As we wrap up one of the weirdest school years ever, and summertime begins amidst a continuing period of social distancing, we are all contemplating a summer break that look a little different than we might have planned. Many of us have had to substitute activities that we do in public or with groups of people with other activities at home. I mean, how many times have you baked banana bread in the last 12 weeks?

While the increased time at home has driven a lot of us a little stir crazy, it has also given us the opportunity to contemplate activities that may have fallen to the wayside or self-care practices that went undone for quite some time. How long has it been since you took up a hobby or learned something new just for the fun of it? Well, now’s the time. And maybe not just for you: maybe for you and your kids or you and your spouse?

Here a few suggestions to get you started, along with some resources to get you going on your new hobby adventure.

Learn to Bake

Whether you’ve always wanted to be an expert bread, cake, or cookie baker, Udemy has courses for literally everything. For many people, baking can be therapeutic. Not only do you get to make delicious treats that your family will enjoy, but it is an artistic outlet as well. And, hey, this may be your only chance to make a lot of dough!

Learn to Garden

Now is a great time to learn how to garden. If you’ve ever wanted to grow your own food, it seems that the pandemic has brought out the gardener in many of us. Grow Veg is a very popular Youtube channel with simple to follow video directions for how to grow specific vegetables in your garden. The host is very specific about what you need and how you should go about your project, which is great when you are just getting started.

Growing herbs is another great hobby for teachers. If you’ve never made chicken with fresh basil, or cilantro infused guacamole, you are seriously missing out! Herb’n Cowgirl is a website for wannabe herb enthusiasts where Ann McCormick shares tips for growing herbs successfully – along with recipe ideas and ways to store and use your herbs all year round. She also has online courses available to take your hobby to the next level.

Learn to Play Guitar

Haven’t you always wanted to learn the guitar? Now could be the best time to learn. And if you are planning to keep your circle small this year and stick to more intimate backyard family gatherings, you might have a captive audience for performances. Andy Guitar is a great Youtube channel with free tutorials that will teach you how to play. With over 1.45 million subscribers, Andy certainly knows a thing or two about getting new players inspired.

Learn to Sew

Sewing is one of those long lost hobbies that is making a comeback thanks to the mandated mask rules and some of the initial difficulty in purchasing them. There are tons of free resources for learning how to sew and the Made to Sew Youtube channel is no exception. Aneka teaches you all of the basics as well as some more advanced sewing techniques.

Study Genealogy

Discovering who you are and where your ancestors came from is exciting and the time has never been better to learn. With sites like Ancestry.com and DNA testing kits, you can learn so much about your family’s history. For free resources in tracking down your ancestors, try visiting Genealogy Today. This website allows you to search first by state and then by family. Another great resource is the National Genealogical Society. You can become a member, take courses to learn how to search for family members, and even attend their annual conference.

Learn to Paint

The idea of taking an easel outside and painting what you see is super appealing but also intimidating if you don’t have a clue what you are doing. Painting can be a wonderful hobby: imagine creating your own pieces of artwork for your classroom. How fun! Julia Kontenko Art is another great Youtube channel that offers free courses and tutorials to learn how to paint specific objects such as flowers, sailboats, landscapes, and more.

Learn to Play Chess

If you missed chess club in high school there is a really great online resource for quickly learning to play chess. Lichess.org has courses that will teach you all the basic rules and strategies. Go ahead, unleash your hidden chess master!

Up Your Public Speaking Game

As an educator, you are no stranger to having to stand and deliver in front of a group. But if you want to take it to the next level, Toastmasters is a great resource. They offer clubs that meet in person, online-only clubs, and for $45/ 6-month membership, it doesn’t break the bank. Public speaking and leadership skills are the primary focus of the weekly meetings.

Running: Couch to 5K

The “quarantine 15” is very real. Gaining weight during the nationwide lockdown is certainly something many people are facing head-on as swimsuit season has officially begun. If you’ve ever wanted to learn to run so you can complete a 5K, Runners World has a very realistic game plan for beginners. In only 6 weeks, you can go from a non-runner to competing in a 5K – amazing!

Don’t put off investing in yourself any longer. Take the time to develop a new hobby…something you want to do. There has never been a better time than now to invest in what you love and to learn something new from home.

  • Jenna Garvin

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