Have you been missing your favorite sports games during lockdowns this past year? Watching the games on your tv screen from your couch, while the teams are surrounded by empty seats isn’t as thrilling as seeing the game in person. 

It hasn’t been easy, but now is a great time to start enjoying your favorite sports in a very different way. Instead of being a spectator, why don’t you try managing the team yourself?

How is this possible, you ask? Fantasy sports leagues. Gone are the days where the points on screen only let you know whether your team wins or loses. Now every penalty, assist, goal, home run, and touch down directly influence whether you win or lose. 

The best part? You can play from anywhere and you don’t need much to get started. Unlike other hobbies, fantasy leagues don’t need tools, materials, or expensive programs. All you need is a phone or computer with internet access. 

What are you waiting for? You’ve found this article so you must at least be slightly interested in sports. Read through this complete guide on what a fantasy sport is, where it started, and how you can get started. Let’s get you playing something that 45.9 million adults across the States are participating in!  

What is it?

Fantasy Sports give people the ability to act as a general manager and field manager for a fictitious team of real players. You can build your roster, trade players, and even make starting lineups, just like the real managers would. 

Fantasy sports leagues use a player’s real-world statistics to earn points. At the end of the game or season, the fantasy sport member with the most points wins! The winnings can be bragging rights, cash, or an entry into a much larger, more competitive game.

How To Get Started

If you’re a sports fan and you would like to try making your own fantasy sports team, follow these steps to get started. 

Pick your sport

There can be a fantasy sports league for just about any sport imaginable. The most common fantasy sports leagues are football, baseball, and basketball. Of course, there are still leagues for soccer, golf, NASCAR, and MMA, they just aren’t as popular. 

Recruit some friends

Unless you’d rather join a public league, recruiting a bunch of friends to join will be the most rewarding. You’ll need about 8-12 friends, depending on what sport you choose!

The fewer friends you recruit, the better everyone’s teams will be. The better the teams, the less likely anyone is going to want to trade, and your league might not be as fun. 

fantasy sports

Choose your league and draft type 

There are a few different types of leagues. 

Redraft: At the beginning of each season, the teams are made completely from scratch.
Keeper: Part of your team from your previous year can be carried into the current season. You will only be allowed to keep a certain amount of players from your team, and the rest will have to be redrafted.
Dynasty: Your entire team from the previous year can be carried into the new season. This gives long-term players to maintain interest in their team, and have long-term approaches. 

There are also different ways to draft your teams each year. 

Snake Drafts: Every round, each fantasy coach gets to choose one player. Fantasy coaches prefer this method because it is the fairest way to divide the players. 
Auction Drafts: Each fantasy coach gets a budget, and can bid on players that they want for their team. The coach who places the highest bid on a player will draft them onto their team. The entire team has to be built within the budget, so auctions take a lot of skill to know how much to bid on each player. 

Set Up Your League

If you’re making your own league with friends, the best way to set up a league is with a free fantasy sports app. The most popular two are powered by ESPN and Yahoo. Both of these apps provide immediate updates for stats, so your fantasy league can play along with the real games. 

The general reviews show that most users prefer Yahoo over ESPN, but there are die-hard fans who like using ESPN over Yahoo. If you’re just getting started, you should probably try Yahoo to host your fantasy league, but if you’re up for a challenge to find out why hard-core fantasy league enthusiasts prefer ESPN, the links are provided below.

ESPN download link

YAHOO download link

Set your entry fee

Your entry fee will determine the winnings at the end of the season. The higher the entry fee, the bigger the jackpot.

If you’re playing with your friends, ask around to find out what everyone’s budget for an entry fee can be. Be inclusive and understanding. You wouldn’t want to exclude your friends who can’t afford a $1000 entry fee. And a $50 entry fee will give a pretty decent jackpot at the end of a season anyway. 

History

There were early signs of sports betting around WWII, but nothing 

Fantasy Sports saw very early games shortly after WWII, but it wasn’t until the 1950s when Wilfred (Bill) Winkenbach first started a sports bet on golf games. Each person selected a golf player, and the player who had the least amount of strokes at the end of a tournament won. 

william gamson
William Gamson Image Credit here

Wilkenbach then made a fantasy football league called Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League (or GOPPPL) in 1962. This league was played with eight teams and became popular amongst his friends. 

In 1976, William Gamson made fantasy baseball leagues popular. He was a sociologist at Harvard University, where he and his colleagues started a baseball seminar. Points were earned on a player’s final standings, batting average, RBI, ERA, and wins. 

Even though Wilfred Wilkenbach and William Gamson contributed quite a bit to the founding of fantasy sports, it was Daniel Okrent who is considered the grandfather of fantasy sports.

Okrent started the Rotisserie league in 1980 when he and awesome friends were at a New York restaurant, “La Rotisserie Francaise”.

Okrent and his friends would each become an owner of their own team, and they would draft players from a list of active Major League Baseball players.

Instead of just using game-time stats, the “owners” would have to take the player’s health, predicted playtime, and expected performance into consideration to draft their teams. This meant that their drafts focused more on the entire season, rather than just a single game. 

The difference between Okrent and the others who tried to popularize fantasy sports was his connections. Daniel Okrent worked as a magazine writer and editor, and he wrote about how his games would work.

During the 1981 MLB strike, fantasy baseball became extremely popular, and journalists from all over were trying to keep baseball alive by teaching others how to play in this new fantasy style. 

Fantasy Sports Terms

Were there a few words you’ve read that you don’t understand? That’s normal! There are so many terms used in fantasy sports. Here’s the list of the most important ones to get you started. 

+/- EV: The expected value of a situation; either positive or negative. With a positive EV, you can expect to make a return on your investment. 

$/Point: Dollars per point; the dollar amount that must be spent for every expected point from a player. The lower the $/Point the better. 

ADP: Average Draft Position; a report that shows the position where players are being chosen in fantasy drafts. This helps fantasy players determine how soon a player is expected to be drafted.

Bankroll: The daily maximum amount of money you are willing to spend in fantasy sports. 

Bench Players: Players who are not on the starting lineup.

Blind Bidding: A system used to bid on players. All bids are made silently, and the player is awarded to the highest bidder. This helps prevent other players from driving the price up during a regular auction draft. 

Bust: A player who is playing far below their expected potential or usual standards.

Buy-in: The entrance fee for a particular league. 

Ceiling: the best possible outcome from a team, lineup, or player. The ceiling is the maximum amount of points they could score. Opposite of Floor

Chalk: Obvious choices for players and plays. These are highly valuable and sought after. Opposite of Contrarian

Contrarian: Players and plays that are not expected to do well. Opposite of Chalk

Depth Chart: A list of players sorted by team, position, and rank. 

Draft: An event at the beginning of a season where fantasy sports owners will take turns selecting players for their team. 

FA: Free Agents; players that are not on any fantasy owner’s team. Free Agents can be drafted or dropped from your roster as long as you have space.  

Floor: the worst results from a team, lineup, or player. Opposite of Ceiling

GPP: Guaranteed Prize Pool; a type of league where a prize is awarded regardless of how many entrants there are. 

Lineup: the players that have been drafted before each game. Your lineup consists of the players who will play during a game.

Qualifier: A league where cash is not the prize. Instead, winners of a qualifier earn an entry into a larger league instead of having to pay to enter.

Waivers: A player who has been dropped and is in a position to be picked up by another fantasy owner. Usually, an owner with the worst record has the priority to draft a waived player. 

