Sixteen fun and affordable hobbies to try with your kids

Try these fun hobbies with your kids.
Try these fun hobbies with your kids.

South Africa's Covid-19 lockdown has had families cooped up at home for several weeks now, and I'm sure we're all starting to run out of ideas for crafts and adventures to keep everyone entertained and learning.  

Never fear, we have a handy list of fun ideas for you right here.

NB: Please use discretion and ensure that your family stays within the lockdown regulations when considering some of these activities.

Even if the kids aren't allowed out now, they can still have fun, learn new things and make the most of family time – and their childhood. A lot of these activities are also a way to develop your child's fine and gross motor skills.

Don't limit yourself to what you think you can do: you may even find something unexpected you're really passionate about.


What are some of the activities you're doing with your kids? Send us your comments and we could publish them. Do let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous. 

Here are some new activities you could try with your children: 

1. Origami 

Origami is a fun activity that creates beautiful results that you yourself would be impressed by. You don't have to jump straight into ninja-level origami, there are some easy techniques to begin with.

All you need is some paper (preferably recycled) and free YouTube tutorials and you're good to go. 

2. Painting

Even if your child isn't much of an artsy fartsy, painting could be a great way for them to express their creativity; something we all need to do every now and then. 

Get a big plastic sheet to cover your table or paving outside, get a watercolour palette, or some acrylic tubes and a plastic palette, brushes, a plastic cup of water to rinse the brushes, and some recycled printer paper.

If your child is young or just painting for fun, don't visit expensive art shops – regular cheap plastic retailers will do perfectly!

Also remember a cheap plastic apron, or old clothes. When the pictures are done, hang them on a line (depending if the material you painted on can withstand it) with clothes pegs so they can dry.

It's a pretty way to display them too.

3. Sketching

If you want to get creative without all the mess, sketching would be a good way to go.

It is a more precision-based artform and your child's fine motor skills will benefit greatly since clutching a pencil utilises more of those little muscles than a paintbrush does. 

You can purchase special sketching paper or you could do it on regular paper. The same applies with the kind of pencils you use. You could purchase art pencils (the most popular ones are 2B-6B), or you could simply use HB pencils.

The medium of the artworks you create don't have to be too specific, you can play around: there are endless possibilities with creating art. 

4. Collecting gem stones

One for after the lockdown ends, rather, but gem stones are pretty to collect and they bring some colour to your home. Plus, they're a little more exciting than stamps, don't you think?

Look out for places you could purchase or find gem stones such as Stones for Africa in Johannesburg, Scratch Patch in Cape Town and Stone etc. in Port Elizabeth.

You could also find them at craft and goods markets near you, they're quite popular there.

Get a gem stone chart and get collecting!  

Another fun activity is rock painting. And once we're allowed out and about more often, you can hide them for other people to find!

Learn more about rock painting (and hiding) hereHow rocks are getting the kids (and adults!) excited about being outdoors

5. Gardening

Watch your flowers grow as you watch your little ones grow. Gardening is a therapeutic activity and will instill a sense of responsibility and love for the environment in your child.

If you don't have the outdoor space to plant flowers or greenery, doing it indoors in pot plants would be equally as exciting. 

You could even plant your own fruit and vegetables meaning you get fresh produce that you don't have to pay grocery store prices for. 

If you can't head over to your nearest plant nursery to get some seeds, compost and gardening tools, then just pop some dried beans or lentils between sheets of cotton wool or tissue paper on a saucer. Sprinkle with water a few times a day and watch them come to life! 

6. Recycling

This should be a lifestyle, not a hobby, but initiating recycling in your home can really positively impact your child's attitude towards it.

Create separate bins in your home for paper, plastic, glass, etc. for storing. 

Find your nearest recycling drop off and dedicate a day or two per week to visiting it with the kids. 

7. Dancing

Keeping fit while having fun? A real win-win situation!

See Five of our favourite home workout videos for kids for inspo, or put on a dance or workout DVD or one of many YouTube tutorials and have your own little classes at home.

