5 New Skills & Hobbies to Pick Up When You’re Stuck at Home

While we all come from various walks of life and have unique life circumstances, people all over the world have something in common right now: learning to adjust to an altered way of life. This may mean working from home while juggling childcare and virtual learning, masking up to head to an essential job, or finding creative ways to keep in touch with loved ones.

Though it’s absolutely okay if your quarantine doesn’t look productive and Instagram-ready, we’ve enjoyed seeing how people are finding silver linings and using their time to help others, catch up on house projects, or even pick up new hobbies. If you’d love to give something new a try but are unsure where to start, read on for a few of our favorite new at-home hobby ideas.

1. Try your hand at fiber arts

Yarn isn’t just for your grandma! Knitting, crocheting, cross-stitch, and other fiber-related hobbies have been growing in popularity across a diver demographic of people—for good reason! With an abundance of YouTube tutorials, Etsy patterns, and adorable projects available, it’s no wonder this hobby is such a favorite.

With many craft stores remaining open for curbside pickup, picking out your tools plus some fun yarn, embroidery floss, or thread can be quick and affordable. Check out some fun options to try out below.

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  • Needle felting: An awesome option for the complete newbie, needle felting involves creating shapes and designs by agitating wool fibers with a needle until they bond together tightly. Essentially, the ability to repeatedly stab wool into the desired shape is all you really need to start. Check out this needling felting overview from My Modern Met for details on tools, techniques, and more.
  • Amigurumi: This Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed creatures is understandably popular—who doesn’t want to make an adorable little critter or pay homage to a favorite character? While the art may sound daunting, there are a ton of free patterns and beginner’s guides available online. We recommend checking out All About Ami or browse YouTube for beginner’s Amigurumi tutorials.
  • Macrame: Don’t want to purchase any special tools? All you need are your hands, some form of cord or rope, and a little bit of patience to create fun macrame projects. We particularly love this macrame plant hanger.
  • Crochet: While crocheting can be tricky, it’s often a better introductory option for beginners over knitting—you only need to keep track of one hook! From scarves and hats to home goods and art pieces, the options are nearly limitless when you have a crochet hook and some yarn. Bella Coco’s YouTube channel is a great resource for anyone looking to learn.

2. Make beautiful abstract art with acrylic pouring

You don’t have to have years of experience or know how to wield a paintbrush to have fun and make cool art! Chances are you’ve come across mesmerizing videos of artists pouring paint on a blank canvas and creating a dynamic, beautiful piece. This technique is called acrylic pouring, and it’s easier to do at home than you may think!

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While it may take some practice to acquire the control to create planned designs, you can hardly fail. Acrylic pouring is simply a fantastic way to play with art and make something interesting to hang on your wall. This beginner’s guide from acrylicpouring.com is a great place to start.

3. Practice a new language

Whether you’re dreaming of taking a European vacation once the coast clears, want to expand your job prospects, or simply wish to keep your brain active, learning a new language is a fun, challenging task—and it’s more accessible than you may think thanks to technology!

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Apps like DuoLingo gamify the language learning experience with a fun interface and daily reminders, while options like Memrise or Babbel offer a more traditional curriculum. Many of the available products are free on a limited or ad-run basis with the option to unlock additional lessons for a subscription fee. In addition to common options like Spanish, German, and French, you can try more unusual choices including Scottish Gaelic, Navajo, and Arabic (or even High Valyrian, for a bit of fantasy fun!).

Another way to pick up a different “language” is by learning to code with Codecademy!

4. Start a garden that fits your space

Whether your thumb is green or black, growing your own food, herbs, or even just some cheerful flowers is a fun, fulfilling hobby—particularly when you may have some extra at-home time to watch the daily evolution.

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Backyard gardening: If you have space, now is a great time to create your own vegetable or herb garden outside. If seedlings aren’t quite ready to go in the ground yet in your area, you can take the opportunity to plan out your garden, get essentials for amending your soil, or build out a raised garden bed. You can also start seeds inside using egg cartons now and then harden them off before planting.

Indoor gardening: For those with limited space or who want to brighten up their home, indoor gardening may be more approachable than you think. If you have a few bright, sunny spots, great! If not, investing in an inexpensive grow lamp means you still have options. Kitchn put together a great Beginner’s Guide to Successful Indoor Gardening that can help get you started on the right foot.

Growing vegetables from scraps: Whether you plan to garden inside or out, giving your vegetable scraps new life is a fun task with the added bonus of reducing your waste. There are a number of vegetables that can be regrown from scraps, including potatoes, celery, root crops, and leafy greens. This guide from Rural Sprout is a great place to start!

5. Try your hand at homemade condiments or fermented foods

Even those who aren’t totally comfortable in the kitchen have many options for easy-to-tackle, homemade goodies—and condiments are a fantastic way to start.

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  • Take your ketchup up a notch. A staple at any restaurant table, ketchup is an iconic condiment that actually has many possible cultural variations, such as banana ketchup. Making your own gives you the ability to play with flavor profiles and maybe even help use up some oddball ingredients you have on hand (even if you make some substitutions, you’re bound to end up with a tasty, tangy sauce). Shared Appetite pulled together some artisan ketchup flavors to try out.
  • Feel the heat with homemade hot sauce. Like things spicy? Making your own hot sauces is more doable than you may think—and you’ll have complete control of flavor, heat level, and consistency. Take a peek at this ultimate hot sauce guide from Chili Pepper Madness to get started.
  • Whip up an awesome aïoli. As mayonnaise’s fancier and more flavorful cousin, aïoli has a ton of uses, from making a delicious sandwich to giving simply cooked veggies or fish some extra flavor. Once you’ve mastered a basic garlic aïoli, you can play around with flavors to create a ton of options.

We hope you enjoy tackling something new with this hobby inspiration!