Deciding on a new hobby can feel overwhelming when you’re a wheelchair user. You may feel like you don’t know what’s out there or where to start. There are so many hobbies to try that require minimal start up and all have one thing in common: they add some creativity and a sense of community to your life.
Fun hobbies don’t need to require a lot of physical movement. There are so many opportunities for those with mobility limitations, including taking a class, learning a new skill, crafting, reading, nature, fantasy leagues, and video games. There’s something for everyone! Not only are hobbies a great way to try something new, you can also make some new friends in the process!
Hobbies for Wheelchair Users:
- Learn a Language
- Photography or Videography
- Graphic Design
- Creative Writing
- Knitting and/or Crocheting
- Sewing or Quilting
- Jewelry Making
- Model Making
- Planning and Scrapbooking
- Stationary, Letter Writing, Hand Lettering
- Paper Folding or Paper Piecing
- Join a Book Club
- Visit the Local Library
- Join the Bookish Community on Instagram and/or Youtube
- Start a Book Blog
- Bird Watching
- Fantasy League Sports
- Computer Video Games
- Console Video Games
- Tablet Video Games
- Handheld Video Games
- Board Games
- Card Games
Take a class
There are plenty of opportunities to take a class both in your community and virtually with an online classroom. Many think that taking a class means signing up at the community college and paying per class hour, but there are multiple opportunities to take a class from the comfort of your home where you can study on your own time and even take the class for free. There are classes on just about anything, and many online platforms offer introductory information for free.
- Learn a Language: Popular online resources for learning a new language include Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and Babbel. Most programs take a conversational approach to learning the basics, and there are options to use an app in addition to the computer to master the language.
- Photography or Videography: This is a great skill to learn because there are so many applications. Many tutorials offer tips and techniques for taking better photos, creating videos, and learning to edit with the latest software. Reading blog posts are a great way to get started, and you can also check out YouTube videos and browse the app store for free software.
- Graphic Design: There are so many options for digital design, from blog and website layouts, to learning code and mastering Photoshop. There are several free classes available on sites in the resource section, but if you’re looking to teach yourself, there is a self-guided course available as well.
- Creative writing: If writing is your thing, creative writing is a great hobby to get involved in. There’s a National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, which devotes an entire month to writing your novel. If you want to get started, Better Novel Project has a great outline. Starting a blog is another way to get your writing out there.
Learning how to craft is traditionally a skill that is passed down through generations, but now you can teach yourself how to get started in many crafts. Several craft stores and specialty shops host classes and craft nights where you can socialize and connect within your community.
A great place to start with crafts is your local big box craft store because they offer a variety of supplies. As for learning the skills, there are amazing resources on YouTube, CreativeBug, and Skillshare which are explained in the resources section below. Your local library may also have several texts on the subject to help beginners with learning basic techniques, and some libraries have craft nights as well.
- Knitting and/or Crocheting: Knitting uses two needles while crocheting uses a hook, but both require a ball of yarn to get started. Between knitting and crocheting, you can make anything and everything from blankets to clothing. Ravelry is a great website for free patterns, and there are beginner lessons on YouTube and CreativeBug.
- Sewing or Quilting: Sewing usually requires a sewing machine, which is ideal for quilting, but hand stitching is also very popular. This is another craft where you can make just about anything with some fabric and a pattern. Great resources include Pinterest, YouTube, and your local fabric store.
- Jewelry Making: Any local craft store typically has all the materials you need to get started making jewelry. Using beads, charms, and wire, you can make beautiful items.
- Model Making: Typically, beginners start with model kits, which are generally sold at craft stores or hobby shops. Model making can also include LEGO, in addition to the traditional building and painting options. Resources will depend on which type of model you’re interested in making, whether it be an automobile, train, or building.
Similar to crafting, papercraft is a hobby that uses paper to be creative. Many supplies can also be found at local craft stores, as you only need a few items to get started. This hobby set has great resources online as well, from YouTube videos to Pinterest and Instagram, which can both help you get started and offer creative ideas. While many of these hobbies are individual activities for wheelchair users, they can also be shared and discussed at craft nights and through online communities.
- Planning and Scrapbooking: This hobby, which traditionally was quite straightforward, has become very popular on Instagram and Pinterest, adding crafty elements to the mix. Planners can be purchased at almost any craft store or big box store, and the crafty elements of washi tape, planner stickers, and colorful pens allow you to be creative with your daily plans.
- Stationary, Letter Writing, Hand Lettering: Another really popular hobby is the use of stationary and paper to write letters or quotes with hand lettering. This hobby is easy to get into because it can be done with any paper and any pen to create eye-catching quotes or catch up with friends.
- Journaling: For a more personal and reflective hobby, journaling is a great way to express yourself and get creative. Any notebook can become a journal, and this hobby can help you organize your life, reach your goals, and help you grow.