Those are just some of the most important terms for fantasy sports as a whole. If you’re a fan of a specific sport, you should check out some of the sport-specific terms. 

baseball player
Baseball is a popular sport for fantasy sports fans

Baseball Specific Terms

P= Pitcher
C= Catcher
1B= 1st Baseman
2B= 2nd Baseman
3B= 3rd Baseman
SS= Shortstop
OF= Outfielder
DH= Designated Hitter
1B= Single
2B= Double
3B= Triple
HR= Home Run
RBI= Run Batted In
R= Run
BB= Base on Balls
HBP= Hit by Pitch
SB= Stolen Base
CS= Caught Stealing
W= Win
IP= Inning Pitched
K= Strike Outs
ERA= Earned Run Allowed
H= Hit Against
BB= Base on Balls Against
HBP= Hits Batsman
CG= Complete Game
CGSO= Complete Game Shut Out
NH= No-Hitter
SV= Save

nfl match
NFL football has to be the most popular Fantasy Sports Game

Football Specific Terms

QB= Quarterback    
WR= Wide Receiver    
RB= Running Back    
TE= Tight End    
W/T= Wide Receiver/Tight End    
W/R= Wide Receiver/Running Back    
W/R/T= Wide Receiver/Running Back/Tight End    
Q/W/R/T= Quarterback/Wide Receiver/Running Back/Tight End    
K= Kicker    
D/ST= Team Defense/Special Teams    
D= Defensive Player    
DL= Defensive Linemen    
DB= Defensive Back    
LB= Linebackers    
DT= Defensive Tackles    
DE= Defensive Ends    
CB= Cornerbacks    
S= Safeties    

Basketball
Basketball is another popular Fantasy sports game

Basketball Specific Terms

PG= Point Guard
SG= Shooting Guard
G= Guard
SF= Small Forward
PF= Power Forward
F= Forward
C= Center
GP= Games Played
GS= Games Started
MIN= Minutes Played
FGA= Field Goals Attempted
FGM= Field Goals Made
FG%= Field Goals Percentage
FTA= Free Throws Attempted
FTM= Free Throws Made
FT%= Free Throws Percentage
3PTA= 3-Point Shots Attempted
3PTM= 3-Point Shots Made
3PT%= 3-Point Percentage
PTS= Points Scored
OREB= Offensive Rebounds
DREB= Defensive Rebounds
REB= Total Rebounds
AST= Assists
ST= Steals
BLK= Blocked Shots
TO= Turnovers
A/T= Assist/Turnover Ratio
PF= Personal Fouls
DISQ= Times fouled Out
TECH= Technical Fouls
EJCT= Ejections
FF= Flagrant Fouls
DD= Double Double
TD= Triple Double

Why Is It So Fun

You don’t really own a sports team, and you aren’t really making real-world trades or lineups, so why do nearly fifty million Americans play in a fantasy sports league?

Gambling Alternative

Instead of forking over money for infinitesimal odds at winning the lottery, some knowledge and skillful trades are a much better way to gamble. Fantasy sports are a completely legal way to gamble, and the odds of winning aren’t random like lotteries. 

Winnings

Playing for bragging rights is cool, but so many people who play fantasy sports play because of the winnings. There’s a chance at earning money for not a lot of work, and some people participate in fantasy sports as a profession. 

Not Time Consuming

Unlike other hobbies that require hours of practice, or days finding material, with fantasy sports, you can nick it up for a few minutes a day, or even just a couple of times a season (if you’re confident in your roster!) 

Makes the Game More Entertaining

What better way to immerse yourself in the game than to watch every move, and keep track of every point. When you’re acting as a team manager, you’ll really want to watch the game, and it’ll make the game more entertaining. 

Competition

Even if you don’t play for money, the competition with your friends is enough to pick up a hobby. It creates a means to socialize, become invested in something everyone enjoys, and healthy competition can strengthen those relationships with your friends. 

More Info 

If you want to become part of the fantasy sports community, check out some of these groups:

Meet Up Group:
Fantasy Sports Groups

Facebook Groups:
Fantasy Sports Now
Fantasy Sports Advice And Analysis
Daily Fantasy Sports Connection
Friends With Fantasy Benefits Discussion Group

Final Thoughts

While we wait for the world to go back to normal, and wait to be able to watch live games in person again, try your hand at experiencing your favorite sport in a whole new way. Be the owner of your own team and compete against your friends online since you can’t see them in person yet. 

Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favourite hobby after trying it out. What do you have to lose? It’s a made-up league! 

Have you ever wanted to know what your future holds? Would you like some guidance about who to be with or even which career to take up? If that's you, then astrology may be just the hobby for you. 

Astrology is a pretty exciting hobby that’s sure to change your life. If you'd like to try it out, here's all you need to know to get started. 

What is astrology?

Astrology is a hobby that comes from the belief that a person's mood, interests, or personality can be affected by the stars and planets’ alignment in a certain way.

This alignment of stars affects an individual based on their birthday. 

Astrologers group people born in specific periods together to form zodiac signs- these signs are the basis for predicting people's lives and destinies.

Astrology also studies the movements of celestial things. People have long studied the skies to search for meaning.

Some of the oldest references to astrology can be traced back to ancient times as far back as 1700 BCE.

What makes astrology a worthwhile hobby?

Helps in self-awareness

Astrology helps people become more aware of their own strengths and weaknesses. 

This awareness helps to improve self-acceptance encouraging you to truly be yourself.

Understanding who you are can improve your interactions with other people. 

It also changes your world-view. On that note, it’s important to understand that your birth chart is not set in stone; that’s why getting a read from someone else may not be enough.

Practicing astrology keeps you aligned with any changes in your birth chart, so you stay focused on self-improvement.

Clarity on situations

Sometimes life can present you with lots of confusing circumstances.

It's easy to get bogged down by the craziness of it all. Astrology gives you the option to think beyond the present.

It can help change your perception of what you are going through.

It also gives you a future orientation which enables you to deal with bad situations better.

Choosing different options

Choices are sometimes the hardest thing you ever have to do.

Choosing a career path like whether to relocate to a new town or simple things like the color of your clothes can all be a bit taxing.

There's always the fear that you might make a horrible decision. 

For those who believe in astrology, it helps make your decision-making a less stressful process.

Knowing the planetary alignments and what they mean to your decisions gives you the confidence you need.

Relationship Dynamics

Dealing with any relationship can be complicated.

Whether it's a romantic or family relationship navigating associations can sometimes be a challenge. 

Comparing the birth charts of two individuals can help you dig deeper into the hidden dynamics affecting that relationship.

Astrology, therefore, helps to form stronger associations.

astrology hobby

You can turn it into a trade

Once you know all the nooks and crannies of astrological readings, you can make a living out of it.

Plenty of people are eager to get some guidance in their lives, so you can set up a practice as an astrologer.

Stimulates your mind

Learning all the symbols and signs can be a complicated task that is enough to stimulate your mind.

The depth of mental exercise required for astrology will help keep your mind sharp and enhance your memory.

It's fun

Most important of all, astrology is a fun hobby. You get to spend your time doing something meaningful which can be relaxing at the same time.

All the excitement is enough to make it a favorite pastime.

Which types of astrology can I learn?

Astrology has evolved over the years, and so have the types of astrology practiced in the present day.

Long ago, people used to practice different forms like Mundane astrology, which was used to predict disasters.

Nowadays there are mainly three types of astrology in practice.

