Too much screen time is a concern for many people these days especially as we’re becoming more aware of the negative effects it can have on our thoughts and perceptions. This is especially the case for those exposed to social media platforms frequently, mainly because they make use of exploitative algorithms to serve up what the person sees. Eventually, you’ll find you can get trapped in a cycle of scrolling for hours as it becomes addictive to get to the next video or next hit as it were.
The increase in screen time isn’t only linked to social media, though, especially as TV services are also becoming gamified to have addictive qualities that prompt us to keep exploring the content. Online and offline games are also becoming victims of this gamification process that is specifically designed to keep us glued to our screens by utilizing mechanics similar to what we find in casinos.
Thankfully, there are still many hobbies and pastimes you can do at home or outdoors that don’t involve screens which we’re going to talk about today to hopefully inspire your next venture. With that said, our list below will provide a more comprehensive overview of different hobbies that do not involve screens specifically.
Reading is the ultimate hobby because it allows you to explore a wide array of fantasy and/or factual stories that help to engage your mind in a more organic way.
When you read text from a page it requires you to actively use your brain to imagine the scenarios and try to understand the emotion that is trying to be conveyed. This helps to develop important skills such as empathy, imagination, context, and a whole plethora of other unique skills that are often dumbed down by using a screen to do all of the work for you.
Another great benefit of reading books is that you can often do it for free or for relatively little cost if you know where to look. It’s a hobby as old as time but unlike some other pastimes, will probably never fade away due to how accessible it is for people of all ages or interests to get into.
Believe it or not, most people irrespective of their age or disposition can lift weights to help increase lean muscle mass and to increase their overall athleticism. This is especially important because when we’re constantly sitting in front of screens they can rob us of the time we would usually use to move around or do something physical.
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It’s a well-known fact that before the advent of modern television sets and computer systems, people were far more active, often choosing to go outdoors to meet their friends or to help pass the time in a fun way. Of course, we can’t go back in time now to reseal pandora’s box which is why it’s important to make a genuine effort to keep yourself active to stave off negative weight gain (fat mass), cognitive decline, and a whole host of other detrimental effects.
It’s important to emphasize that you can have a pretty decent workout with a simple set of dumbbells or some resistance bands for relatively little cost. You can cover nearly all of the major muscle groups if you add in a weightlifting bench too so you don’t have to fork out on costly gym memberships every month.
3. Cardiovascular Training
The counterpart to weightlifting is cardiovascular training which is often done together with weightlifting throughout your weekly exercise routine. Cardiovascular training brings slightly different benefits as it’s more effective at increasing lung capacity and overall endurance compared to lifting weights. It’s also very efficient at reducing body fat mass which can easily accumulate if you’re spending too much time sitting on your phone or in front of a television.
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Cardio training can be as simple as taking a long walk through a local park but most people prefer to use a dedicated training system such as an exercise bike or jump ropes to increase the fun factor.
4. Board Games
Board games are a good way to engage the mind and develop your social skills as they often require more than one person to play with. Conversely, when you’re sitting in front of a screen you’ll often be in a state of pacification that robs you of the ability to talk with other people or react to people’s body language.
These types of interactions are very important if you want to be a successful functioning member of society which is why board games are a cheap and effective way to do this; plus you’ll be able to get the whole family involved to make a day of it.
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If you’re not sure what game to play then we can recommend Monopoly as it’s one of the most popular board games on the planet and is very accessible to people of many ages. Just don’t get too personal about it as it can easily lead to arguments!
5. Spinning Tops
Spinning tops are experiencing a bit of a renaissance at the moment and are increasing in popularity every year due to hype across the internet. The concept is relatively simple; you spin the spinning top for as long as you can and you can try to beat previous records.
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Fiddling with these trinkets is a great way to distract you from the screen and to help engage the creative process. They’re a timeless classic and a great way to declutter your headspace after a long day of frying your brain playing games or sitting in front of the television.
6. Trading Card Games
Trading card games have been especially popular over the past 40 years but were actually invented as an idea all the way back in 1860. They have similar addictive qualities that some video games provide but are often a better way to engage with other people as you need to be face-to-face rather than being shut off from the world.
