The cold winter months are a great time to try out new hobbies that will keep your mind and body active. A useful hobby will do more than just help you bide your time. It will produce something—whether it’s something tangible, such as a sweater or a photo album, or intangible, such as a new friendship, perspective, or experience.
Some awesome winter hobbies for retirees include woodworking, scrapbooking, crafting, painting, and photography. You can also start a collection, learn to play a musical instrument, study a foreign language, or become a writer.
You can enjoy numerous winter hobbies by yourself or in a group, either at home or in your local community center. Of course, you can also find fun outdoor activities to do. If you’re looking for some new hobby ideas, we’ve got several suggestions of popular things for retirees to try, from the trending to the traditional.
Studying Genealogy and Creating a Family Tree
Putting together a family tree is a fun way to discover stuff you never knew about yourself and your family’s history. Many of us live such hectic lives that we hardly know what our great-grandfathers and other ancestors did for this great country. You can help fix that now that you have plenty of time to take on the research.
These investigative trips back in time will uncover fascinating history from your lineage you can be proud of or shocking history that may be a bit upsetting. Genealogy requires digging through archived newspapers, searching city hall records, and other extensive, fact-finding quests. Be sure to start inside the family first and contact extended members for information and work from there.
This hobby can be time-consuming and exhausting; regardless, it will be interesting. The best part is this is something your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will appreciate having so they can show their children and grandchildren when they are your age. Besides, we carry a limited amount in our cellular memories, so a family tree can help preserve your family’s history.
Learning To Brew Your Own Beer
If beer is your drink of choice, why not learn how to make your own? Homebrewing is an easy-to-learn hobby that only gets better over time. You may even have a brewery in your community that offers a workshop to help you get started. Once you know the basics, you can start experimenting and crafting your own recipes.
Scrapbooking is an artistic and fun way to preserve your memories that have been captured in a photo. You likely have some old photo albums tucked away in a closet somewhere, or you can print off photos you’ve taken with your smartphone.
A quick trip to the craft store for some art supplies, and you’re ready to go. You can create some beautiful gifts for friends and family that they will treasure.
Spending Time in Your Kitchen
Eating out and ordering in can get very expensive. Now that you’re likely on a fixed income, learning to cook your own meals will do wonders for your budget. Cooking is a fun hobby that is creative and practical as well. Plus, you’ll likely be eating much healthier than you would if a restaurant prepares your meals.
If you are already pretty talented in the kitchen, challenge yourself to new recipes or techniques you haven’t tried before, or spend your time baking some tasty bread, cookies, or pies that you can share with your neighbors.
Writing Out Your Life Story
Your life is far from over, but you have already lived a lot of life that is worth sharing. Even if you think your life was average or mundane, only you know your life story; your children and grandchildren will appreciate knowing more about you when you were younger. They will take value in reading the details you record—particularly if those memories include them.
You can take a memoir writing class or just sit down with a notebook and start writing. Putting down your thoughts and memories may not come naturally right away, but it becomes more comfortable with daily practice.
Of course, you don’t have to share your life story. You can write it out and keep it to yourself, too. Writing out your memories is a wonderful way to document your life and reflect on your accomplishments.
Gardening doesn’t have to be just an outdoor activity or limited to the warmer months; gardening is possible indoors during the winter as well.
You can start a window garden of herbs and plant some fruits or vegetables in pots (and once they grow, you can use them in the kitchen for your cooking hobby, too). Find a space inside with a constant temperature that gets plenty of natural light throughout the day, and start growing your own healthy, delicious food.
You can also try your hand at more disciplined cultivation with bonsai trees or orchids. These graceful, delicate plants require careful maintenance to bloom and take on their beautiful forms.
There are over 600 varieties of trees and plants that are suitable for practicing bonsai techniques, too. Some plants you can use to make tea and many bonsai trees will grow fruit. With so much to explore, caring for these plants can make for a fabulous winter hobby.
Starting or Organizing a Collection of Something You Like
Whether it be coins, dolls, stamps, toys, seashells, video games, or even vintage cars, when one has a collection hobby, it involves more than just having a bunch of themed stuff. As a collector of something, it’s an orchestration of seeking, finding, obtaining, cataloging, organizing, storing, displaying, and maintaining items that interest you or have meaning.