Vedic astrology

Vedic astrology is also called Hindu astrology, and it borrows from the spiritual practices of ancient Indian traditions.

This form of astrology is closely related to other hobbies like yoga.

It incorporates the study of how planets move to give a deeper understanding of human experiences, including spiritual, physical, and emotional factors.

The Vedic zodiac signs are pretty much the same as all the others but have slightly different dates.

Western astrology

Western astrology borrows from Babylonian culture. Its predictions are based on a horoscope at a fixed moment in time, for example, when someone is born.

It also divides the signs into twelve. These signs are used to explain different events or personality traits based on the relationship of the Earth to certain positions in the planets and the seasons.

Chinese astrology

Based on ancient Chinese traditions, the Chinese version of astrology also has twelve signs of the zodiac.

An animal represents each sign; this animal will determine events or certain traits in an individual's life.

However, unlike the other forms of astrology, where the zodiac seasons last for four weeks, in Chinese astrology, each zodiac season lasts the whole year. 

Each year is ruled by a sign which is derived from five components of cosmology.

The cosmology behind each sign means that each cycle of celestial movements lasts for 60 years. 

How to start learning astrology

To practice astrology, you will need to learn more about the symbols and what they mean.

Astrology deals a lot with signs and planets. You will need to dig deeper into these symbols and how to interpret them. 

Once you figure out the basics, you progress to learning more about charts.

Astrologists use birth charts to understand more about the traits and personalities of different people. 

You can start by studying your birth chart and then move on to your family and friends as you get the knack for it.

The most important thing is to keep reading, learning, and practicing. You might have to make some flashcards to help you remember.

It can be quite confusing when you're just starting, but you will develop a more profound understanding with time.

Your local Geocosmic Research Council is a great place to access lots of awesome resources.

Find the nearest one to you and become a member.

It gives you the chance to interact with like-minded astrologists so you can learn faster.

astrology hobby

Another way to learn from others is to find some social media groups that talk about astrology.

For instance, you can join a group on Facebook or Reddit so you can ask questions and benefit from other people's points of view.

As part of your learning process, think about getting an astrology calendar to experience planetary patterns on your own. 

If you're a beginner, it might be complicated to understand what it's all about; that’s why it may be necessary to connect with a more experienced astrologer to give you some guidance.

Visiting your local library will give you access to tons of great resources.

Remember this hobby it's quite ancient, so there is bound to be plenty of books on the subject.

Bottom line, to practice astrology; you need to learn as much as you can.

It might all be complicated when you're just starting, but if you keep at it, you will soon master all you need to know.

Can you learn astrology on your own?

If you commit the time and energy to learn all the basics, you can get to a good start on your own.

If you find all the useful resources you can and immerse yourself in the study, there's nothing to stop you.

However, it may take you considerably longer for you to do it on your own.

It would be better to find online portals or astrology schools to learn with more experienced practitioners’ guidance.

One great resource is the astrologydictionary.com; this will offer you all the basics that you need to get started.

There are plenty of terms that are peculiar to astrology which you will come across. 

The dictionary will give you an essential guide to better understand all the important terms.

Some of the terms that you will come across include:

For example, if one has more of the fire element, they tend to be more spontaneous and lively.

On the other hand, people who have a very strong earth element tend to be less emotional and react much slower. 

Useful astrology resources

Below you'll find a few useful resources to start learning the concepts of astrology.

Is astrology a science?

Astrology is both a science and an art. That’s because the understanding of astronomy, the stars and the planets take a scientific form.

You will need a bit of mathematics to understand the planetary alignments and how everything fits together. 

On the other hand, many of the predictions and bringing together all the ideas and aspects need some artistic interpretation. 

astrology hobby

What do I need to get started in astrology?

You may not necessarily need to get a whole library when you're just starting out, but as you grow in the hobby, you will most likely start growing your collection as you learn more and more about it.

To sum up

Astrology is fun and entertaining, but it’s also a useful hobby.

It has lots of amazing benefits, and if you stick with it, you can turn it into a lucrative business. 

Most importantly, it will give you a deeper understanding of yourself and your role within the universe, all while improving your relationships.

Urban exploration, as its name implies, is the exploration of abandoned buildings in the city. It’s an opportunity to learn some history, take photos, look for signs of the supernatural, and more. 

It’s the perfect hobby for the curious and the adventurous, and not for the faint of heart. Abandoned buildings not generally up to code, so traversing them can be a bit of a safety risk. Be sure to stay alert and pay close attention to where you walk, and you’re sure to find some cool stuff. 

What Is Urban Exploration?

Urban exploration is a hobby that entails entering abandoned buildings, such as prisons, sewers, tunnels, homes, office spaces, etc. It’s spooky, fun, and educational, and it’s quite popular. 

abandonded urban building
It's amazing what you can find abandoned in the inner city

Why Urban Exploration?

Do you live in a city, and wish you had some new sights to see? Or, maybe you live in a rural area and you’d like to experience a bit of the city? 

Urban exploration may be a hobby for you. Discover hidden, timeworn places, each with its own unique (and sometimes colorful) story. Urban exploration is ideal for curious and adventurous folk - and for smart, wary folk! 

Where Can You Explore?

urban exploration
Prisons and Insane asylums are fascinating places to visit

Urban Exploration and Photography

Urban exploration and photography go hand-in-hand. When exploring somewhere interesting, why not take a photo of it? For some, this is the primary goal. You can photograph things that look spooky, things that convey the history, the architecture, etc.

Many will share these photographs on a blog or other social media. If you’re a ghost-hunter, you can even try to snap a shot of a ghost (who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky).

Just keep in mind, some places might not have the best light source. You may want a camera that can adapt to this. Or, bring your own light, such as a lantern or flashlight (spooky).

Places of Historical Interest

You’d be surprised how many stories old buildings have; tales of the residents’ lives and tragedies, fires - lots of interesting stuff. You can learn about these things with an internet search, and from what you observe yourself.

There’s also likely to be old architecture, depending on when a building was built. This is a potential treasure trove if you’re a history buff. 

Who Can Do Urban Exploration?

Urban exploration is an adults-only hobby. Abandoned buildings are potentially unsafe. They’re not nearly as aware or responsible as adults, and can easily get hurt. It’s really not worth the risk! 

You can always explore with a few friends; this is recommended, in fact. This way, you can look out for each other if you become injured, afraid, or lost. 

Be Smart

If you injure yourself exploring, you might not be able to get out again until you heal. Even if you feel a bit reckless or spontaneous, staying vigilant is key to doing urban exploration successfully.

Test the floor before you step onto it, keep an eye out for raccoons or other wildlife, avoid nails that might be sticking up, etc. It’s also wise to bring some drinking water, a snack, and a first aid kit. 

Additionally, if you’re intending to trespass, be aware that you may need to take care to avoid arrest. Don’t make a lot of noise, and be respectful (see more on this below). 

Be Respectful

If you’re interested in urban exploration, remember to always be respectful. These buildings belong to someone, after all. This being said, try not to trespass whenever possible (although, it is virtually inevitable).

Don’t leave behind trash, vandalize, or steal. Try to leave as little sign of your presence as possible, preserving the place for others to explore (and for the sake of the owner).

What Supplies Do You Need for Urban Exploration?

There are very few supplies needed for exploration. In fact, you can explore a building with nothing but a flashlight. It’s also advisable to bring some drinking water and a snack, and maybe a first aid kit, however!

