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Being able to spend time with family is one of the most precious gifts in life… especially when our kids seem to be growing up so fast.
Before long, they will be in college and living on their own. Starting their own families.
No matter how hectic life gets, there are still ways to find time for each other… and one of the best ways is through hobbies you can all enjoy together.
These family hobbies can be something new you would all like to try. Or they can be something you already do and want to include them in.
You can find hobbies indoors and out, many of which can be done year round.
In this article, I will highlight 15 family hobbies for you to choose from. Some may involve a financial investment… but many are free.
Choose one… or test them all. Whatever you land on, the important thing is you’re doing it as a family.
What You Will Learn
1. Hiking/Nature Walks
Hiking is a great way to get out there and see some really cool places.
It is also something that you can start doing with kids at a young age, thanks to inventions like the backpack hiking carrier. Note: a baby should have strong neck and head control before utilizing one of these (typically around 6 months old).
Trail maps help you find your way around… which can be fun in itself for kids.
The trails are also usually color coded, according to difficulty level. This is especially great for parents who don’t want to wind up carrying their 5 year old on their back for the last mile or so.
Been there, done that. A lot!
If you’re not sure of where to go, you can download one of these hiking apps to your phone. They usually have details such as maps, duration, elevation and difficulty level built in. Some can even be downloaded ahead of time, should you find yourself in a dead zone.
Another bonus to hiking is the nature you’ll stumble across… the wildlife, insects and vegetation.
You can make a game of it by printing out a list of things indigenous to the area before you go and checking them off along the way once someone has spotted an item.
And don’t forget to take your smartphone or camera (the body mounted kind works best to keep your hands free) to capture those amazing moments… and a family photo or two.
2. Camping Trip
One of my favorite family hobbies is the good ol’ campout.
If nothing else, it forces you to unplug for a while and reconnect with one another.
Sure, many campsites offer wifi these days… but I’d steer clear, barring an emergency. Besides, the facility will likely have a landline for such things. And if they don’t, you’ll most definitely stumble across another camper with a phone on them.
Not everybody can do without itching that scratch of checking their newsfeed.
Camping can be a barebones as you’d like… or you can go with a few modern amenities, which makes this another great activity for younger children or grandparents who’d like to join in on the fun.
Indoor showers and a toilet, a stove… even beds are possible if you choose to rent a cabin.
If you really want to glam it up, you can rent an RV. The notion has boomed in popularity since travel bans and lockdowns came into play.
The best part about the RV is you can drive greater distances while the kids get to rest… without the incessant whining of, “are we there yet?”.
You can cover a lot of ground, even the whole country, and park and hike until your heart’s content.
For many of us, exercise is a part of our daily routine… or at the very least, we’d like it to be.
No matter how much we plan, things happen… and when they do, something has to give.
If it comes down to spending time with your family or going for a jog, why not to both?
Exercising together can be one of the best family hobbies!
Not only will it teach your kids healthy habits… but it can actually instill a feeling of confidence and accomplishment in them.
If you like to jog… why not train with your family for a 5k. You can pick a charity to run for if you’d like, or just do it for fun.
If running isn’t their bag, you can try out other family friendly activities like these:
Of these, biking and walking are the most accessible and cost effective.
Golfing takes an initial investment for the clubs, but deals can be found on the greens fee.
County and public facilities usually offer family range or course memberships, which can keep a round at under $30 USD per person (which works out to roughly $7.50 USD per hour). For better health benefits, skip the cart and walk 18 holes… which equates to a few miles when all is said and done!
Snow sports are similar, with many mountains offering lift package deals and groupons to get you out onto the slopes.
If you’re looking for something that costs next to nothing, try yoga or kickboxing online.
4. River Sporting
Nothing brings a family together quite like an adventure.
One of the coolest family hobbies you’ll likely never forget is river sporting… especially if white water rapids are in play!
You can take your pick of tubing or rafting, even kayaking and canoe.
There are river adventure companies that offer guided tours and equipment rentals for all skill levels.
If you’re looking for a more scenic and relaxed adventure with the family, you can always opt to float along on an unguided tour in calmer waters.
Some companies will even throw in lunch for the price.
5. Fishing (Ocean or River)
Fishing is an oldie but goodie when it comes to family hobbies.
It’s inexpensive and can be done pretty much anywhere.
It does require a bit of patience, especially if the fish aren’t biting… but that is also the beauty of it.
Simply pull up a chair and wait for that bobber to move, while sipping your favorite beverages and snacking on delicious treats… enjoying each other’s company.
River or lake fishing, especially, requires little effort on your part. Just cast your line and wait.
Ocean fishing can be a bit more unpredictable and exciting. You can elect to do it off the shore line and work the currents, or you can sign up for a local charter boat… with guides on board to help you reel in the big guys and clean and filet your catch.
Whichever you choose, there is something very satisfying about catching your dinner!
6. Attend Concerts/Festivals
Music is a wonderful hobby. Playing an instrument keeps the mind sharp, fosters creativity and fine tunes those motor skills.
But even if you prefer listening over playing, music still has its benefits. It can elevate our mood and inspire us to dance.
I still remember the first concert my parents took me to. The Beach Boys.
Outdoor music festivals are especially cool, as younger kids are often able to run around free… rather than sit in hard seats for hours.
On a smaller scale, many cities and towns offer weekly concert series when the weather gets warm. These are typically free and bring in some really great acts, many of which haven’t been discovered yet.
Nothing says comfort quite like a delicious home cooked meal.
