though one like grappling requires an opponent of a similar size.
Here are some resources for combat sports. Keep in mind that many of these sports are now Olympic sports too, so even if you don't want to join in you can enjoy watching.
There are too many combat sports to make a listing for each, so here are some of the possibilities.
Combat Sports with Striking Elements
- Fist Fighting: (Boxing); with Ancient Greek (Pygmachia), Russian (Kulachniy Boy), Historical English (Pugilism), Japanese (Shoot boxing), Thai (Muay Thai), Lao (Muay Lao) Olympic, and professional variations.
- Kickboxing: Japanese, American, European, and Indochinese, Korean (Choi Kwang Do), French (Savate) variations)
- Full Contact Karate
- Taekwondo (under WTF and ITF rules)
Combat Sports with Grappling Elements
- Wrestling: Ancient Greek (Pale), German (Ringen), Greco-Roman
- Beach Wrestling
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (under Gi & no Gi rules)
- Catch Wrestling (Western Submission Wrestling)
- Freestyle Wrestling
- Judo (Olympic Judo)
- Luta Livre Esportiva (Brazilian Submission Wrestling)
- Sport Sambo
- Scholastic Wrestling (American Folkstyle)
Hybrid martial arts, combining striking and grappling elements:
- Pankration (Ancient Greek Freestyle Fighting)
- Dambe: traditional form of boxing, including kicking and wrestling elements, practiced by the Hausa people.
- Combat Sambo: Russian sport introduced in the 1920s.
- Vale Tudo (No Rules Freestyle Fighting), derived from Brazilian circus shows of the 1920s.
- Sanshou: Chinese combat sport, institutionalized as part of modern Wushu since the 1950s.
- Sanshou (Sanda) (Chinese kickboxing within contemporary Wushu; includes some grappling techniques)
- Mixed Martial Arts (Freestyle Fighting)
Combat Sports with Weapons
- Kendo (Japanese fencing)
- Quarterstaff (historical English, 17th to 18th century)
- Gatka (Punjabi stick fighting)
- Modern Arnis (Filipino stick fighting)
Rock climbing is an exciting sport that can be done indoors or out. There are a variety of classes you can take to learn how to belay, (hold the rope for someone while they climb), do lead climbing (ascend the route while attaching clips and protection) and so on. There are amazing views you can see from the tops of walls and cliffs. It's a wonderful activity for strength and toning muscle.
You can set up a climbing wall of your own in your backyard, or even inside your home. Here are some items you will need for your own rock climbing gear.
Winter Mountain Sports
Skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, snow blading, skidooing, tubing, etc.
It might seem like a shame to pull these winter hobbies together under one title, but there are a lot of them out there to cover! Before you try any of these, make sure you're in good health and can deal not only with the physical impact, but also the cold.
A day out on the slopes is sure to be a memorable one, so if you're up for it, try renting equipment before you go out and buy all of your own. When you do decide to make a purchase, shop around, checking on used sites such as Craigslist.
This is also a great hobby to try when you are out traveling. Here are some famous places to practice these sports:
- Verbier, Switzerland
- Courcheval, France
- Voss, Norway
- Vail, USA
- Whistler, BC, Canada
- Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
Get inspired by this great winter extreme sports compilation
If you'd still like to get outside without exhausting yourself or breaking (too much of) a sweat, then these hobbies are for you.
Birdwatching or birding
A low cost, nature activity
Birdwatching is just one wonderful way of appreciating the great outdoors. It's very easy to get started with this activity: just head outside and start looking!
Being a birder is all about being mindful and aware of what bird movements look like, the types of sounds they make, and what species you’re likely to find in a given environment. You can find birds anywhere: in your backyard or on your street, but you'd be better off heading to a park. The most interesting places to find birds are away from cities since that's where most species of birds feel safe, and you're more likely to see more variety.
There a number of online resources for bird watching such as:
WhatBird (bird identifier by song, plumage, location, etc.)