Perhaps you have a small collection of something already that you’ve gathered throughout your life that now needs proper displaying. The winter months are a great time to organize these items and arrange them in a way that you can share them with others and enjoy them every day.
Teaching Yourself Card Tricks, Sleight of Hand Magic, or Juggling
Magic tricks and juggling are classic ways to entertain your grandkids. Let’s face it, we, adults, get a kick out of it at parties, too. The best thing about these hobbies is how little money you need to spend, as many tricks can be done with inexpensive, everyday items, like a deck of playing cards, coins, or foam balls.
Tricks generally aren’t complicated; they just require a lot of practice and repetition to get good. There are books or simple magic kits you could buy or search for videos online to help you get started. For example, here’s a video that teaches you how to juggle:
Picking Up a Musical Instrument
As it were, your days of touring with The Rolling Stones are long gone, but that shouldn’t keep you from becoming a rock star in your own right. Is there an instrument you’ve always been intrigued by that you wish you had learned to play?
Want to play the guitar, piano, flute, violin, trumpet? Well, now is the perfect time to learn. You have the time, after all. Plus, learning to read and play music has been proven beneficial for the brain, as it drives plasticity and can help keep a sharp mind.
Neuroscience studies have actually shown it can raise your IQ by 7 points or more. Not to mention the stellar hand-eye coordination you’ll be able to maintain.
Building, Refinishing, or Repurposing Furniture
Do you have a large workspace or room in the garage to set up a shop? You could consider spending winter months tucked away learning woodworking and how to make furniture pieces.
Perhaps you already are handy with tools—why not buy some old furniture from garage sales or online resale stores and refurbish them? You can spend a little time looking into modern trends, then give some old, unwanted pieces a makeover, and turn around and sell them for profit.
Reading is a great hobby to embrace during the winter months. There are few things nicer than being curled up in a blanket (maybe next to a lit fireplace) with a hot beverage at your side and a good book in your lap.
Besides, television and streaming services are filled with so much nonsense and enrichment-lacking content that it is just a waste of time. Plus, 2020 taught us that the only thing binge-watching does is turn you into a zombie and put a dent in your couch.
Reading is also a great winter hobby because it’s the cheapest form of travel. Get whisked away to another world without ever having to take off your slippers or leave your seat. Many benefits come with reading, including improved vocabulary, concentration, and memory, and this relaxing hobby can even help you sleep better.
Bowling is a fun hobby that you can do alone or with others, and it’s a great winter hobby if you want to play a sport but don’t want to be outside. It’s not the most aerobic of exercises, but it gets you up and moving, at least.
If you weren’t much of a bowler in your younger years, you might wish to take some lessons, but bowling is a unique sport in that it can be self-taught and doesn’t require professional knowledge or olympian-like athleticism to play; anyone can bowl.
To keep this hobby less expensive, invest in your own bowling shoes because renting them out every time will add up quickly. They will pay for themselves in just a few trips to the lanes and be much more comfortable to wear.
Craftwork isn’t limited to the specific suggestions listed here; you can craft any way your heart desires.
Crafting and DIY have become popular nouns that cover a wide range of creative projects. It can be as straightforward or as complex as you wish, and you can use whatever medium speaks to you. The important thing is that you are doing something creative and working with your hands.
When crafting is your hobby, you can make gifts or decorations for holidays and birthdays, make new home decor, or even set up an online shop and make a little extra money. There are even monthly subscription craft services that will send you a unique project every month to let you learn a variety of crafting techniques.
Golfing is a classic hobby for retirement, but being outside in the winter takes away from what makes this sport enjoyable.
Technology has helped to fix this and bring the outdoors inside with simulators and indoor golf facilities. Such an experience won’t offer you all the exercise benefits, as you aren’t walking an actual course, but you still can practice your long swing and get your blood flowing.
You could also seek out putt-putt indoor golf courses to practice putting and get moving a bit. Indoor golfing will likely cost less than paying for a round of 18 holes and a cart each time. Plus, if you don’t already have a golf hobby, investing in your own equipment can be pretty expensive.
Volunteering Your Time
Many people start volunteering once they are in retirement. If you want to help others, stay social and active—this can be a very fulfilling and rewarding hobby. You can find volunteer jobs at animal rescue centers, your local community center, churches, soup kitchens, or call your favorite charity to see what kind of local chapters may be available to join.
