There is a little blue box in our home. It has a white lid and its made of plastic. Try to carry it and you will find its quite heavy. Open it and coins from all over the world will spill out. It started out as a collection of Indian coins; every new coin was met with much happiness and older ones treated with reverence. When the collection grew, the boy whose collection it was went to the store and bought some foreign coins. The boy is now a dad but hs voice still fills up with delight when he talks about the coins in his collection to his children.

I remember my friend having a collection of beautiful pressed flowers. She lived in a home with a garden that had many a beautiful flower. Purple, orange and yellow flowers, well past their season would surprise us when we opened the books in her library. There were children who collected soft-drink caps or feathers; girls who collected shells and feathers; the child who loves collecting Pokemon cards and who can spend an hour easily going through her card collection.

I know a child who collects stones as a hobby. In a corner of her cupboard you will find  grey little stones of different sizes. On an off day she will line them up and play her games. Sometimes as we carp about the terrain, you can find her hunched up measuring and gauging more grey stones. Forgotten are the mobile and television; all interest is diverted to the stones.

A child collects seashells

Now, when I sit and think back, I remember uncles and aunts who after their household work or a day at the office had their hobbies- gardening, stitching, knitting, stamp collecting and many  interesting anecdotes to tell about their hobbies. The story of the lilies and how they were rescued from being overrun by rats by an aunt who gardened. That wonderful little stamp from an island nation that took us somewhere far away where you could hear the waves  by the cousin who collected stamps. The adventure about finding an eaglet, not far from its nest, by the birding friend. Hobbies are a way to learn, do and enjoy a few hours of leisure. It is this leisure that sweetens our days.

A child learns to knit asa hobby

Hobbies help us build skills. Watching, observing, searching for another item in the collection, makes our hobby  a game that never ends. Say, a child starts a button collection, suddenly the insignificant (but very important) button is noticed, observed, loved, collected, cherished, brought out, explained to others, traded with other button aficionados, demanded, gifted and cataloged. No amount of prodding by a parent can achieve that in a hobby-less situation.

Hobbies help redirect stress. Children often have a lot of pressure, sometimes they don't realise it even. Time spent on a hobby is time not spent worrying. It is time spent in quietness, stillness, and patience. A child in the company of many coloured marbles could not be bothered with the harsh words of a classmate.

Gardening can be an enriching hobby

Hobbies help us make new friends, not all of them children. Coin collectors and stamp collectors really couldn't be bothered with your age. They want a peek and a nice discussion about their collections. Children with hobbies are more likely to make new connections with people who are quite different from their circle of school and home. In time, these association can mature into friendships and more meaningful connections. It helps children to hold their own and discuss their hobby  with adults as equals.

Hobbies help develop fine motor skills. Children who pursue hobbies have greater fine motor skills as they work with different materials. They also help in their daily routine activities.

Hobbies can develop new perspectives in the hobbyist. A new hobby enables a child from seeing things diffrently from the set way. A child pursuing a hobby is generally not interupted by adults and this allows for a free flow of understanding. Since the child enjoys the hobby it can open up new pathways to look at a situation. This new perspective is carried through in the rest of their activities.

Hobbies help children bond better with their families. I sit down to listen about the aforementioned Pokemon or rock collection and I am struck by how little I know about these worlds. I am encouraged to learn new names of Pikachus or feel the tiny undulation on the rock. The tables turn, our children become our teachers.

Listen to a young hobbyist who shares what he loves about coin collecting.

A hobby a child picks up can stay with them for a lifetime as they go through their life. There are many wonderful hobbies a child can explore. Some of them are learning a new language, yoga, gardening, painting, sketching, origami, photography, block printing, knitting, scrap booking, comic book making, coin collecting, mosiac making, calligraphy, audrino, coding, cooking and baking, dancing, singing, playing instruments and so many more.

Here's wishing you and your child a very happy hobby hunting.