With the busy lives we all lead, it’s no surprise that come the weekend, sometimes we just want to lie on the couch and sleep. However having a hobby can not only keep you busy on the weekends, it can also keep you both physically and mentally healthy. People who participate in active hobbies get a boost essential for one’s heart, muscles and overall health. Aside from the positive effects to your body, they can also improve cognitive skills.

With time being so precious, a simple solution is to discover a hobby that you can enjoy as a family. Listed below are ten ideas that you can enjoy together as a group. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Get cooking

Whether you enrol the family in structured cooking classes, or you simply try some new dishes on the weekends, involving your kids in the cooking process will always end with memories to keep. Not only will your children experience new dishes from other cuisines and cultures, but they will be learning lifelong skills.

Pack up and go camping

Getting away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives is exactly what every family needs from time to time. Switch off your electronic devices, and spend a few nights simply talking with your children and bonding as a family. Guaranteed, your children will remember eating marshmallows by the fire and learning to fish on the camping trip much more fondly than any gift you could buy them.

Take up bushwalking

This is another simple hobby that the whole family can enjoy on a budget. Getting out there amongst nature gives the family a chance to reconnect, whilst the children (and you!) learn about our native flora and fauna. Start with some smaller trails with rest stops, and as the whole family become more experienced, you can work your way up to half day or full day hikes.

Support a sport

Getting out to support your local team can be a great way to bond as a family. Whether it’s going to professional games or supporting your local league, there are so many sports to be a part of. Talk to your children and see which sports interest them. There may even be a local team for their age that they can join.

Discover your family history

Exploring your family lineage can be an eye-opening experience that the whole family can appreciate. Whether you consider an online service that will do the research for you, or you visit some older relatives, it is a valuable experience for a child to learn where they come from. Grandparents are an amazing resource of knowledge, but unfortunately, they won’t be around forever. Spending what time you can with them to learn about their lives and hear their stories will allow them to live on in your children’s memories forever.

Grow your own garden

Next weekend, visit your local hardware store and head to the gardening section. No longer do you need a big backyard to grow your own vegetables, with vertical garden beds, and other space saving ideas. Start with something small and hardy like herbs, strawberries or tomatoes, and work your way up from there. Not only does this give your children an education on how food is grown, but it also teaches them responsibility with watering and trimming. A bonus is that children who are picky eaters are more likely to try food that they have grown themselves.

Let’s go bike riding

Bike riding is a healthy active hobby that the whole family can enjoy in good weather while teaching your children about road rules and safety. Bike riding is a great way for children (and adults) to get some healthy exercise outdoors and improves hand-eye coordination, as well as strengthening the larger muscles in the body. These days, the whole family can enjoy biking, with trailers and baby seats readily available to attach to the adult’s bikes for those too little to ride their own.

Start a band

You might not become the next Partridge Family, but gosh you are going to have some fun! Search your local area for someone who specialises in group lessons and learn a new instrument together, or if you have the time and money, you could choose a different instrument each and try to learn some songs together. Not only is this a fun way for your children to see you as an equal (learning the same skill from the beginning) but it nourishes their creative side and gives them a platform to access their emotional side through music.

Volunteer for an organisation

Helping in the community is a great way to bond as a family. Children tend to be a little self-centred at times, as they are used to having everything done for them. Allowing your children to see how other people live, and sometimes struggle, can open their eyes and get them thinking more about others. Sometimes we try to protect our children from the ‘less than perfect’ parts of life, but by giving them more responsibility within the community, you may be surprised by just how much your child can not only handle but also contribute.

Get the camera ready

I know the article says nine hobbies, but here is a bonus one. Take a camera on your weekends while you participate with your family and take some photos. Too many of our photos are posed these days, so try to catch some candid shots of your family enjoying not only their hobby but each other. Make sure someone else takes the camera off your hands occasionally, so that you can be in some photos too. At the end of the weekend, your family can go through the photos together, reminisce and create a scrapbook of your adventures.