So, what do you think? Does urban exploration pique your interest? It’s well-suited to those with a penchant for history, the old, and the mysterious (and the spooky).

If you like the outdoors, then stone skipping may be a hobby for you. It requires you to be near a natural water source, like a lake, pond, or river. From there, you can gather the perfect skipping stones, hold them just so, and send them spinning and bouncing across the water. Learn how!

Why Stone Skipping?

People take up rock skipping because it’s both relaxing and fun. It provides an excellent opportunity to get outdoors. It’s a great way to get some alone time or can make a lovely bonding activity, whichever you prefer! 

As a hobby, it is quite popular. There are even competitions and leagues dedicated to stone skipping. Who knew?

stone skipping
Stone skipping is fun for all the family

What to Consider

Let's see which stones you should use and what to consider to get the most skips.

Weight

When it comes to rock skipping, one of the most important things to consider is the weight of a potential skipping rock. The rock must be heavy enough that you can toss it with proper momentum, and it will have the necessary pressure to bounce across the water. 

Of course, the stone should not be too heavy, or it will sink like, well, a rock! Stones that are light to medium-light in weight are the ones you’ll want to look for. 

Along with this, a stone that is a great deal heavier on one end might not do the trick. You’ll want a skipping stone with balance, so neither end drags in the water. 

Shape

The shape of a potential skipping stone is key. Any good skipping stone will need to be nice and flat in order for it to work. This makes it lightweight and aerodynamic, like a little ship bouncing on the surface of the sea (except, in this case, there are no waves; you are responsible for its momentum). 

A flat and square stone will not do, however. A corner of a square rock is sure to pierce the water, which will cause the stone to instantly sink. The stone must be a circle or oval, with uniformly rounded edges that won’t break the water!

Texture

The ideal skipping stone should have a smooth surface, so it can glide right across the water. An overly pitted or bumpy stone will drag across the water, causing it to slow and then sink.

Durability

Flat stones should also be durable, or they’ll break when they hit the water. Sandstone, for example, may appear smooth and skippable, but it’s seldom a hard enough rock. In fact, it’s known to disintegrate when in contact with water. Basalt is an exceptionally lightweight type of rock, and generally won’t work, either. The ideal skipping stones are both non-porous and water-proof. 

How to Skip a Stone

  1. Find some likely-looking skipping stones. You can find stones suitable for skipping almost anywhere you’d find rocks. They are by the far the most plentiful around lakes or rivers, however. This is because these water sources naturally weather them into the ideal, rounded shape.
  2. Hold the stone correctly. The form for throwing stones is simple, once you’ve got the hang of it. First, hold the potential skipping stone horizontally between your thumb and forefinger. If you need to, bend down slightly to get the perfect 20-degree angle against the water. Extend your arm out to one side (as if for a side-handed pitch).
  3. Throw! When you finally let go of your skipping stone, give it a twist so it spins (similar to a frisbee) and maintain a 20-degree angle to the water. Remember, this is the trick!
  4. Adjust as necessary. If you suspect the stones you picked are interfering, find some that are more suitable. Or, if you haven’t quite mastered the right technique, never fear. To become a skilled stone skipper, as with any hobby, all that you need is a bit of practice and know-how!
stone skipping
Can you beat the world record?

What’s the Best Place to Skip Stones?

The best spots to skip stones are those with waveless, calm water. This will ensure there is little resistance, so the stone can keep on skipping. Lakes and ponds are ideal. You can also skip stones in a wide, slow river. These places are practically made for a stone skipper.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can try skipping stones at sea, but you’re unlikely to have much luck! The height of the waves tends to make it difficult (if not impossible).

What Is the World Record for Rock Skipping?

The world record used to be 65 skips, courtesy of Max Steiner. His record was surpassed by Kurt Steiner on the 6th of September, 2013. He achieved 88 skips; an even more astonishing number!

Is Skipping Stones a Solo or Group Activity?

Stone skipping is equally pleasant when enjoyed on your own, or alongside other people. Among friends, you can encourage each other; or have a rock skipping contest (who can get the most skips?). 

There’s also little that’s more relaxing than spending some alone time skipping stones beside a peaceful lake or river.

Can Kids Skip Stones?

Can kids skip stones? They can, in fact. They’ll just need a bit of guidance from an older kid or adult. Skipping stones is simple enough, but they’ll need to know the form, first (it’s not just throwing rocks at water).

kids love to skip stones

Many parents have found this to be an excellent bonding activity. Kids tend to enjoy the fun of skipping stones, too, so it’s something you and your family can do together. 

You can show your kiddos how to find the ideal skipping stone, and teach them how to execute the perfect throw! Once they’ve gotten the hang of it, you can have friendly competitions with each other. You can also have them collect stones for next time. It’s a great day activity for you and your family.

How Much Does Stone Skipping Cost?

One of the greatest aspects of stone skipping is that it’s free. You can find the perfect stones for skipping right alongside where they were naturally formed: a lake or river! 

All that you need is a keen eye, perhaps some snacks to keep your energy up, and some drinking water. There is no need to purchase any gear! 

As you can see, stone skipping as a hobby can be a great source of enjoyment and stress relief.  You’ll learn a nifty skill while getting some sunlight and fresh air. Feel free to bring your family or friends with you, or simply get out there by yourself.

Tai Chi is both a meditation and martial art. It teaches self-defense while increasing flexibility and strength. It is also meant to improve the flow of energy, or ‘Qui,’ through the body. It has a variety of physical, mental, and spiritual health benefits to offer. Tai Chi can be a very fulfilling hobby and enhance your very quality of life.

Learn more about it, below!

What is Tai Chi? 

Tai Chi is both a meditation and martial art. It’s meant to incorporate the body, the mind, and the spirit. The name Tai Chi is actually short for Tàijí quán. Tàijí means ‘supreme ultimate,’ or ‘cosmos’ (incorporating Yin and Yang), and quán simply means, ‘palm,’ ‘fist,’ or box.’ Many take up Tai Chi for the peace of mind it can offer! 

tai chi

What Are the Benefits of Tai Chi? 

So, what are some of the benefits of Tai Chi? There are many! Tai Chi:

tai chi

The 5 Styles of Tai Chi

  1. Chen. Chen Tai Chi is the source of all of the 5 modern styles of Tai Chi. It was developed by Chen Wangting in 1670. It includes low-level forms, medium-level forms, and high-level forms, based upon how much you can bend your knees and your mobility in general. In this way, it is accessible to many. Chen Tai Chi focuses on interchanging slow forms and fast, powerful ones (which even include strikes, kicks, and jumps).
  2. Yang. Whereas Chen focuses on swiftness, Chen focuses on exaggerated, wide movements. It is quite expansive and graceful and excellent for flexibility. The style was developed by Yang Lu-ch’an, who then taught it to the Chinese Imperial guards in 1850.
  3. Wu. Wu style Tai Chi is not as focused as Chen or Yang on remaining in one point. Rather, there are more steps both backward and forward. At the same time, these moves are small and compact. Wu style Tai Chi was developed by a martial cadet, who originally learned from Yang Lu-ch’an and then adapted it himself. 
  4. Sun. Sun style Tai Chi resembles nothing so much as a graceful dance. It was developed by Sun Lutang in the 1900s. He had already mastered two other martial art styles, Xingyiquan and Baguazhang, prior. He incorporated elements of both into his own Sun style of Tai Chi. 
  5. Hao. Hao style Tai Chi is not particularly popular, as it focuses less on physical movement and more on the manipulation of one’s own Qui (energy or life force). It involves high-level techniques and is not generally considered suitable for a beginner!

