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Ugh. Teenagers and their devices.
You feel it too, right? It’s like their smartphones, tablets, and other tech are melted to their hands and they can’t go a second… without responding to the ping of an incoming message or mail, scrolling endlessly on social media platforms, liking, commenting, and sharing posts, and playing games.
While you might chuckle about it or roll your eyes now, it is essential for teenagers to have time away from screens. They need to breathe in the fresh air, and just be. Likely, they will argue and throw insults your way from trying to limit their screen time; however, I have good news!
We’ve come up with an excellent list of the best unplugged hobbies for teens so they can experience the joys of life, learn something, improve their self-esteem and self-confidence, and more.
Why are Hobbies Important, Especially for Teens?
It’s important for everyone to have hobbies – activities they are passionate about, love, and enjoy doing. I want to say it’s even more critical for the teenagers of today to have hobbies, especially hobbies that don’t involve screen time.
There are various benefits for teens to have activities they enjoy pursuing outside of school and studies. You know what they say about all work and no play…
Hobbies for teens:
The Dangers of Too Much Technology: 10 Reasons for Screen-Free Hobbies
Technology always has been and always will be a double-edged sword. While we benefit from tech and all the advancements, we also pay a (sometimes very steep) price.
The only way to manage technology in our lives (whether we are teenagers or adults), is to find the balance, and the answer for how to achieve balance is moderation. This requires discipline so that we can use technology to help us, but we should also have hobbies and other interests in our lives.
Exposure to too much technology has various negative influences we (and our teens) need to be aware of:
- People who spend too much time on their phones and other devices suffer from physical pain and ailments, like eye strain, poor posture, back and neck pain, headaches, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Too much technology exposure can result in depression and anxiety as you become and feel isolated (even though you think that 1,000 friends on Facebook are “real”) and as you negatively compare yourself to others’ seemingly perfect and easy lives (and find yourself coming up short).
- Spending too much time on your devices makes it difficult for you to focus on tasks you should be doing (I mean, seeing what your friends are up to on Instagram is way more fun than writing that essay or finishing homework).
- It’s challenging to build healthy habits as social media, video games, and the next hot bingeworthy series are more alluring.
- Its difficult choosing delayed gratification over instant gratification.
- Blue light emitted from phones, tablets, and other devices (especially too close to bedtime) results in poor sleep quality and insomnia because the body’s natural circadian rhythms are disturbed.
- When teens (and adults) spend too much time on their devices, they become more and more inactive or sedentary, which leads to obesity, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and other illnesses.
- Technology can also lead to a lack of attention, low creativity, social issues, and poor academic performance.
- Technology addiction (also called digital addiction or internet addiction) is real, and it’s just as bad as if you are addicted to pot or coke.
- There’s also the risk that browsing online can be dangerous as teens are exposed to phishing, scams, and pornography. They can even meet the wrong kind of people online who can groom them for nefarious purposes, such as human trafficking and digital prostitution.
51 Fun Hobbies for Teens
One way in which teens can practice moderation and find balance when it comes to technology is to engage in healthy and fun hobbies (that don’t include screen time).
Here are the best and most fun hobbies your teen can try today!
Hobbies to Get and Stay Fit
1. Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is a wonderful way to get your teen away from their phones. They can join a rock climbing gym and learn from a professional while they make friends. Or your teenagers can also join a local club and head out into the wild to go mountaineering, bouldering, top rope climbing, and free climbing.
All in all, rock climbing is a great mental and physical challenge.
Resource: The noob’s guide to rock climbing
Rebounding is great for all ages and fitness levels, and while the rebounder (mini-trampoline) works out your whole body, it also teaches you to ground yourself and connect your mind and body for a wholesome mindfulness experience.
You can master the basic rebounding moves, and then progress to do HIIT, kickboxing, body sculpting, and other types of never-get-bored fitness moves.
