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Great Hobby Ideas for Kids and Adults

Sam is certified in optimal nutrition from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and enjoys writing about health and healing.

Amateur Astronomy

Amateur Astronomy

Why Having a Hobby is a Great Idea

For kids, having a hobby is fun and educational. For adults hobbies are not only fun, but a hobby can also keep your mind active for many years. You can play with a hobby when you get a chance or devote all of your free time to your new hobby.

It seems today that kids and adults fill their free time with watching television or sitting there texting to their friends. With an enjoyable hobby, you will always be learning something new, trying to better yourself and possible reach different goals. Here are some great hobbies you might think about trying.

Trying a new hobby for kids is a great way to enhance their learning about other subjects. And for adults, learning a new hobby can really help the brain.

The best thing about learning a new hobby for kids, is that is increases their learning. Then best thing about getting into a new hobby as an adult, it increases your knowledge and keeps your brain active as you continue to learn.

Hobby Shopping and Buying Tips

When shopping for products for your new hobby, it is very helpful to read reviews. Reviews from current users can show you the pros and cons of each product. Amazon has the best reviews for these products. With some hobbies, you usually get what you pay for. Buying the lowest price product could actually inhibit your hobby because the product does not do what you thought it would do.

You do not have to buy the most expensive product either. As you progress in your new hobby, you might want to upgrade as you learn more. When you buy a hobby product, make sure you get the batteries and print out the manual if needed, so you can get started right away.

great-hobby-ideas

Metal Detecting with the Hunter TK4 Tracker

Metal Detecting is a great hobby to get into to. You can get a very good metal detector for around $100 and get started in this fun hobby right away. You can use your metal detector almost everywhere, in your own yard, the park, a nearby field or take it on the road with you. Just remember, if you see a No Trespassing sign, respect it and do not go onto private property unless you have prior permission from the property owner.

With a metal detector, you can find old coins, rings, pendants and much more. You can buy a general metal detector which finds all kinds of metal and is probably the best for most hobbyists. You can also buy a more specialized metal detector that only finds gold and some that work in water.

Some of the places I have had good luck with my Hunter TK4 Tracker metal detector include places like the local park. You will be surprised at just how many coins are dropped at the local park and the older the park, the better. One of the best places I have had good luck finding coins and rings, is in school yards.

If you can find an old school, possibly even a school that has been closed for years and get permission to into the schoolyard, you can find a lot of old coins and other types of metal.

Taking your metal detector on the road with you, even a day trip can be very exciting and profitable. Find a map of either very small town or even ghost or abandoned towns near you, and go there your metal detector.

Starting Out with a New Metal Detector

Once you buy your new metal detector and start to use it, do not think it is not working properly, because it does take some time to learn how to use it and learn what the beeps sound like for each type of metal and the depth of the metal.

Most experienced metal detector users say that it takes about 80 hours of using your new metal detector to completely understand how to use it and get used to it. Two of the most important aspects of metal detecting you will learn, is listening to the beeps, and especially to move the metal detector slowly over the ground.

If you move the metal detector too fast over the ground, you will miss finding something. By going slowly over the ground, there is a good chance you will find coins and other metallic objects that others have missed.

One of the most affordable and best metal detectors to start with is the Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV Metal Detector. I started with the Bounty Hunter TK4 and never thought about buying a different model, that is how good the Bounty Hunter TK4 works. And I know others who stick with the Bounty Hunter even though they also own more expensive models.

The Bounty Hunter Tracker IV metal detector is highly rated on Amazon and it is an Amazon' Choice product in the metal detector category.

Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV

Astronomy

One of the first hobbies I had as a kid was astronomy and a telescope. We would spend every night looking at the night sky and trying to find new objects to look at. Today's telescopes are far more advanced than those days, which makes them even more fun to have. Since those days, telescopes have sure advanced.

If you already have an interest in astronomy, you would most likely want to get a telescope to start your new hobby. There are some very good telescopes for reasonable prices that will get you started looking at the craters on the moon, the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter and distant galaxies.

.Don't buy a telescope at a toy or department store. A cheaply built telescope can actually hinder further enthusiasm. Try to find a mid-range priced telescope that has actually been recommended for beginner use. There are different types of telescopes and some telescopes will automatically point to an object you want to see. The four types of telescopes are Reflector, Refractor, Hybrid and Dobsonian telescopes.

