25 Hobbies For Teens That Are Fun and Motivating

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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 25 examples of hobbies that teens can do that are both fun and motivating.

Let’s take a look.

25 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.

2. Read

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

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:

  • Promotes cognitive stimulation
  • Improves problem-solving skills
  • Takes the mind away from everyday stress
  • Helps to enhance thinking and spatial-reasoning skills

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.

Resource: Websites such as Coursera, Skillshare, and Udemy allow learners to choose from thousands of courses and have an instructor available to answer questions.

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.

7. Volunteer

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.

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Volunteering can help your teen feel good about themselves and also help remind them how lucky they are in their own lives.

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.

Resource: Here are 20 of the best podcasts for teens, and for some motivation, here are some podcasts that will give teens some inspiration.

9. Run

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.

Resource: This link gives tips for teens to get started with their running hobby.

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.

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Caring for an animal is a fun hobby that can help teach teens responsibility.

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.

13. Camping

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. 

15. Baking

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.

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Baking helps teach teens about fractions, temperatures, recipes and also makes them follow instructions in order to get the end result you’re expecting.

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.

Resource: Here are seven ways to make sports positive and rewarding for teens.

17. Photography

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.

21. Cooking

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.

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Cooking can be a fun and motivating hobby for a teenager.

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.

Resource: Here are six tips for learning about philosophy.

25. Write

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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