Let’s clear something up before we get going.
As such, this post isn’t going to be putting down video games—apologies if that’s what you were hoping for!
So, then why even write something about helping kids and teens find something else to do with their time in place of video games?
Because for one, like all things, it’s about balance. But beyond that, video games and the benefits of playing can actually be elevated through supplemental activities.
A quick example being, video games on their own can be valuable, but what if the person holding the controller also sought to learn how to code, or to become a 3D modeler?
Now you’re transforming a player into a creator. And hey, what if they took an interest in entrepreneurship and began to think about creating their own game? And then one day opening their own studio?
Of course, while I don’t expect anyone to go from gamer to studio CEO in the matter of a few paragraphs, this is where my head is with the words that follow.
Hobbies to replace or supplement games
So, if you have a kid or teen who doesn’t seem to have a passion for anything, or, you think their passion for video games can’t be fruitful, here are a few things to think about.
1. Learn to code
Starting off with a couple basics here, but learning to code is a natural hobby or interest for gamers to pursue, for the simple reason that the games they love to play wouldn’t be anything without the power of code.
So, as mentioned just above, learning to code might inspire a gamer to go from player to developer. And, there are a number of ways to go about it, from online coding classes and tutors for kids and teens, to private coding lessons, Virtual Tech Camps, and more.
2. Learn 3D modeling
In video games, you have the code, and you have the characters and environments; the models that visually bring stories to life.
So, in addition to learning to code, kids and teens interested in video games might find enjoyment in learning 3D modeling with Autodesk Maya (the industry standard).
From 3D objects like potion bottles and swords to characters and then different scenes and environments, Maya can do it all, and is the go-to tool for such in TV shows, games, movies, and more.
And it’s worth adding that, while learning to create in Maya is incredibly fun and rewarding, related activities like designing concept art, and specifically, understanding planning fundamentals, and so much more are available to explore.
3. Strength train
This might sound far-fetched, but “gaming professional” is in fact a career, and is only getting more popular by the day.
Those who do it, though, are required to game frequently, which can take quite the toll both physically and mentally. Yes, I’m saying it’s not all just sitting on a couch in front of a console, or at a desk with a laptop.
In fact, many spend long and regular hours at the gym, have trainers, and follow particular regimens to stay in gaming shape.
Of course, you can encourage your teens to strength train and exercise without connecting it to gaming, but it's worth a shot if you’re facing resistance.
4. Explore Roblox monetization
Wait, so a suggested hobby as a replacement for video games is… to play more games?
Well, kind of, but it’s really more about thinking differently, and realizing that while popular games are flocked to because they are fun, it also means there are huge communities willing to spend money on elevating their experiences.
So, with Roblox, monetization is how creators can use their games to make money (Robux). Specifically, players will pay for items, like a balloon that helps them fly in and survive a national disaster, or a sword to help them battle zombies.
Gamers might find a lot of enjoyment in how to make a game in Roblox, but also in game systems what allow them to earn Robux from others—either in exchange for in-game items or via simple donations.
5. Become a video game tutor or coach
Remember Bugah? Maybe, maybe not. As a refresher, Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf earned over $3 million for winning the Fortnite World Cup solo division. He was 16.
You might be thinking, “Wow, I’d be happy if I saw my teen just earning a few dollars as a tutor or something.”
Well, the interesting link here is the fact that yeah, Bugah won millions by being an amazing gamer, but he also had a gaming coach—who on his own was using his services as one of the most popular Fortnite coaches around to train a list of gamers.
You can read more about Hugh here, but he basically uses Discord video chat to coach others, focusing on mental preparation, as well as analyzing matches and developing different tactics.
6. Create a YouTube channel
Have you heard of “Let’s Plays?” I bet your teen has. Quickly, a Let’s Play is a type of video that features a video game walkthrough usually accompanied by commentary explaining what's happening on-screen, etc.
So, as a hobby, you teen can become a Let’s Player, where they can learn to record themselves playing popular games, while also building skills in how to engage an audience, and more.
Really, it’s just one example of what a gamer might find enjoyable with YouTube. Maybe their new channel revolves around their favorite video games, and what they love about each title, which then spawns off into their favorite retro games, and leading to videos for all of the different video game types.
Beyond the video creation, such a hobby might turn into an interest in building an online brand or presence, and then of course monetizing their efforts.
A hobby is only a hobby until it isn’t
Meaning, no matter the interest, I’ve routinely heard hobbies referenced as a “silly hobby” or “something to pass the time.”
But in today’s world, any hobby can be worth something given the means and opportunities in front of us.
So, there are plenty of hobbies that can replace video game time, but in a perfect world, one might be able to use their love for video games to find related interests for maximum benefits.