As we all practice responsible social distancing and attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, a lot of us are spending way more time indoors than we otherwise would. Some of us are used to packed days filled with errands, museums, happy hours and plenty of visits to lively public spaces.
Now? We’re confined to the walls of our home with an occasional grocery run that’s fast and not super social. Not exactly the mental stimulation we’re used to.
We need to pass the time and make this next chapter of the human race not mind-bogglingly dull. The solution? You could binge Netflix to your heart’s content. Could eat and sleep a little more than is strictly necessary. But after a while even that’s not going to be enough. We need hobbies — big time.
So what are the best hobbies to pick up in social isolation? You want to find activities that engage your mind and body, which is why the best hobbies require learning a new skill set. And, for obvious reasons, these skills shouldn’t require groups. Who knows — you could find something you’re passionate enough about to keep up post-quarantine.
So take your mind off the news cycle, look away from your screens and try one of these social distancing appropriate hobbies.
Even if this time at home hasn’t sparked the desire for a brand new aquatic pet or reptile buddy, you can still create awesome micro worlds filled with faux moss, sand, succulents, pebbles and other natural accouterments.
Terrariums are endlessly fascinating to the eye and make a great addition to a shelf or desk, bringing the natural world into your home with an opportunity to be creative. Raise succulents and other low-water plants in them, flexing your green thumb as you add a cool new design element to your home.
NYCP Black Glass Geometric Terrarium
This elegant geometric terrarium is made of ultra-clear sodium calcium glass and provides for a beautiful design with plenty of space for succulents and other plants to breathe. It’s large enough to fit plenty of decor and details without taking up too much space on the shelf, and the pentagon shape adds a sophisticated touch. Note this is just the terrarium, it doesn’t include any plants or decoration.
TerraGreen Creations Succulent Planter Soil Kit
Pick out your desired succulent online or at your local farmer’s market and then grab this kit for everything you need to plant it and watch it grow. You’ve got washed pea gravel, organic soil, decorative moss and exotic river rocks. Your succulent will be fed and happy, and you’ll get to adorn your new terrarium with natural greenery. These small plants will add a pop of life to your desk-friendly makeshift greenhouse. Create your own little eco-system quickly, easily and affordably with this simple kit.
Grooming Bonsai Trees
It’s more than just a hobby — it’s an art form! Growing and trimming Bonsai trees is an ancient Japanese practice turned common hobby. Bonsai trees keep on giving and it’s easy for anyone to start, not just the green thumbs of the world. With a few high-germination seeds, water and some patience, you’ll be up and running in no time.
They’re more than just nice design elements, too. Many growers believe that Bonsai trees stimulate your immune systems while helping to soothe sore throats, coughs and fatigue. No matter the health benefits, these trees will keep you entertained and stimulated while you’re stuck indoors.
Bonsai trees are also well worth the investment — they can exist inside or outside depending on the brand and can live for decades when properly cared for.
Nature’s Blossom Bonsai Tree Kit
This kit has everything you need to start growing four different types of Bonsai trees right away including Jacaranda Mimosifolia, Pinus Aristata, Ficus Religiosa and Picea Mariana. The kit comes with seeds, four compressed seed-starting soil discs and growing pots that will biodegrade once planted in your garden. The seeds have a high germination rate, are organic, open-pollinated and completely non-GMO. This kit is built to produce healthy, long-lasting Bonsai trees and is perfect for beginners, experts and everyone in between.
Zen Reflections Juniper Bonsai
If you’d rather start off slow and steady and focus on just one tree, then this kit comes with an already-grown Juniper Bonsai tree you can start taking care of right away. The Juniper Bonsai will provide a calm, therapeutic hobby while growing into an elegant decoration in any part of your home. It also comes in a 7” glazed clay pot to start you off before it grows and needs to be repotted or planted out in the yard.
Fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickles are a great source of probiotic nutrients for your gut microbiome. Pickled foods can also aid in digestion and maintaining a healthy diet. Plus, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more traditional pastime for times of uncertainty — Americans have been pickling vegetables and other foods for generations. While you may not depend on these pickles as a food source over the winter, this is still one of the best hobbies to take up while social distancing.
Since we’ve all got a little bit of extra time on our hands and are spending more time in the kitchen, pickling is an excellent way to create nutritious food easily with very few ingredients. Truly all you need is vegetables, water, vinegar, salt and spices and you’re off to the races.
To make the process a little easier, we’ve included a few all-in-one kits from Amazon. These beginner’s kits make it easy to get those veggies in jars and the pickling going even sooner.
Dill-icious 10-Minute Pickle Kit & Refill Set
This pickling set from Pearl and Johnny comes with a jar, a seasoning mix and directions for quickly and easily getting your pickles pickling. All you need is vinegar and water. Bring everything to a boil, add your pickles to the jar, pour the mixture over it and let it refrigerate for delicious pickles in just a few steps. You’ll learn the basics of this fermenting art form and open up the door to spicer experiments and more nuanced techniques later on. This mix includes no preservatives, corn syrup, artificial colors or flavors. It also comes with four servings of the pickling mix so you can pickle many things in different jars to make this kit last a while.
