The start of a new year always brings a sense of promise. And as we draw near the end of a most difficult year for folks all around the globe, that optimism for a fresh start might just be more pronounced than ever.
Set plans in motion now to prioritize quality family time, health, and creativity in 2021. For inspiration, consider these top hobbies parents can do with kids — all of which can be done from your home and without big financial commitments
Relax the body and mind with yoga
It’s never too early — or too late — to start practicing yoga. Practicing yoga incorporates regular mindfulness, bringing the family’s awareness into the present moment, noticing body sensations, and quieting the mind.
It’s also a great way to get low-impact exercise at home, practice deep breathing, and improve your mobility. And one silver lining from this year is that you can now find enough free online classes to keep you occupied for all of 2021, and beyond.
Exercise your eye for photography
With cameras available on just about every device nowadays, there’s a low barrier to entry for introducing photography as a family hobby. Younger kids can snap whatever details catch their eye; older ones can learn about lighting and other more advanced techniques; and grownups can hone their craft.
Shoot pets, portraits, and still lifes indoors, or head outside to shoot photos on family walks or hikes. As you shoot outdoors together regularly, you’ll all get fresh air and exercise, both well proven to support mental and physical health.
Reduce stress through regular mindfulness
Meditation is an ideal hobby for parents and kids to do together: It requires limited prep or setup, and it’s easily adapted for even the littlest practitioners. Regular practice helps reduce stress, increase focus, and improve sleep. To get the most benefit, aim for frequency over length: Try meditating as a family every day for even a few minutes, building up to a longer duration as you become more comfortable.
To make mindfulness more accessible for all ages, Moshi offers bite-sized guided meditations specifically designed to get kids into the fundamentals of the practice.
Learn how to create something by hand
Seeing the finished result of a family DIY project is a satisfying payoff for everyone. Beginners can start with something small and simple: For instance, whip up a batch of luxurious bath bombs you can each enjoy later during your soothing bedtime soaks. For a more ambitious project for families with older kids, try upcycling a piece of old furniture to give it a second life.
Rediscover your your inner artist
There’s no doubt your little one is already a budding artist, but when’s the last time you picked up the pen and paper alongside them? Art is a pleasant and soothing activity to help clear your mind and exercise your creative muscles. Look online to find free, printable coloring pages pegged to holidays or kids’ favorite subjects, as well as more intricate and sophisticated adult coloring pages, too. If your little one is past the coloring phase, get your hands on some more advanced art supplies, like paints and brushes, air-dry clay, and card stock.
Turn cooking into a family activity
When life gives you lemons, learn how to make lemon meringue. With people spending more time at home than ever before, interest in cooking and baking has exploded in the last year (hello sourdough!).
Why not use this opportunity to improve your chef skills while also spending more quality time with your little one? Whether it’s cracking eggs or mixing ingredients, there’s something suitable for kids of any age to get involved with in the kitchen.
Cooking is highly sensory and tactile, so encourage your kiddo to smell, taste, touch — and count — as they go. Plus, it stealthily doubles as a math lesson (especially with baking, where precise measurements matter most).
Get a break from the screen with board games
If analog activities were passé before the pandemic, stay-at-home orders brought them right back on trend. Classic board games are fun for the family to do together, and offer a way to get everyone’s eyes off their screens at the same time. Some of them may even turn into lifelong hobbies, like chess or backgammon. Board games are also a great way to learn some math, spelling — and even art —without making it feel like school.
For more calming and creative ways to engage kids, try these seven mindfulness activities geared to an array of age groups.