Some of the most popular trading card games include Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Dungeon & Dragons, and more if you know where to look.
- You and 1–4 friends can start playing Magic: The Gathering instantly with this multiplayer starter set.
Similar to books or other works of fiction, trading card games are often centered around a specific fantasy universe that will have you playing popular characters that can wield mighty weapons or magical spells to beat your opponent.
Painting has been around for a very long time and is an integral part of the way we communicate and express ourselves creatively. If you want to talk facts though, the earliest historical record of a painting is from around 40,000 years ago which was made using basic pigments such as crushed rocks and their fingers to draw with.
Humans are natural storytellers which is a trait that can help us leave our mark on the world around us; painting is a good format to do this in and is very accessible for nearly anyone to get involved with.
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Most people know painting for what it is today which is usually done with oil-based paints or acrylic paints on a canvas or piece of parchment. There are many different niche styles within the realms of painting, though, and they usually fall into two overarching categories that are realism or abstract. Realism is to literally paint what you see and abstract is influenced by your own creative touches or could be completely made up.
Painting is a great way to distract yourself from using a screen and can actually serve as a boon for your overall state of mind because it can help keep you calm.
Have you ever wanted to untether yourself from your earthly possessions and dream about bigger possibilities? Astronomy can be a great way to do this and you’ll be able to observe some beautiful moments such as spotting Jupiter with its surrounding moons in orbit.
All you need is a decent telescope to get started and you’ll be able to peruse the stars of our universe in no time.
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It’s also worth mentioning that astronomy as a hobby can be a great way to meet up with other people at special astronomy events that are arranged all over the country. You can even get the family involved to make a great day out of it.
Taking up a dedicated sport can be better than exercising as it means you get all the same benefits whilst having lots of fun too. Team sports such as rugby, basketball, football, and hockey are especially good for this as you’ll make lots of friends while also learning to communicate with each other.
Dedicated sports can take up a lot of your time which is a great way to separate yourself from your television set or computer in a healthy way.
Some solo sports such as skateboarding or freestyle BMX are known for having supportive friendly communities if you’re looking to do something that requires your own personal skill but want a little guidance.
Camping is an immersive hobby that allows you to experience living conditions closer to what we would have experienced in our primordial past. When you camp out in the wild you’ll experience the true darkness of the night, the sounds of the wildlife, and the smells of the surrounding land. It’s easy to fall in love with this hobby and is a great way to detach from modern technology or screens that are constantly thrust upon you at home.
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It’s important to get to grips with camping in a gentle fashion first so we recommend going to a dedicated campsite with amenities nearby or doing it in your backyard/garden if you have enough space. For more advanced camping sessions then you’ll want a tent that is easy to set up, a basic survival kit, an LED flashlight for visibility, an adequately insulated sleeping bag, a water can, and a source of food.
There are many other things to consider when camping outdoors, however, so we recommend doing some research before attempting to do this as it can lead to risky predicaments.
If you want a tasty way to reduce your screen time then cookery is the best hobby for you. Cookery is an iterative skill that has been crafted over thousands of years meaning you’ll have millions of recipes to try and thousands of ways to design your perfect meal.
Some people specialize in specific cuisine types such as Mediterranean, Asian, or Caribbean food, which is great if you have a specific interest in the culture or what they eat. Alternatively, you can focus on sweet or savory foods as a whole which will mean you have a wider repertoire of foods to choose from depending on your preference.
There’s no set path to learning the culinary arts but we recommend starting with basic recipes to get the hang of using your tools and preparing your dishes to be served.
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We recommend grabbing a cookery book as it’ll serve as the guidelines for whatever you’re creating meaning you can fully focus on having fun rather than worrying about what you’re doing.
If you’re wanting a hobby that combines the outdoors with game-like qualities then gardening is a great activity to get you off your games console and out into the world to reduce your screen time.
Gardening requires efficiency, resource management, and hard work that will literally have you bearing the fruits of your labor. To be a good gardener takes time, and similar to cookery, it’s an iterative process that you can keep leveling up week after week, year after year.
