As the calendar turns to a new year, it's the perfect time to embrace new hobbies that offer many benefits — from improving your physical fitness to stimulating your mind. Whether you’re a seasoned hobbyist or looking to explore new territories this year, here’s a list of interesting pursuits that will get you going for the whole year. Best of all, you can do these activities on your own or invite friends to do them with you.
Try a modern-day treasure hunt with geocaching.
What is geocaching? It’s a global treasure hunt where you try to locate an item or cache hidden at specific coordinates, all found through a mobile app. The caches range from small tubes hidden in different places to containers that require you to solve a puzzle to open. Each cache contains a logbook for finders of the caches to sign. After signing and recording that you’ve found the cache, you put the logbook back in and return the cache to its hiding place for others to find. Then you go on to the next cache. You can also share the experience by logging in on the app.
Geocaching has a host of benefits: If you like walking and the outdoors, geocaching combines outdoor exercise with the thrill of discovery. It also fosters a sense of community as you connect with fellow geocachers and explore new places.
How to get started: Download the Geocaching app and make an account. The app will then show a map of the caches near your location and hints on how to find them. Reportedly, Singapore has more than 1,000 caches all over the island and these can be hidden anywhere — from malls to more obscure places.
Download on the Apple App Store or Google Play
Explore standup paddleboarding.
A great way to be active, see Singapore and enjoy nature is to try paddleboarding, a sport in which you travel across water or ride on waves using a board on which you can sit, kneel or stand. You use a paddle to help you move the board in the direction you want to go.
What are the benefits of paddleboarding? Apart from allowing you to enjoy the waters around Singapore, one of the main benefits of this sport is that it offers a low-impact workout, making it ideal for those with joint pain or limited mobility. It also helps strengthen core muscles, improve balance and increase flexibility.
Avid gardeners can level up by cultivating bonsai plants.
Grow your own mini masterpieces by learning all about bonsai, an art form that involves growing miniature versions of trees that mimic larger trees in nature. Each bonsai plant has a distinct character that’s enhanced through pruning or wiring its branches and leaves. The result is a plant depicting particular styles, like upright informal, a windswept look, or roots showing over rock.
Gardening has always been a hobby of patience and mindfulness because plants take time and care to grow and thrive. Moreso with bonsai, because it takes more time for the plant to be shaped into the desired form. This therapeutic hobby enhances focus, reduces stress and allows gardeners to connect with nature on a smaller scale, which is perfect for Singapore with our limited space.
How to get started: Get in touch with the Bonsai Club under the People’s Association for like-minded bonsai enthusiasts here. Bonsai Inc has a range of workshops for those who would like to get into bonsai cultivation. Check their workshops here. You may also get in touch with them through email: email@example.com or WhatsApp: 8013 1669.
Those musically inclined may want to have a ukulele jam session with friends.
The ukulele has become popular in recent years, maybe because it’s small and doesn’t seem so intimidating. It’s a great instrument to learn, whether you’re a guitar player looking for variety or even if you’ve never played an instrument before. Its soft nylon strings are gentler on the fingertips and its small size reduces wrist tension. The ukulele also makes it easier to learn chords and scales because it only has four strings.
How to get started: The Council for Third Age (C3A) has a beginner ukulele course that will also provide students with their own ukulele. Register here.
Tea lovers can craft personalised brews with artisanal tea blending.
Experiment with various tea leaves, herbs, and spices and create unique blends that suit your taste preferences and health needs. Not only will you learn how to make brews you’ll love, but you’ll also learn about how tea is farmed, the different tea grades, the types of teas and their tastes.
Tea blending is a sensory experience. It offers relaxation, promotes mindfulness, and allows you to enjoy the health benefits of personalised herbal concoctions.
How to get started: C3A has a females-only artisanal tea-blending workshop conducted by Society for WINGS. Check details here.
The Tea Crafters also has a tea blending workshop in which participants will learn all about how tea was discovered, different types of tea, a tea-tasting session with different blends, as well as a hands-on workshop where you create three unique tea blends. Check details here.
Make this year a time to discover new experiences and hobbies. Whether it's navigating hidden treasures, crafting miniature gardens, or strumming a ukulele, each hobby offers a blend of joy, creativity, and health benefits. So, don't hesitate to dive into the world of new experiences in 2024 — your next great passion might be just around the corner!