The advantage of this is that you can switch up the dancing styles whenever you like. Salsa one day, hip-hop the next, who knows?



Also see: 6 great YouTube channels to get your kids off the couch


8. Photography

This tip is just a sneaky way to say goodbye to the self-timer and always have a personal little photographer with you.

Kidding, but photography is a fun skill to have, and it teaches your children to see the beauty in everything around us. 

You can decide how professional you want your photos to be. Naturally, higher quality photographs require a more advanced camera which will end up costing you money if you don't already own one, and you'll need to learn all about exposure, ISO speeds, and lenses.

Smartphone photography is quite popular so you could opt for that too.

Elevate your photography by making use of photo editing apps such as VSCO and Adobe Lightroom

9. Cooking and baking

Being able to cook is a skill everyone should have, so take advantage of the fact that so many children are inquisitive about what happens in the kitchen.

Start off with the basics and work your way up from there. Have your child help out with making supper every now and then or get them involved whenever you do some baking.

Using a sourdough starter to make homemade bread is a popular and easy way to get started, and there are many online tips for how to make your own bread. A great skill to learn while we all avoid the shops right now! 

10. Magic

Get your abrakadabra on!

Since magic schools aren't too easy to come by, you could start your own little one at home.

Once again, YouTube tutorials really save the day. There are also step-by-step magic trick books you could purchase that are really impressive and a lot easier to execute than they seem. 

You could purchase a magic kit onlineat all big toy retailers, or simply get all the pieces such as a box, a set of cards, a hat, some plastic cups, a cape, rope, balloons, etc. and make your own kit.

11. Hiking 

Fresh air, nature, exercise, good memories and more; round up the gang and get hiking. While lockdown regulations are keeping us close to home now, it's great practice for the bigger trails we'll be hitting in the future.

Your kids will thank you one day when they're older and don't have to stop every five minutes or so to catch a breath like me during a hike, shame. 

Conduct an online search for the hiking trails near you that are not too challenging and best for kids.

Don't forget the sunscreen, sun hat, snacks and WATER!

12. Writing stories

Kids have the greatest imaginations and it's always interesting to hear the stories they come up with.

Why not document those stories and create little story books of your own? It's precious to look back on and you can get as whimsical as you wish.

And all you'll need is a notebook and pen or pencil! 

13. Mosaic

Another crafting activity that will be as fun for your child as it is for you.

You can make some really beautiful objects to keep in your home and make handmade gifts for loved ones. 

You can find mosaic material at any craft store near you. But try to avoid making your own material by breaking glass, porcelain or a mirrors, so your children won't cut themselves.


Also see: WATCH: How to make pretty pressed petals for your picture frame


14. Scrapbooking

Make memories while documenting your memories. 

You'll need stickers, colourful paper, a book, glue stick, scissors (blunt nose), stamps, glitter, etc. Whatever your heart desires, really. 

You can create your own fun patterned paper with paint to put in your scrapbook too. Now is a good time to document your lockdown experience to look back on later. 

15. Beach clean-ups

Many of us absolutely love going to the beach, but unfortunately some people don't know how to clean up after themselves. 

Despite the fact that you weren't the one doing the littering, you would be a great help to the environment by ridding it of some litter and once again, teaching your children to be nicer to the planet. 

It doesn't have to feel like you're cleaning though, take a nice stroll on the beach, with a plastic bag in your hand, and collect as you go along.

While beaches are temporarily off limits, there's nothing stopping you from cleaning up around you as you take your daily stroll around the neighbourhood. 

16. Yoga

A practice that's great for the mind, body and soul, yoga is something that many people swear by to improve their lives. 

Once again, there are many yoga classes out there but you could easily do it in the comfort of your own home with a few DVDs or YouTube tutorials. 

You can use a thick mat or carpet, but a yoga mat would be the best for you and your little one's spine, so consider investing in them instead. 

Chat back:

What are some of the activities you're doing with your kids?

Send us your comments and we could publish them. Do let us know if you'd like to remain anonymous. 

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