Audubon National Society (bird conservation and resources)
Wild Bird Watching (backyard and wild bird watching)
Other activities you can do while appreciating birds include hiking, building bird houses and bird baths, and drawing. You can participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count that happens annually (wherever you are!) When you're helping one species, though, it's important not to upset another. If you hang a bird house or bird feeder for example, try to get a squirrel-proof feeder, otherwise you'll end up having lots of squirrels scaring away your birds, and the squirrels in your area will get fat and multiply like rabbits! Also, keep in mind that different birds like different homes (and feeders). Hummingbirds build their own (tiny) nests, but you can attract them with a special hummingbird feeder.
Birdwatchers can benefit most from two things: a birdwatching book and binoculars. The first is pretty self-evident: when you start out birdwatching you probably only will recognize a few birds, and likely won’t be able to recognize any bird calls.
Second, while you can do a lot of birdwatching with the naked eye, binoculars will help you identify birds that are far away and appreciate each bird’s unique plumage.
Gardening has been popular for longer than anyone can remember. Now, growing your own food is becoming increasingly popular. If you don't have a lot of space, not to worry! There are incredibly creative people out there continually coming up with new ways to garden on your balcony, window ledge, and even inside. If you don't feel like growing food, you can grow flowers and leafy plants. When you’re gardening you’ll know that you’re not only positively affecting your mental health, but also helping the environment by eliminating carbon gases, formaldehyde, and all kinds of nasty stuff from the atmosphere.
If you’re interested in growing a garden in a balcony or other small space, check out this Better Homes and Gardens feature, which has the most incredible ideas and features on their website and in their magazine. There are also plenty of little projects like how to make a terrarium or a particular container garden.
You can also check out these indoor gardens for inspiration!
- An amazing indoor garden in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
- Beautiful Asian courtyard style gardens (Imagine having one of these in your home! Bliss!)
Easy gardening projects
- How to make a terrarium
- An easy upside down tomato planter
- How to grow potatoes in a container
- Use compost to make tea
- Try some Guerilla gardening! Sneakily beautify and better your community with your gardening.
While you're at it, don't forget that gardens are made up of things other than plants too, like birdhouses, bird baths, butterfly houses, bat houses, water gardens (like a huge barrel full of water with some lily pads), bee hives, chicken coops, and of course furniture like good old Adirondack chairs! You may even want to dine al fresco!
Help scientists, contribute online, and be the neighbourhood weather master.
Amateur meteorology is all about studying and tracking weather and creating helpful weather instruments. Buy a notebook to record the weather, install a few weather instruments, and learn about the different types of clouds. If you're interested in being an amateur meteorologist or just want to try a few things out, here are some starter tips.
- Become a certified storm spotter through the National Weather Service.
- Make an easy barometer to track atmospheric pressure (great project for kids).
- Take a tour of the nearest atmospheric organization, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
- Learn about severe weather.
- Track the path of an Atlantic hurricane using a computer simulation.
- Develop an emergency plan based on your local weather hazards and practice how and where to take shelter. Create or refresh an emergency kit for needed food, supplies, and medication.
- Create a Backyard Weather Station Network (plug into Weather Underground with your findings).
- Check out lots more weather science projects for kids
Some good starter weather instruments include:
- Weather thermometer
- Wind vane
- Compass (usually comes with the anemometer),
- Atomic clock and
- Rain gauge
Use weather maps to compare your predictions and to note the weather of areas near you.
Backyard Weather Station Network
In an effort to provide more comprehensive weather data, there have been efforts to mobilize amateur meteorologists and encourage them to incorporate their backyard weather stations into a nationwide backyard weather station network.
Plugging your backyard weather station into a network such as Weather Underground's gives you a chance to flex your amateur meteorologist muscles and contribute your resources toward helping your community.
Nature conservation hobbies and projects
Giving nature an eco-friendly hand
This is an enormous category in which I'm placing all kinds of green, eco-friendly hobbies. Of course, many of these activities can be done indoors, but it's predominantly outdoors focused. There are some great summer hobby projects in here. You can volunteer at a zoo near you. Or participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count that happens annually (wherever you are!)
Changing your lifestyle:
- Composting your organic waste is an awesome way to cut back on materials gone to landfills. It's surprisingly easy: you don't even need a yard (or an outdoor space) if you want to try vermi-composting! There are many organizations that will collect your compost to distribute elsewhere if you can't use it all yourself (although even a few potted plants will thank you for it!)
