When we’re younger, hobbies are second nature—children always seem to have an endless stream of activities on the go just for the fun of it. But as we get older, it can be tricky to keep up a hobby alongside our family, work and social lives.
But hobbies aren’t just for kids. It’s important to make time for our interests, and there are lots of fun hobbies out there for us adults. What’s more, you won’t need to spend a small fortune or forego family time to do them.
If you’re looking for a little inspiration, keep reading—from arts and crafts to getting green-fingered, we’ve put together a list of hobbies for you to try at home.
Why are hobbies important?
Whatever age you are, hobbies are so important for lots of reasons. They’re a great way to relieve stress, they encourage us to learn new skills and face new challenges, they can improve our self-esteem, and they force us to think creatively too.
In short, hobbies are enriching. Whether you’re picking up a hobby you once loved or planning to try something completely new, they really can be great for our mental wellbeing.
New hobbies to try at home
If you fancy trying out a new hobby but don’t know where to begin, take a look at some of our favourite little ideas below…
Arts and crafts are one of the most popular hobbies for adults, and it’s easy to see why. A recent survey, carried out by BBC Arts and University College London, found that trying new creative activities is especially good for our mood and wellbeing – regardless of the skill level. Creative pursuits – like drawing, painting or jewellery making – were shown to reduce anxiety, improve self-esteem and encourage self-reflection or problem-solving.
If you’ve never really dabbled in arts and crafts before, it’s worth trying your hand at a couple of different activities. That way, you can find out what you really like doing, and go from there.
Today, it’s easier than ever to learn a new craft or work on your artistic skills. Arts and crafts supplies are readily available, and you’ll find plenty of tutorials online to help you get started.
2. Bake some sweet treats
What’s not to love about baking? It’s a great way to pass the time – and an excuse to eat cake!
But baking isn’t just about getting a sugar fix; it’s known to calm and focus the mind. It activates our senses too, which releases feel-good endorphins that boost our mood.
Baking for others can also help us to feel good about ourselves; we get a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing we’re bringing joy to our loved ones.
To take up baking as a hobby, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the right utensils. The more confident you become, the more baking and decorating tools you’re probably going to want, but beginners can get started with a wooden spoon, a mixing bowl, some baking tins and a set of scales.
3. Start writing
Writing can lift our mood and help us make sense of our experiences. Whether you’re writing about the day you’ve had or doing some fictional writing, simply putting words down on paper can work wonders for our mental health.
If you’re not used to writing for the sake of it, it can take some time to find your flow. Don’t put pressure on yourself to create a best-selling novel or award-winning script – it needs to feel like a hobby, not another job you need to get done. If you’re not sure how to get started, think about writing a diary or simply jotting down your thoughts. The important thing is just to set aside a bit of time each day to write a little – even if it’s just a few sentences.
We tend to think of DIY as a ‘one-off’ rather than a hobby but, in fact, it’s an ideal leisure activity.
Any DIY job requires your full attention, which has a calming effect (yes, even following all those instructions that make no sense!). And whenever you complete a DIY project in the home, you’ll get a real sense of satisfaction – especially when you think about the savings you’ve make on labour costs!
DIY jobs range from bigger projects – such as giving your kitchen a makeover or updating your living room – to small-scale ones, like upcycling old furniture. What you can do will of course depend on the time you have, and how confident you feel taking on the task. But remember, the more jobs you do, the broader your skill set will become – and the happier you’ll feel handling power tools or tiling a bathroom. Begin with something simple, like patching up paintwork or putting up a shelf, then work your way up to bigger projects.
5. Plant things in the garden
Gardening is an ideal hobby, and you don’t need a huge amount of outdoor space to do it. With the right gardening tools to hand, small gardens, patios and even balconies can flourish.
One study found that the bacteria in soil can prompt the release of serotonin; a ‘feel good’ chemical in the brain. And regular light exercise – including gardening – contributes to our physical wellbeing too.
But that’s not all—gardening is also good for the planet. Because plants take in Co2, gardens can actually reduce pollution in the air, and of course, gardens also attract wildlife, helping to look after the planet that way too. Plus, growing your own fruit and veg can help to reduce your carbon footprint too. So, it really is a win-win!
First, think about what you’d like to plant. Fancy growing something you can eat? Start with some seeds and bulbs for fruits and veg you like eating, (or even just some herbs on your windowsill). Want to add some colour to your outdoors space? Pick some easy-flowering plants for a beautiful vibrant touch you can be proud of.
If you’ve got the space, a greenhouse will offer protection from the elements, which will help your potted fruits and veg grow even stronger.
Vegetables can be planted in the ground but loads often do really well potted in containers or raised beds too if you struggle for space or don’t have good-quality soil. If you’re new to growing vegetables, it’s worth checking out some beginners’ guides to get started.
If you fancy doing something a little bit different in your spare time, why not give home brewing a go?
Strictly one for the adults, this fun hobby is a great way to impress your friends and family – whether you’re cracking open a bottle at your next BBQ or sending your homemade tipple as a gift.
Home wine making and home brewing kits usually contain the utensils you’ll need, and they’re ideal for anyone who’s never brewed their own beer or wine before. Depending on the type of kit you choose, you may also need to buy some additional home brewing supplies, such as brewing sugar, malt or a syphon pack. Home brewing isn’t an expensive pastime though; in fact, it’s a great way to make savings on grocery shopping!
You’ll find lots of beginners’ guides to home brewing online, which will provide you with the information you need to start making beer or wine at home.
7. Learn how to spot wild birds
Bird-watching is an outdoorsy hobby that can still be done at home.
You can easily attract wild birds into your garden by making it more appealing to our feathered friends. Think about creating nesting boxes and setting up bird feeders, or laying out nutritious fat balls. Birds will use trees and shrubs as natural shelter from predators too, so plant these wherever possible.
Once you notice that wild birds are visiting your garden, you’ll be able to start spotting different species. Learning how to spot wild birds doesn’t require a huge amount of equipment – in fact, you’ll be able to learn the basics with little more than a field guide. You may want to buy a pair of binoculars too, as well as a notepad, to jot down anything interesting you spot.
Birdsong is another good indicator of the species, so listen out for this when you can. The more you do it, the better you’ll become at noticing the subtle differences that separate them. And what could be a better way to relax than taking five to sit outside and just to listen to the sounds of birds?
And of course, you could always get the kids involved with this one too. Want to know how to spot wild birds – check out our simple Bird Spotting Guide.
8. Foster an animal
Looking after animals is known to relieve stress, but fostering an animal is beneficial in other ways too. It supports local animal shelters and contributes to the rehabilitation of rescued animals, so they can be rehomed more easily.
There are things you’ll need to consider before committing to being fosterer, though. Foster animals require proper affection and lots of attention. They may have been neglected in the past, so you’ll need to make sure you’re able to cope with this, and have the patience to handle warier animals. Shelters usually recommend that fosterers don’t have young children living at home, and some may not consider fosterers with other pets either.
As a fosterer, you’ll need to actively support the rehabilitation of any animal you’re looking after. Make sure you’ve got the pet supplies you need before they come home, and don’t scrimp on the cuddles or treats!
Of course, there are so many other types of hobbies out there and, as we’ve seen, almost any hobby can offer more than just entertainment. If you’re looking for a way to wind down, learn a new skill and improve your overall wellbeing, picking up a hobby is definitely one of the best ways to do it.
There’s no reason not to try out as many new hobbies as you can either. After all, you’ll need to get a taste of a few different activities to discover the ones that you really love.