Sunday, April 23, 2006

Hobbies for Children

We all have hobbies, whether we realize it or not. It may be reading, crafts, collecting, playing sports or listening to music, but we all have certain activities that we like to do in our spare time.

When it comes to their children, many parents sign their kids up for school sports and other extra curricular activities-- and that's fine if the child wants to do those things. But when it comes to your children's hobbies, it is important to encourage them to do the things that they love.

Reading. If your child loves to read, you can encourage this by taking the child to the library on a regular basis. You can also start a book club with your child, which is a wonderful way to share the joy of reading. In the summertime, check to see if your local library offers summer time reading programs. You can also have your child volunteer at the library.

Collecting. Kids are natural collectors, but if your child has a passion for trading cards or stamps, encourage it by buying binders for them to be stored in. Coin collecting is popular among youngsters, so if your child tends to hold on to unusual coins, give your child a place to store his or her collection and take the child to coin shows. You should invest in an up to date coin collecting book as well.

Sports. Sports are a great hobby, provided the child has a talent for it and loves doing it. Your child may want to try out several different sports over a couple of years (soccer, dance, baseball, etc.) before he or she settles on one. It is important not to force a child to play sports, and if he or she wants to quit ask why. If your child loves to dance, consider a weekend dance class. Many area YMCA's also offer dance lessons, as well as a variety of other sports programs. Once your child finds a sport that he or she loves, be prepared to spend some money. As children get older, it costs more money for them to participate on team sports and in dance recitals. Still, it's important to keep your child up to date with the latest equipment needed for their favorite sport.

Arts and crafts. Does your child have a penchant for drawing? Or is sewing more his or her forte? Perhaps your child likes to paint or make model airplanes. Artistic tendencies tend to run in families, so if you are crafty or artistic, expect that your child may follow in your footsteps. But just because you like to paint with watercolors doesn't mean your child will automatically have the knack for it. Instead, your child may love to sculpt clay or make ceramics. Feed your child's artistic frenzy by taking him or her to craft workshops and art shows. Young children with a love for the arts will benefit from museum outings, too. Take your child to the craft store with you so that he or she can pick out items for craft projects-- for instance, if your child likes to pencil sketch, stock up on charcoal pencils and sketch pads. Encourage your child's love of arts and crafts and it will turn into a lifelong hobby.

Writing. If your child is particularly creative, he or she may enjoy writing short stories or poems. Not all children enjoy writing as a hobby, so if your child does like to do it then consider it a gift. Encourage you child to work at their craft and consider submitting works to contests.

Photography. With today's easy to use digital cameras-- with their instant gratification-- even young children can develop a knack for photography. If your child loves to take photographs, buy him or her an inexpensive camera to start with. Take your child on trips where there are great photo opportunities or let the child snap away at family gatherings or just out in your yard. You may be amazed at what you can see through a child's eyes. If photography is really a passionate hobby for your child, invest in some higher etch equipment and make sure to blow up some of the best shops to large size and frame them. Both you and your child will be proud when someone comments on the lovely photograph and you can say that your child took it. If your child is in a school that offers photography classes, encourage him or her to take them. Otherwise, check out local photo classes so that your child can lean more about the art of photography.

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