[Photo by Kelly Roselle]
When I was young, activities such as stamp-collecting, gravestone-rubbing and playing with train sets were still considered to be respectable children’s hobbies.
Today, these childish pursuits seem to be a little out-dated but many other hobbies seem eternally popular throughout the ages.
You’ll find a few of them listed below – together with some more modern ones.
1. Playing a musical instrument
Developing a musical proficiency on an instrument is something millions of regretful adults wish they had done; it’s why so many of us try and encourage our kids to attend music lessons. Playing an instrument can while away happy hours either on your own or with a group of friends and it could always lead to musical stardom!
According to an Abbey National survey conducted in 2002, 51 per cent of British boys aged five to sixteen and 49 per cent of girls in the same age group count swimming as their favourite hobby. This makes swimming the most popular UK hobby for kids. It’s a sport which uses many of the body’s muscles and with Britain’s beaches becoming cleaner and cleaner it’s a hobby which can prove surprisingly cheap in the summer.
3. Martial arts
Films like Kung Fu Panda and The Karate Kid (a 2010 remake of the 1984 film) haven’t really reawakened younger generations’ interest in martial arts – it’s always been there.
Naturally parents will worry that martial arts might encourage negative aggression in their kids. However, most martial arts concentrate on self-defence. Aikido is one of them – this discipline focuses on re-directing an attacker’s force.
When children are young they are less self-conscious and more willing to explore new hobbies. Dancing is a case in point – how many adults, especially men, would happily try a ballet lesson? What a shame that pride gets in the way of us grown-ups trying new things – let kids enjoy fantastic activities before social embarrassment kicks in.
Many collectible children’s items cost a good deal of money – for instance, filling a book with football stickers is more about how much you spend rather than using any skill.
However, collecting does encourage kids to develop organisational skills. Bear in mind too that many things such as conkers and sea shells are free to collect and can lead to great art.
Thank God that most drama teachers ignore comedian W.C. Fields’ advice to “never work with children or animals”. Many children come to life on the stage. That shy kid who hovers around the edge of the playground can really come into their own under the spotlight. Drama is a great way for kids to develop memory skills through learning scripts and picking up the ability to improvise in front of an audience is a great life skill to have.
Most of the subjects kids learn at school are exact sciences – for instance mathematics sums only have one correct answer. But art is something which encourages freedom of thought – it’s why it’s one of the few school subjects which can also be classified as a hobby.
Encourage your children to make great art and make sure that they can enjoy art throughout their life and not just during their school days!