- Grow air-filtering plants. Here's the list of best air-filtering plants according to NASA.
- Use alternative energy. You can build your own solar panels, even. Start small by using a solar panel to charge your cellphone or other USB device (iPod etc.), It's amazing that you just set it up and it does its thing. The only reason why people don't use these is because of the start up cost, but it pays for itself! You can even cover your whole roof with these things, or use them to heat your pool! I think they look really cool and futuristic.
- Build a rainwater collection system to water plants and use for landscaping, or even your toilet (if you're really handy). Be advised that in the US states of Washington, Colorado and Utah, it has been illegal to collect rainwater. You can read about how some big, ugly corporations did this on Natural News.
Activities for the creatively and artistically inclined.
Tagging, making a masterpiece
Contrary to popular belief, graffiti isn’t always illegal, and I would encourage you not to graffiti anywhere you’re not allowed. In fact, it’s not too hard to find areas that permit graffiti.
"Graffiti" comes from the Greek "to etch” and, as an art form, graffiti has been around since even before ancient Greece. Anthropologists have found graffiti in lots of societies: cave men, ancient Egyptians, Native Americans and so on. It's a fascinating form of art that is very community oriented and, of course, a great way to show off your artistic talent.
Because it's so community oriented, it's a good idea to learn a bit about graffiti and graffiti subculture before even thinking about finding other graffiti artists or putting up a piece outside.
Graffiti artists are a proud bunch, so don't act like you amount to much at the beginning, or you'll just be the butt of everyone's jokes. Here are some important "rules" to keep in mind if you're interested in being taken seriously as a graffiti artist:
- Draw, sketch, doodle a LOT in your black book. You need to start developing a style before you even think of showing it to anyone.
- Learn the lingo. Here's a glossary.
- Don't steal others work, paint over someone else's piece, or copy someone's style to the letter.
To get started you're going to need gear, such as a mask for ventilation (especially if you are working indoors), spray paint, plywood for practicing, your black book of graffiti drawings and possibly some markers.
It's a good idea to practice at home on big plywood boards (after you start drawing and sketching first in your black book, of course).
Check out these amazing graffiti pictures for inspiration.
Turn your whole life into a hobby
Trying to capture artistic views of something you see is a wonderful way to record your life. It can keep you looking at the whole world in a new way.
Contrary to popular belief you don't need fancy equipment in order to take up photography. Try photography on a budget! You can find inexpensive film cameras on Amazon, or just use your smart phone!
If you want to do digital photography, there are a number of options there too, not just a fancy digital SLR. You can use your phone and try out a variety of photography apps, or buy a cheap or even a disposable digital camera.
Be sure to experiment with different lighting, lens filters (such as colored lens filters that tint the whole image), framing, underwater, nature, portrait, still life, action shots and so on.
Here's an incomplete list of types of photography you could try:
- Aerial photography
- Digital photography
- Portrait photography
- Fashion photography
- Boudoir photography
- Nature photography
- Fine art photography
- Wildlife photography
- Underwater photography
- Landscape photography
- Wedding photography
- Black-and-white photography
- Glamour photography
- Sports photography
- Architectural photography
- Still life photography
- Nude photography
- Infrared photography
When you've taken the photos, you can continue editing them and playing around with all kinds of free photo and image editing software. There are free downloadable photo editors and online versions. Try making images black and white, sepia, keeping only one colour, touching up blemishes, cropping and more!
When you're through taking and editing your photos, you can showcase them in a myriad of ways. You could make a professional looking coffee table book, a simple scrapbook or photo album, put up a few thematic photos in frames, or show them off online with photo sharing websites, slideshows, videos, blogs and more.
It's a pretty endless source of entertainment!
Street art and circus hobbies
Street performance like busking, juggling, magic, miming, etc.
Maybe you want to start performing for extra money or want to know how to do some cool things at a party. Or maybe you want to be "that guy" on campus (is that a good thing? I'll let you make that decision). These are some great hobby ideas because they take some time to learn and you can always figure out a way to make it flashier, funner, and more challenging. It can also be a good way to meet people, whether it be people that are into the same thing, or people that happen to see you showing off your skills in the park.
