Hobbies were once extremely popular with children. Some collected stamps, some read, some went bird-watching, some cooked, and some built soap box derbies. That was then, and this was now. But is it still possible for children to enjoy hobbies, even in the hustle and bustle of the greater Las Vegas area? The answer is a resounding YES!
If your child belongs to an organization such as Scouting or Girl Guides, they already have done the groundwork for finding a hobby they enjoy. By working on a badge or crest, they can explore various interests and perhaps find something that they can use as a basis for a life-long interest. But if your child is a preschooler, or attends an after-school program, there’s not as much time for extra-curriculars. With our city being tourist 101, we have such an amazing variety of possibilities waiting for you to explore. This is just the bare bones of suggested subject in which your child (and you) may have an interest. So what can you do to encourage a hobby with your child? It’s pretty obvious that the first step is to –
Find an interest:
- If your child reads books about fish or birds, science, sharks or Egypt, consider taking them to the Museum and let them explore. If you go to their website there’s even a Kids’ Discovery Page!
- Go to the library and help them find books about the subject of their choice. Build a home library and watch movies together that deal with their favorite subjects. Help them do research – online and at the library. Give them the gift of learning!
- Go bird-watching – this can be as simple as having a notebook, Nevada bird guide, pencil and binoculars, or it can be as ornate as taking an excursion to Spring Mountain or a bird sanctuary. During the winter, the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve is home to many species of ducks – the northern shoveler, green wing, cinnamon and blue wing teal, pintail, bufflehead and the beautiful wood duck. You can also see Canada, snow and Ross’s geese and tundra swans, as well as raptors. For your own yard, put up a bird feeder – hummingbird or song bird – and make sure you keep it stocked with food. This is about as “up close and personal” as your child can get to a true appreciation of nature.
- Lied Discovery Children’s Museum is hosting Kids in the Kitchen, on March 5th, from 10 am to 4 pm. LDCM and the Junior League of Las Vegas are celebrating National Nutrition Month by having a full day of fun and engaging activities and demonstrations on food and nutrition. There are any number of excellent cooking and baking classes available in your area’s leisure guide from the Rec Centers as well. Please check these out with your child.
- Visit the Zoo. Here your child can see so many varieties of critter up close – from poisonous snakes, to reptiles, to birds, to apes, big cats, wallabies and flamingos! If your child is fascinated by creatures, this is the place to go! Or if you’re short of funds, visit Silverton’s giant aquarium.
- Walk the Pittman Wash. This is an unappreciated site that runs through much of Henderson and Las Vegas. Here, children can see real desert vegetation, birds, trees and (sometimes) creatures indigenous to our area. It’s a great feature that is mostly underutilized! Help promote your child’s interest in nature and bring along the binoculars, camera and notebook!
- If your child loves music, take them to the Lion King! It’s a true celebration of life and an amazing show! You may want to consider the Clark County Children’s Choir, if your child is dedicated to their craft. If your child would rather learn an instrument, the world is their oyster here in Las Vegas/Henderson, with any number of private music teachers or professional studios in which to learn.
- Buy a craft kit at a store such as Michaels, Blick or JoAnn’s. There are so very many choices that surely there will be something of interest for your child, no matter the age.
- If your child is fascinated by karate, tai-kwando or ju-jitsu, enroll them in a beginners class at your local Rec Center.
- If your child loves to dance, let them explore their options at the Rec Center as well, before you move on to private or more costly lessons. It’s a great introduction and will demonstrate whether your child is simply infatuated or really has a deep interest! If your little one just wants to be a “Princess,” there are options for that, too! Your local hardware store may have some suggestions if your child loves to “build.”
- If your child is “into” cars, let them explore with a kit before trying to build their own “soapbox” creation. Visit the Speedway . If they love airplanes, park where there’s a view of the airport and talk about destinations and departures. Show them what the airport looks like – talk about the different steps you take to go on a trip. Research airplanes through history and visit an aeronautic museum (if you can still find one in town).
- If your child loves to fish or camp, visit Boulder, Lake Mead or any other other beautiful sites in our general facility. See nature as it’s meant to be seen.
- If your child loves the desert, take a little excursion to the edge of town and go hiking. You may even be able to find some semi-precious stones, or spot a rare creature or bird along the way!
- If your child is fascinated by Las Vegas history, let them explore the Nevada State Museum, which I have to admit, I just discovered doing research for this article! Visit the Neon Boneyard (Neon Museum) on Fremont Street and see examples of original glitz and glitter!
- If they love professional wresting, buy them their favorite figures or a “title belt,” and go to a show when it’s in town, or rent videos and watch them with your kids. Stress that it’s not to be tried at home, that these guys do these things for a living (as a job), but it’s fun to watch all the same! It never hurts to have a hero, be it a “face” or a “heel!” The same is true of any sport – encourage your child’s love of baseball, hockey, basketball, football, etc by following their favorite teams and going to see them if they come to town.
So there’s your starting point. Now it’s up to you and your child to hone your interests and find a lasting hobby! Good luck!