How to Help Your Kid Choose a Hobby | Minimalist Hobby Ideas for Kids

Nov 16, 2022 | Blog, Raising Kids

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My oldest daughter has always been really good about knowing exactly what she wanted to spend her time doing.

When she was 4 she wanted to learn to crochet. So we asked a friend who knew how to crochet if she would teach her. She brought over a bag of yarn and crochet needles, and our oldest has been making little bookmarks, necklaces, bracelets, and dolly blankets ever since.

When she was 5, she asked us if she could take violin lessons. So I found a teacher and she began to play.

And most recently on her 7th birthday she decided that she wanted to start making and selling homemade soap. So we figured out how to help her set up her little business, and off she went!

Our middle daughter, however, has not been as original with her ideas. When we ask her what she is interested in learning, what instrument she is interested in playing, or what business she would like to have someday; she responds, “Crocheting, violin lessons, and having a soap business.”

Recently, she had begun asking over and over again when she could start HER soap business. And I realized that I needed a plan.

I couldn’t have two competing soap businesses in my house. And I didn’t exactly feel like starting a business with my four-year-old (even starting a business with a seven-year-old is a lot of work for the parents).

But I did know that she needed SOMETHING that was hers. Something that she could spend her time on. Something that would give her some quality time with me and/or my husband.

That’s when it dawned on me, she didn’t need a business, she needed a hobby!

How to Know If Your Child Needs a Hobby

1) If they are bored.

If your child is following you around all of the time and not doing anything by themselves, then they probably need a hobby.

2) If your child is asking to spend more time with you.

This may seem like the opposite of what I just said, but hear me out.

I am home with my kids 24/7. Yet, one of my children was telling me that she needed and wanted to spend more time with me.

In our case, I think this is because we have a six month old so I spend a lot of time feeding and taking care of him. And my seven-year-old also has a lot of hobbies that she tends to get help with.

But my middle daughter didn’t have any designated time with me that was just on her own.

3) If they want to do anything and everything they see someone else do.

If every time you get together with friends and your child sees the cool things that they are doing and then immediately asks if they can do it too. That probably means that they don’t have something that they are excited about and they just want to copy someone else.

4) If they are spending too much time on media.

Outside of Facetiming with grandparents and the occasional educational YouTube video, our kids don’t get any screen time.

But I realized with my younger daughter right before we found a hobby for her, that she was asking A LOT to watch YouTube videos about topics she was interested in.

It wasn’t a big problem since she was learning, but I still don’t think that learning on a screen is as good as learning hands on.

If you are finding that all your child wants to do is watch other people live life on YouTube, play video games, or watch TV or Movies; help them find a hobby!

Three children are sitting on a sofa engrossed in a mobile phone, laptop and a tablet

5) If they don’t have anything to talk about with other people.

When friends or family would ask my older daughter what was going on in her life, she would have plenty to tell them about.

But my younger daughter mostly would focus on telling them about what she *wanted* to do (like starting a business like her sister).

We realized that she didn’t have anything that she was currently doing that she was passionate about. And we knew that needed to change.

Things to Look for When Choosing a Hobby

1) Something that is uniquely theirs.

Our entire family likes to go snow skiing in the winter and backpacking in the summer. Those are great hobbies that we all enjoy (my younger daughter’s Christmas list included a lot of backpacking gear), but this isn’t something that any of our kids can call their own.

I wanted the hobby my daughter picked to be something that she could grow with and take individual pride in.

2) Something that allows them to learn.

When I was looking at hobby ideas online, I realized that I wanted a hobby for my daughter that would allow her to learn a skill of some kind and help her grow.

This may not be important to everyone, but if my kids are spending a lot of time on something, I want it to be edifying.

Two children sitting outside under a tree with a scout field book and binoculars

3) Something that they can do on a weekly or daily basis.

Like I said before, backpacking and skiing are fun hobbies that get you outside… but they aren’t something that my child can do whenever they have free time.

They involve planning and someone else to drive them to where they need to go.

I wanted to help her find a hobby that she could do whenever the mood struck!

4) Something that won’t add needless clutter to your home.

And of course, as a Minimalist Mamma, I wanted to find a hobby that wasn’t just going to add a bunch of useless junk to my house. Now, useless junk is in the eye of the beholder, but for me, I didn’t just want collector hobbies or hobbies that were going have me storing a bunch of projects forever.

The thing I love about my daughter’s soap business, is that she sells the soaps. So we have a little bit more soap making supplies than we previously did, but we don’t just have tons of soap sitting around our house with no purpose.

5) Do they want to be able to give gifts?

My daughters LOVE giving gifts. They especially love giving gifts when they have made them.

One of the things that was frustrating my middle daughter was that she wanted to give gifts to people like my older daughter was with her soaps. The problem was that she wasn’t quite good enough at crocheting to give a nice gift to someone.

So this was another thing I was looking for when helping her choose a hobby, something where she could make things that could be used as gifts.

Plus, when they are giving their finished products away as gifts, you aren’t trying to store them forever… see what I did there 😜.

Two kids dying eggs

How to Choose a Hobby

1) Look at What they Already Enjoy

The easiest way to find a hobby for your child is to find something that they already enjoy and expand on it to make it more of a hobby.

With my daughter, she had recently been asking to water color every time she had the chance.

So I put this on her list of possible hobby ideas (since I didn’t know if she actually loved water coloring, or if that’s just what she was doing because she didn’t have anything better to do.)

2) Do Some Research

If they already have something that they love that they would like to expand into a full hobby, do some research about how to do that.

If they don’t already have something that they would like to do more often, do some research for hobby ideas.

Now when you start the research journey, I highly recommend doing this without the child looking over your shoulder. There are a lot of hobbies regarding collecting this, that, or the other thing. But this Minimalist Mamma wasn’t a fan of those hobbies and I wouldn’t have wanted my daughter to get excited about them when I didn’t want her doing them in the first place.

Here is a list of Minimalist Hobby Ideas for your child:

  1. Cooking
  2. Baking
  3. Making backpacking food from scratch
  4. Gardening
  5. Painting
  6. Watercoloring
  7. Drawing
  8. Woodworking
  9. Photography
  10. Music Lessons
  11. Crocheting
  12. Knitting
  13. Finger Knitting
  14. Sewing
  15. Nature Watching
  16. Astronomy
  17. Meteorology
  18. Reading
  19. Puzzles
  20. Cycling

3) Let Them Choose

After I compiled my list of hobbies that I was okay for her to choose, I told my daughter that instead of starting a business we were going to pick a hobby.

She is four so she had no idea what that meant. But as soon as I explained it to her, she was stoked!

I read her the list of hobbies, and she seemed mildly excited about all of them. But when I got to the hobbies that she was very interested in, her eyes lit up and she said “OH I WANT TO DO THAT!!”

So every time she did that, I would write down the item on another list that we could narrow down from there.

Her short list included:

  1. Making Backpacking Food
  2. Music lessons with Mommy
  3. Woodworking
  4. Watercoloring
  5. And Crocheting/Finger Knitting
A mother and grandmother teaching their daughter to knit.

4) Get the Supplies and Get Started!

The last thing is just to gather any supplies that you need and get started! On the list above I linked the supplies that you may want to get for each hobby.

I hope this list helped you choose a hobby for your kids.

Hobbies are so great for kids because they not only give them something to do with their spare time, but they also give them skills that will last for their whole life.

Even if the hobby that you choose isn’t the one that will be their hobby forever, it will still teach them how to learn something new and how to get better at a task. And those things can be applied to any situation!

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