Here are some ways to get into street art:
- A guide on how to get a street performer permit
- A video series on how to start juggling and do a number of neat tricks.
- You'll probably also want to know how to recover from a drop during a juggling act.
- How to put together a great act and make money busking.
- Videos on how to apply mime and clown make up and how to mime.
- And last but not least: how to eat fire.
- And some other interesting resources:
- Busking World
- Street Arts and Buskers advocates
Getting started acting can be a bit daunting, but it is a fascinating, wonderful world. Here are some ways to get started.
- Join a theatre troupe
- Take an improv (improvisation) class
- Try writing your own play or screenplay
- Audition for a play, commercial, movie or musical in your town
- Take theatre classes (in theatrical sword fighting, speaking with an accent, dancing, choreography, scene studies, cold reading and so on)
- This is a really cool site on getting yourself set up as an actor or actress, including all the things you might need (headshots, classes, resume etc.)
- Tips on how to get a great headshot
- Or maybe you want to direct a play
- A video of Sir Ian McKellen "On Acting"
- 50 great acting quotes
- A video playlist of acting inspiration featuring actors giving lessons and talking about their techniques.
- 8 steps for acting on inspiration including such gems as "Don't wait too long to take action towards something that inspires you."
Historical, fantastical and habitat diorama projects
Making a diorama is kind of like making a historical or natural painting. You imagine what a specific moment in time was like, freeze it, and create your piece. The idea is that the scene looks like it was in motion: and you just stopped time to look at it more closely.
Some people make dioramas of battle scenes, ecosystems or biomes, city life, country life, animals in the wild, picturesque or culturally relevant scenes. Here you can see some artistic and amazing dioramas in museums. Anything that would make a neat landscape style image would make an even cooler diorama.
If you are especially interested in book publishing, you could create a diorama of a printing press workshop. If you are interested in boats, you could create a dock diorama complete with fishing boats, yachts and crab fishers. If you like kung fu movies, create a diorama of one of your favourite scenes, with characters posed on rooftops or a bamboo forest. Or make a scene from your favourite book! You see? The options are endless!
Many people think of dioramas as being miniature, but they could be any size! Consider all the neat dioramas you see in museums.
An easy way to make a diorama with kids and really simple materials is to build inside of a shoebox on its side. This makes a great class project. Consider ocean dioramas, desert dioramas, or dioramas of your own home! You can also buy a kit and arrange everything as you please (or add extra pieces!)
If your diorama is looked at from only one angle, using 2D figures (made out of paper, cardstock or cardboard) would be fine. Here's a quick tutorial on how to make paper characters. If your diorama is going to be looked at from overhead or side angles, you'll want to make or purchase 3D figures. Here is a gallery of figures someone made, it's incredible to think that these are all handmade! Here are some posts about diorama buildings.And of course, there're all kinds of super exciting features to add, like realistic water, snow or even a chain link fence.
Keep in mind that you can literally break out of the box with this hobby. Don't limit yourself to using wood platforms or creating realistic dioramas. Consider using unusual objects for bases or creating a fantasy or abstract art diorama.
Sketching, doodling, cartooning, scribbling
This is one of the most portable hobbies in the world. All you need is a writing tool. You don't necessarily even need a writing surface because you might find one while you're out and about! This is a hobby you can do while traveling, while on the phone, while at school (you will look like you are taking notes!), or during focused art time.
If you're like me you are probably a bit intimidated to start drawing, so here are some ideas and tutorials to get started with this artsy hobby:
- Drawingspace.com: an amazing resource with ALL the basics, and how to do particular styles, like cartoons, animals, faces, fantasy and more.
- Step by step drawing guides for kids.
- How to draw fabric folds
- Try looking up art projects or drawing projects on Pinterest for tutorials or ideas for drawing projects
- Try out one of these 50 tutorials of traditional drawing.
This guy does some great drawing tutorials
Musical Instruments and Music making
Learn a new instrument or musical skill
Think you can't learn a musical instrument late in life or that doing so will take too much time? Wrong and wrong!
While learning a new instrument does take time and commitment, you will be surprised at how much progress you can make in a short amount of time. Learning a new instrument is like learning a new language, so it’s especially good for adults because it helps create new synapses in the brain -- which coincidentally helps to stave off memory diseases later in life.
