According to many developmental studies, having a hobby as a child is a fun and beneficial way to not only increase self-esteem but also to discover new talents and skills without pressure. Crafts and hobbies can encourage a lifelong interest. President Franklin D. Roosevelt collected stamps his entire life. As a child, when he became paralyzed with polio in his late 30s and even when he was president, he spent time each day with stamps. They connected him to the world and engaged his creativity – he would sketch ideas for stamps and give them to the Postmaster General! If your child takes up a hobby, we can’t promise that he or she will end up as President of the United States, but it could happen!
Encouraging your child’s creativity
Some children are natural self-starters and will explore their own interests without too much prompting. They might head out into the park or garden and collect interesting stones, leaves and flowers, and lay out their treasures at home, building basic organizational skills. Other children might open up kitchen cupboards and pull out various ingredients, creating their own unique recipes which, whether edible or not, can give them a huge sense of accomplishment.
Other interests are often taken up after watching parents or caregivers partake in their own hobbies. Examples of these could include the following rewarding activities:
- Woodwork: Working with tangible objects is beneficial to brain development. This could be working with wood under the supervision of an adult. Woodworking helps a child become adept with tools, to understand the importance of measurement, and hand-eye coordination is improved and developed. A good way to encourage continued interest in woodwork is to allocate or give certain tools to a youngster (along with protective goggles). Adding a custom stick-on label to a specific tool or tool box, will develop feelings of ownership, and a continued investment of time and interest.
Many woodworking hobby projects are done in a group setting or workshop and having “my” tools with customized labeling makes sure the tools come back home after use.
· Knitting or crocheting: Another wonderful hobby for children is learning to knit or crochet. The process of beginning with a ball of yarn and needles to creating a finished item that’s completely different from the raw materials gives a warm feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. The fact that it may not be perfect adds to the charm! Many of our own parents kept our first efforts as keepsakes that come with loving memories. Creating a unique custom woven label which can be attached to the finished item, enhancing the sense of accomplishment and adding an extra special touch. For example, a custom fabric label that says “Handmade By” and the child’s name will bring back happy childhood memories when they are older.
- Gardening: Some researchers think that there is nothing better than getting children out digging in the dirt. There are numerous studies which demonstrate the therapeutic benefits of gardening. One such study showed that children who participate in gardening score higher in science achievement that those who don’t. With a small bed of dirt, or a large pot on a deck or patio, it is relatively easy to interest children in the outdoors. There is something magical in planting seeds, and exercising patience as you watch the results. In addition, it sparks questions about why plants need sun, why plants drink water, and what makes soil “good” for growing living things. Valuable lessons in healthy eating can be demonstrated by growing vegetables. Radishes are a great place to start since they produce something that can be eaten in just a few weeks.
Giving a child their own gardening supplies lends a more permanent feeling of ownership of the hobby. Custom labels can be attached to their own trowels, rakes, and watering can, and creates a valuable lesson in taking care of tools. A custom iron on label, with the child’s name printed on it, can be attached to fabric garden aprons and gloves, which can be proudly placed alongside the adult’s gardening kit.
One of the most exciting things about the hobbies we’ve listed here is that they are not electronic games. They are non-digital experiences that give children respite from excessive screen time. Hobbies, as they do for adults, give children a much needed break from their busy lives. With the right encouragement, hobbies will remain a fun and enjoyable part of their futures, and keep balance in their lives.