By Remy Agee
At this stage in life, you probably have a special interest or hobby. Why not help develop one for a grandchild? Hobbies are a great way to build your grand’s self-esteem, fostering self-discovery and a sense of accomplishment, boosting self-confidence by adding to his or her knowledge and skills.
Hobbies offer experiences and activities you can share and lots of hands-on learning, whether it’s hunting for a special book or collectible; selecting scrapbooking, building or nature supplies; or making an exciting discovery.
Where to Start
Help find a hobby that matches your grand’s interests; there’s almost a never ending list of possibilities. Start by sharing the fun and enjoyment of your own hobby to inspire your grand. Consider what you really enjoy doing that could make a wonderful hobby subject for a child — for example:
- Vegetable, flower, butterfly, or water-saving gardens
- Organic gardening
- ‘Going Green’, recycling and helping the environment
- Bird watching/identification, bird feeders
- Animal track identification
Astronomy and Science
- Weather and other science experiments
- Planets and the universe
Art and Photography
- Cultural dance
- Sun photography
- Photographs of nature, landscapes, people, animals
Drawing and Painting
- Chalk, charcoal, acrylics
- Glass painting
- Face painting
Building and Carpentry
- Wood, metal, motorized
- Model cars and airplanes
- Car repairs and restoration
Cooking and Baking
- Cake decorating
- Ethnic recipes
Sewing, Knitting, Needlework
- Design and sew clothes for dolls or herself/himself
- Needlepoint, crochet, cross stitch
Scrapbooking, Specialized Crafts
- Memory Books
- Mask making
- Model cars and trucks
- Action figures
- Children’s classics and chapter books (with younger children, read together)
- Specific genre, e.g. biographies or mysteries
- Family genealogy
- Local and community
- State or national
- Specific time or period
Plan Age-Appropriate Activities
Spend time with your grandchild to help select a hobby. Together, at your local library or on the internet, research:
- Hobby ideas, supplies and materials needed
- Cost and the impact on your budget and your grand’s family budget
- Time required
- Advanced opportunities in regard to knowledge, skills, and activities
Let your grandchild guide what hobby is chosen, based on his/her interests. Match activities to your grand’s age and abilities. Make sure the activities are manageable for your grandchild to do alone or with some adult guidance. A hobby that is too advanced for your grand will lead to frustration during the initial learning stages about the new hobby, discouraging long-term interest. A hobby should be fun for your grandchild and hold his or her interest.
Remember to include grandchildren with special needs, when thinking of hobbies for children. Here are a few of the sites I found that can help guide you, when considering what hobbies to explore for grandchildren with mental and well as physical challenges:
Provide a Good Start
With your grand, explore various aspect of the hobby’s subject; proper care and handling of hobby materials; and a variety of hobby activities. The level of activity can change, as your grandchild’s abilities and knowledge grow.
A hobby requires a separate space to enjoy or store the materials and activities, some of which may be fragile or messy. Help find a place for display shelves or storage containers in a specific room, basement or garage in your grand’s home and/or yours.
Show Your Support and Interest
Use the hobby as a way to stay connected in person, by phone or email. Show continued enthusiasm for your grandchild’s hobby and stay involved by talking about his/her latest hobby activities. Ask how the hobby is going. What is the most fun part? Has he discovered something new? What would she like to do next?
You can support your grand’s continued interest and hobby activities by offering guidance as his or her knowledge and skills advance. Paying attention to how the hobby is progressing can provide great birthday and holiday gift-giving ideas, such as hobby-related magazines and books, tools, equipment, supplies, and classes.
A hobby offers the opportunity to have fun, while exploring a whole new world; learning new skills; and developing a special interest individually or in group activities. A grandchild’s hobby can provide years of enjoyment for both of you!
For an extensive list of hobby ideas for kids: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/list-types-of-hobbies/
Remy Agee, a retired communications director of a large family and children government agency, writes articles on school readiness and early childhood partnerships.