Finding fun and engaging hobbies for kids can seem like a challenge, but activities that tap into their interests and let them learn new skills are one of the best ways to foster their development.
The right hobbies will provide enjoyment and fulfillment, while also keeping them productively occupied.
With a wide range of options, there are fun hobbies for kids of all ages and personalities. The key is matching their stage of development with activities that present just the right level of difficulty and engagement.
Developmentally Appropriate Hobbies for Different Age Groups
The fun hobbies you choose for your kids will vary greatly depending on their age and abilities. Learning-based, creative pastimes tend to work well for younger kids, while older kids will enjoy more complex activities that let them dive deeper into a passion.
Here is an overview of hobbies that are engaging, educational, or just plain fun for kids in different age groups:
Fun Hobbies for Preschoolers (Ages 3-5)
Preschoolers have short attention spans but love being active and exploring. At this age, it’s all about learning through play.
- Arts and crafts – Finger painting, play dough sculptures, collages
- Dress up and pretend play – Playhouse, have a tea party
- Outdoor play – Playgrounds, nature walks, bean bag tosses
- Building toys – Wooden blocks, LEGO Duplo
- Looking at picture books
- Listening to music and dancing
- Science kits for preschoolers – Mix colors, make “slime”
Best Hobbies for Elementary School Kids (Ages 6-10)
Elementary schoolers can focus for longer periods and start developing interests they’ll pursue long-term. Offer guidance but let them take the lead in choosing activities.
- Arts and crafts – Drawing, painting, sculpting with clay
- Cooking and baking – Make cookies, healthy snacks
- Sports – Soccer, basketball, tennis, gymnastics
- Building toys – LEGO sets, modeling clay
- Board games and puzzles
- Card collecting and trading – Pokémon, sports cards
- Reading books independently
- Science kits and experiments
- Gardening – Plant seeds, care for plants
- Learning a musical instrument – Recorder, guitar, piano
- Photography – Digital cameras allow instant feedback
Best Hobbies for Middle Schoolers (Ages 11-13)
In the tween and early teen years, middle schoolers start figuring out their own identities. Hobbies that allow self-expression, social interaction, and independence are ideal.
- Creative writing – Stories, poetry, journaling
- Visual arts – Drawing, painting, sculpture
- Theater – School plays, improv, acting classes
- Photography and videography – Capture friends, events
- Cooking – Follow recipes, meal planning
- Learning an instrument – Guitar, drums, piano
- Joining school clubs – Yearbook, math club, robotics
- Coding, programming, and robotics
- Model building – Aircraft, cars, rockets
- Volunteering – Animal shelters, community service
Productive Hobbies for High Schoolers (Ages 14-18)
High schoolers can pursue more sophisticated hobbies aligned with future career interests. Self-directed activities teach responsibility.
- Learning code – Build an app or program
- STEM clubs – Robotics team, science olympiad
- School newspaper or literary magazine – Writing, editing
- Language clubs – Spanish, French, sign language
- Strategy and role-playing games – Dungeons & Dragons
- Making films – Scriptwriting, editing, visual effects
- Music – Form a band, compose songs
- Volunteer work – Tutoring, working with old people
- Job – Part-time work in a field of interest
Choosing Hobbies Based on Personality and Interests
Of course, age is not the only consideration when choosing activities for kids. Their natural talents, preferences, and emerging personality traits also come into play.
Kids attracted to the performing arts may thrive in dance, choir, or theater. Future engineers can flex their minds with LEGO robotics and coding. Budding naturalists will find fulfillment in hiking and observing wildlife.