There are many choices and prices for telescopes. Some highly recommended telescopes in each category of telescopes include:

  • Reflector: Celestron NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope is easy to use. This telescope lets you point at an object in the sky, tell the telescope your location, date and time and the database will tell you what you are looking at.
  • Refractor: Meade StarNavigator 102 will find and track over 30,000 objects in the sky with their go-to computer system. This telescope weights 25 pounds, so it is not easy to take with you, but that weight keeps it very stable.
  • Dobsonian: Orion StarBlast 6i IntelliScope is a great telescope that will help you find objects in the sky to view. This is a push to navigate computer telescope. It takes a little bit to put together, but once assembled, this is a great telescope to view the sky.
  • Hybrid: Celestron NexStar 4SE is the best small telescope for the price. I say small, because it is perfect for taking it with you out to the field or that area where there are no interfering city lights. The Celestron NexStar 5SE and 6SE are also highly rated telescopes.

Warning: Never look at the sun with a telescope, unless you have a special sun filter for the telescope.

Astronomy Books

Along with your new telescope, you might also want a couple of astronomy books and computer software that will show you when and where to look for different objects in the night sky. These books and software will help you learn the planets, stars, constellations and more as you look at the sky. What you can see during the summer will be different in the winter as the objects in the sky are always changes with the seasons.

The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is an excellent book for beginning astronomers that includes telescope reviews and advanced tips.

Saturn

Saturn

Weather Watching as a Hobby

Many people love to just watch the weather or want to actually report the weather as a weather spotter. There are numerous brands of home weather stations at various prices. Look for a wireless model. You can set it up and not have to worry about laying cables all over the place.

A home weather station should have the basic weather readings including temperature, wind speed and direction, barometer, rainfall, wind chill and a function that records the high and low temperature and the high and low wind speeds.

Be aware that certain devices use the phrase “home weather stations” when they are nothing more than just a receiver with an FM antenna that allows you to receive local weather information in your area, like the Oregon Scientific WMS-801. You can do that for free on the Internet.

Some are not weather stations but forecast the weather from online sources. And some are just expensive indoor/outdoor temperature readouts. Here are some home weather stations with good reviews. One note, some people have written that Oregon Scientific does not have very good customer support.

Make sure you read all the specifications since some weather stations might only read temperatures down to 0 F, which doesn't do you much good if you live in a northern climate. The La Crosse models biggest complaint is that their temperature sensors are not waterproof, which isn't great in the rain. I have had no problems with my La Crosse in the rain.

Make sure you read the manuals when setting any of these up. Also reading reviews on Amazon.com can really help sort out any problems or inaccurate readings. Inaccurate readings are usually corrected at the time of setup. Davis probably makes the best weather stations and as a trained weather spotter, the Davis Instruments 6250 Vantage Vue Wireless Weather Station is one of the best and affordable.

You might wonder who is interested in your weather observations and weather reports. There is a group called The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) that wants your weather reports and weather readings. They have a large network of network of weather watchers throughout the United States and Canada that report their weather reports every day to CoCoRaHS.

Books about Weather Watching

To help you get the most out of being a weather watcher and weather spotter, these books are great to help you learn about the weather. Weather books like the Weather Identification Handbook and The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America's Weather will teach you all about weather fronts, highs and lows, meteorological terms and how to identify clouds.

snowdrifts

snowdrifts

Shortwave Radio

At one time, shortwave was one of the most popular hobbies you could get involved in. Today, thanks to technology, the world is a much smaller place. You can talk around the world with your cell phone and you can listen to distant radio stations on the internet.

But for many, there is still a real fascination with listening to distant radio stations from exotic locations around the world on their own radio. Listening to the news, sports and local music from radio stations in faraway places is still a great hobby to get into to.

Many shortwave radio hobbyists send for what are called QSL cards from each of the distant stations they hear and have a QSL card collection. There are casual shortwave radio listeners and the more serious DX’ers with more expensive radios.

You will hear much more with an outside antenna. If this is what you want, make sure the radio you buy has a jack for an outside antenna and not just the whip antenna. The following radios are more portable than the more expensive shortwave radios. Once you move past a beginner shortwave radio enthusiast, you can always upgrade.

Used radios on eBay can be good like the old Kenwood R-1000, Drake SPR-4 and the Drake R-4B are excellent old short wave radios.Each of these radios have excellent sensitivity and selectivity.

New radios like the Alinco DX-R8T and the CommRadio CR-1 are good communications radios.

Another fine radio that covers the long wave, shortwave, AM, FM and aircraft bands is the Eton Grundig Satellit 750 Ultimate AM / FM / Aircraft / SSB / Shortwave Radio, NGSAT750B. This radio also includes single sideband, so you can also listen to amateur radio operators around the world.

Software Defined Radio or SDR

Software defined radio, or SDR, has become a favorite for all radio enthusiasts. With an SDR, you can listen to any band from as low as 50 khz all the way up into the gigahertz bands.

