20 hobbies you can teach (or learn with!) your child

When was the last time you learned something just for the fun of it? Can’t remember? You’re not alone. In our busy schedules as dads, it can be all too easy to fixate on what needs to get done. Even our kids, with all their needs, appointments, and activities, often become extensions of our to-do lists.

Firstly, kudos on making it all happen! Parenting isn’t easy. While teaching or learning new hobbies with your child might feel like adding yet another thing to do, think of it as just the opposite: rest.

Slowing down and spending special time with your child is just the kind of connection and confidence-building they crave. Research shows that it’s not just good for their health and development, but for you too.

Use these suggestions to help your child choose a hobby while thinking through their strengths, and what they are already interested in. Let them take the lead, try not to be too pushy to get them to try things, and stay patient with the process.

Try this at home

1. Cooking or Baking

Whether your child is a budding foodie, or already a wiz in the kitchen, there are recipes that you can learn together for all ages and stages. For example, breadmaking is an excellent starting hobby for sensory play through kneading dough for younger children. For many families, cooking can also be an excellent way for their child to learn more about their cultural heritage.

2. Sculpting

Sculpture-making is a rewarding fine motor activity that allows kids to bring their imagination into 3D creations. It can begin with Play-Doh as young as two years, progressing into air-dry clay and polymer (oven bake) clay by around 6 years old. Ceramic making using stoneware clay with a pottery wheel can usually begin by age 10.

3. Origami

This Japanese paper-folding art is not only great for building fine motor and critical thinking skills but is also budget-friendly. There are countless free teaching resources through videos and templates online, including easy beginner projects for pre-school age, to more advanced projects for older kids.

4. Woodworking

Woodworking is a great way to build a child’s motor skills, dexterity, and creative skills. From around 4 years old, you can carefully work with your child using actual tools and blocks of wood, although it’s a good idea to start slowly by introducing one skill and one tool at a time.


5. Gardening

This is a perfect one to start with even the littlest ones. Not does it involve getting your hands dirty, but lifelong skills and lessons for tending to plants and growing your own food. And if you don’t have a yard, you can find a community garden or scale down to pot plants inside or in an available outdoor area (like a balcony) at home.

6. Birdwatching

You might already have a young child who readily notices birds and imitates their sounds. Birdwatching or birding can be a wonderful way to nurture their curiosity, build their observational powers and connect with the natural world.

7. Stargazing

If you have a child with a strong curiosity for stars or outer space, this one is for you. Using a decent telescope on a clear night sky, your child can learn and identify different constellations and visible planets.

8. Fishing

This leisurely, relaxing activity teaches you and your child some great life skills as well as the art of patience, with plenty of time for bonding and chatting. While it may only take a few minutes reel in a fish once caught, it can take several hours or even the whole day to catch one.

Get moving

9. Hiking

Going on hiking trails can be a wonderful family hobby that can lead to more activities and learning like geocaching, scavenger hunting, and identifying plants and animals. With kids, it will be less about going from point A to B and more about exploring the trail and what is in it.

10. Biking

There are many ways to enjoy biking with your child, at any stage. Whether they are a ride-on passenger on a child bike seat, learning to ride with a balance bike or training wheels, or fully trained, biking together can be a whole lot of fun.

11. Martial arts

There are plenty of martial arts classes marketed separately to adults and kids. But did you know you can find martial arts family classes? Taking the time to learn martial arts together can be a more powerful experience that connects you and your child while building up confidence in both of you as you cheer each other on.

12. Dancing

Even if your child already goes to their own dance class, this still leaves plenty of other styles of dance you can teach, learn and practice together. Whether it’s dance fitness or learning hip hop choreography together from YouTube, dancing offers a great way for you and your kid to exercise and express yourself.

Inspire their inner artist

13. Playing an instrument

Teaching your child or learning to play a musical instrument together has enormous benefits. Studying music builds confidence, improves math, reading and memory skills and is generally associated with increased cognitive ability.

14. Singing

If your child is musically inclined, helping them learn how their voice is also an instrument through vocal training and proper technique can be hugely empowering and just as beneficial.

15. Painting

Children are drawn to painting, whether it’s water coloring, finger painting, or even painting on canvases. Whatever form of painting they choose, they can use this to relieve all kinds of stress, practice fine motor skills and for self-expression.

16. Photography

For older kids, photography can be a great hobby to nourish their creativity. Once you provide the camera, you can explore sites and surroundings together in search of photo subjects, while your child learns the skills and techniques into getting their perfect shot.

Get their brain firing

17. Learning another language

If your child shows an interest in another language, follow that up with structured learning. The benefits for brain development include boosting problem-solving, critical-thinking, and listening skills and improving memory, concentration, and the ability to multitask.

18. Board Games

Board games can teach our kids so many important skills, like communication, strategy, taking turns, teamwork, and following rules. From around age 3, you may be able to introduce some easy memory games. As your children get older, 2 player games or family game night could also be a fun tradition, way to bond and spend quality time together.

19. Chess

It’s debated whether Chess is considered more of a board game or a sport. Nonetheless, at every level of play, this classic game of strategy provides a stimulating challenge that boosts critical thinking and problem-solving. Even as young as age 4, children can start to learn the basics of chess pieces to develop memory skills.

20. Puzzles

Tailoring the difficulty level to your child’s age, puzzles are a great way to get lost in an activity together while combating passive screen time. They also boost spatial task performance, hand-eye coordination, and abstract thinking.