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We are in the depths of winter right now, but it won’t be long before we come out on the other side. This has been an especially long season for those who like to be out and about–socializing, experiencing new things, and taking on the world.
But, as we sit in isolation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are looking for hobbies that are both enjoyable and beneficial to one’s well being rather than just waiting for time to pass by.
Having a hobby is beneficial for teens because it offers an outlet for stress and helps them focus their built-up energy into something positive. Hobbies give teens an opportunity to meet other adolescents, uncover new interests, develop unique non-academic skills, and–perhaps most importantly–have fun. Identity formation and differentiation are two critical parts of our teen years. These refer to the process of identifying one’s own skills, wants, and needs, plus forming a sense of self outside of one’s nuclear family. And this is precisely where the importance of having hobbies comes in.
So in this article, we will look at 55 examples of hobbies that teens can do that are both fun and motivating.
Let’s take a look.
55 Hobbies for Teens That are Fun and Motivating
1. Start Working on a Personal Brand
If you’re a teen and know what you want to do when you grow up, what are you doing now to learn about it? Are you volunteering at relevant agencies or looking for unpaid internships? Or doing your own research on a relevant topic?
If you're nearing college age and you know what you want to major in, get a head start by starting a personal brand with your own website. You can start building your resume with the activities you've done that are relevant to the work, and write some of your own blog posts on specific topics that you find to be especially interesting.
This will give you a head start on your career that will be helpful down the road when your peers are just getting started with a blank slate.
Resource: Here is a helpful guide that teens can use to start a personal brand.
Reading is important for all ages, but reading about the things that really interest you right now can help you in the future.
Perhaps you're really interested in marine biology, but you start reading about it and find that it's not really up your alley. Or, you pick up a book that mentions investing and learning about financial management and you decide that really piques your interest.
Reading as a teenager has a host of benefits but it can also really help you narrow down your passions so you know what you want to pursue later in life.
Resource: Here are 20 must-read success books that teens can read to get more from life.
3. Create Vision Boards
Creating vision boards is a great thing for teenagers to do as they’re starting to plot their path in life. Their vision boards will act as daily reminders and motivate them to work toward their long-term goals. (For more information, check out article on goal-setting for teens.)
This is a fun hobby for teens because creativity is involved in crafting these visual aids. Just grab some necessary supplies and personalize your board in any way that’s desired. There are no rules here– teens just need to think about what they want for their future and what that may look or feel like to them.
This can even be a fun group activity for teens to do so they can bounce ideas off of each other and talk in a small group about where they want their lives to go. Having a vision board party can help get teens together to have fun and get motivated as a group.
Resources: Here are instructions on how to create a vision board, and teens can use these templates to map out their goals.
4. Play Video Games
When you think of teens playing video games, you probably don't associate the activity with a constructive use of one's time. But the truth is, playing certain video games can cognitively benefit teens in the following ways:
Plus, if your teen has fun playing video games and you deem them as being appropriate, this is a fine hobby for teens who want to relax and take their mind off of everyday problems. Video games can certainly be motivating as you progress from one level to the next and continue to beat previous scores or finish a level that seemed impossible at one time.
Resource: Here are 50 of the best video games that are out today.
5. Take a Class Online
While most teens are taking regular classes in school, these general education classes may not touch on every specific interest that teens have. Students can take their learning outside of the traditional classroom environment and learn about something they find especially interesting through an online learning platform–which is sometimes offered for free.
Getting a well-rounded education is important for younger generations, and it’s especially helpful if teens can find something unique that they want to specialize in to make themselves stand out in the job market. There is an online class for pretty much anything that teens may be interested in.
Plus, learning is motivating! Often, the more you learn, the more you want to learn.
6. Become a Tutor
If a teen has a special interest or is especially skilled in a subject, tutoring other students is a hobby that can not only be motivating, but may also earn a teenager some extra money. Tutoring can help build one's confidence in their own knowledge of a subject because teaching someone else is actually the best way to learn.