It is so important for families to sit down and eat at least one meal together every day. It’s a chance to reconnect with each other and also discuss any problems.
Sharing a meal lets your children know they are a priority to you… and that you care about what is going on in their life. And you may have some things to get off your chest as well, which will benefit the kids in the long run.
That is why one of the best family hobbies to start is cooking together. Working as one to create a meal can be lots of fun… and getting to eat it together makes it that much sweeter.
If you’re worried your schedule is too hectic to pull off cooking together, you can always try meal planning, where you sit down as a family and decide what you’d like to cook and when.
8. Movie Nights
Who doesn’t love a good movie?
While going out to movie theaters have gotten quite costly over the years, the rise in streaming video content has made even new releases available at a fraction of the cost… without leaving home.
Large screen televisions and sound systems are also more affordable than ever… making movie night one of my favorite family hobbies (and the kids love it too!).
It is the perfect time to share a list of your personal favs with the kids, as well as introduce them to new genres and characters.
If you have different aged children, one movie may not fit the bill for all… so some research may be required to compile an “upcoming features” list.
It can also be fun to have the kids vote or allow everybody to take turns picking the movie each week.
Once it’s settled, grab your favorite snacks and enjoy the show!
9. Game Night
Board game night is one of the classic family hobbies. There are so many games, suitable for all ages, to ensure fun for everyone!
There are even apps on your phone to make games like charades, 20 questions and Draw Something possible without a gameboard.
But game night doesn’t have to be limited to actual board or card games.
You can share your love of puzzles with the kids… or build a model together.
Family STEM projects or kits are another great way to unplug for the night and create something worthwhile.
Finally, if you're looking for something totally different, mail order kits like these turn the whole family into a team of detectives or spies.
When I was a kid, I associated the word “antiquing” with old people.
Admit it. You did too.
I pictured retired couples strolling through small towns, popping into quaint little shops, in search of hidden treasure.
In all honesty, I guess it is kind of like that… the only difference is that younger couples do it too. They shop local and support small businesses.
And, other than some of the stuff being breakable, it may not be a bad hobby to get the kids into.
The better shop owners will be able to tell you about the history of the items you are purchasing… which can be a great conversation starter for teaching your kids about different points in time.
Different styles and cultures.
Most things in these antique shops are originals… and in many cases, only one was made.
You can’t say that about the coffee table you bought from Wayfair.
11. Art Classes
Art can be a therapeutic hobby for the soul… and easily accessible for anyone with an interest in it.
Whether it’s painting, drawing, sculpting, photography… even coloring. Art takes so many forms and is a great way to express yourself and let your creativity flow.
It can also be super relaxing.
If your family has an interest in self expression, take a trip to the art supply store and stock up! Then, you can either pick a theme project to work on together every week… or you can find classes online to do together.
You may even want to check with a local art studio or college to see if they offer any online courses.
12. Foster Animals
If you’re an animal lover, but not quite sure you’re ready to commit to a family pet just yet… fostering animals may be one of the most rewarding family hobbies you can get into.
It is a perfect way to teach younger kids about the responsibilities of owning a pet… and decide if they are ready for it or not.
You will often get animals when they are very young and that need to get used to living with a family. Once they’re ready, you give them to a permanent home.
There are animal rescues, both nationally and locally based, whose mission it is to match foster families with animals in need.
It also keeps shelter numbers down, which is better for everyone involved.
Much like fostering a pet, volunteering is another one of those “feel good” family hobbies.
There are so many charities in need of help, which means there is something for everyone who is looking to get involved.
Start by compiling a list of charities that interests you.
You can typically find all of this information on the internet, whether you decide to search by local charity or a large scale database like Volunteer Match.
Some volunteer work involves manual labor, others may ask for people with professional experience in fundraising and event planning.
Then there are charities that raise money via races or sporting events, such as golf tournaments.
If you have younger children, perhaps volunteering in a soup kitchen or food pantry is a good place to start.
Or beach clean-ups are always great for kids!
Whatever you decide, you’ll be instilling a valuable lesson in your kids. By teaching them to help those less fortunate, you will make them appreciate what they have… and likely raise them to be compassionate adults.
14. Museum Visits
Museums are really underrated, especially when it comes to family hobbies.
Most small children likely think that museums are places where fancy paintings hang and relics are stored… but, you can prove them wrong by showing them that museums today house so much more!
There are museums for toys.
Museums for science.
Museums for space.
Museums for cars.
Honestly, there is probably a museum for just about anything that interests you.
Exposing your children to different things will make them more well-rounded… which is a great stepping stone for success later in life.
15. Go to the Theater
There are so many plays worth seeing on stage… which makes it an opportune time to consider making it one of your family hobbies.
While Broadway can be a bit costly, community theater is a great way to give your kids the theater bug.
Many offer a family series each year, with discounted tickets. You may catch a local version of The Sound of Music or an original performance that becomes a new family favorite!
Final Thoughts on Family Hobbies
Incorating something you love into an activity you can enjoy as a family is a wonderful way to cement your relationship with your kids.
It will show them you cherish and value your time together.
That they are one of the most important things in your life.
They will also likely have elevated self-esteem, by feeling they are your equal in the hobbies you share.
Engaging in hobbies with your kids is something they will never forget… and neither will you.
Nicole Krause has been writing both personally and professionally for over 20 years. She holds a dual B.A. in English and Film Studies. Her work has appeared in some of the country’s top publications, major news outlets, online publications and blogs. As a happily married (and extremely busy) mother of four… her articles primarily focus on parenting, marriage, family, finance, organization and product reviews.