A hobbyist likes to engage in an activity for fun as opposed to profit. But some people have such a gift and passion for their hobby that they take it to a new level. Ask your group: How do amateur hobbyists turn into professionals? Do you know anyone who has successfully mastered a hobby and turned the pastime into a full-time job, a photographer perhaps? Name a hobby or two and some careers that are related to the hobbies (for example, devotees of cooking can becomes chefs, caterers, or cookbook writers). Why do people give up hobbies?

Popular hobbies often involve collecting items (coins, baseball cards, stamps); working with your hands (sewing, origami, embroidery); or performing an activity (clowning, hiking, dancing). A favorite hobby for older adults is arts and crafts. Here the focus is on creating something useful or a making a handcrafted item for decoration. Ask your group if any of them ever collected snowmen. How did they display them? Where did they find different kinds of snowmen? Did they ever craft snowmen as gifts for family and friends? Review the various kinds of arts and crafts-for example, cross-stitch, calligraphy, knitting, weaving, pottery, sculpture, woodworking, or doll-making – with your group and invite participants to share a simple memory or two about the activity.

Many people find a hobby in the arts-dramatics, for example. Seniors may enjoy acting, storytelling, play writing, costume creation, set design, and more. To highlight theater and drama as a hobby, invite an acting troupe to entertain your group for the afternoon or offer acting classes for your group.

Games have always been a popular pastime. Board and card games that exercise the mind and encourage socialization are favorites among older adults.

For more fun, encourage participants to teach others their favorite game. Chess, checkers, and mah-jongg are classics. Or, chat about another favorite pastime – watching TV quiz and game shows. You can reminisce about early radio and TV quiz shows such as Information Please, Quiz Kids, and The $64,000 Question. College Bowl, The Price Is Right, and Jeopardy are favorites as well.

You can plan more activities related to hobbies with these suggestions:

  • Organize an intergenerational hobby show. Older adults can demonstrate various kinds of hobbies/skills for the youngsters.
  • Talk about presidential hobbies, such as Franklin Roosevelt’s stamp collection.
  • Display books, videos, and magazines on various hobbies.
  • Invite a speaker to talk about turning a hobby into a profession.
  • Brainstorm about unusual hobbies such as collecting matchboxes or dumpster diving.
  • Talk about how to use a hobby or interest to serve the community-for example, an exhibit of political memorabilia at the local library or a private collection of rare coins at a museum.
  • Organize demonstrations of hobbies such as regional folk arts and crafts-basket weaving, wood carving, spinning, or decorative painting.
  • Invite a club or organization to talk about the history of a particular hobby.
  • Highlight a particular hobby, like bird watching, with slide shows and pictures. Display any equipment needed for the activity.
  • Ask a collector to talk about the history of collecting and display various kinds of collections–glassware, comic books, teddy bears, etc.
  • Compose poems on hobbies.


“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.” ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

“HOBBIES” written by Sue Hansen. © 2005 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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