The History of Tai Chi

The Tai Chi we know was developed by Chen Wangting, in roughly 1670. The style was made from a combination of Quigong and martial art concepts, sometimes known as ‘Chen Style Tai Chi.’ Its roots go even deeper, however.

In fact, Tai Chi stems from ancient Taoism, which embodies yin and yang, light and dark. It’s all about finding balance within these two aspects of the self.

Are There Tai Chi Classes?

There are Tai Chi classes almost everywhere. You can find these on a local street corner or do a search for places nearby. 

In an on-site Tai Chi class, you can learn alongside other students and go through the forms together. You can also bring friends of your own. Your teacher will be available for questions, and to offer feedback. 

On-site classes are $10-$30 a day, on average, though some can cost as much as $100 a day.

There are also online classes if you prefer not to be around so many people (or if there’s simply nowhere nearby). These typically entail video guides, which you can follow at home or anywhere you’ve got a laptop, PC, or TV. 

The price of online classes also varies, but they tend to be a bit more affordable. So, the best kind of classes for you depends on both your personal preferences and your budget. 

Is Tai Chi Done Indoors or Outdoors?

Tai Chi can be done indoors or outdoors. Indoors, you will have privacy and quiet. Outdoors, you will have the beauty of nature, sunlight, and fresh air. 

This will also depend, of course, on your outside environment, and the weather. For outdoor classes, it is highly recommended to visit somewhere peaceful like a park or forest.  

If you’re wondering whether classes are held indoors or outdoors, this really varies, so you’ll have to ask your specific teacher!

Is Tai Chi a Solo or Group Activity?

You can do Tai Chi in a group or by yourself. Some consider it an ideal social activity, with like-minded individuals. Others value their solitude. Or, you can do Thai Chi on your own most of the time, but join a class occasionally. 

Can Kids do Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is suitable for all ages, as it is a low-impact activity. It can help anyone improve their health and athleticism, and offer priceless peace of mind and stress relief. 

As you can see, Tai Chi is a deeply-rooted martial art form that has a great deal to offer! It will improve your overall well-being, leaving you feeling more energized and stronger.  So, what do you think? Do any of the 5 Tai Chi styles catch your eye?

23 million cubic kilometers of groundwater exists on Earth, enough to cover the ground surface of Earth with 180 meters of water. Getting to that water, however, has always been a conundrum for civilizations throughout history.

Since the first humans walked the Earth, they have been looking for reliable sources of water. The demand led to a craft development that focused on finding the essential resource: dowsing. 

What is Dowsing?

The term “dowsing” generally defines the art of divining the location of water. Also known as water divining or water witching, dowsing exists in the historical record as far back as 8,000 years ago. 

Dowsing practicers also use their craft to locate precious minerals, gas, and metals. There are accounts of dowsing being used to locate people, archeological sites, and modern plumbing pipes. It's even used to find unmarked graves.

lady dowsing

Think of dowsing as the predecessor to the modern metal detector with the added perk of detecting water and other useful resources. Dowsing essentially works as a locating method without the need for electronics, bells, or whistles. 

The History of Dowsing

Dowsing in Ancient History

Dowsing predates modern water-detecting and metal-detecting technology by thousands of years. However, the practice maintains a strong presence of use across the globe today. 

The story of dowsing first enters the historical record about 8,000 years ago in the Tassili Caves of northern Africa. Cave paintings depict ancient Africans using a forked diving rod to locate water. Similar images exist in the artwork of ancient Egypt, China, and the Celts. 

Dowsing as it is today likely developed in Germany and Eastern Europe. German miners of the past were dowsing for gold and other precious metals, as well as the traditional divining for water. 

Until around the 16th Century, dowsing was a common and relatively safe folk-practice of Europe and Asia. However, by the mid-1500s, the rise of protestant beliefs from Martin Luther began to target the folk-beliefs of the German people. 

dowsing

Folk beliefs, by and large, became viewed as heretical by the leaders of the protestant reformation. German protestants were especially prone to label folk beliefs as magic. The German dowsers found themselves identified as diabolic witches breaking Biblical law.  

As the 16th Century wore on, water diving and dowsing for precious metals entered a decline, though the practice remains quietly preserved in rural areas of what is now the United Kingdom. 

German miners had brought the refined practice of dowsing for precious metals to England. Silver mines in Wales, Devon, and Cumbria flourished with the aid of dowsing. Dowsers did not face the same level of prosecution in England as they did in Germany.

The practice of dowsing remains popular in England today. The practice saw a surprising rise in popularity. The United Kingdom’s main water supply companies use the services of dowsers periodically. 

Dowsing in Modern History

Dowsing has experienced a strangely diverse modern history. 

The American West saw many oil barons and ranchers reach out for help locating oil or water, Romie Nunn of Wyoming helped many ranchers find water in the arid deserts and mountains of the western state. In Maine, Henry Gross searched for groundwater and objects in the 1950s.

dowsing for water
Using tree branches to dowse for water needed to cool the train

Even militaries found applications for dowsing. In the Vietnam War, dowsers used their skills to locate weapons and tunnels, while the Norwegian Army applied the craft for locating individuals lost in an avalanche in the 1980s. 

Across the world, dowsers still practice their craft. American dowsers look for water in the Texas desert, while European diviners seek water for ranchers and businesses alike. Though religion and science have challenged dowsing, it remains a popular folk-practice to this day. 

Is Dowsing Science or Magic?

Medieval Christianity labeled dowsing of any sort, whether for water divining or other purposes, as heretical and satanic magic. Modern science isn’t a fan of the practice either, labeling it as pseudo-science at its best, and pure imagination at its worst. 

Pseudo-sciences are practices that have evidence that supports their claim but aren’t compatible with the scientific process of hypothesis and questioning evidence. Magic, of course, has no basis in science. So which is dowsing, exactly? 

Technically speaking, dowsing falls best into the pseudoscience category. Plenty of case evidence exists indicating that dowsing can work, but there are not enough studies with proven efficacy and consistent application to make the practice true science. 

In general, science hubs like the United States Geological Survey Department consider dowsing for any material as pseudoscience. They do not recommend or confirm the use of such methods for finding resources. 

dowsing tools
Dowsing and divining is shrouded in mystery

Notable scientific opinions identify dowsing as a product of the ideomotor phenomenon, otherwise known as an unconscious muscular movement. This line of thought considers dowsing as the result of the unconscious mind manipulating the body’s actions.

But, there are scientific case studies that indicate some grounding in dowsing ability.

The late 20th Century saw such cases as the Betz Study of 1990 and a German study carried out in Sri Lanka saw the success of dowsers in action. The German study was particularly effective, with dowsers having success with over 600 drilled wells located by dowsers. 

Remarkably, a geologist named Ziggy Lubieniecki used dowsing to locate gold ore in Australia successfully. The mine went on to make $650 million, and Lubieniecki received the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies' prestigious Prospector Award as a result of his work.

The jury is still out on the scientific and supernatural origins of dowsing. Ultimately, the nature of dowsing remains elusive and contested to this day.

The Applications of Dowsing

As previously mentioned, dowsing has been historically used to locate underground water sources, mineral deposits, and other natural resources. 

However, dowsing has been applied to the search for many other types of objects. There are three common variations of dowsing, each with names that vary based on the region of their use.