Here is a sampling of hobbies that appeal to certain types of kids:
Hobbies for Active, Physical Kids
- Sports – Soccer, softball, skateboarding
- Bike riding
- Hiking and camping
- Roller skating or ice skating
- Horseback riding
- Martial arts
Hobbies for Social Butterflies
- Volunteering at animal shelters, hospitals, food banks
- Planning events as part of the student council
- Learning American Sign Language
- Playing multiplayer video games
- Joining hobby clubs at school or in the community
- Acting in plays
- Debate team
- Model United Nations
Hobbies for Creative Kids
- Drawing, painting, sculpting clay
- Making videos and films
- Learning an instrument – guitar, piano, drums
- Writing – stories, songs, poetry
- Fashion design
- Cooking and baking
- Sewing, knitting, and textile arts
- Dance – ballet, hip hop, tap
Hobbies for Bookworms
- Reading fiction and nonfiction
- Creative writing
- Starting a book club with friends
- Entering writing contests
- Building vocabulary through word games
- Learning about historical eras through historical fiction novels
- Writing and performing poetry slams
- Writing song lyrics
Hobbies for Analytical, Science-Minded Kids
- Coding games and programs
- Robotics club
- Amateur astronomy – observing stars and planets
- Chess club
- Entering science fairs
- Nature journaling
- Gardening – botany experiments
- Doing science experiments like making crystals
Hobbies for Nature Lovers
- Hiking and learning about native plants
- Stargazing and meteor-watching
- Fishing or fly fishing
- Keeping a nature journal
- Geology – collecting and polishing rocks
- Studying birds and birdwatching
- Fossil hunting
- Growing an indoor or outdoor garden – Nature Photography
- Bug catching and pinning an insect collection
Hobbies for Collectors
- Stamp collecting
- Learning about historical eras through coin collecting
- Amassing Pokémon cards or sports cards
- Collecting and displaying minerals and crystals
- Antiques – vintage postcards, political pins
- Dolls and toys
Encouraging Healthy Screen Time Through Hobbies
In today’s digital era, it can be challenging to minimize recreational screen time for kids. However, some technology-based hobbies allow kids to develop worthy skills while scratching that gaming itch.
Parents can nurture interests like coding, robotics, and video production to shift screen time from passive consumption to active learning and creation. Kids gain confidence when they use technology to invent, produce, and share their unique projects.
Here are examples of screen-based hobbies that provide educational benefits:
- Coding interactive games, stories, and animations using Scratch or Python
- Building mobile apps to address issues kids care about
- Producing short films and videos to share on YouTube
- Creating digital art and graphic designs
- Mixing electronic music using Garageband
- Constructing robots and programming their behaviors
- Playing strategy games like Civilization and Age of Empires to understand history
- Using Minecraft to architect imaginative structures
Best Hobbies for Family Participation
One of the most rewarding ways to encourage new hobbies is to share activities that the whole family can enjoy together. Combining quality bonding time with learning creates cherished memories.
Most of the hobbies mentioned so far provide opportunities for intergenerational participation. Here are some additional examples of kid-friendly hobbies the entire family can do as a team:
|Family Hobby Ideas||Description|
|Cooking/Baking||Make recipes together, let kids take charge|
|Gardening||Each child cares for their garden bed/row|
|Camping||Roast marshmallows, hike, cook over fire|
|Game Nights||Play board games, engage in competition|
|Travel||Visit parks, museums, let kids plan|
|Exercise||Family bike rides, basketball, swimming|
|Volunteering||Serve at shelters, visit old people|
|Learn an instrument||Form a family band, each on a different instrument|
|Jigsaw puzzles||Complete on family game nights|
|Train a puppy||Walks, park trips, obedience classes|
Eclectic Hobby Suggestions for Endless Fun
To spark fresh hobby ideas, here is an eclectic sampler of additional activities kids may enjoy immersing themselves in:
|Eclectic Hobby Ideas||Description|
|Amateur astronomy||Gaze at stars through a telescope, learn about constellations|
|Magic tricks||Entertain with card tricks and illusions|
|Origami||Fold paper into intricate shapes and sculptures|
|Yo-yo tricks||Perform basic to advanced string maneuvers|
|Jewelry making||Design necklaces using beads, wire, found objects|
|Soap making||Create custom-scented soaps using natural ingredients|
|Woodworking||Make birdhouses, and toolboxes from scrap wood|
|Model rockets||Assemble and launch your rockets|
|Go-karting||Tinker on engines and race neighborhood friends|
|Beekeeping||Manage hives and harvest honey|
|Video game design||Build original games with creator software|
|Podcasting||Produce a show sharing opinions on music, games|
|Animation||Bring drawings and clay figures to life through stop-motion|
|Songwriting||Compose original tunes and lyrics|
|Stand-up comedy||Write jokes and practice comic timing|
|Whittling||Sculpt wood into shapes and objects|
The Benefits of Fostering Enriching Hobbies in Kids
Hobbies should never feel like “work” to kids. Still, the right activities provide a range of developmental, social, and emotional benefits.