Mortier Pilon 5L Glass Fermentation Crock
If you’re a little more ambitious and want to invest in your pickling future, then this fermentor from Mortier Pilon is made to ferment a wide variety of vegetables easily. From pickles to sauerkraut to kimchi, this machine can handle it all. Plus, it’s easy to use and clean. This machine uses a water barrier to keep your mixture sealed and shut, keep bugs out and the goodness in while the fermentation process takes place. At 5L this baby has plenty of room for experimentation and comes with a recipe booklet of 45 items to try in your brand new kitchen toy. This hobby isn’t just a quirky culinary adventure but a nutritious one as well.
This ancient paper art form is the perfect hobby to pick up right now as it takes time and patience to perfect. It’s also inexpensive to get started and even if you don’t pursue it post-quarantine the paper has a lot of other uses.
The origami kits below will take you that much closer to the perfect crane while relaxing, calming and giving you something to do with your hands that isn’t eating or watching Tik Toks (not that those things aren’t great).
Kool Krafts Origami Paper Kit
This kit comes with 300 origami sheets and 25 simple origami projects adults and children alike can take part in. Get back to basics with this easy, low-tech activity and express yourself through this quarantine period. This paper is designed to perfectly fold into the perfect shape and is just thick enough for easy creasing. Follow a few steps and make beautiful creations for your home while calming your mind and getting away from gadgets and notifications for a bit.
Japanese Origami for Beginners Kit
This kit from Vanda Battaglia comes with instructions for 20 classic origami models, a 96-page origami book and 72 high-quality origami papers. These papers are designed with beautiful, cohesive patterns that will light up your paper creations and give them that much more character. This book also includes designs with practical uses, like a bag for storing medicine and the masu box for small gifts. This kit is aimed at beginners but is suitable for all ages looking to dip a toe in this satisfying art form.
Brewing Kombucha or Beer
Even though there’s no sign that grocery and liquor stores are going to run out of beer or kombucha anytime soon, wouldn’t it be fun to make some of your own? We’ve covered some of our favorite kombucha brewing kits in the past, and we think this is the ideal hobby while you’re stuck inside. Brewing beer and kombucha is pretty simple to do. The thing you need the most of? Time, so we’re covered there.
Beer takes at least two weeks to brew at home and kombucha can take anywhere from a week to 30 days depending on the recipe, so while you’re sitting tight your next great beverage will be brewing away.
Here’s are some great kits for brewing both at home depending on your preference, so pick up one or both and get started!
Get Kombucha Starter Kit
This original starter kit is designed for beginners and includes everything you need to start brewing your own kombucha at home. This includes necessary items like a 6.5” SCOBY (the ingredient that jumpstarts the fermentation process), a kombucha tea blend, five pH strips and four botanical packs for curating your kombucha’s taste even more. Get Kombucha inspects every kombucha mix to ensure optimal quality and that you’re getting all of the infused nutrients including Vitamins B1, B2, B12, Malic Acetic and key probiotics.
Grab this kit today, follow the easy steps and get brewing!
Northern Brewer HomeBrewing Starter Set
This kit includes foolproof instructions for beginners looking to make their own beer at home safely and actually have it taste pretty good. Northern Brewer includes their brew kettle and block party amber ale recipe kit so you can whip up a batch right out of the box. Their brewmasters wanted to provide one of the best homebrew experiences for those looking to experiment and have other flavor options if you prefer an IPA or other type of beer. This particular beer has a deep garnet color with flavors of bread crust, caramel as well as hints of herbal and floral hop.
What makes a great loaf? That crunchy crust? Softer middle? The balance of consistency with adequate air bubbles?
Lots of things go into making the perfect loaf of bread, and now you have the time to dedicate to the satisfying culinary experience of making your own bread. Fair warning: baking bread requires very few ingredients but many steps.
We’ve included a few tools below to help you concoct a beautiful glutenous creation right in your very own home. So, carb-lovers, rejoice! This is your time to shine.
S&K Kitchen Essentials 7 Piece Artisan Homemade Bread Kit
This kit from S&K Kitchen Essentials will set you off on the right foot with essential tools for the novice bread maker. Each kit comes with oval and round proofing baskets, cloth liners, bread bags, a dough scraper and a bread slashing tool. The baskets are made from 100% natural rattan cane material, are splinter-free and smooth as well as non-stick and odor-free. They’ll maintain your bread’s shape as it rises and forms, and cleaning after each use is easy.
Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza
Portland’s beloved baker Ken Forkish has created a cookbook for beginners looking for guidance and instruction as they begin their journey with homemade bread. He’s got recipes for each and every skill level and walks you through the simple steps that lead to greater experimentation later on. Pick up your copy along with some baking tools, water, yeast flour and a few other ingredients, and soon you’ll have more loaves than you know what to do with.