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We recommend trying herb growing first to give you a foundation to start from, mainly because it will teach you the basics of growing something from scratch.
Woodworking is something we’ve written about extensively regarding the cost and whether it’s still a popular hobby to get into. With that said, it’s a fantastic hobby if you want to create useful functioning items for around the home or garden and can be ideal for birthdays when you can’t think of a gift to buy.
There are many different kinds of woodworking specializations that we’ve talked about before such as woodturning, pyrography, wood carving, and furniture craft. The cheapest to get started with is wood carving as it only requires some very basic tools and materials to create a variety of items.
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As woodworking requires dedicated space (in most cases) you’ll usually be separated from any distracting technologies or TV screens that can ruin your productivity for the day.
Cleaning is not a hobby that people usually think of specializing in but taking the time to spruce your living environment can be very satisfying and is a good way to get rid of unnecessary clutter.
All you need is a cloth, a general-purpose cleaner, and plenty of bags for trash and you can go pretty far. Once you get going it’s hard to stop as the process is pretty addictive and it will definitely keep you distracted from your phone or other unproductive activities. Plus, cleaning is a pretty active hobby meaning it’ll help burn excess energy that you may be eating throughout the day.
Scrapbooking is a fun pastime that you may remember from your school life where people would collect images or magazine cutouts to paste into a dedicated book, creating an artistic collage of sorts. This is a unique and fun way of memorializing specific memories but can also be nice for sharing with your family or friends.
Scrapbooking doesn’t have to take up lots of time in the day but it’s a nice way to break up your screen time doing something relaxing even if it’s only for 30 minutes or so.
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All you need is a decent scrapbook (above) and some of your favorite magazines for cutouts to get started. Photographs are also a good starting point but make sure you aren’t cutting up precious photographs or memories that people may want in their original format.
Next up we have Origami which is the art of folding paper (or sometimes other types of foldable material) to form shapes or silhouettes.
Origami is a fun hobby to pass the time that can also teach you lots about geometry and how shapes can be used more efficiently to build structures. In fact, in recent years, scientists have learned from origami to help improve the structural efficiency of equipment entering orbit.
- 6-inch square-shaped origami paper (200 sheets)
If that sounds like fun we recommend getting some special origami paper as it will allow you to fold it better and will also hold the shapes you make nicely. It’s also great to take your attention away from your computer for a moment or two!
Volunteering is something that everyone should do at least once to see how it feels to give back to the local community and to support a non-profit organization. It’s as simple as walking into a charity shop to ask when you can volunteer and they’ll give you a shift.
Tasks may involve sorting through clothes, helping at a pet shelter, or even doing some work on the till to take orders from customers. It’s also a good way to meet people from all walks of life and you may find it’s easy to make friends as you’ll often have to converse with the other members or volunteers.
Drawing is another favorite screen-busting pastime and probably something you’re very familiar with from being a youngster. It can be as simple as sketching whatever you want on some paper or parchment, or as complicated as doing a structural drawing or anatomical drawing.
Just like most hobbies, the more time you spend practicing your drawing the better you’ll become.
We recommend grabbing a drawing book or electronic drawing pad as a tool to help you focus on a specific area of drawing that you want to improve in. You can also use YouTube for tutorials, but make sure you don’t get distracted by any of the suggestions on the sidebar (we know how easy it is).
The art of collecting is extremely versatile and there are so many things you can collect for fun.
Most people start with collecting trading cards or stamps that come in specific series or orders, and even limited-time options that can be fun to add to your collection.
Some collections can be worth thousands of pounds making it a great investment in the long run especially if it’s a popular niche.
There’s no set way to do collecting so you’ll have to search inside yourself for things that interest you that you might want to collect.
Dancing is an intricate physical art form that requires discipline to master different techniques and styles that will have you propelling yourself all across the dance floor or working with a partner to mesmerize your audience.
It’s an excellent hobby to distract you from using your phone or sitting in front of a television all day because it’s actually very fun to learn and perform once you start getting the hang of it.
We recommend joining a dance class as it will allow you to make friends and to help each other when you’re stuck or need motivation.
You can find dance classes in your area through a quick Google search and book your lessons either through their website or a direct contact number.