Resource: Kid and teen-friendly rebounding workout
Your teen can join a local hiking club or go hiking and exploring with friends. This fun hobby for teens basically requires good hiking shoes, sunscreen, a hat, water, and snacks, and a hiking trail.
For unfit teens, ensure they go slow, and as they get fitter, they can up the pace and choose longer and more challenging hikes over rougher terrain.
Resource: Hiking tips for beginners
CrossFit will really get your heart pumping and body moving as you do this type of high intensity interval training that combines strength training, conditioning workouts, and functional movements.
You can follow along with online CrossFit workouts, join a CrossFit gym and get one-on-one attention from a pro, or sign up for CrossFit bootcamps and events to push you to your limits.
Resource: 5 CrossFit workouts for teenagers
If you live near the beach, surfing is a must for any teenager. It’s a popular extreme sport (that can be quite addictive, but in a good way), where you can enjoy the outdoors and breaking waves on a surfboard.
While you paddle out, you can take in your surroundings before you get ready to surf.
Resource: A beginner’s guide to surfing
6. Horse Riding
Horse riding also teaches you many skills, from having compassion, patience, and dedication to having discipline, empathy, responsibility, and understanding. Riding a horse also helps improve coordination and balance, as you work on hand-eye coordination, strength, and fine motor skills.
You can sign up for lessons at a nearby stable yard and later get your own horse to love, dote on, and care for. Other options include going on a ranch holiday, equestrian vacation, and horseback riding tour.
Another cool hobby for teens is to start rollerblading (also called inline skating). The biggest pros of rollerblading is that your teenager can rollerblade on their own, with a friend, or in a group, and they can rollerblade in your driveway (if you have enough space), in the neighborhood, or the local park.
Besides a pair of rollerblades, your child needs some protective equipment, and they can start blading to their heart’s content.
Resource: 9 health benefits of rollerblading
Running is another screen-free hobby you can engage with. While you can go for fun runs, you can also train for events, like a 10K, half-marathon, or a marathon (provided you meet the age requirements). There’s also the option of trail running, sprinting, tempo runs, and fartlek runs.
Put on your favorite pair of running shoes, and enjoy your feet pounding on the asphalt as you move and clear your mind.
Resource: How to start running for beginners
It’s quite a skill to shoot arrows and hit the target, and with archery, your teenager will learn all about perseverance, hard work, patience, and focus, while they also get quite the workout.
You’ll also see how your child’s self-confidence improves, especially as they get better at archery.
Resource: Find an archery club in the USA
Hobbies to Get Your Creative Juices and Artsy-ness Going
Doodling may sound like quite an absurd hobby, and I know, your teenager is not a 5-year-old. When your teen practices doodling as a hobby, they learn to slow down, focus on the pen and paper, and become mindful.
Moreover, doodling also helps relieve stress, enhance creativity, and improve concentration and memory. Your teen can also doodle anywhere (just maybe not in the classroom!).
Resource: Easy doodling ideas for beginners
Journaling is quite cathartic and therapeutic, so it’s a must-do hobby. When teens journal, they learn about becoming mindful and self-aware.
But journaling is also so much more as it helps your teenager keep track of their to-do list, their moods, and food as they can relax, find inspiration, and improve their writing and communication skills.
12. Arts and Crafts
There are thousands (if not millions) of arts and crafts ideas online. But since you want your teen to stay offline, they can visit the library, join arts and crafts groups, and just play around with random objects and their imagination and simply have fun.
Or, you can buy your teenager some arts and crafts kits and let them explore and create.
Resource: 30 cool DIY crafts for teens
You can also start knitting and make various objects, like chunky knitted pillow cases or blankets, and re-decorate your room without asking dear old mom and dad to buy stuff for you. Or, make a fashion statement and knit yourself a cool scarf, beanie, or gloves so you can stay warm during winter.
If you want, you can also sell your knitwear ($$$) or give them as gifts.
Resource: 50 things to knit for beginners
14. Diamond Painting
Diamond painting is quite an addictive hobby as you will want to finish the unique coded color of sparkling resin rhinestones you are working or complete a large section of the picture.