- Paper Folding or Paper Piecing: A unique way to get creative is paper folding or the similar paper piecing. Both use folded paper to create something beautiful, from animals with origami, to a unique quilt with paper piecing.
Reading is another individual hobby that offers plenty of opportunities to interact both inside and outside of the home. The Internet is a great place to start because there is a whole community dedicated to reading and discussing the latest titles. The place most readers start is with GoodReads, which is like Facebook, but for books and reading. Beyond that, other readers connect on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, which creates a great space to discuss the subject. Also, your local library may offer a variety of book clubs and events which provide an opportunity to interact with others and explore new titles.
- Join a Book Club: A book club, either in-person or virtual with a read-along or readathon, is a great way to talk about the genres you’re interested in. A quick internet search will show you options in your area or blogs that feature events to suit your tastes.
- Visit the Local Library: Your local library is a great resource for free books and book-related events. From library book sales to just borrowing new titles, your library always has something interesting and fun to help take your hobby to the next level.
- Join the Bookish Community on Instagram and/or YouTube: The internet is a great place for connecting with other readers. On Instagram and YouTube there is an entire community devoted to reading and talking about books. Keywords to help get you started include “bookstagram” and “booktube”.
- Start a Book Blog: a great secondary hobby to pair with your reading is a book blog. Here you can talk about books, review your most recent reads, and connect with others. The resources section below has plenty of options to help you start a blog or a YouTube channel.
There are many outdoor and nature-centered pastimes for the disabled that don’t require taking a hike or being able to navigate all terrains. Nature hobbies can be enjoyed from a wheelchair as well. This hobby collection may require some background knowledge, but that’s half the fun!
While these hobbies may be more centered in science and education, most are fairly easy to get started in with a guide book and some online resources. These are great hobbies for those who are wheelchair bound, as they enable you to enjoy the outdoors while joining a community that understands your fascination with birds, fish, animals, weather, or earth sciences.
- Bird Watching: Getting started with this hobby can be as simple as looking out the window or as complex as using a birding book or app to help identify what you see. You can also attract birds by installing a feeder and investing in binoculars to help you see more clearly and farther away. BirdWatching Daily is a great beginner resource.
- Fishing: This is a great hobby for getting outside and interacting with nature. It is pretty easy to get started with fishing, as all you require is a license and some basic equipment.
- Astronomy: Studying the cosmos can be a very rewarding hobby, from stargazing to identifying constellations and even getting a telescope to see things in greater detail. Getting started may require a guide book and some time under the stars, but Sky and Telescope can provide you with an overview of the basics.
- Meteorology: Following the weather is also very interesting, from watching the Weather Channel to investing in a home weather station, you can begin to track your local weather through Wunderground and follow the yearly trends.
Fantasy League Sports
Fantasy League sports are a good way to get in on the action of many popular sports and provide a great opportunity to experience some friendly competition. Fantasy League sports allow you to create your ideal lineup, including selecting the players you think will make big moves this season and score the most points. You pick your players each week and watch games to see how they do. Your fantasy team scores points based on their performance and you compete with others to try and come out on top. There’s also a movie league which allows you to follow the box office stats of new movies and earn points based on attendance.
Video games are a great new hobby to pick up because you can play from the comfort of your own home and can learn at your own pace. Video games come in a variety of genres, topics, and platforms, which means there’s something for everyone.
This hobby gives you the chance to enjoy the games individually, but with an internet connection, you can also challenge players from around the world, work together on co-op missions, and make friends along the way. Your local library may have video games available on loan so you can try the title before you invest in your own copy. Consoles like PlayStation and Xbox can be purchased at local retailers as well as online.
- Computer: There are tons of games available through your computer or laptop. A great place to start is by looking in the app store or through a simple internet search for the genre you’re interested in.
- Console: Consoles are typically what you imagine when you think of video games and include big names like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Console games are fun because you get to use the television and can connect with friends through your device.
- Tablet: These are iPad or other similar tablet-style games, which you can play like you would a handheld game. Many are also smartphone compatible, but several are tablet specific.
- Handheld: Handheld games bring the console experience to the small screen and are very portable. Popular devices include the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation Vita.
- Board Games: Don’t forget the classic board games, which are making a comeback and are very popular in friend groups and cafes. There are board games for almost every genre, many of which are connected to popular television shows and movies.
- Card Games: These games extend from the typical deck of cards and include games like Cards Against Humanity and Exploding Kittens. Card games are best played with a group of friends and tend to add a little excitement to any party.
The following links are great resources for discovering new classes or mastering skills.
MIT Open Courseware and Alison Online offer a variety of classroom style online classes.
Skillshare and CreativeBug are useful for specific skills and crafting techniques. YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram are great platforms for finding inspiration in a specific area or learning techniques for free.
Cory Lee is a wheelchair user, travel addict, and accessible travel writer. On his blog, Curb Free with Cory Lee, he hopes to inspire others to roll out of their comfort zones and see all the beauty our world has to offer.