Healthy Hobbies to Encourage in Your Adolescent

As you know, there are a lot of hobbies that your teen might take up that you find less than optimal. There are potentially dangerous hobbies, like partying or simply hanging out with the wrong crowd. Then there are hobbies that entail a lot of sitting-around time, such as video games. By introducing your teenager to different types of activities, you might spark his or her interest in a hobby that they hadn’t really considered before. Take a look at this list of healthy hobbies that your teen might be interested in, and see if you can talk him or her into giving one or more of them a try. Both you and your adolescent might be surprised at what they find fun!

Physical Hobbies

If your teen is not involved in an extracurricular sport, you might be concerned about how to help him or her be more active. Exercising is something that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. Teens should be getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, and more is better. If your adolescent is not one to decide to go for a run or join the soccer team, encouraging a physical hobby might be just the thing to inspire him or her to incorporate more movement into their daily routine.

Sports are a great hobby, of course. If your teen isn’t interested, there are many other healthy hobbies that will promote exercise. A dance class can be fun and is great for teens who would like to participate in a year-end recital. If ballet, tap or jazz is not your teen’s thing, ballroom dance is also a great way to stay active and, if desired, compete for prizes. Does your teen like hanging out in the backyard? Research different types of gardening techniques and encourage your teen to handle the landscaping. Mowing, planting, raking, and, if they plant vegetables, harvesting are good ways to stay active and make your property more beautiful. Other physical hobbies for teens might include:

  • Horseback riding
  • Kayaking
  • Stand up paddleboarding
  • Hiking
  • Skateboarding
  • Rockclimbing

Intellectual Hobbies

Does your teenager like spending time looking at a computer screen or reading? While these are not bad hobbies to have, he or she might enjoy being challenged with something further. Maybe your child would like to learn how to develop or design websites or write a blog. Coding and learning different computer languages is a good way to keep the mind active while having fun, if your teen is into that type of thing.

Aside from computer languages, your teen might enjoy learning to communicate in a foreign language. Some people are gifted with the ability to learn languages easily, and your teen might be able to become fluent in different tongues. Not only does this look great on a college application, but it also expands your teen’s mind. It might even prompt a hobby in world travel, which can bring all sorts of benefits to his or her life.

Artsy Hobbies

Does your teenager like writing poetry or drawing pictures? Artsy teens often find their own hobbies and may have a bedroom full of art supplies, but expanding their horizons can be a good thing, too. Maybe your artistic teenager would like to try his or her hand at designing clothing or learning how to use a computer for animation. Some artsy teens also love writing music, creating movies, taking photographs, or acting in theatrical performances. There might be options for pursuing these hobbies at your child’s high school; ask the guidance counselor for ideas for classes or after-school activities that will allow your teen to learn more without spending a lot of money on classes or high-end equipment.

Hobbies That Help Others

Another type of hobby that many teens enjoy is volunteering. There are so many different type of volunteer opportunities that there is sure to be something available that appeals to your teen. A teen who loves building things might enjoy helping to build homes with Habitat for Humanity. A young person who loves animals might love volunteering at the local animal shelter or humane society. If your teen likes spending time with young children, volunteering at a church nursery might be right up his or her alley.

Talk to your teen about the benefits of volunteering. It can raise your teen’s self esteem and help him or her make more friends in addition to providing a needed service in your community. Since volunteer hours are sometimes needed for high school graduation, start looking into the various opportunities available before or during your teen’s freshman year, if possible.

Offbeat Hobbies

Of course, there are plenty of healthy hobbies that don’t fall under any of these categories. Your teen might enjoy birdwatching or stamp-collecting. They might enjoy learning to make pies or pastries and spend hours perfecting their cake-decorating techniques. Your teen might want to learn calligraphy or how to do tattoos. Some teens like to go antiquing or letterboxing. There is a world of opportunity out there, and it’s very likely that your teen might become passionate about something that you have never even considered.

Making the Suggestions

You might find it difficult to suggest healthy hobbies to your teen, partially because he or she might be likely to discount your ideas. Your teen might think that anything suggested by a parent is uncool or not very fun. One way around this is to see if another adult would be willing to talk up the benefits of their own hobby. Sometimes an uncle or the parent of a friend can inspire a teen to try something new. Another is to casually leave a flyer from the community theater or a brochure about a web design class laying around on the kitchen table or near your teen’s backpack. Sometimes, simply insisting that your teen try something will work. You know your child best, so do what you think is most likely to spark an interest.

Helping your child find a hobby that he or she enjoys not only keeps your teen occupied, but it can also help them to feel better about themselves, make new friends, and enjoy the feeling of mastering a new skill. In some cases, a teenage hobby can lead to scholarships or prizes. Talk to your teen about his or her interests and help him try to find a way to channel them into healthy hobbies.

Further Reading