HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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Go see a play at the Lexington Children’s Theatre. Call your local fire department to see if you can arrange a tour. Be artistic at home: Paint watercolor portraits or draw caricatures of each other. Spread out an old sheet on the lawn and paint away, decorating T-shirts with paints, gems and glitter. Try tie dying or making a hanging mobile or wind charm.



SPENDING TIME WITH THE GRANDCHILDREN

or play hopscotch. Put on your swimsuits and run through the sprinkler. Bet on bug races or have a watermelon seed-spitting contest. Make and then go fly a kite. Plant flowers, herbs or vegetables together. Dig for worms, make an old-fashioned pole from a stick and go fishing. Create a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood.


Teach your grandchildren silly, obscure things such blowing on taut blades of grass for the vibratory kazoo sound or making little trumpets out of hollowed reeds. Show them how to skim pebbles on a pond. Teach them to play marbles or how to make a paper airplane and see whose can fly the farthest. Shuck corn or snap green beans together. Have a lemonade stand with unusual flavors such apple or pineapple lemonade. Make a sundial. Teach them a hobby you enjoy, such as crocheting, guitar, woodworking, cooking, etc. Build a birdhouse together even if you don’t know how (most arts and crafts stores carry kits, and there are tons of how-to videos on YouTube). Learn chess or a foreign language together.


Get goofy and silly together. Snap photos with funny faces and silly poses or use app filters for creative effects. Sing karaoke together. Blow bubbles and dandelion heads. Make sock puppets. Make up a story together by taking turns. Choreograph a dance to their favorite song.

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela S. Hoover is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

more articles by Angela S. Hoover

Ask any grandparent what he or she enjoys doing, and he or she will probably say, “Spending time with my grandchildren.” While just being in their grandchildren’s presence and talking with them is joyful enough for grandparents, it’s even better if the time spent together fosters bonding and exploring. Sometimes it can be difficult getting out of a routine rut and coming up with new ideas on what to do together. So here are some to consider.


When in doubt, look to the skies. Look at the clouds during the day and the stars at night, describing what they look like. This can be done at home, while driving or at the many green spaces around Lexington. The Farish Planetarium at the Living Arts and Science Center offers planetary shows suitable for ages 5 to 16+ years, as well as Discovery Nights. The center also offers field trips and hosts birthday parties and special events by reservation.


There’s plenty of nature beyond the skies. Take an interactive nature walk together. Identify insects, birds, trees and flowers; catch frogs or fireflies; pick wildflowers or berries. Then follow up your exploration exertions with a picnic and lazing in a hammock or on a blanket on the grass.


Walk around the neighborhood and pick up interesting stones and leaves to build a natural sculpture. Take a bike ride together. Build an outdoor tepee with sheets and poles. Get sidewalk chalk and draw

Living Arts and Science Center

362 N. Martin Luther King Blvd., Lexington

(859) 252-5222

http://lasclex.org/

Lexington Children’s Theatre

4718 West Short Street, Lexington

(859) 254-4546

www.lctonstage.org