Wednesday, July 09, 2014

10 Nontraditional Summer Hobbies for Every Kid

Author: Mary Kremer

The summer is a time for exploring the world and searching out new hobbies. If you want to help your kids stay active and engaged this summer, here are ten non-traditional hobbies to try out!

10 Nontraditional image #11. Chalk Art!

Chalk art is the perfect hobby to develop in the summer, since you need a lot of sunny days and little rain to perfect your technique. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • You’ll need a box of pastel chalk. You can buy these at any art supply store or online, for about ten dollars for a box of twenty colors.
  • Practice copying images before you start creating your own art.
  • Pick one large focal point. When you’re first starting out, small details can be difficult. Focus on one large focal point and think big.
  • Work in layers. It’s easier to build up color if you start with a thin layer of chalk and build on that.

2. Gardening

10 Nontraditional image #3Gardening can be an exceptionally rewarding summer hobby for a kid. Give your child a corner of the garden or encourage him to start his own indoor herb garden. If it’s small enough, a small garden can be maintained in a window year round. All you need to get started is some soil and seeds. Your child can grow flowers or vegetables and herbs to eat!

3. Spray Paint Art

Okay, so you don’t want your kid out at night tagging local buildings. But still, exposure to street arts is a great way to draw your kid into contemporary art and artistic expression. To get your child started, supply her with some cardboard and spray paint and let her start exploring in a positive atmosphere. You may also want to travel to a nearby city together and find some examples of street art that embodies the local community. It’s everywhere!

4. Skateboarding

Skateboarding is another one of those activities you might be a little more hesitant about. Still, it’s great exercise. Plus, exploring and developing new skateboarding tricks can do wonders for kids with low self-esteem. Plus, they can wear a sweet helmet like this one.

5. Book Binding

If your child is particularly crafty or artistic, he or she may be interested in learning how to book bind. You can look up instructions on how to book bind or you can check out a couple of books from the library on the subject. The basic materials you’ll need are:

  • Thin wood for the cover and spine
  • Material to cover the binding
  • Paper (you can sew pages together or buy pads of paper)

6. Keeping Chickens

Keeping chickens is a good way for a child to earn a little extra money (who doesn’t love fresh, local eggs?), and learn how to responsibly care for an animal. While the initial costs (buying the chicken, creating a coop) might be a few hundred dollars, chickens are relatively cheap and easy to maintain afterwards.

7. Leatherworking

With a few basic tools, your child can learn how to make keychains, small purses and pouches, and even moccasins, gloves, and belts of pressed and painted leather. Find the beginning tools you need online.

8. Building Models

Building model cities, cars, planes, or ships can be a rewarding and creative process for a child. You can go all out on this hobby, but to start out, all you need is:

  • An x-acto knife
  • Some paints and small brushes
  • Glue
  • Cardboard or thin wood (you can use old cereal boxes)

You may need to help with the more difficult parts of this process, but the designing and most of the building can be done with little or no supervision, depending on the age of your child.

9. Bird Watching

10 Nontraditional image #2All you need for this is a good set of binoculars and some patience. But if your child is willing, he or she will likely be surprised by the variety of birds to be found during the summertime. Encourage your child to look through books to figure out which birds they have viewed in the wild. Your child can even sketch the birds he or she finds.

10. Martial Arts

Martial arts are a fun way to get active and develop discipline. Check out your local dojos. Many offer group classes to help keep the cost down.

If you’re willing to branch out, this summer can be a wonderful time for exploration and education. Think outside the box! A little bit of of that can equal a lot of fun for you and your kids!

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