Data from the American Time Use Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows that most teenagers have about five hours of spare time on any given weekday. That’s after school, homework, and eating.
The best way to fill that time?
A hobby, of course.
But what if you aren’t interested in typical hobbies like sports or computers?
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Don’t worry. There’s a whole world of things to do out there. It’s a matter of trial and error. And if you’re wondering why you need a hobby, check out our article on the benefits of hobbies for teens here.
Ten Hobbies for Teens That Aren’t Sports, Computers, or Gaming
Classical, Rock, Pop, Bluegrass, Jazz, Blues, Country, Funk, K-Pop, I-Pop, Hip-Hop, Reggae. Guitar, Bass, Drums, Piano, Violin, Cello, Flute, Saxophone, Trumpet, Clarinet, Turntablism. Listen to it, play it, write it, collect it, produce it. All you have to do is love it. Music is the universal language of the soul. It can be an all-consuming passion or just something to pass the time. It’s up to you. If you love music, you already know: life is better when there’s music in it.
2. Visual Arts
Painting, drawing, sculpture. Portraits, comics, caricatures. If you’ve ever drawn a picture and made someone say “Wow” then you should pursue it. And if you want to learn to draw, it’s a great, stress-relieving way to pass the time. All you need to get started is a pad and a pencil.
3. Service Work
Build houses, pass out food, collect clothes, raise money, help out at a shelter. Go abroad and do a project in a developing country or look for something local and offer a few hours a week. Helping people is a wonderful way to get out in the world, do something positive to help those in need, and learn new things about people you might not otherwise meet.
Gardening, plant identification, conservation, environmental advocacy. Hiking, bird-watching, insect collecting. If you love the natural world, your opportunities are virtually limitless. Did we mention animals? They’re part of nature. Dogs, cats, horses, snakes, lizards, and toads – they’re all out there for you to learn about.
Stories, poems, plays, novels, articles. Fiction or non-fiction. Journaling. Writing is a healthy way to process emotions, create something new and exciting, or lay the foundation for a career in journalism. It’s also very easy to start: like drawing, all you need is paper and pencil.
Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Breaking, Flamenco, Tango, Ballroom, Country Line, Square, Contra. Find the music you love and the dance that goes with it. There are dance classes everywhere in just about any style you can think of, and probably a few you haven’t. Like Kathakali dance from India. We’re just saying. Find your groove and move your body: that’s all it takes to start.
Not as in who likes who or omg guess who did what this weekend. We’re talking acting. Designing and building sets. Rigging and running lights. Sound design. Doing makeup. Or learning improv, sketch, or stand-up comedy. Enjoy being the boss? Stage managing or directing might be for you. Love attention? Act your heart out. Behind the scenes or out front and center, there’s a spot in the drama world for you. One thing about drama people: no matter who you are, they’ll welcome you with open arms and find a place for you.
Everyone gets hungry every single day of their lives. Like more than once. And guess what? They gotta eat. That’s where you come to the rescue with something yummy to make them happy and keep them going. Learn to cook classic American food, fine French cuisine, Mexican dishes, Italian pasta delights, or challenge yourself with the wonders of Asian food, which includes Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and more. From appetizers to dinners to desserts and snacks. From baking to grilling, find a food you love and learn to make it. Your belly – and probably your family – will love you all the more.
Scientists, hobbyists, and daydreamers – excuse us – nightdreamers have been looking up at the stars for centuries, thinking big thoughts and asking big questions about the nature of the universe and pondering the Biggest Question of All: Where Do We Come From? Take a deep dive into Copernicus, Galileo, Einstein, and Hawking. Or just get a star chart and learn to identify the major constellations. There’s nothing like lying on your back out in the yard on a warm summer night and gazing up at the stars. Or freezing your backside off at a mountaintop observatory. From the serious to the casual, you can’t go wrong with learning more about this amazing universe we live in.
Learn how to talk to people all over the world – without Google Translate. If you’re interested in learning a language, the earlier you start, the better. Right now, your brain is forming the advanced neural networks that enable you to learn a new language. Research shows that learning a language when you’re young – during your teen years, for instance – is much easier than when you’re an adult. Carpe diem!
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Angus is a writer from Atlanta, GA who writes about behavioral health, adolescent development, education, and mindfulness practices like yoga, tai chi, and meditation.