Volunteering gives you a chance to try something new, develop new skills, gain experience, practice your talents, and meet new people. It can also be beneficial for your health because it helps negate anger, stress, and anxiety. The social contact factor of helping people has been proven to make people happier and give a greater overall life satisfaction.
Painting is a great hobby to express your creativity and emotions. Don’t feel pressured to become the next Bob Ross; it’s not about pleasing others, but rather, expressing yourself. It can also be a relaxing activity to do just because it’s fun. There are even businesses that serve up a glass of wine with a canvas where you can paint in a social setting.
If you aren’t sure where to start, there are plenty of starter kits in craft stores with different paint varieties to try and numerous online tutorials to watch. This way, you can experiment and explore what form of painting suits you best.
Painting is also one of the many creative art forms that provide mental benefits. Health studies show it helps keep your mind sharp via conceptual visualization and implementation as well as boosts skills in memory recollection. In fact, people who paint regularly have a lower chance of developing illnesses of memory loss.
Puzzling is a traditional hobby for retirees that is relaxing and fun at the same time. Putting puzzles together can help boost your brainpower and practice mindfulness. It can even help to relieve stress by keeping you focused and present on the task at hand.
Puzzles aren’t limited to jigsaw puzzles, either. There are all sorts of brain-games and mind-teasers made of wooden blocks, metals, and string for you to solve.
Becoming a Tutor, Coach, or Mentor
Becoming a tutor, coach, or mentor is an excellent opportunity to work with the younger generations and share your wisdom and knowledge. Your expertise and experience in a particular subject or field can be precious to others.
Being around youths also helps keep you active and maintain a fresh, young mind. If needed, there are classes and online platforms available to help improve teaching and coaching skills and provide official certification.
Crocheting and Knitting
Crocheting and knitting are hobbies that are simultaneously fun, relaxing, and challenging, and all it takes is a needle or two and some yarn. You can make something new every day, from gifts to decor to clothing. These crafts also have a measurable effect on relieving stress and calming anxiety and can even make you a happier person.
Needlepoint crafts have always been among the top popular hobbies for female retirees. Still, over the last decade, they have become popular with younger adults and kids, male and female alike. Numerous online tutorials and DIY projects can be found online, or pick up a beginner’s book at your local craft store to get started.
Babysitting can be a great winter hobby for retirees when you enjoy being around kids. Plus, you can make a little bit of extra money while helping others save on expensive childcare fees.
Babysit your grandchildren or the children of neighbors and friends, or even offer to watch other people’s pets. This is a great way to stay active and involved in something without having to spend a lot of money or even go anywhere, as you can opt to babysit at your home.
Building Model Kits
Model kits have expanded well beyond trains and cars. Though you can still find fantastic train and car model kits, there are also kits to build tractors, V8 engines, and even the Millennium Falcon. Various sizes and difficulty levels are available, so you can start with easier kits and work your way up to the more difficult ones.
You can get expansive and detailed with modeling, including creating entire railroad scenes or town models that you can make as small or as big as you like to fit any budget. Find some open space, maybe in a basement, where you can set up your model scenery so it can stay undisturbed but also be enjoyed.
However, you don’t need to create a display for models; you can simply build them and set them on a shelf, too. No matter how you chose to show off your work, building models is an awesome winter hobby that keeps your mind and eyes sharp, your hands moving, and your creativity flowing.
Joining or Starting a Social Club
Who said a hobby has to be done alone? There’s a club for any hobby you may be interested in which you can join. For example, you could join a book club, a bowling league, a band, a painting group, or a gardening club, just to name a few based on suggestions we’ve listed here.
Of course, you can always start your own club. Perhaps you have friends and neighbors with similar interests that would enjoy getting together once or twice a month for a themed social experience. Being a club member will also help keep you motivated and excited to keep working at your hobby of choice and provides all the benefits of any social activity.
Macro photography is easily done in a small, indoor space, making it a great choice for a winter hobby. This particular discipline in photography allows you to capture delicate and otherwise subtle details in a way that highlights and exposes them. Pets and still life make for great subjects for close-up photographs, and this is a perfect way for beginners to get into this hobby.
