Not that long ago, it was pretty common for kids to have some type of hobby. From collecting stamps and baseball cards to building model cars and sewing outfits for their dolls, children stayed pretty busy and happy with their chosen interests.

Although today’s kiddos might seem more interested in making their iPad or video game console their hobby, parents may want to encourage their children to take up hobbies that don’t involve plugging anything in.

Why Hobbies are Important

As Better Homes and Gardens notes, hobbies are terrific for kids for a variety of reasons. For example, they can be a great way to learn about new things. From children who are inspired to read more about history thanks to their stamp collections to those whose Lego skills inspire them to become future architects, hobbies are much more than a way to pass the time—they are true educational tools. In addition, hobbies can help to boost a child’s self-esteem; a child who successfully puts together a model rocket or finishes a new dress on mom’s sewing machine will probably feel pretty darn proud of the accomplishment.

Hobbies also help kids to set and reach goals; for instance, they may find ways to earn money to purchase needed items for their hobby. If your kiddo becomes involved in a fun and adventurous hobby like Motocross, he or she may become motivated to save up their allowance in order to purchase gear and accessories from a dirt bike store like MotoSport, which has a variety of youth-specific safety equipment. Kids may also decide to collect a full set of coins from a certain era, or get all of the football collector’s cards from their favorite team. They will learn problem solving skills by figuring out ways that they can make this happen—either by researching collections on auction sites like eBay or by going to coin collecting or other hobby-related conventions.

Parents who want to encourage their kids to take up a hobby that will keep them engaged and interested while getting a much-needed break from screen time may want to consider the following tips:

Remember, This is Your Kid’s Hobby—Not Yours

Mom Spot suggests that parents who want to encourage their kids to take up a new hobby need to allow them to do things that interest them. You might not have any interest in dancing, model cars or rocks, but your son or daughter might find these hobbies to be the ultimate in cool. By letting your child take the reins, he or she is more likely to find a hobby that will last for more than just a few days.

Help Them Get Started

Most hobbies do require certain supplies to get started—for example, some fabric and a sewing machine for a budding fashionista, a small set of old coins for a new philatelist, a tub of Legos for a child who loves to build or a Goldie Blox kit for the mini engineer of the house. To help your child get a good start on the new hobby, Brainy Child suggests helping him or her get started by buying at least some of the needed items. Of course, you don’t need to break the bank by getting your kiddo the rarest stamps or baseball cards ever, but donating some money to the cause will help encourage him or her to develop the new interest.

Set Aside Some Space

If you can, help your child come up with a designated area to do the new hobby. Whether it’s part of the garage for building model airplanes or a corner of the guest room for art projects, having a specific space will allow your child to easily work on the new hobby and leave partially-completed projects without worrying if they will be knocked over by the dog or an inquisitive little sibling.