Tanya sent the cutest photo of her kids (who are in pre-school and school already) to me the other day. They were happily playing in a baby splash pool and looked incredibly excited. Her note to the photo read: ‘It amazes me how happy these kids can be with such simple things’. This made me think about my own kids, who are happiest when we spend quality time with them. They are joyful, our home filled with laughter, when I give them a bucket of water and flour to play with (and I play with them) for example, and yet, they can have a sea of toys around them and be bored and frustrated. Kids clearly do not need a lot of things; they do need love, attention and quality time. A happy Family, therefore, needs a fun hobby.
Things to do with Kids: Finding a Family Hobby
I am always on the lookout for fun activities to do with the kids and interesting places to take them but the problem is that these activities can be short-lived. A hobby on the other can be something we, as a family, can continuously invest our time in. It is an activity which everybody in the family can grow to love and something which can be continued into the teenager phase and beyond.
Here are Some Ideas for Fun Family Hobbies:
Get Active at Acrobranch
A while ago I wrote a post on ‘How to Help Kids Overcome Anxiety’ in which I mentioned that we had started taking Bean to Acrobranch in order to build his confidence. Since then, we have realised that this outdoor tree-top adventure activity is not only great for developing gross motor skills and building confidence, it is an amazing familial team building activity as well (read: The Benefits of Team Building for Families). Tackling an obstacle course at any age can be daunting but when doing it together as a family, within your safe space, promotes motivation and collaboration. Not only are you proud of yourself for getting better every time you go, you become proud of your family members as you all become better as a team.
This is definitely a hobby worth investing your time and money in: it gets you outdoors, it promotes exercise, it is fun, thrilling and, most importantly, it promotes family cohesion.
There are various Acrobranch branches within South Africa, all situated within a park or forest environment, and depending on the branch, you can indulge in either a rewarding family lunch or picnic to complete the day. We always end our family-hobby-day on the Acrotwigs-Bungy, ‘flying’ as my son calls it, before we have lunch.
Acrobranch branches: Cape Town | Stellenbosch | Garden Route | Melrose, Johannesburg | Huddle Park, Johannesburg | Centurion, Pretoria | Rosemary Hill, Pretoria East | Pretoria North
There are so many hikes and walking trails in South Africa and we should definitely make use of these (most of them are free after all). The nice thing about this type of hobby is that you can join various clubs together, you can research the proper gear together and, of course, you get to spend time in the outdoors as a family. This type of outdoor activity is great for promoting a sense of togetherness as you walk side by side in silence during the more difficult parts, or chatting about what’s happening in everybody’s lives during the easier ones. That amazing sense of accomplishment will permeate through the entire family as you achieve certain trails and move on to harder ones.
My kids are only 3 and 1 so, for now, we go for walks within our neighbourhood and look out for various car brands and trucks (I have mentioned on a few occasions how transport obsessed my 3-year-old is), birds and small animals or insects (my 1-year-old loves this part) and even interesting leaves and flowers.
Society does not place enough emphasis on the creative or the imaginative and as such it is worthwhile looking for hobbies or ways to stir your child’s creative juices. A creative hobby can include baking or cooking (and challenging yourselves to try harder recipes as your family grows in skill), to weekly painting sessions (with a different theme each week) and photography. Older kids can also start woodwork, knitting or sewing and the family can together partake in various courses as the kids grow.
Whatever hobby you choose, be sure to base it on an activity you all love doing already and, most importantly, have fun! There really is nothing better, or soul-nourishing in life than some good-old family quality time.