Finding Water: “Water Witching”

Water witching, water finding, and water dowsing are the proto-typical form of dowsing most people are familiar with. Water dowsers intend to locate water. The application of water dowsing has been used to locate burst pipes, drilling locations for wells, and even the paths of underwater springs. 

Finding Petroleum: “Doodlebugging”

Doodlebugging began growing in popularity in the United States around the mid-20th Century. Dowsers use traditional dowsing techniques to locate oil deposits underground. The term is now used to identify individuals who use seismic mapping to locate oil deposits nowadays. 

Finding Answers: “Divining”

While dowsing typically locates physical materials, like water or minerals, it has been applied as a fortune-telling device. Typically, this method uses dowsing equipment to detect “yes” or “no” answers based on the direction the equipment swings when held.

The Dowsing Hobby

Dowsing has grown in popularity as a hobby in the last few decades. Centuries ago, dowsing was largely a family business handed down as both a cultural and folkloric belief as well as a valid livelihood. 

Nowadays, dowsing holds a unique place in society, where some folks do practice dowsing for money, while others use it as an escape and exploration of the world. Practitioners hone their skills while exploring the outdoors. 

Who Can Dowse?

Anyone can dowse. Some people in the dowsing community argue that more spiritual people are capable of dowsing better than others and that those who do not “believe” in dowsing fail to dowse because of their beliefs. 

It’s important to note that dowsing can be a fairly active hobby. Many dowsers walk miles to find their target object, all while holding their dowsing rods in front of their body. It can be quite the workout to hold even a light stick out for an hour at a time or longer!

Those wishing to become dowsers should approach the process with a grain of salt and an open mind. New things are always a challenge, but like any new hobby, dowsing takes practice to make perfect. 

Dowsing Equipment and Techniques

The popularity of dowsing owes its thanks in large part to the simplicity of the practice. The only equipment technically necessary is dowsing rods, and experienced dowsers may not even need those! Of course, for outdoor dowsing, appropriate clothing and shoes are necessary. 

In terms of dowsing rods, there are two main types to choose from, y-shaped and l-shaped rods.

Y-Shaped Rods

Y-shaped rods are thought to be the older type of the two. Y-shaped rods are traditionally made from freshly cut tree limbs that are naturally in the shape of a forked “y.”

Hazelwood was the historical tree of choice in Europe, while witch-hazel and willow remain popular in the U.S.

divining rods

Y-shaped rods are held by both ends of the “y,” with the stem pointing out and away from the body. 

Dowsers then walk the ground near their suspected target, whether it be a person, water, or another object. 

When the stem of the “y” dips, vibrates or elicits another noticeable change, the dowser stops to investigate. 

L-Shaped Rods

L-shaped rods are generally made of metal, and dowsers choose to use one or two of them at a time.

They can be made from household items like clothes hangers, though many practitioners purchase specially designed rods made for dowsing. 

l shaped divining rods

L-shaped rods are held in front of the dowser’s body, one in each hand. The dowser walks the area of the object’s suspected location, just as they would with a “y” rod.

Typically, dowsers indicate they have found something when the two rods cross each other, making an “x” shape, or when they have swung to opposite directions of each other. Variations on the “l” rod are completely straight.

Getting Started with Dowsing

From an outsider’s perspective, dowsing looks like a hobby easily picked up. In some ways, it is. Dowsing requires minimal equipment and monetary investment, making it an economical hobby to start. But, knowing where and how to get going is another matter. 

There are many videos on the internet and books on shelves that offer suggestions and lessons on how to properly dowse for water, minerals, or other objects. 

Books like Dowsing for Beginners: How to Find Water, Wealth ; Lost Objects, by Richard Webster and Divining Hand by Christopher Bird, are popular choices for individuals starting with dowsing. Countless online videos share “how-to” tutorials and demonstrations for visual learners as well. 

To learn from a dowser with practical experience, new hobbyists should consider finding a local dowsing society or club to work with. If there isn’t a society nearby, hobbyists may find help by emailing the group nearest to them for help.

The dowsing community network has resources and techniques enhanced by their own experience. Working with a fellow practitioner can also help hobbyists find a comfortable place to learn and grow into their new hobby. 

Notable Dowsing Societies

The hobby of dowsing has a rich and unique history. Hobbyists who choose to start a dowsing journey join the thousands of men and women who have carried on an ancient tradition into the modern world. 

Actors were once considered undesirables in ancient Japan. The Yakuza has its origins in an organization that was ostracized for many different reasons.

It was made up of thieves, people accused of other crimes, actors, and, more surprisingly, butchers.

Yes, that means the people that sold meat. Weird, but everyone wants to be a star, right?

Back to the present day, somebody somewhere is wishing upon a star, dreaming of becoming the next 'big thing'. And who would blame them?

Movies make acting look like the best job out there. If you are looking to explore your hidden talent, strap in as we look at why you need to consider acting as a hobby and maybe more.

What Is Acting?

At its core, acting is taking on a role and telling a story in the most authentic way possible.

It is delving into another person's mind and using the best emotions to bring out the character.

acting

There are many success stories of actors who started as a hobbyist. Now, they command huge paychecks and live a lavish lifestyle on account of their talent.

However, it doesn't mean you have to start acting as a hobby with the pressure of wanting to make it on the big screen.

You can simply do it as a part-time thing that improves other areas in your life.

The Benefits of Acting as a Hobby

Acting can make you money

We might not be talking Hollywood money, but you can make a few bucks off stage performances.

Take your hobby online, and you may be in line to make bank. Tiktok, YouTube, and personal websites are great avenues to monetize your hobby.

Content creation has taken interesting turns. People are getting online to advertise brands in the most engaging way they can.

And they're not professional actors. They script out scenarios and play them out.

This gives you a great advantage if you get skilled enough.

Acting builds your confidence

You might start on your own, performing monologues and putting them out.

As more people interact with your passion projects, you gain the confidence to perform to bigger crowds.

Whether you are acting on stage or doing it on camera, the validation and appreciation that can come from people loving your work boosts your ego.

Science verifies this. Excelling in a new skill is one of the best confidence boosters.

It leads to a positive outlook on life, better mental health, and overall wellbeing.

While there is also a dark side to it, acting as a hobby means you can do it privately until you are comfortable enough to do it in front of an audience.

Acting does wonders for your public speaking

Acting allows you to delve into a character and give a convincing performance.

As you take up more complex scripts, you memorize lines that you have to bring out clearly.

This plays a big role in helping you to articulate yourself publicly.

public speaking

Acting classes have public speaking as one of the essentials.

They teach you how to be confident with your fellow actors.

As you improve your skill and take on solo performances, you can speak clearly and confidently.

It exposes you to a community of people

Acting attracts plenty of hopefuls. Some of the best actors of our time once shared classes.

Most actors who refer to themselves as method actors started in acting groups.

Actors such as Marlon Brando and Daniel Day-Lewis have passed through an ordinary school.

This community is instrumental in keeping you updated on other classes where you can enjoy your hobby.

It also becomes a pool of ideas. You might band together to produce content.

Acting communities are known to be tight knit. They open you up to significant opportunities too.

Perhaps one of the most underrated benefits of a close community of actors is the kind of support they give each other.

You are stuck in practice sometimes for long hours. It is almost by default that you will be each other's support system.

It improves your poise and presence

Have you ever seen how predominantly stage actors can command a presence just by being in a room?

Poise and presence are some of the essential pillars of great acting. Acting as a hobby teaches you to look and stand straight.