So where to start learning a new instrument or musical technique (such as mixing music)? The best thing, if you can afford it, is to get a teacher. A teacher will both help you improve much quickly than if you try to teach yourself. A teacher will also keep you committed to practicing, which can lose its appeal pretty quickly, especially in the first few weeks of learning a new instrument.
But there are other options too. Try searching for "teach yourself" books at your local music store. You can also look for tutorials online, such as video tutorials on youtube.
Here are a few tutorials to get started:
Here are a couple of other resources:
Paper folding and paper sculptures
This is a great indoor, rainy day type of hobby that can be done with kids ages 7 and up.
Pure Origami is using one sheet of paper, using no cuts and no glue, and using no assistance other than your hands (not even putting it down on a table). But if you are not interested in being a purist, then you can use whatever extra bits you like to make a beautiful, intricate creation.
Origami satisfies all sorts of people because it is not only an artistic creation but a mathematical one. One of the current most famous origami experts is Robert Lang, and his Ted Talk about the magical science behind origami is pretty cool.
As you become more skilled, you will be able to make up fold sequences so you can create something without requiring directions. But until then, here are some directions/tutorials on how to make some cool origami things. Some of them have the lines on the paper (you could print them out) as guidelines, some of them you can use a regular sheet of paper or the specialized origami paper, which is thinner and better for folding.
A tip for making tiny folds with origami: if you find your hands are too big you can use a toothpick or a paper clip (gently, so as not to poke a hole) to straighten out the corners or even do the whole fold.
- Kids: Boat
- Kids: Owl
- Beginner: Crane
- Beginner: Rose
- Beginner: Fall leaves
- Intermediate: Mini book
- Intermediate: Dragon
- Intermediate: Cradle
- Advanced: Scorpion (7 video playlist!)
- Origami with dollar bills
- Bouquets with many types of flowers
Uses for Origami
- Wedding bouquet
- Storage boxes and baskets (tiny and larger)
- Paper bag
- Gift wrap (gift box or bag and decorations)
- Flag markers (like for place settings or mini banners)
- Paper dolls and doll clothes
- Cellphone stand
- Paper lanterns
And below you can flip through for some origami inspiration of amazing projects others have made.
Origami and Papercutting Inspiration GalleryClick thumbnail to view full-size
Pottery, Ceramics and Plaster
I didn't want to list this one for a while because I was afraid at how difficult it seemed. It turns out, though, that there are many, many ways of creating pottery and ceramics other than the typical fancy throwing wheel and enormous kiln.
Since it really depends on what type of pottery and ceramics you are interested in, it's worth taking a look at some of the options.
Painting on Already-Made Sculptures/Ceramics
This is something I have actually done before, and the main thing you need to know is to use a sealer of some kind before painting, as plaster is very porous, and your paint soaks right in. You can use something as simple as a mix of white glue and water or a commercially available product if you want something a bit sturdier.
You can also look for a ceramic piece to paint. This is a great thing to do with, say, a thrift store find that you want to redo to match your dishware or make a personal gift for someone. Use this gloss enamel paint. This blog post has a beautiful tutorial with pictures.Then you can embellish with either a very fine brush or these great little porcelain and ceramic paint pens. A project to consider with this is painting on ceramic tiles which you could then use as coasters or put into the kitchen or bathroom wall.
Creating Your Own Pieces without a Kiln
You can make your own piece with oven bake, air dry, or polymer clay
Polymer clay seems to be in having a heyday! It can be a bit finicky because it needs to be a fairly thin piece of clay so it doesn't burn the outside and leave the inside uncooked. But there are so many amazing projects you can do with this stuff.
The Essential Guide to Mold Making & Slip Casting
- Slipcasting is great for making multiples, or for making an object that's hollow on the inside (like a vase). This Instructables article tells you all about how to do it
- And then check out these amazing bowls made by slipcasting copies of real fruit and vegetables.
Creating Pottery and Ceramics With a Kiln AND Alternatives to Kilns
Handbuilding and Using a Kiln
- Other than needing a kiln, handbuilding is a fairly easy one to get started on because all you need is standard clay ($6-10 per 25 lb. bag).