I recently purchased an RSP1a from RSPlay, and it works great. I have been listening to distant stations on the AM band, and hearing meteor pings and sporadic E on the FM bands.

You can also listen to all of the shortwave bands, and all of the amateur radio bands. Included in these bands, you can see weather maps, international and local aircraft traffic, and watch slow scan television pictures from the United Space Station.

Software defined radios like the RSP1a are as sophisticated and good as a radio that would have cost $5,000 just a decade ago. The RSPdx costs around $200 and the RSP1a costs around $150. They only difference is the RSPdx has 3 antenna jacks and the RSP1a has one antenna jack. They can be used whether you live in a house using a big antenna, or in an apartment using a small piece of wire or a loop antenna.

You hook up the SDR to your computer via a USB port. The software is free and not all that hard to learn. The two most common programs to use with your SDR is SDRuno or SDR Console.

RSP1a SDR Radio

Portable Shortwave Radios

For beginners, portable shortwave radios are great and the Sony ICF-SW7600GR is one of the better all-band radios. The Sangean ATS-909X is another good portable shortwave radio that covers AM/FM/SW and the LW band. The Sangean also has a reel out wire antenna to help with reception of SW and LW. These portable radios are also great to take with you anywhere you go.

Shortwave Radio Books

There are numerous very good books for shortwave radio. The World Radio TV Handbook (WRTH) is one of the most popular books for DX’ers on all bands since it lists call letters, formats and frequencies for every station in the world. Passport to the World is an excellent book for both radio reviews and radio station frequency guides. . As you tune across the shortwave radio bands, you will find yourself referring to radio station frequency lists often.

Ham radio station

Ham radio station

Amateur Radio

Amateur radio or ham radio is another great hobby. Once you get your FCC license, you can operate your own radio station and talk around the world with other ham operators, plus you will meet people of all walks of life and different jobs. As a ham radio operator, I have talked to many thousands of people from ever country on the planet, and it is a great deal of fun, and a hobby that you will never be bored with.

Getting your ham radio license is not hard, and passing the FCC ham radio test has never been easier. You do not have to know Morse code anymore; you just take a written test. Ham radio is not that expensive to start. The hobby of ham radio can start you on a career in radio, electronics, computers, communications and even government service.

One of the best study guides to help anyone get their amateur radio license is the Ham Radio License Manual with CD. This book is published by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the main group for ham radio.

Mercury dime

Mercury dime

Coin and Stamp Collecting

Starting a coin collection is a great hobby and you can start one without spending much money. You can start a coin collection with state quarters out of pocket change. You can also buy bags or rolls of coins and start filling in your new coin holders. Start with a wheat penny collection and then move on to Indian Head pennies.

To learn much more, you can read the article The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Coin Collection .

Stamp collecting also does not have to be expensive to start. You can buy bags of US or foreign stamps and start filling in your stamp books. You can focus on certain types of stamps like US commemorative, president stamps, first day issues and many other types. Both coin collecting and stamp collecting are hobbies you will enjoy for many years.

Collectable stamps

Collectable stamps

Great Hobby Ideas Conclusion

As you can see, there is no reason for you or your kids to ever be bored. These hobbies can be enjoyed alone or with family members and friends. All of these hobbies can easily become lifetime hobbies as you learn more about your favorite hobby. For kids, getting into a hobby will help them enjoy learning and could possibly lead them to a career later in life.

© 2012 Sam Montana

New Guestbook Comments

TheBizWhiz on July 20, 2015:

There are many pecan orchards in and around my neighborhood, so I have been thinking about metal detectors. Another hobby I have just gotten into is collecting books. Nothing expensive, I just try to get my hands on 1st editions when I get a chance.

Sam Montana (author) from Colorado on July 06, 2015:

Metal detectors are a lot of fun bdeguiloio, especially if you can find areas that have not been searched yet. It is amazing what you can find even in the yards of older homes.

Kristen, gardening is a great hobby also, I have gardened for years. Nothing like getting your own salad from your backyard every night.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on May 16, 2015:

I love your ideas on how to find great hobby ideas. Mine's reading, research and writing. Maybe gardening once I get started. Voted up!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on May 16, 2015:

Interesting hub. I can see myself with a metal detector and I also love astronomy. I wouldn't mind having a decent telescope to be able to see Saturn's rings, Jupiter, etc.. Great job.

Sam Montana (author) from Colorado on December 18, 2013:

@Bartukas: Playing the guitar is a great hobby and one that I wish I had stuck with years ago.

Bartukas on May 01, 2013:

My hobby is playing guitar :P

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