The modern lifestyle is mostly sedentary. Hunched backs are common. You learn how to position your body so you can be confident and audible.

You attract respect by standing and walking straight. You exude more authority.

Your conversation skills get better

Acting is learning how to read emotions off a script and put your actions in words. As a result of excellent character work, your conversation skills get better.

You take all the skills you learn and use them to improve your daily conversations with people.

You talk more clearly, have interesting stories, and know how to command attention without being forceful.

Great conversation is a win for you if you decide to venture into careers that need you to speak.

Public Relations, customer service, sales and marketing, and management are some of the careers where your conversation skills will come in handy.

Who Should Take Acting as a Hobby?

You've seen breakout stars coming out of nowhere and making it big in large productions.

Some of those stars didn't have prior experience. What does that mean for you? It opens up a world of possibilities to anyone who wants to expand their hobbies.

Introverts

Introverts are typically private individuals. They interact with people once they feel comfortable.

Introverts can begin acting as a hobby to grow a circle of friends. They can go to acting classes that have small groups.

There's already a shared interest among them so that could be a great starting point for wholesome friendships.

Extroverts

What would be better for extroverts other than an opportunity to bring out their inner performer?

Extroverts thrive in crowds. If you are an extrovert looking to channel that energy to wow a group, acting as a hobby will do you well.

An extrovert does not mind showing off their abilities to people. They might even pick up the hobby and skills faster than an introvert.

Students

Acting has some of the most important skills that a student might need later in life. A student with some free time can get into an acting class.

They can learn about interpersonal skills that will come in handy later on.

It teaches them how to work in groups, how to communicate, how to articulate themselves, and how to express themselves.

singer

Singers

If you sing and you'd like to improve your vocal range or your performance, acting is one of the best hobbies to take up.

Not only does acting boost your stage presence, but it could also help you refine your vocal projection and voice range.

A lot of successful stage actors carry what has come to be known as the Disney Triple Threat. They can sing, act, and dance. All these are skills learned in acting classes.

Elderly folks

Retirees have time. And they get lonely. They can benefit from taking up acting as a hobby. It doesn't need to be strenuous.

They can take up basic acting classes that focus on simple acting skills.

It helps them combat the loneliness that comes with not having family around. Acting as a group gives them a sense of community.

It is not only good for their social wellbeing, but it also has a positive influence on their cognitive functions as well.

Older adults sometimes suffer from memory problems. They can start with simple exercises and take up complex scripts.

When Is the Best Time to Practice Acting as a Hobby?

You can pick your own time to indulge in acting as a hobby. Most acting classes are open in the morning.

They have instructors at different times of the day. If you are an afternoon person, you can make the most of your day by taking up day classes.

However, people who work also get to practice their hobby. There are evening and night classes.

acting

It is the perfect time and activity to unwind after a day of work. You can indulge your inner performer before you stop for the day.

If you're not taking a class, you can shoot personal content to upload to your preferred medium.

You don't necessarily need a crew. You can self-record at any time.

You might need a few extra pieces of equipment, but most of the time, all a hobbyist needs are a good smartphone camera and great lighting.

What Do I Need to Start Acting as a Hobby?

Acting requires you to have some equipment. While it is not an immediate need, having the right gear puts you in a great position to level up if you decide to get serious about it.

Invest in costumes

It might seem like you are overdoing it, but part of being an actor is taking a role and immersing yourself.

Dressing up as a character makes it easier to embody that character. You can get costumes in costume shops.

Alternatively, you can put a twist on a character's costumes and develop your style.

Get a good camera

You can choose to be a stage actor or dive into screen acting. Screen acting will need you to get an excellent camera to record your scenes.

Current smartphones come with exceptional cameras. Use your smartphone to make videos of yourself. You can go a step further and get ring lights.

Pay for an acting class

You can start with attending improve classes before you go into acting as a hobby. Improv teaches you how to build scenes off the cuff.

Most beginner actors find it easier to start with improving classes as they build their way up.

Acting classes expose you to hobbyists and professional actors as well.

Get into community theatre

Community theatre is a good starting point as a hobbyist. It helps you sharpen your skills.

It could be the key to your transition from a hobbyist to an actor. Community theatre is mostly free work.

There are little or no financial returns. And that is what you need as a hobby.

Essential Skills You Need as an Actor

You need a few skills to take acting as a hobby and transition to serious acting.

Some of these skills will apply in other areas in your career path and your life in general.

Time management

If you are taking acting as a hobby, you will have to balance work and personal time.

Plan your acting classes, so they never interfere with your work hours.

You also need to know how to manage your time to make sure your hobby doesn't eat into your other social obligations.

Basic videography

Teach yourself how to handle a camera as you record yourself. There are plenty of resources that will teach you what to do with one.

The instructions are simple enough to follow. Most smartphones now come with third party camera applications.

They also have editing applications. If you get serious about acting, you can always shoot on the phone and edit your content.

Business skills

Acting can be a cut-throat industry if you don't know what you are doing.

For an industry that could catapult you to stardom in an instant, acting needs you to have some business skills in case a chance to perform professionally avails itself.

You should also have some negotiation skills to protect you from exploitation.

Learn how to network

Acting as a hobby doesn't mean you don't need to meet people. A hobby can become an avenue to meeting successful, like-minded people.

Since it's already teaching you how to speak confidently, use it as an avenue to meet the movers of the acting scene around your area.

It opens up more opportunities for you to learn and grow in your craft.

The benefits of having a strong network aren't only monetary. Some long-life friendships come out of close-knit acting groups.

Think about Toby Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio. Acting requires you to learn how to listen. You will need this as it is a real-world skill.

Production

Video production is a whole pipeline of activities that covers multiple areas. As you start, you might have to learn the fundamentals of these areas.

We're talking about sound, camera, lighting, and editing.

If you get serious and you'd like to monetize acting, you might have to do them yourself.

Otherwise, this is where your network and negotiation skills come into play. You may need to hire someone to do the work for you.

These skills don't go to waste in acting class. You can also monetize them if acting doesn't work out.

Memorization

An actor must know how to read lines off a script and memorize them.

When you start acting, a lot of your work might be monologues and short scripts.

Monologues are typically long and will need you to be in top form in memorizing your lines. It's not all lost.

This will help you in your daily application. Your cognitive abilities will be sharper, and you'll notice a boost in both short and long-term memory.

Teamwork

No organization lets you work in a vacuum. Even if you work better alone, you will always be in a collaborative effort with different people.

Acting needs you to learn about working with a team. There will be fellow actors, crew, and welfare groups involved in classes and projects.

Learn how to communicate with everyone regardless of their ranks.

Professional actors sometimes soil their name when they fail to work well with others.

Having teamwork as a skill puts you in front of the right people, not just in acting circles but also in social and professional circles.

Working under pressure

Standing on stage and giving an outstanding performance to a large group of people teaches you how to manage pressure and react quickly.

Working under pressure without losing your cool is a crucial skill of acting. Having this skill as a beginner will put you in some beneficial situations.

Everyone wants to work with someone with enough confidence to manage pressure internally.

Keeping strict deadlines and undoing damage without panicking is a desirable skill in acting and other professional fields.

Where Can I Develop My Acting Hobby?

Once you have decided to explore acting as a hobby, your first stop is an acting class.

Acting classes take lots of walk-in learners who are starting from scratch. You can make quick acquaintances who will form part of your close circle.

Alternatively, you might want to jump the classes and go straight to community theatre.

The upside of community theatre is picking up skills as you learn.