- But the thing is you need a kiln. If you don't want to invest in one, I can completely understand why (they can cost around $700 for a tiny one!). If you do want to invest in a kiln, be sure to check out this list of things to understand and keep in mind when selecting a kiln. Happily, there are also alternatives to kilns (see below) and there are ways to borrow someone else's kiln. The best way is to find other potters, and a good article on how to do so can be found here. You could always post on a local forum such as Craigslist and ask if anyone has a kiln/pottery studio you could use.
- If you have never seen someone throwing pottery on a wheel, you should definitely check out a video (I like this one because there's no commentary), it is a beautiful, mesmerizing process that looks magical, gentle and like a vessel is growing right in the potter's hands.
- What does throwing on the potter's wheel mean? It sounds funny to the layman when you see it is literally called "throwing a vase" but it doesn't mean a vigourous, foreceful movement. It's precise and delicate. Here's another great pottery resource.
Sewing, knitting, crocheting, embroidering and so on have seen a huge revival with the DIY revolution. There are so many amazing projects and tutorials on the web that it is almost impossible to know where to begin.
Consider starting small with a lap blanket or tea towel, and then move up to clothing and curtains and other home and personal accessories.
One of my favourite sites for these amazing DIY projects is Threadbanger. They post awesome videos and tutorials and even patterns on how to do their projects. Instructables is another great site with very basic demonstrations and tutorials on how to make a simple straight stitch, for example. If you aren't sewing by hand, you'll need to learn how to use a sewing machine.
Once you have a few items made you might want to consider selling them! Etsy is an amazing site featuring homemade products. Start up a shop for free and start selling your items nationally or internationally! Some people have quit their jobs and become full-time Etsy sellers doing what they love!
One of the best parts about sewing and thread crafts is getting to choose your materials. It's addicting once you start collecting materials; you start feeling like a kid in a candy store when browsing all the options!
Many styles, many methods, and very portable
It hardly seems fair to lump painting together as one hobby, since really it is a category of hobbies. Watercolour painting is done with pigments in water. You can paint on a variety of media, including paper, papyrus, bark papers, plastics, vellum or leather, fabric, wood, and canvas.
Hobbyists often enjoy making watercolor journals. These can be used on car trips, in waiting rooms, in the park, and so on. You can make a small travel case that has a few pigments, a small container of water, some paper, a brush or two, and a pencil.
This is a pretty low-cost hobby, but it can be beneficial to get some training, whether just looking in a book, or taking a class. Learning some watercolour techniques can be very helpful and prevent you from getting discouraged.
Carpentry, woodcarving, building, etc.
Woodworking is a satisfying and creative hobby that people of all ages can do. It's a great activity for adults to work on with children, even, and can turn into a lifeskill or even a career! I just built a bench, thanks to an awesome youtube video I found. It's easy and amazingly satisfying to build and create with wood.
It may seem like this hobby is too complicated for most people: NOT TRUE! Check out these resources below, and be sure to watch the video to see just how easy it is to get started. Keep in mind that the most expensive part of any hobby is the start up cost, so you might be squeamish now, but just think that it doesn't stay that expensive. Once you have your main tools, everything is much cheaper.
Self-publish a mini magazine
Zines are often made based around a particular theme, such as poetry, activism, art, and is often done collaboratively with a group of friends or people of similar interests. It's a great project if you're looking for a creative hobby. Many zines are non-profit, but you can always try selling them online or at a local bookstore or cafe, or just hand them to people.
Here's my favourite zine site, We Make Zines. It's full of forums, tips, ideas, and ways to promote your zine. There are videos and zine events listed there too!
Don't be put off by the cut and paste look of a lot of zines. There are plenty of more professional looking zines, but you can also have it look as scrappy as you want. There's a zine culture going for that kind of look, but find your own niche!
Hours of fun from the comfort of your own home.
An online journal or personal website
Blogging (derived from "web logging") refers to a way of writing online for an audience that includes pictures, video, and other forms of media. Your entries can be as short or as long as you like, and you can keep your site private or public.
Here are three popular free blogging website hosts (they have ready-made templates):
Many blogs have a consistent theme so that their posts don't become long tangents or full of overly personal details that are no fun for others to read.
