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7 hobbies to take on for the summer

Forget antiquated stamp, bottle cap, matchbook or doll collecting. Here’s a list of hobbies to take on that will last well beyond the initial setup.

The house is cleaned and purged, so it’s now time to learn something new or take on a collaborative project while evading exposure to COVID-19. TechRepublic looks at potentially new hobbies to consider, as everyone continues to deal with the uncertainty of just how long the cloud and risks of the coronavirus keeps most people primarily at home. Luckily, an eclectic array of at-home activities awaits, from a personal farm-to-table herb and veg garden, to piecing together the mystery of The Titanic. 


Image: AeroGarden

What could be fresher–and more satisfying–than growing your own herbs, tomatoes, peppers and more? The high-resolution control panel keeps plants thriving on “vacation mode.” Grow plants up to 24″ tall in an on-kitchen-counter indoor soil planter. Comes with nine non-GMO pre-seeded pods: Two Genovese basil, Thai basil, curly parsley, Italian parsley, thyme, chives, dill, and mint) with energy-efficient 30-watt LED grow lights. Even those without a green thumb will find their fortunes changed, as the smart-garden technology automatically turns lights on and off, and reminds when to add water. Pods feature Miracle-Gro liquid plant food and a 6-inch trellis. Available in black and white, as well as the Bounty Elite (+$150)

$200 at Amazon


Image: Jammy

Serenade a sweetheart, lay down a lullaby, or explore budding talent with Jammy’s EVO. Learning to play an instrument is rarely this convenient, easy, or fun, while sheltering at home. Jammy is a backpack-sized MIDI guitar for music and tech enthusiasts, who can use it to play any instrument like playing guitar. “Anyone with even basic guitar playing skills can play the whole orchestra using just one device, said Jammy’s marketing manager, Daria Kravets. “During lockdown, Jammy allows hobby guitarists to be a one-man-band or even jam with family at home.” Jammy’s offering TechRepublic readers $50 off of the regular $480.

$430 at Jammy


Image: Elegoo

Great for a family project or way to unwind and assemble during breaks while working from home. An educational STEM kit for hands-on experience about programming, electronics assembling and robotics knowledge. It is an integration solution for robotics learning and made for education. Comes with line tracking module, ultrasonic sensor, and IR remote control. 

$73 at Amazon


Image: Celestron

Stargazing on its own is fascinating enough, but the hobby gets an added boost from a smartphone app that can point out notable stars and planets as well as give you a tour of the galaxy. The app provides notice of what’s in the sky, based on location. View brighter nebulae, galaxies, star clusters from the city, plus fainter, deep-sky objects from darker locations. iOS and Android compatible. 

$400 at Amazon


Image: CubicFun

If Facebook is any barometer, many spent the COVID-19 lockdown doing puzzles on the dining room or the coffee table, images of bucolic scenes, playful kittens, or fanciful florals. Although they give the satisfaction of finishing it, and the burst of colorful images at home, those puzzles have something in common: They’re flat and one-dimensional. For those who want to take on something similar but are up to a greater challenge, there’s Cubicfun 3D puzzles, which are promoted as both a model kit, as well as a puzzle. The detail may have you checking to see if Molly Brown or Captain White are on the promenade deck.

$46 at Amazon


Image: Telesin

Here’s something for everyone in the house. Designed for the Nintendo Switch Ring Fit Adventure (Amazon has a bundle with both a Nintendo Switch and Ring Fit), it can be used for a number of fitness activities and games. The Ring can be used in flight, boating, archery, and other various motion activities.The bundle includes the fitness ring, a leg strap, and The Ring Con Grip Band (used for NS yoga Joy Con body sensor sport movement accessories). A joystick can be inserted into the handle. Reliability tests can be conducted for handwashing, sweat, aging, material, chemical, and environmental. Hand grips have been updated for comfort.

$55 at Amazon


Image: Yebo

Snatching wigs! Here’s a chance to make the real thing for yourself. With salons across the country still closed due to COVID-19, people are either letting their locks do what they will or watching YouTube videos on taming manes. Another alternative, with a decidedly creative bent, is to learn to make wigs. YEBO sells four sizes (21″ to 24″) of a canvas mannequin block head, which comes with accessories. Starting price listed.

$30 at Amazon