21. Learn an Instrument
Learning an instrument or playing music can take a while to get the hang of but once you know some chords or can start putting music together then you’ll completely forget about the hours flying which will easily take you away from your television.
Another benefit of learning music is that it’s good for your brain and will help slow cognitive decline as you get older. Here’s a great article from Harvard med explaining the relationship between music and health.
You can learn any instrument you want but if you want to produce digital music in combination with your instrument then we recommend learning the keyboard (or piano) as it translates better with how the music is constructed in your DAW (digital audio workstation).
Decorating your house (or redecorating) is a fun hobby that you can do as often as you like to refresh the things that surround you.
You can do it alone, or with a partner for more creative input, and can be done with as little or as much money as you want to spend.
If you’re wanting to add or amend permanent fixtures around the home then we recommend taking measurements first to spare yourself disappointment or the need to return things.
It’s also worth considering the prospect of restoring furniture in your home that could be brought back to life with a new lick of paint or with a deep clean as this can also save you money.
Here’s a good video explaining how to find your decorating style if you’re stuck:
Meditation has become extremely popular over the past 10 years mainly due to the greater awareness of mental health.
It’s perhaps the most “on-the-nose” way of reducing your screen time as it’s basically the practice of being mentally still.
In a sense, you can focus on something specific or try to focus on nothing at all so you can empty your brain of clutter or noise.
Meditation isn’t just a mystical art form either as some people would have you believe; it actually has a scientific basis now due to studies done on the brains of people who meditate regularly showing that they were able to change the structure of the brain or the way they responded to certain situations.
If you’re not sure how to meditate then you can grab a book on meditation or hop on over to YouTube to find a guided meditation video.
24. Metal Detecting
Another hobby that combines fun with exercise is the art of metal detecting.
It’s a great way to reduce the hours you spend looking at screens and can increase your cardiovascular fitness all while allowing you to find exciting treasures!
To get started you need a metal detector and somewhere to look for treasure.
It can be done anywhere but some places might yield rarer finds than others if you know what you’re doing.
As a basis, it’s important to start in places that you’ll have permission to metal detect in such as your garden, local public park, hiking trails, and even down the beach.
You may never find anything significant but if you enjoy the thrill of the hunt then metal detecting is definitely the best hobby for you.
Magic is something that most people were mesmerized by as kids but is still as prevalent as ever in most mainstream societies.
The art of magic is actually the practice of illusion and deception which can help fool your observers into thinking what you did was impossible through natural means.
Learning magic is a good hobby to distract yourself from television or your phone as it requires specific focus to get your tricks right.
It’s an iterative hobby meaning you will be constantly expanding your repertoire of tricks and illusions over the years as you learn it and should never run out of things to do.
Most people start with card tricks as they are easy to implement in your magic routines without the need for a special setup. You can get a card trick starter kit that includes a set of cards and 100 card tricks to start with.
Understanding Screen Time: Important Questions
Now that you have some screen time-reducing hobbies it’s important to understand the effect that too much screen time can have on you.
Why is too much screen time bad?
Too much screen time can be bad because it can rob you of the ability to develop your social skills or interact with other people.
Humans are social creatures and therefore we benefit most when we are outdoors in the presence of other people or are directly engaged with others through conversation or face-to-face interactions.
This is especially important in children as they learn from observing others around them and how they react to certain situations.
Should I stop using screens altogether?
It’s often a case of asking why you’re using the screen rather than if you should use it or not.
If you’re using a screen to learn or be productive then it could be worthwhile; it only becomes a problem when you’re avoiding social interaction or shunning friends in favor of playing games constantly.
Screen time can be used productively if you know how to set a schedule that allows for social interaction as well.
These hobbies will help you find a good balance between both and you may even find they allow you to make friends easier depending on what they involve.
Even if you’re not directly engaging with others in your chosen hobby then you can still share your knowledge or interests with friends or family which will also help to reduce their screen time too.
Hopefully, you’ve learned a thing or two from reading this and we hope you’ll keep coming back for more articles like this.
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You can also check out our ultimate list of hobbies for more ideas like the ones we provided in this article and more.