Here's a list of possible themes for your blog:
- your preferred hobby (cooking, writing, comics etc.)
- Three daily gratitudes
- a photo a day
- how-to guides
- product reviews based on your area of expertise
- a bucket list
- It can be hard to come up with a blog title, too. Here are some ways to create a thoughtful, catchy blog name.
And you may want to consider trying to monetize your blog. You can easily make money off of your blog by using ads, having sponsored posts, using affiliate programs and more. Check out these tips for monetizing your personal site.
In order to find people to read your blog -- if it's a public one -- you will want to gain some skills in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), link building, back-linking, and other methods of promoting your work. It's a great idea to read a book about these subjects, at least leaf through one of these options. You might find your personal blog has turned into a nice little side business!
Start your own or find a book club
Reading can be way more dynamic and interesting if you have the opportunity to share the reading experience with others. Interpreting fiction through other lenses, discussing cultural and social issues and developing friendships are all perks of discussing literature with others. There are book clubs that have specific parameters, such as pop-fiction, classics, religious non-fiction, business books, etc. You can look for a book club that has already started, or you can start your own. Here are some resources for both:
Starting your own:
You might want to set up some guidelines for the book club, or not! It depends on what your goals are. Maybe you're specifically interested in historical fiction or self-help books. Then again, maybe you'd like to just go with the flow of what your members want to read. You also need to decide if you want to be specific about the type of people that you will welcome into the club. Is it a club mainly for women, young parents, seniors, religious people?
Some possible themes/demographics are:
- Cookbook club (and then you'd cook together of course!)
- Manga or comic books
- Award winners (try looking up some national and international awards and then check which books won last year)
- Books from a particular language (i.e.,. Russian translations such as The Brothers Karamazov)
- Science Fiction
- Short stories
- Military wives book club
- Seniors book club
- Young parents
- Oprah's Book Club (Based on Oprah's recommendations and with questions and answers for your club)
- Daughters of Abraham Interfaith Book Group (international book club for women based on the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. You can find a local chapter or start your own.)
Choose some books:
It's a good idea to have a few books in mind for upcoming meetings so that the energy in the group doesn't dissipate, and everyone loses interest. Try referring to some of these book lists for interesting book club reads.
Now you have to market your book club. Tell your friends and invite them over for an informal version, get the word spread out as you start hosting less formal book clubs. Eventually, you will have some regulars who will invite their friends, who will in turn invite their friends! If you don't have enough people in your immediate circle of friends, leave your information at a few libraries and bookstores, perhaps printed on a little flyer, something like
"So and So's Book club, meeting monthly to talk about American fiction. For details email SoandSo@gmail.com."
You can also leave a flyer like that at a church, city hall, recreation centre, university or school, even your local sports centre or yoga studio! There are also ways you can find people online, such as those listed below.
Finding and joining one:
Depending on your demographic, you might be able to find a book club through an organization or institution you are already a part of. Students can find book clubs through their student society at their university (there is probably a student society website you can browse). Local libraries often have book clubs for different age groups, such as children, moms, business people, seniors. Even if you are not a student, getting in touch with a nearby university or college can connect you with adult groups: many people that join university activities are alumni or simply community members! A religious organization such as a church or temple often can connect you with bookclubs. Try emailing the priest or religious leader or contacting the secretary.
You can also find bookclubs online:
- MeetUp.Com Can help you find a local book club meeting, as well as other social clubs.
- MyBookClub.com can help you find or form a book club online or in person.
- BookClubBuddy.com is mainly an online resource, but you might be able to connect up with others in person.
- Globe and Mail Online book club this is one of many online book clubs in which there are live online discussions as the book club goes through the course of reading some pre-selected, voted on books.
- Oprah's BookClub is much like the above.
Researching your family tree
Uncovering your family's past can reveal all sorts of interesting facts and make you feel more connected to your history. It can also be exciting to discover similarities in names, careers, and personality traits across your family’s history. You can also find interesting distant relatives that are alive today, and maybe hunt them down and take them out for brunch!
It can be an overwhelming task to start if no one in your family has been keeping records. Fortunately, interest in genealogy has been something of a fad for a number of years now. So although someone in your immediate family might not have been taking note, it's very possible that someone less directly related to you has.
