5 Screen-Free and Kid-Friendly Hobbies To Boost Your Creativity

When we were young, we spent more time exploring and creating than we did tied to electronic devices. Our imagination wasn’t yet overrun by demanding schedules, daily errands, and the irresistible allure of social media. It seems the days of colouring books and dress-up are long behind us. We’ve replaced hobbies with cell phones and iPads. The average adult devotes over four hours a day to screen time, which equates to a full quarter of our waking hours, while teenagers, from 13 to 17, spend an alarming nine hours a day hooked to their mobile devices compared to about six hours for those aged eight to 12. There are studies upon studies that warn against our growing internet-dependency and the damage it is having on our cognitive abilities. Tristan Harris, Google’s former in-house ethicist and co-founder of the Center on Humane Technology often explains how tech companies design their products to get people, specifically kids, addicted.

“When you wake up in the morning, you have certain goals for your life or for your kids,” he said at a conference about technology addiction last year in Washington, DC. “But when you open YouTube, it doesn’t know any of those goals. It has one goal: to make you forget your goals and to keep you watching as many YouTube videos as possible.”

While some major tech companies, including Google and Apple, have said they would introduce features to help parents and kids monitor and manage their time online, we think embracing a new hobby is much more stimulating. Hobbies allow us to fully disconnect from our screens and find peace of our mind. The key to starting a new hobby is finding something that encourages attention and concentration and can be done daily, weekly, or monthly consistently. Here are five of our favourite hobbies that can help us disconnect from our screen-filled routines and reconnect with our inner child.

BAKE YEAST-BREAD FROM SCRATCH : Baking is a skill that is best developed through a lot of trial and error, which is why it makes the perfect hobby! What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon at home with the kids than baking a delicious loaf of rye bread? While this might not sound challenging, bread is actually quite sensitive. You can’t knead the dough too much or it will be tough, too little and it won’t rise. All kinds of things can go wrong. Your yeast might be dead, you might have measured the flour wrong and the bread is too dense. But when you finally nail it, you’ll feel like a modern-day Martha Stewart. You can even start making your own home-made jam and spreads to go on the bread!

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TIE DYE EVERYTHING : From t-shirts to maxi dresses, one of this summer’s biggest, and boldest, trends is tie dye so why not spend some downtime DIY-ing your own tie dye creations? This is a great way to upcycle your old t-shirts while spending some quality time with the kids or your closest friends. While you can order a tie dye kit from amazon or find one at your nearest Walmart, we recommend using natural dyes and fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk to create a more refined and earth-friendly version of your most nostalgic childhood pieces. But don’t feel limited to just clothing, you can dye towels, blankets, or tablecloths!

NURTURE A GARDEN : As the world becomes more and more technology-focused, we are inevitably becoming less and less connected with nature. Gardening is an incredible way to reignite your relationship with the earth and ground yourself when you are feeling anxious. It also offers a continuous reminder of why it is so important that we nurture this planet. Start by designating a space for your garden — it can be as large or small as you want it to be — and planting only a few veggies and/or herbs. Gardening comes with a learning curve so it’s important to start slow and figure out how to care for each individual plant. If you weren’t blessed with a green thumb, there is no need to worry because the internet is filled with free resources that can help guide you along your journey!

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MAKE YOUR OWN SKINCARE PRODUCTS : Making your own skin and beauty products is not only a great hobby but it’s a great way to transition to a low-waste lifestyle! It also allows you to control which ingredients you put on and in your body. There are so many different things you can create and all it takes is a bit of research, time, and vessels to make your DIY dreams come to life. Start by taking inventory of the products you have that are running low, and instead of buying replacements, make your own! Whether you are hanging solo, with the fam, or having a girl’s night in, you can create a face mask from honey or a peppermint body scrub. You can even try making your own lipgloss!

PLAY WITH CLAY : Who doesn’t love getting their hands a bit dirty with some clay? This is a hobby that is just as fun for the kids as it is for you! From minimalist clay earrings to miniature farm animals, get your creative juices flowing with endless air dry clay projects. The best part? There is no kiln required with air dry clay and it is available in all the colours of the rainbow and your favourite neutrals.

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Daryn Tessier