4 Ways Hobbies Can Boost Your Kid’s Success In and Outside of School

We know kids can sometimes need a little help finding the motivation to learn in school, but it doesn’t all have to happen IN school. And I mean both the learning and the motivation.

Hobbies can be one of the best avenues to help kids practice what they learn in school and continue learning outside of the classroom. Hobbies can also help get that intrinsic motivation going to learn and enjoy learning on their own because of that personal enjoyment.

How does engaging in hobbies boost your kid’s success in school?

Studies have found that students who have hobbies do better in school and are more involved in and outside of school. The affects can go beyond the public education years.

And why not? We only spend 13 years in public schools. That’s about 16% of our lives. Yet, we can work from age 16 to 65 which is about 50% of our lives. We can have a hobby for a lifetime, though.

Of course, those years in school can be crucial to success after graduation, but let’s consider the known benefits of having a hobby.


‘Me’ time

Spending time on a hobby can allow your kid to step away from the sometimes hectic, fast-paced, demanding world of school. It’s the opportunity to relax, unwind, and not have those due dates. Even when school is enjoyable, sometimes a little ‘me’ time is needed. Hobbies provide that.

In an article by Linda Emerick (http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10178.aspx), she noted this point about the students in the study.

“The outside interest provided an “escape” from what the students determined to be less-than-favorable school situations. As Nathan (one student) explained, “[The area of interest] is an outlet for your frustrations…you can’t just focus on school. There is more to life than school…I mean, when I started getting into [photography, computers], I think that helped my school [performance], too, ’cause it gave me something to concentrate on besides school.””

All work and no play can make anyone dull.

Skills and Creativity

Hobbies provide opportunities to be creative and exercise or develop new skills. Using hobbies to build upon skills that can transfer to other areas in life is a real plus. What skills am I talking about?001

Creating products
Communication skills
Problem Solving

Looks familiar, doesn’t it?

Creativity has gotten a lot of attention lately, too. Its importance in our kids’ development is well noted in several studies. In ‘Wired To Create’ by Scott Barry Kaufman, he found “The science shows that hybrid forms of work and play may actually provide the most optimal context for learning and creativity, for both children and adults.”

Hobbies can be the hybrid of work and play. It’s goal isn’t to achieve a level of competence on any standardized testing, but rather its to achieve enjoyment, to pass the time.

But anyone who’s had a hobby for awhile knows that it can be a bit of work, whether playing video games or collecting coins. Those skills needed to get to the next level or to find a wheat penny among 100s of pennies, can transfer to your kids increasing his reading level or finding the needed information for a class project.

When they get older, it translates to advancing their careers or finding a new recruit for their department. You’re kids will need all that and what better place to develop those skills than with a hobby?

People skills are often named with communication skills. Its defined as ‘the ability to deal with, influence, and communicate with other people.

Hobbies can take a kid to places where s/he can meet like-minded people. Events and online groups can provide opportunities to develop and improve on socializing, communicating, and dealing with people and situations.

Collecting stamps, for example, can help develop better communication skills as your kid connects with others to continue her/his collection. As always, younger kids need more supervising in public areas and online. Please be cautious when helping your kid get some networking skills.

Connecting the Dots

Something Linda Emerick saw as worthy of noting about hobbies is that “Out-of-school interests and activities helped the subjects identify in-school learning experiences which were meaningful to them.

Jason saw his strong interest in drama, ‘aspects of feelings and people,’ and reading as enabling him to perform well in an English class and experience academic success. He had always seen himself as a ‘people person’ and found himself interested in this class because he enjoyed discussing the literary characters and what motivated their actions, topics which related directly to his own play-writing activities.” (http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10178.aspx)

Making school subjects relevant to kids is an on-going project through their school years. Finding the application makes subjects more appealing and less daunting as it did for Jason.

But parents have a hand in that process, too! Don’t rely solely on school to apply what’s being learned.

There’s math involved in astronomy as well as disc golf. There’s reading involved in just about any hobby. There’s science in bird watching, astronomy, and even art.

Becoming the Life Long Learner

Hobbies can help kids maintain the love of learning outside of school and beyond. We know we want our kids to do well not just in school, but in life, too. Kids need to know they can do it themselves, the learning part. Kids can overcome challenges in the future because they can apply the same skills to learn something new. A new job. A new way to handle a difficult person. Or even a new hobby.

Linda Emerick also noted this: “The area of interest or activity provided the (student) with a sense of self-worth and success in the face of academic failure. According to Chris, he believed… it allowed him some degree of control over his life as well as being a constructive, creative endeavor.”


There are still studies being done to show what’s important to learn in school and what has helped make students successful beyond school. Skills, creativity, and more have all been noted.

Hobbies can be one avenue to get some or all of those components to be a happy and successful life long student.

So when you get your kids involved in a hobby, you’re doing more than helping them pass the time.