You buy kits with the sticky canvas and a printed image, applicator tool, glue, and rhinestones, or you can really be creative and create your own diamond painting from scratch (no image on the canvas).
15. Writing a Novel, Short Stories, or Fan Fiction
You can try your hand at writing. Maybe you have an idea for a novel or a series of short stories? Or maybe you want to write some fanfic of your favorite series or movies because you visualize an episode going down differently?
There’s also poetry, using writing prompts to spark creativity, and more.
Resource: A beginner’s guide to writing
16. Nail Art
Order a nail art kit and get creative. You can sport new nails every so often, at the fraction of the cost of what it’d be if you opted to go to a nail salon. With different designs, themes, and colors, you let your nails do the talking for you!
Plus, you can offer to do your family and friends’ nails for free (or charge them if you are more business savvy).
17. Drawing and Painting
Drawing and painting is great for the mind and mood, and you can even head outside and soak up some sun and breathe fresh air while you draw or paint your next masterpiece.
Attend classes or buy your materials and see where your imagination and pencil or paintbrush takes you.
Resource: Painting and drawing for beginners
18. Making Ice Cream
I know of someone who started making ice cream at home when he was young and now he owns an ice cream parlor and sells ice cream at select grocery stores. Could this be you too one day?
So if you love ice cream, start experimenting with delicious and unique flavor combinations, egg-free ice creams, and even vegan-friendly options. Yum, yum, yum.
Doing puzzles improves your short-term memory, problem-solving skills, and visual-spatial reasoning, and it can be quite calming too (even though you need to solve the puzzle).
Consider trying Sudoku, crossword puzzles, word searches, cryptograms, Kakuro, Shikaku, Rubik’s cubes, and different types of jigsaw puzzles to really get your brain working.
20. Building Model Planes
If you want a hobby that will test your skills while building new ones, then building model planes could be it for you. You can build military aircraft and airplanes when you buy a kit, and you can even learn to fly, repair, and make improvements.
There are so many benefits when it comes to teens and gardening that this is a must-do hobby. The fresh air, sun exposure, grounding, and more will improve your teen’s psychological well-being, while also reducing stress and anxiety.
Start a small herb garden or a pollinator-friendly garden. Plant veggies and fruits, or specialize in shrubs and creatively pruning them into cool shapes and animals.
Your teenagers may feel a bit intimidated to take up woodworking, especially if they don’t have a handy parent or family member around. But beginner guides and even a local woodworking pro to take your teen under their wing will help.
Let your child make cabinets, experiment with epoxy and woodwork to create stunning pieces, or start on other wooden projects.
23. Making Soaps and Bath Products
When you make your own soaps and bath products, you can opt to use organic and non-toxic ingredients. These products are also more environmentally friendly, so you are helping to save the environment.
Experiment with different ingredients, designs, and packaging to create fun and beautiful products you can gift, use, or sell.
Cooking is a fun and relaxing hobby, and you can invest in a few cookbooks from celebrity chefs for your teenager. If you have some of your grandma’s handwritten recipes, your child can also indulge the family and make some favorite meals.
Resource: Recipes for teenagers
Hobbies to Train Your Mind
When you are mindful, you become aware and fully present in the present moment, which helps you ground yourself, reduce stress and anxiety, sleep better, and better regulate your emotions (which do tend to run rampant during the teen years).
You can practice mindful eating or mindful walking, or try other mindfulness activities.
Reading is a favorite pastime among teens, and it could be your new favorite screen-free hobby too. Visit your local library or bookstore, or order some books online, and start reading.
Read self-help books to help you navigate life, non-fiction to learn about history and things you are interested in, or fiction to escape to a different reality. Go for real paper-and-ink books and enjoy the scent.
Resource: 100 best-ever teen novels
27. Learn a Foreign Language
Learning a foreign language is a great idea if you want to impress a special someone who speaks another language, if you want to travel the world one day, or just improve your future college application.