Which brings us to your biggest source of resources: the Internet. There's no longer any need to spend hours in libraries or to hunt down death certificates in other city's records. Some genealogy sites have already done a lot of the grunt work for you and have formatted the information in easy to use programs. Many are free to browse, but might require a membership to add information. Online family trees can even show how your relatives were related to celebrities or popular figures or even your friends.
Once you have an online family tree, share it with your family so they can add any information they know about and include their own relevant personal details. Be aware that much of the information you put up there will be available for anyone to see, so if for any reason you need to keep particulars private, err on the safe side and don't make it public or put it up at all. While half the fun of doing genealogical research is finding all these personal stories, the stories are just that: personal.
You might also want to look for certain records, such as census reports, land titles, and so on. Much of this can be done online! You can even find some of these records on Amazon for free in e-formats, or in physical formats.
A lifestyle hobby
This might not sound exactly like a hobby, but it sure is a lifestyle choice that can turn your whole life into a hobby. There are also sorts of projects you can do to live a more minimalist life, including:
- change to simple decorations and furniture (declutter, naturally)
- stop using things like a wallet, a watch, a phone...
- pare down your wardrobe (this is a pretty popular one, make a goal like only 20 or 10 items). Here's another example.
- the 100 things challenge (pare your possessions down to 100 things).
- make as many things digital (and not physical) as possible, such as files, photos, CDs and DVDs, etc.
Technology doesn’t have to make us boring, passive consumers. Instead, it can help us create awesome, fun things!
Digital Design and Coding
And other computer development hobbies
Do you know how the internet works or why websites look the way they do? It can be incredibly satisfying to create a program or design some graphics that look just like the "real" programs and graphics you see elsewhere. Try your hand at programming and hacking! There are plenty of free resources to learn how to do these things, not to mention all the online courses, tutors, or community college classes you could explore.
Here are some of the things you can learn to do:
- Learn digital design with these free videos and the free graphic design program Inkscape
- Learn to code with Code Academy, a free interactive online program (quite entertaining and easy to use)
- Make a website
- Make a web application from scratch with no experience
- Build a computer with this handy DIY and list of tools.
- 6 ways to become a hacker
Hobby Electronics and Engineering
Creating things with electric technology
Here are some easy electronics projects:
Here are some easy electronics projects:
- How to make a robot with easy to follow instructions, a video tutorial and list of materials
- A clock powered by fruit
- A portable mini lie detector in an Altoids tin
- A solar powered USB charger in an Altoids tin
This is another pretty enormous category. Here are some popular hobbies and other resources in this field to help you explore them further:
- How to build your own quadrocopter
- An electronics distributor with hobby kits and parts
- Solar power projects
- Radio controlled aircraft, cars, boats, etc.
- A variety of simple projects
Some equipment you might need:
- An Arduino
- Pressure sensors
- An RC vehicle battery
- A universal battery charger
If you are a woman, don't let yourself be intimidated by the apparent masculinity of this field. Go out there and take some names of your own! Don't forget to check out some books on these projects. You'll be amazed at the things you can create by yourself!
Short Films or Vlogging
Video logging and Homemade Cinema
Vlogging, derived from "video logging," is a fairly new hobby similar to blogging. You pick a theme such as personal details about your life (like a video journal), or the news/politics, or humorous videos on the internet, or logging a particular activity you're working on (like losing weight or building something) and video it.
It might seem self-evident that you need a decent camera to make it bearable to watch, so I won't spend too long on that.
You could also make short films, either with friends or by yourself. You can enter a contest with your short film and check out other people's homemade short films at FilmFights.com. You'll also find ideas for your short film, or check out this thread for ways to come up with ideas for your short film.
The top two things that make a good vlog or short film are good content (whether it's scripted or not) and good video editing.
Here are some helpful tools to get you rolling:
- How to start vlogging
- How to make a short film with no budget and questionable talent.
- The Five Deadly Sins of Amateur Video
- How to Capture Audio for Video
- Filmmaking Techniques: This awesome guide covers many topics, including angles, lighting, composition, white balance, etc.
Here are some of my favorite vloggers: