Stay active with these tips from the OnTrack YAC (Youth Advisory Coalition)
Dear Members and Friends of the OnTrack YAC,
Rest assured, our brave adventurers have indeed rescued our yak and restored joy to the town of Obviate. Thank you to those who participated in our June 29th meeting and brief Dungeons and Dragons game.
Hobbies are an important part of a healthy drug-free life. Read on, for new ideas to explore, and tips for engaging with hobbies well.
20 Boredom-Busting Ideas for People of All Ages
1. Make things. Explore the Maker Movement at makercamp.com
2. Read. Go to the library, swap books with friends, or read online. Your favorite author may have a blog where they will tell you all about… their favorite authors! This is one of the best ways to discover new books you’ll love.
3. Write. Check out the NaNoWriMo Young Writers program for free guides and encouragement
(ywp.nanowrimo.org). Don’t forget nonfiction! Write for blogs or newspapers, write letters, poetry, or essays.
4. Chores. What? Chores can be a hobby? Absolutely, nobody says you can’t be happily productive. Take some pride in what you are doing and try to learn a new skill.
5. Repair things. Find something broken and try to fix it. What’s the worst that can happen? You break it twice? (Use common sense and ask for help learning to use tools.)
6. Hike and spend time in nature. Get out in the world. Follow safety guidelines from DNR or another trusted source, don’t hike alone and always tell someone where you are going. Check out the National Park Service (NPS.gov) or the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (WVDNR.gov) for safety checklists and ideas for enjoying time outdoors.
7. Healthy gaming. New video games come out all the time and the technology is ever-changing. Check out healthygamer.gg for tips for gamers from gamers on how to keep your interests in balance with your life needs.
8. Cooking. Work with what you have or stop by a farm market for reasonably priced fresh ingredients. One of the best ways to learn is alongside an experienced cook, but books and videos can help broaden horizons for the whole family.
9. Homemaking – ok, we mentioned chores, repairing things, cooking… What else goes into making a house a home? How about decorations, organizing, and switching up how you use a space? Do you have a corner that just collects stuff? Ask your parents if you can turn it into a writing desk area, stocked with postcards and pens, or some other useful space. Maybe it could become a hub for you or a family member to enjoy one of these other hobbies. Check out the home decorating section of your local library or search online for ideas.
10. Coding! There are so many STEM projects for kids. The 2021 Congressional App Challenge is on, and West Virginia is participating! Learn to code for free with Codeacademy.
11. Scrapbooking. You don’t need much to get started. You can cut spare papers, even junk mail, to matching sizes, sew the pages together with needle and thread, and start cutting and adding papers and small objects that you know you want to keep for the memories. If you want to avoid damaging important items, create pockets for them instead, and decorate the pockets with artwork that relates to what’s inside. You could also make a digital scrapbook.
12. Volunteering. Look around and you will find dozens of opportunities. Pitch in with simple things at first, and when you find a place you like, ask if someone there will assist you to learn a new skill so that you can help in a way that interests you even more.
13. Art: drawing, animation, video production… Alternate times when you focus on learning new skills with times when you just don’t judge yourself at all. Have fun!
14. Music – Making it or appreciating it. Ask your family members, neighbors, and friends what they are listening to, and take the time to learn about some new musicians. Practice your scales. Start with what you have. Some musicians have started with a paper piano keyboard on a table, or a home-made guitar.
15. Animal care. Do you have a family pet or farm animal, or know someone who does? Ask if you can learn more about how to care for it. Read online or at the library about that animal’s special needs. Elderly neighbors may particularly appreciate help with their furry family members.
16. Collaborative storytelling. Dungeons and Dragons is just one example. There are a hundred different popular role-playing games. Writing fiction together is also a great way to share an interest with friends. Bounce ideas back and forth and help each other out when you get stuck wondering what happens next.
17. Exercise! We know now that being physically active for 150 minutes a week boosts health and mood. Take an interest in learning something new, building strength, stamina, and flexibility.
18. Entrepreneurship. Does your county have a chamber of commerce? A 4H group? There are very likely programs for young people who want to learn about business. If not, head back over to the library and look for some tips on getting started. Let us know if you are stuck with making a connection.
19. Genealogy. How much of your family tree can you draw from memory? Get started and then interview family members for more information. Where were people born? What jobs did they do? Where did their parents come from before them? Where did they go to church or school? Where are your ancestors buried? This is good information to know.
20. Automotive. New technology with cars is being developed all the time. Do you know the parts of an engine? How to change a tire? Maybe you can get involved in helping to do some work on an older, not-quite-functioning, car or learn how to do routine maintenance.
21. BONUS – We came up with MORE than 20 ideas, so here are some of the others, to pique your interest in case the rest of this list hasn’t done so already: hunting and fishing ; gardening and yardwork; learning about money and virtual stock markets; podcasts, journalism and website creation; fashion, hair and make-up; dramatic readings and theater; crafts; folks arts and music (check out the archives at Augusta Heritage Center: augustaartsandculture.org ), bird-watching; puzzles and cryptology; historic recreation; fandom; photography; journalism; activism.
Remember garage sales and swap meets are great ways to find inexpensive tools and supplies – and the search is part of the fun! Research at libraries, at businesses related to your hobby, or by talking with others who share your interest. Be sure to communicate with trusted adults about your hobbies and definitely whenever you are connecting with anybody new. Take the time to learn about engaging with your hobby safely.
Best wishes for a safe and happy continuation of your summer! Alison Mee and TJ Dawson
Download a printable copy of the Boredom Busters: YAC Hobbies July 2021