Tutoring can also help foster positive mentoring relationships between peers who hold an interest in a common subject. Finally, this is a great thing to be able to add to an early resume or college application, as being a tutor demonstrates responsibility and the ability to be a leader.
Resource: Here are five steps to becoming a successful tutor.
Volunteering is a great hobby for people of any age, as it can be fun, fulfilling, and a great opportunity to motivate oneself to continue to help other people and give back to the community.
Think of a cause that your teen is especially interested in, whether that's caring for animals at the local shelter or helping feed the homeless in your area. Not only will this help your teen feel good about themselves, it will also help remind them how lucky they are in their own lives and consider other ways in which they can volunteer their time and services to help those who may be in need.
Resource: Here are 8 volunteer ideas for teens.
8. Listen to Podcasts
There are podcasts out there on every subject imaginable– so whatever your teen is interested in, there is sure to be a relevant podcast. Teenagers can put on podcasts that are tailored to their interests while they’re doing other things, like walking the dog or cleaning up their room. They can then just let the information infuse into their minds without having to do much work.
For teens who are new to podcasts, it may feel overwhelming to find one to start with. But the best podcasts for teens are created with their life stage in mind, either by breaking down complex concepts into small, manageable pieces, or by talking about issues that are important to teens. Some are informative, and others are simply for entertainment–but all have some potential value for teens.
With rising obesity rates, it’s important for people to adopt healthy habits early on. Running is a great hobby for people of all ages. And, unlike team sports that teens typically engage in while in school, running can be enjoyed independently, at one’s own pace, without any risk of feeling criticised by skill or ability. Teens can notice their own improvements in their performance from early on, which can provide a boost in self-esteem and motivate teens to stick with this hobby.
Exams and other academic pressures can be draining for teens, but running helps reduce stress hormones and is a great way for teens to clear their heads. Using running to inspire a healthy and active lifestyle is fun because teens can choose to listen to their favorite music or podcasts and run around the scenic areas in town.
10. Play an Instrument
There are a lot of ways that teens can benefit from playing an instrument. In addition to improving memory skills, learning to play an instrument teaches perseverance, patience, and the importance of practice. When learning how to play music, teens need to set short and long term goals, and when they reach these goals, they are sure to feel a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue to learn.
Learning how to play an instrument also teaches responsibility, as most instruments require care and maintenance, whether that’s simply tuning the strings or keeping an instrument clean and free from residue. Encouraging teens to properly maintain their instruments will help them care for their craft and help them to stay motivated to practice and improve upon their abilities.
Resource: Here are 13 effective ways to motivate your teen to learn to play an instrument.
11. Foster an Animal
Another fun hobby that can help teach teens responsibility is caring for an animal. This can be something as small as a fish, or you could go all in and get a puppy–either way, it requires care, maintenance, and responsibility to care for a pet.
Teens can gain experience learning responsibility while fostering an animal. From walking and feeding them to giving them the love and attention that they need, caring for a pet definitely involves some work and dedication. Plus, teens with pets end up spending more time outside, as they go for walks and play with their pet, which comes along with a host of health benefits.
Caring for a pet can be an especially good idea if your teen is facing struggles with emotional issues. Research has shown that owning a pet boosts one’s emotional health, and seeing as 20% of teens are dealing with a mental disorder, fostering or adopting a pet is worth considering.
Resource: Here are some tips to consider before adopting a pet.
12. DIY Projects
DIY is all the rage, and since most teens are naturally creative, it comes as no surprise that there are a ton of fun DIY projects they can work on. The most fun DIY projects for teens are usually colorful, creative, and simple to make in a day.
Teens can express their own sense of style through their DIY projects and either use them for practical items around the house or give their creations away as gifts. Plus, a lot of teens end up selling their crafts online through sites like Etsy, so this could be a good way to motivate teens to try their best on their work in order to make some extra cash.
Resource: Here are a ton of ideas for DIY projects for teens.
Camping is a great way for teens to get outside and enjoy nature, get some exercise, and spend time with other like-minded enthusiasts. Teens can learn practical skills while they’re camping such as cooking with minimal equipment and building a fire. At school, teens spend a lot of time in just one environment, learning about the same old things. But there are hands-on lessons teens can learn in nature that don’t involve taking notes, memorizing information, or taking tests.
Furthermore, teens have to learn to adapt to their environment when they go camping. At home, your environment is typically created to suit your needs, but when you’re camping, the conditions could always change. Whether you’re heading out to a new campsite, the weather takes a turn, or you encounter wildlife, teens who go camping can expect the unexpected.
Resource: Here are some tips for younger campers.
14. Solve Puzzles
Solving puzzles is a fun hobby for teens who are looking for a challenge. Whether your teen is solving puzzles on their smartphone or putting together a real jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table, this hobby can help keep teens' brains busy.
This can be a group hobby for teens or something they can do solo. Either way, your teen will be engaging in brain-training exercises that will help keep their thinking sharp and their visual-spatial reasoning skills intact.
Doing puzzles also helps teens improve their problem-solving skills by looking at problems from different perspectives. These are important life skills to have moving forward, which can keep your teen feel confident and motivated to continue to try conquering issues that they face.
Resource: This site features a ton of puzzles that teens can play at no cost.
Teens with a sweet tooth can enjoy baking as an art, and there are a lot of other benefits to this hobby. Baking helps teach teens about fractions, temperatures, and recipes. Following instructions is key in baking in order to get the end result you’re expecting, so paying attention and reading correctly has its benefits when it comes to this hobby.
Baking also helps teach teens about chemistry on a level that they can understand and relate to. As they gain confidence in their baking, teens will be motivated to try new skills and recipes to advance their hobby,
Resource: Here are some essential baking skills for your teen to know.
16. Play Sports
The exercise that teens get when playing sports helps improve their physical and emotional health, and can reduce stress as well. Team sports also encourage teens to learn good sportsmanship and teamwork.
Participation in sports also gives teens a sense of belonging with their teammates. When teens are on a team and a part of a group, they have a social network that has automatically been created for them. And, because social acceptance is important to teens, having positive relationships with other members of the team can allow players to have fun together and motivate each other in winning their games.
Teens can have fun as they stay behind the camera and capture moments into photographs. And, with practice and experience, teens can learn to express themselves in ways that are unique through the pictures they take.
Teens can use their pictures to decorate their walls and display their best creations. This is a great hobby to teach teens how to improve upon a skill and create something of value that other people may also find interesting and impressive.
Resource: Here are some tips for teaching teens about photography.
18. Watch Documentaries
Documentaries are made to be engaging and fun to watch–and there is definitely something that teens can take away from watching this type of film. Whether it’s about a historical event or a scientific discovery, documentaries give teens some insight into aspects of the world they may not otherwise encounter, which could spark some new ideas or a passion in an unfamiliar topic.
The conversations that you can have with teens after watching a documentary can lead to new views of oneself and the world. And, seeing a documentary may inspire teens to pursue more knowledge about a subject or discover a new interest.
Resource: Here is a list of some of the best documentaries for teens to watch.
19. Learn How to Play Chess
If my 6-year-old can find enjoyment in this game, then a teenager could certainly find playing chess to be a fun hobby. And the good thing about this game these days is that you don’t need a chess board or even another person to play! Chess is available to play online and through apps, so teens can battle strangers around the world or just their computer.
Strategizing while playing chess is a fun way for teens to give their brains a good workout, as there are unlimited strategies to learn. And, chess is motivating because it really is about taking responsibility for your actions. It’s about accepting and learning from your mistakes to continuously improve your game.
Resource: Here is a great video for beginners.
20. Learn a New Language
By the time teens get into the job market, knowing more than one language will be an even more important skill to have than it is now. Learning a new language sounds like a tall order, but the benefits are worth it.
In fact, studies of high school students found that those who have studied a second language get higher scores on the ACT and SAT tests. Further, those who have studied a foreign language for a longer amount of time have gotten even higher scores on these tests.
Learning a new language can help teens get excited about traveling the world and motivate them to learn about other cultures and countries, which can help them develop into well-rounded adults.
Resource: Here are seven of the best resources for learning a new language.
If you think of cooking as a chore, you may wonder how this could be a fun and motivating hobby for a teenager. But think of how one may feel after following a recipe and it coming out perfectly. This edible art can be shared with friends and family and help teens build their confidence.
Enjoying the process of making meals will teach teens a skill that offers a creative outlet that’s also a practical activity. Teens can start by following cooking blogs on social media and experimenting with different methods and types of cooking. Learning new techniques is sure to be motivating as teens learn to put new twists on old favorites.
Cooking can also motivate teens to eat healthy and get to know what they’re putting in their bodies, which can benefit people of any age.
Resource: Here are 25 recipes that teens can start with to learn to cook themselves.
22. Learn About Investing
It's never too early to learn about responsible financial management. And, if your teen takes an interest in this subject, it may lead to a career opportunity that will always be in high demand.
Learning about investing is a great, motivating hobby that can help teens get a basic understanding of how finances work. While this may initially sound like a dull topic for teens who have largely depended on their parents for financial matters thus far, once teens start learning about investing, they can become increasingly motivated to learn more in order to set themselves up for financial success in the future.
Teens may also enjoy the challenge of learning about this topic and find it fun to follow the financial state of our country as time goes on.
Resource: Here are some podcasts about personal finance that teens may enjoy.
23. Create a YouTube Channel
While teens can get themselves into trouble using social media, many have fun using it in a responsible way. This can be a motivating activity for any teen who has a special skill or knowledge set to share with others.
Since social media is now such a widespread avenue and platform for people to share their beliefs, thoughts, and ideas, any comments that a video generates can be motivating to the youtuber to continue to relate to and connect with others. Teens can use whatever skill they have and record it–whether that's motivational speaking, acting, or just speaking toward one's beliefs, and share it with the world on YouTube.
Resource: This link will walk you through creating your own YouTube channel.
24. Study Philosophy
Teens are full of questions and are all about exploring life and figuring out who they are. Studying philosophy is a great way to help teens start to figure this out by learning about the theories of famous philosophers and deciding what resonates with them so they can uncover what they believe to be the truth.
This hobby is both interesting and motivating, as each theory that a teen learns will open up more questions about life and one's purpose. It's also fun because this is a great topic that teens can talk about amongst themselves to bounce ideas off of each other and get the perspective of their peers.
Learning about philosophy offers a hobby that will always be useful and interesting. Once you get into it, you're likely to quickly get lost as each answer you uncover leads to more questions.
Writing is a great way for teens to use their creativity skills to express their thoughts, hopes, and feelings. While some people feel like they need motivation to write, writing is actually a great way to generate motivation in itself, as you start coming up with new ideas. And–if you’re journaling–you may even uncover some patterns you see in your life that you can address.
Writing can help keep your teen engaged, and there are a number of outlets they can choose to get their thoughts on paper, such as:
When writing as a hobby, it doesn’t have to be stressful or grammatically perfect. Teens can write whatever they’re feeling in the moment without facing any type of judgement.
Resource: Here is some help for teens to create a daily writing habit.
Sewing can be creative, practical, and lucrative. Show your originality by making your own designs. Or, try your hand at making clothes you see in retail stores, and save a little money.
Showcase your creations in a portfolio or on social media platforms for sale. You may just want to have fun making gifts.
27. Painting or Drawing
Teens can paint or draw to express their feelings and how they see the world.
You may discover you have some hidden talents that are worth developing further in an art program or school.
Like sewing, you'll have pieces you can place in a portfolio if you decide to take this hobby to the next level.
Make some winter items. Create a blanket. Make clothes for babies like cute little hats or booties.
Knitting can also help you work on focus and concentration. It's another hobby that can be a financial resource, and something to build a brand from.
29. Learning Sign Language
You can have a career as an interpreter or translator. Maybe you could be the person doing sign language during a Sunday morning worship service.
Once you've learned the skill, you could even possibly teach it to other children at a summer camp.
The possibilities are endless as to what can be collected. If you love stuffed animals, you may already have quite a collection. And this doesn't have to be too costly.
You can request holiday and birthday gifts be the item you're collecting. There might be something you wish to collect that you've noticed other people aren't really using. I collected gift bags.
This is a great way to get outdoors and get exercise. It's also relatively inexpensive.
Glide around the neighborhood or try some advanced moves at a skateboard park. For the colder and rainier days, there might be some indoor parks in your area.
Skateboarding was even part of the 2020 Summer Olympics. But make sure you take all of the necessary safety precautions. You want the fun minus the injuries.
Coding could be the catalyst to a lucrative career. It's the programming or language that tells computers what to do. Coding is used for video games, servers, websites, and apps.
Since learning about investing is on this list of hobbies. You may also find it interesting that coding also makes cryptocurrencies possible.
Don't just play video games, create them. Learn how to code.
This hobby can reduce anxiety and stress and be good for your physical health, too.
Birdwatching requires focus, attention, and deliberate awareness of the here-and-now, which are all components of mindfulness. Use your sense of sight and sound to distinguish between the different types of birds and their calls.
34. Make Jewelry
This is another hobby that takes concentration. It also builds hand-eye coordination.
And since there's nothing wrong with a hobby doubling as a financially-lucrative side gig, it's also a plus that making jewelry can save and make you money.
You can wear your original pieces and be a fashion trend-setter. Be your own walking advertisement for what others can purchase.
You don't have to wait until it's warm. And when the weather is nice, this is a great way to get some sunshine in your day.
According to CDC statistics for 2017-2018, obesity rates for young people ages 2-19 are 19.3%. Swimming can cool you off in the summer, and be a way to stay in shape year-round.
Although you can do it alone, swimming is also a team sport that can build communication and cooperation skills.
36. Staying Fit
This does not pertain to any specific type of exercise. It could be a combination of some of the other things on this list, or anything that keeps you in shape.
You could take up weight lifting or other muscle-building activities. Exercise has many physical and mental health benefits. Just walking a few minutes a day can improve your health.
We all like to laugh. It's contagious and healing. If you like the challenge of making others laugh, you can develop this art more fully. You may have already put some thought into this craft.
Either way, take things a step further and write some stand-up comedy routines or acts. You can perform in front of family members or friends, or maybe at a church, school, or community talent show.
Open mics are pretty popular. You might find some for teens.
38. Create Memes
This is a great hobby for today's teens. It's up there with starting a YouTube Channel, as it screams social media!
You may discover you have a hidden talent for what everyone seems to love to send to each other across so many platforms. If you love memes, create your own. You can even get ideas from family and friends.
Everyone wants to look good. If you enjoy doing hair, this one will suit you well. It's also a potential money-maker.
You could eventually attend a professional hair school. Even if you don't want to go that route, you could do family and friends' hair for a small fee.
If college is on the horizon, doing hair would be an excellent way to make some money on the side.
Who doesn't like to sing? If you have a naturally beautiful voice, you can develop it further with lessons. You may just love to sing and not realize how good you really are.
Even if you feel your voice isn't that great, and you don't want to go as far as taking lessons, you can do karaoke. Participate in fun karaoke-filled evenings at home, and when you're ready, find some teen-friendly spots.
Origami can build patience and concentration as teens fold pieces of paper into all kinds of designs. It can double as decoration, too, as you string up your creations or find some other creative way to display them.