Woodworking is another popular hobby enjoyed by retirees. It allows you to make cherished gifts and practical items with your own two hands. As a beginner, you can start with simple toys or picture frames, while more experienced woodworkers may take on projects like intricate cabinets or custom furniture.
Suppose you don’t already have a shop full of tools. In that case, it may be easier to pursue a woodworking hobby through a community center or local hobby shop that offers classes and access to the equipment, as it can be expensive to invest in a lot of tools at once.
Studying a Foreign Language
Learning a new language is a beautiful way not only to keep your brain sharp but also to grow your brain. Studying and learning to speak a foreign language can improve memory, create better cognitive abilities, increase perceptual sensitivity, heighten your attention span, and even delay the onset of dementia.
Most people feel it is best to learn a second language when you are young because the brain can rapidly absorb information. However, as an adult, you have developed the abilities to summarize, organize, and generally comprehend information on a macro-level.
In other words, you will be able to see small details and larger grammar points that you need to master a new language. If you are genuinely motivated, dedicated, and consistent in your studies, you can master a language fairly quickly.
Practicing Yoga, Pilates, or Meditation
These exercises are perfect winter hobbies to help you stay healthy and reduce stress. They are all hobbies that can be practiced in a class or social setting or alone in your own home.
Yoga and Pilates both build strength and flexibility, and meditation can help to relax and keep focus. You can choose to practice one or more of these stretching and breathing exercise techniques and develop a routine best for you.
Remodeling Your House
Whether you plan to spend your retirement in your current home or if you’re looking to sell, retirement is a perfect time for remodeling. You can transform your home to accommodate your new lifestyle or make improvements to boost property value and increase market price. Though, in general, it’s a good time to ensure your home is in the best condition it can be.
Projects could include:
- Remodeling a master suite
- Updating a kitchen
- Making a safer bathroom
- Installing a new HVAC system
If you are planning on putting your house up for sale, winter is a great time to get these kinds of projects done so you can present these options during spring, when many people prefer to go to open houses.
Taking Dance Lessons With Your Sweetheart
Dancing is excellent exercise and a wonderful hobby for couples. You can sign up to learn ballroom, line-dancing, swing, or anything you’ve ever wanted to know. Many community centers offer various dance lessons from beginner to advanced levels. Some are meant only for senior citizens, so you won’t have to worry about doing anything beyond your ability.
Trying Laser Tag
Laser tag is popular with the younger crowds, but it is fun for active adults as well. It’s a great way to get some exercise and stay moving in the winter months. Plus, you can enjoy quieter gameplay during weekdays when kids are at school, and laser tag arenas only have a few adults playing.
Finding a New Outdoor Winter Activity
If you prefer staying active and aren’t intimidated by the cold, you can try your hand at some popular winter activities. You can consider:
- Winter photography
- Going ice fishing
- Creating ice or snow sculptures
- Winter camping
- Building an igloo
- Playing snow snake
- Starting a snowball fight
- Winter hiking
- Touring ice wineries
- Cross-country skiing
You’ll find many like-minded seniors are staying active in winter sports, and you may even come across a group or social club to join that will go out and take on these adventures together.
Retirees aren’t necessarily known to live a static lifestyle. Changing your hobbies with the seasons can help keep you active, learning, happy, and satisfied in retirement. Whether you go outside or opt to stay indoors, these winter hobbies will improve your physical and cognitive abilities and probably even teach you something new.
- Smarter Hobby: Genealogy for Beginners – A Guide for Getting Started in Genealogy
- The Spruce Eats: Learn to Cook: 12 Basic Skills Everyone Should Know
- Bonsai Empire: How to Grow a Bonsai Tree, for Beginners
- NCBI: Music drives brain plasticity
- NextGenGolf: Find Indoor Golf Facilities and Simulators
- What a Portrait: 24 Health Benefits of Drawing, Painting And Art
- David Wolfe: Neuroscientist Explains Why Crafting is Great for Mental Health
- Eton Institute: Top 10 Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language
- Retirement Tips and Tricks: Best Hobbies In Retirement | 150 Ideas
- Aging.com: Top 10 Senior Citizen Activities You Must Try This Winter
- Survivopedia: 12 Winter Hobbies For The Self-Reliant Man