From pottery to pitmaster: 7 unconventional analog hobbies to try this summer

If you wince at the sight of your screen time, it’s time for a digital detox. Explore life beyond your screens with these exciting hobbies. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

By Jennifer Allen

Don’t waste your summer flipping through the same few Netflix series, hoping to find something to keep you entertained. It’s time to unplug from your screens and turn to non-digital activities for fun and fulfillment. Reconnect with the world by exploring these seven unique hobbies that will take you on exciting outdoor adventures and fulfill your creative itch.

Share your food adventures with others

If you’re getting bored of eating the same few meals on rotation, it’s time to expand your horizons by joining a cooking club. Whether you’re a beginner or a self-proclaimed master chef, you’ll surely learn something new. It’s the perfect opportunity to mingle with other food lovers and discover recipes or ingredients from different cultures. From potlucks to cooking classes, your tastebuds will thank you for taking on this new hobby.

Uncover hidden gems through geocaching

Hobbies don’t have to be expensive to be fun and memorable. With geocaching, all you need are some navigational skills, an appreciation for the outdoors and a good taste for adventure. Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunt where you use a GPS device to find caches at specific coordinates given to you by your local geocaching organization.

It’s all about the hunt – you’ll find a waterproof container, called a cache, with a logbook that you mark your name down as proof that you successfully visited the cache. They may include a small souvenir or geocoin that you swap with one of your own trinkets. Geocaching is great for anyone up for a challenge, and you’re bound to discover new areas and scenic locations during the treasure hunt.

Explore local green spaces

You can find your next adventure just a few minutes away at your local park. There are plenty of activities to do in this free green space such as making new memories with themed picnics on a warm, sunny day. You could also throw a carnival-themed picnic and set up games like bean bag toss or ring toss and carnival classics to munch on, like popcorn, hot dogs and cotton candy.

Enjoying your local park can also be as simple as throwing around a frisbee or gathering your friends and family to play spike ball. Whatever outdoor activity you choose, the important part is disconnecting from your screens and relaxing in nature’s playground instead.

Forage your next meal

You may not realize it, but your neighborhood is likely home to wild edible plants. Picking up foraging as a hobby means that you’ll be able to indulge in the freshest ingredients at no cost. This may not be the most conventional hobby, but it’s a great way to source your food sustainably and reconnect with nature.

From dandelions to elderberry and watercress, you can make a delicious salad from your local backyard. Some cities even have dedicated foraging areas to encourage the community to reconnect with the land. The Beacon Food Forest in Seattle was the city’s first, where anyone could forage freely and pick plants like apples, pears and grapes throughout the park. If you’re interested in foraging, it’s important to do your research before becoming a shopper in the woods – never eat anything you’re unsure of.

Become an outdoor pitmaster

There’s nothing more mouthwatering than the scent of outdoor barbecue. With your free time, you can brush up on your grill side skills and learn to cook up perfectly charred, smoky flavors. To get started, you can choose from different types of grills based on the fuel source and flavor you desire. Whether it be a smoker, charcoal, gas or pellet grill, find the one that best suits your preferences.

You can prepare burgers, grilled corn or skewers to enjoy on a nice summer day using your new equipment. Becoming an outdoor pitmaster opens a whole new world of cooking and endless recipes to experiment with on the grill. With your newfound abilities, invite your friends and family over for cookouts and get ready for the stream of compliments on your delicious creations.

Get hands-on with a pottery class

Create works of art by molding and shaping clay into plates, vases or whatever your inner artist desires. Pottery classes are rewarding, especially as you start to get a grasp of it. For a few hours, you get to tune out the world and get into your zen, using your hands to make something from scratch – the sense of accomplishment afterward is unbeatable.

There are several forms of pottery to explore. You won’t run out of techniques to perfect, from wheel throwing to hand carving and hand building. There’s a level of surprise in this, too – if you try a technique that requires kiln firing, you won’t really know what the finished product is until a few hours. Whether it turns out to be a bust or a success, that’s all in the fun of pottery.

Arrange beautiful bouquets

Looking for another creative outlet? Try floral work with flower arrangement classes. You’ll learn the basics of floral design and put together a stunning bouquet. There’s a lot more to it than you’d think, like understanding color theory, the different flowers and techniques for cutting and caring for the flowers just scratches the surface.

You can easily turn this hobby into a side hustle and become a florist, offering your services to friends and families to start. The best part of pouring your heart into personalized arrangements is being a part of other people’s special moments.

Decrease your screentime this summer

With a whole bunch of hobbies that you can pick up, there’s no excuse to spend your summer inside watching TV. From going on a geocaching adventure to getting hands-on experience in a pottery studio, these unconventional analog hobbies will push you out of your comfort zone. It’s time to embrace the same curiosity for the world you had as a kid and explore what life offers beyond your screens.

Jennifer Allen is a retired professional chef and long-time writer. Her writing appears in dozens of publications, and she has two cookbooks, Keto Soup Cookbook and Keto Diabetic Cookbook and Meal Plan. These days, she’s busy in the kitchen, developing recipes for various publications and traveling. You can find all her best recipes at Cook What You Love.