42. Candle Making
Make something that will enhance your relaxation time later. You can make different colors, sizes, and scents. Candle making is another money-maker.
I'm sure you know someone right now who is burning a candle. Here is a great article with instructions for parents and children to make candles together.
Practice making beautifully, carefully crafted letters and numbers with a special pen. You can get some practical use out of it when you write invitations or thank-you cards. Send greeting cards that have been addressed in the wonderful art of calligraphy.
44. Soap Making
If you're going to make some candles, why not make soap, too? It's also something you can save money on by using your own creations, and make money by selling to others.
Do you watch other children and teens on TV or in the movies, and say, “I can do that”? Maybe you have an interest in theatre. Starting young is a good way to develop future skills. Acting can become a full-time career, or something fun to do on the side.
It builds confidence and speaking skills. It also helps you build memorization skills, as you learn monologues or other scripts. When you're ready, you can put your polished performance on your YouTube Channel.
Plant flowers outdoors or indoors. Plant fruits and veggies. If you choose food, it'll be exciting to eat your own harvest. And, of course, you could sell your fresh, home-grown tomatoes, basil, or whatever you decide to cultivate.
You can print out those pics you took with your cell phone and put them in a scrapbook. Create memories from all sorts of things. A menu from a special time out, or maybe a greeting card someone gave you.
You can create scrapbooks and gift them to others. You might be so good at it that someone offers to pay you to create one just for them.
Bowling is a wonderful way to connect with others in a competitive and fun way. Take it seriously, if you like. This is a profession. You never know where a rolling ball may lead, maybe to the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA).
In the meantime, you could even find a creative way to set up some lawn bowling.
Also a professional sport, basketball is another great way to get some exercise. It can get you outside and soak up the therapeutic benefits of the sun's vitamin D.
You can play at home or go to a court. This is a wonderful way to make some new friends.
50. Foil Art
This is truly a beautiful pastime. You bind foil onto a piece of paper to create colorful designs. After I saw this video, I was hooked!
Add it to that scrapbook, or stick it on the thank-you cards you'll write in calligraphy. Who says you can't have more than one hobby?
51. Rubber Stamping
If you watched the video on dong foil art, you'll understand why rubber stamping is on this list. You just need a rubber stamp and an ink pad.
You might really like this if you're not very artistic. The design is right there on the stamp. Impress the image on cardstock to make your own greeting cards. Or, like in the video, stamp a piece of paper, apply the foil, and voila! You have your colorful, luxurious, rubber-stamped piece of foil art.
52. Word Game Designer
Make your own pencil and paper word games. Some people still love the old-fashioned feeling of doing things on paper.
Create your own word find or word search games. Word finds are a bunch of random letters in a square grid, with words hidden horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. Once you've found and circled all the words, you're done.
Make up your own riddles to be solved. Create your own crossword puzzles. Then have family and friends figure them out.
Get your hands dirty making pots, vases, and other objects out of clay and other ceramic materials. This hobby could take you places. You may be so naturally inclined at this art that we see your pieces for sale at an arts and crafts store.
54. Martial Arts
This self-defense strategy is more than about fighting. It teaches you self-discipline, a lesson that can be applied to everyday life.
It also keeps you fit. You can even participate in competitions.
Instagram is full of people dancing away. If you enjoy moving to rhythms, you may have already started to implement dancing in your life. It's not only fun, it can help you stay fit.
There's a variety of dances, and therefore, types of dance classes you can take. YouTube is a great place to see how well you pick up steps.
Teens need to stay stimulated through fun activities in order to figure out their likes and dislikes in life and hopefully find their passion. If you are a teenager or you have a teenager, start with one or two of these hobbies that sound interesting and see where it takes you!
Finally, if you're not sure how to start encouraging your kid to take up a hobby, start by engaging them in talking to them using these conversation starters.
Connie Stemmle is a professional editor, freelance writer and ghostwriter. She holds a BS in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her 4-year-old daughter, running, or making efforts in her community to promote social justice.