Star gazing is a chilled hobby, but take it a few steps further (aka astronomy) so you can identify the constellations and other celestial objects. Get a telescope if you want to zoom in and feel closer to space.
Hobbies That Are Unique
29. Having Tea Parties
Having tea parties isn’t just for toddlers or senior citizens. You can plan and host tea parties for your friends or family to spend quality time together.
Think about your theme, buy decorations, and plan the snacks and types of teas you’ll serve. Remember to play relaxing music to set the mood and encourage your guests to dress appropriately.
30. Going to Events and Concerts
There’s something really exciting about attending events, festivals, and concerts. It’s the whole mood that the event sets, and this can totes be a hobby.
Do your research to see what local events are happening soon, or plan a bigger trip if there’s a festival or concert you desperately want to attend.
Resource: The 50 best musical festivals in the USA
31. Collecting Tea
If you love tea (like I do), then you can start collecting weird and interesting teas and other tea-related things like teapots, teacups, empty tea wrappers, tea labels, and loose-leaf tea (which you can use for art or journaling).
You can also learn about tea drinking in other cultures and replicate these ceremonies to show your tea-preciation.
32. Flower Pressing
When your teen engages in the art of flower pressing, they learn to slow down and appreciate nature and the beauty to be found there.
Your child can press flowers from different places they’ve visited as a memento, or they can create framed images with these flowers and leaves, make jewelry, or other arts and crafts.
33. Drone Piloting
If you dream of flying, it’s pretty awesome to fly a drone, partake in drone races, and even do aerial photography of your surroundings with a camera-mounted drone.
Check out your local laws, get FAA-certified, and enjoy!
Resource: 4 steps to becoming a drone pilot
It’s important to practice gratitude and also to give back to our communities and the world at large when we can. Thus, teens should volunteer and become involved when they can.
Your teenager can donate their skills and time to teach the less fortunate, help out at local soup kitchens, visit infirm neighbors or the elderly, help build homes, or volunteer at animal shelters.
35. Making Jewelry
Shops don’t always cater to your unique style, or the jewelry is simply too expensive (or cheap and breaks before you wear it). So why don’t you start making your own jewelry?
You can make charm or macramé bracelets, beaded necklaces, or experiment with other techniques and tools to create something truly unique and “so you.”
Resource: 36 fun DIY jewelry crafts and ideas
36. Kite Flying
You need a clear and open space if you want to start flying a kite, but this hobby is super fun. Head to your nearby beach, park, or an open field with a friend, and take turns being the flier and the launcher!
Resource: How to fly a kite
Hobbies to Learn a Skill
37. Learn Sign Language
Communication should be accessible to every person, and communicating with sign language helps you talk to those who are hard of hearing or deaf. Plus, it’ll look great on your college application one day!
Remember to learn your regional sign language, so if you live in the USA, that’s the American Sign Language.
Resource: Learning American Sign Language
If you are worried about a post-apocalyptic world like you see on TV or read about in novels, I can’t blame you. So lay your fears to rest by taking up bushcraft as a hobby?
Bushcraft will teach your wilderness skills so you can survive and thrive when you are out in nature – weather by choice or stranded there. You’ll learn how to cater to your basic needs – food, shelter, water, and fire, and also how to tie knots, navigate, and more.
Resource: The beginner’s guide to bushcraft
Upcycling (creative reuse) is the process of giving objects a second life so they can be used for longer (and not end up at a landfill or floating with the other trash in the ocean). When you upcycle stuff, you transform useless, unwanted, by-products, or waste materials into new ones.
An example would be using reclaimed wood in woodworking projects to make quality furniture.
Resource: 65 useful and easy upcycling ideas
40. Makeup and Styling
If you don’t yet know what your personal look and style is, consider learning about makeup and styling and finding out. You can try a new look every so often, and you can even give your friends and family makeovers when you know some pro tips and tricks.