Here are some of the key advantages of encouraging children to actively pursue hands-on hobbies aligned with their emerging interests:
- Develops specific skills and areas of expertise. With guided practice over time, skills progress.
- Provides a constructive outlet for energy and creativity.
- Builds self-esteem and sense of mastery as skills improve.
- Teaches responsibility, independence, and self-discipline.
- Reduces screen time and counters boredom and idle time.
- Promotes learning, curiosity, and active thinking.
- Allows self-expression and identity formation.
- Can uncover career interests and talent areas.
- Provides social opportunities through group lessons, and clubs.
- Fosters useful skills like collaboration, and communication.
- Builds resilience by persevering to master challenges.
- Creates lifelong enjoyment of learning new things.
A hobby takes on a deeper meaning when kids set goals for growth and tackle progressively harder challenges. Supporting them along the journey can profoundly impact development.
Tips for Encouraging Productive Hobbies
- Give kids space to choose their activities rather than pushing their interests.
- Be patient. Dropping and switching hobbies is normal until they find a fit.
- Start with short activity sessions and increase time as interest and skills grow.
- Be involved at the beginning to teach basics, then gradually let kids take charge.
- Link skills to kids’ talents/strengths to boost confidence and enthusiasm.
- Find local classes or clubs that provide skill-building lessons and mentors.
- Set aside a regular time for engaging in hobbies.
- Display kids’ hobby achievements in their rooms.
- Learn about potential hobbies together by reading books and watching how-to videos.
- Surprise kids with hobby supplies to spark excitement.
- Connect hobby to larger purpose or career options.
From science experiments to dance classes, hobbies provide a window into emerging talents, teach real-world skills, and form lifelong passions. Supporting the journey as interests wax and wane is key.
There is an enriching hobby out there for every child. By tapping into their natural abilities and giving them a nudge to challenge themselves creatively, the benefits of skills honed and passions ignited will last a lifetime. The memories made will be priceless.
FAQs about Fun and Fulfilling Hobbies for Kids of All Ages
What are the best children’s hobbies like?
The best hobbies for kids are fun, building life skills, tapping into interests, providing social interaction, teaching responsibility, and giving a sense of mastery. Good hobbies match the child’s age and development level.
What interests kids nowadays?
Today’s kids enjoy technology, creative arts, sports, hands-on projects, cause-driven activities, and exploring the outdoors. Interests vary greatly by age group.
At what age should kids start a hobby?
Kids can start simple hobbies like outdoor play and arts & crafts as toddlers. More committed hobbies often take hold in elementary school when attention spans lengthen.
Should every child have a hobby?
Yes, hobbies promote learning, self-esteem, and well-rounded development. They teach kids constructive skills and keep them engaged.
What hobbies are popular with children?
Sports, arts & crafts, video games, reading, LEGOs, and collecting are perennially popular. Interests come and go as kids age.
How to help your kids choose a hobby?
Expose kids to a wide range of activities, take cues from their talents and interests, provide needed supplies and instruction, and be patient as they find the right fit.