Resource: 24 cool makeup tutorials for teens
41. Dog Training
If you’re an animal person, taking up the hobby of dog training will bring you out in nature and reward you with an amazing relationship with your canine bestie. There’s something special about your first dog and the journey of training them.
And if you’re good at it, you can train other people’s dogs too and charge a nice fee.
42. Fish Keeping
Every kid loves the idea of having their own fishbowl, but as you become a more confident teen with your fishkeeping, you can become an aquarist and collect rare and beautiful fish. Consider cold or fresh water fish, tropical fish, and other aquatic life.
Living off the land can be a rite of passage, and in many cultures, it’s the first step toward adulthood to survive for a time in the wild. Learn how to survive off the land by joining a foraging group where you can discover how to choose safe food to eat and prepare.
Resource: Foraging: Ultimate guide to wild food
44. Play a Musical Instrument
Music releases the soul, and most teens dream of playing a musical instrument. Now’s your opportunity to choose a musical instrument to master. Consider the guitar, drums, violin, cello, or saxophone and express yourself.
Resource: Musical instrument guide
The bird world is vast and incredibly beautiful. There’s magic in going out in nature and waiting patiently for magnificent birds to reveal themselves to the persistent birder. Join a group and learn all about identifying different bird species in your area.
Resource: Bird watching 101: A guide for beginners
Want to catch the big one? Take up angling or go fishing over weekends with friends and enjoy the challenge of landing a big one.
Perhaps you can tickle trout or go deep sea fishing too.
Resource: The absolute beginner’s guide to fishing
Sleight of hand is a skill that will always be amusing, and who knows, you may be the next Houdini or David Copperfield? Join a magic group or apprentice to a local magician and learn all the secrets of the world of magic.
Resource: Magic tricks for ages 13-17
Hobbies to Make Money
There’s something magical and rewarding about earning your own money and paying for your own stuff. So why don’t you take up baking and explore the culinary world of baked goods and delicious treats?
Bake and decorate cake and cookies, make interesting desserts, try different pie fillings, or specialize in cupcakes, tartlets, or brownies. People love buying a baked treat, so it can turn into a nice side hustle.
Resource: Ultimate baking guide
49. Event Planning
Event planning is a real job, but why doesn’t your teen get an early start if they are organized, meticulous, creative, detail oriented, great at problem-solving, and a good communicator?
Your teenager can plan their siblings’ birthday parties, family holiday events, and even getaways and vacations. Or they can branch out and plan events for their friends and neighbors (at a price, of course!).
Resource: Party planning ideas for teens
50. Making Candles
Another great idea to earn some extra bucks is to start making candles. I know from experience that you don’t always find what you want or need at a shop, and if you do, it’s so pricey.
So be creative with colors, designs, and scents, and sell your creations to neighbors, friends, and at local flea markets.
Resource: Learn all about candle making
51. Dog Walking
You can also start walking dogs for friends, family, and neighbors to earn money. Plus, you get to be out in nature, give your cardiovascular system a go, and de-stress when you regularly take doggies on their walks.
Resource: How to become a teenage dog walker guide
Final Thoughts on Hobbies for Teens
Hobbies are an essential part of life, and these activities help make life worth living. In this day and age, you know how much technology has become part of our everyday lives, and it’s no different for teenagers.
It’s important, however, to heed to the dangers of technology, detox from our devices, and put our talents to good use. One way your teen can do this is by engaging in screen-free hobbies – such as hiking, horse riding, dog walking, foraging, learning sign language, volunteering, or practicing mindfulness.
But it’s not easy to step away from our devices, and your teen may need some help and guidance with this. So check out this guide with 7 steps to unplug from technology and live a more mindful life. Or have your teenager read these 65 words of encouragement to help inspire them!
And if you're looking for more resources on hobbies, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 33 Fun Outdoor Hobbies to Explore
- 23 Cheap (But Fun) Hobbies to Try
- 45 Best Hobbies for Couples to Share Together