You get the first-hand experience. On the other hand, the critique comes in instantly, and it is direct. You need to learn how to take in constructive criticism.

You can also sharpen your acting skills by watching movies. If you're interested in acting, it may be because you have watched good movies.

Watching movies is a great way of picking up acting tips. Watch behind the scenes videos.

Watch classic movies. Look up directors and your favorite actors. Most big-name actors say they learned the craft by watching other great actors.

Watching great actors gives you sufficient knowledge of movements and facial expressions before you join a class.

Take online challenges. Pick a scene from your favorite movies. There are challenges to do lip syncs of great scenes.

Think of the "You can't handle the truth" line or the "What do you mean I'm funny?" scene from Goodfellas.

These challenges teach you something about voice control, accents, and emotion. You can command attention in an acting class if you walk in with a skill such as this.

Take online courses. Acting coaches have gone digital too. They host online classes either on personal websites or as part of a collective.

You can also get free acting tips on YouTube. SkillsShare and Udemy are also valuable resources where you can learn from trained professionals.

Tips That Will Help You Get Better in Your Hobby

Maintain your day job

The truth is, unless you venture into full-time acting, you might have a problem with bills. There is a reason most people associate art careers with struggle.

The beauty of taking up a hobby is that it doesn't have to be something that makes you money.

You can act as a hobby for your mental wellbeing and for fun.

If you decide to upgrade from a hobby to a moneymaking venture, consider getting an agent.

Many trainers and acting coaches might know agents.

Agents help you in negotiating contracts and getting in front of the right people.

Establish a social media presence

While the big screen might be the be-all-and-end-all for aspiring actors, you cannot downplay the importance of social media.

With billions of people logging in and looking for entertaining content, gaining social media traction can bring you success from your hobby.

Protect your body

Even as a hobby, your body is your greatest asset as an actor. You essentially put your body and your voice in the limelight every time you entertain a group.

Protect your voice by staying off harsh sugar-laden foods. Work out for your body wellness and to improve endurance. You'd be surprised at how tiring acting is.

Keep an eye on advertisement boards

You can always find deals on personal photography, showreel development, and acting classes if you want to upgrade from your current class.


Conclusion

Auditions are a great avenue to gauge your progress. Go to an audition and layout your best.

However, you are not auditioning to secure a role. You are doing it to see if your hobby and the classes are paying off.

You might get a callback. And it's all from a hobby you started. Good luck.


Whether you are already a fish fanatic or a newbie to the delights of the underwater world of aquaria, aquascaping could be that special hobby that becomes an all-consuming passion. 

We invite you to dip your toe into this intriguing pastime that seamlessly blends, aquarium keeping with landscaping, ecology, and even high art!

Our complete guide to aquascaping should equip you with everything you need to know to create these ethereal and otherworldly underwater settings and maintain them too. 

We have rounded up:

Also, this aquascaping hobby guide delivers a useful round-up of online and offline resources to get your new aquatic hobby off to a great start! 

The word “Aquascaping” may bring to mind anything from keeping a few pet fish to a clandestine snorkeling activity but is a fast-growing and incredibly addictive hobby that has been embraced by aquarists of all abilities around the world. British botanist James Wong found his Twitter account overwhelmed with over 160,000 likes and many more questions and comments after posting images of one of his aquascapes online.

What is Aquascaping? 

Aquascaping is a form of scaled underwater gardening, involving filling an aquarium tank with living plants, which are cultivated to create a natural or dramatic scene. This emerging craft also uses stones, wood, and other objects to enhance the underwater garden effect. 

Aquascaping is not only about aesthetics; these carefully crafted aquatic environments are self-contained ecosystems with their unique turnover of nutrients. 

Depending on the complexity of your design, maintaining the optimal conditions for your aquascape can get pretty labor-intensive and require lots of equipment and water changes. 

Do you need to keep fish for aquascaping?

Aquascaping does not require fish. Including fish in the aquascapes you create is entirely optional and many aquascapers forgo them altogether. 

Gardening in a Tank: The Intriguing History of Aquascaping

The emergence of aquascaping as a distinct pastime separate from fishkeeping, is thought to have taken place in the 1970s. Aquascaping draws on centuries of knowledge, innovation, and aesthetics in fishkeeping, particularly of the Romans, Chinese, and Japanese. 

The development of the aquarium tank led to the widespread uptake of fish keeping in the 19th century. At the same time, Victorian scientists like the chemist Robert Warington were using tanks and terrariums to demonstrate the oxygen-carbon dioxide cycle, creating self-sustaining ecosystems with aquatic plants and fish. 

In the 1950s, all-glass tanks were invented, and seasoned aquarists became increasingly discerning about how an aquarium tank would be dressed, considering not only the inclusion of natural and even native plant and fish species but also the aesthetics, often by using rockwork to add dimension. 

Canny carbon dioxide fertilization techniques using soda siphons were also being experimented with and expanded the scope of underwater cultivation as a large quantity of aquatic plant material could be sustained underwater. 

Takashi Amano, renowned Japanese cyclist, nature photographer and aquarist, is credited with being the father of aquascaping. 

His highly distinctive otherworldly aquarium scenes drew from Japanese gardening techniques and aesthetics such as Bonsai and Zen. 

Amano’s use of lush, vivid greenery, driftwood, and rock formations gave the impression of dramatic forested landscapes that had been submerged and have admirers all over the world to the present day.

Complete Guide to Aquascaping

5 Neat Reasons why Aquascaping is a Hobby for You!

  1. An aquascaping hobby means that you can garden all year round!

If you love cultivating plants, you will know that once the soil starts to cool after the summer sun, the opportunities for gardening quickly diminish. 

With aquascaping, you are working indoors and can plant and prune your submerged garden all year round. If you don’t have a backyard or space is limited, aquaculture means you can get your green thumbs wet too!

  1. If you pay attention to detail, you will enjoy passing time grooming your aquascape.

As we explore further on, aquascaping designs need lots of grooming. Paying attention to the little details can make all the difference in making your design look its best. 

This is particularly true of Japanese aquascaping which seeks to imitate natural dryland landscapes. Some plants grow rapidly and require constant trimming and shaping to get the results you’re looking for. If you are keeping fish as well, their nibbling will keep you on your toes. 

  1. You might already be an aquarist; acquascaping can add a new dimension to your hobby.

Many aquascapers have been keeping fish before making the transition to aquascaping. 

This is advantageous as you will have the intimate knowledge of water chemistry that is needed to keep an aquascape alive. Cultivating an aquascape may also mean that you can create the perfect jungle style aquascaping environment for particular fish species.

  1. Hobby aquascaping is a great way of expressing your creativity!

As you research and curate ideas for creating your aquascape, we are sure you will be blown away by how visually stunning these underwater landscapes look. 

Aquascaping is a hobby where you can let your imagination run wild. It's all about taking your ideas and working out how to bring them to life with the substrates, rocks, and plants you have to hand.

  1. If you love science, you’ll love creating your own ecosystem with your new hobby.

Families will appreciate the excellent learning opportunities that come with creating a thriving ecosystem. As we explore further on, a goal of aquascaping is to create a system that turns over its nutrients and does not become unbalanced leading to a die-off. 

Become a master of nitrogen balance and learn about the effects of light and other factors in maintaining your cultivated tank. If you are tech-minded, you can also integrate automated elements including lighting and thermostats for precision control of your carefully crafted environment.

Key Aquascaping Styles and Techniques to Include in Your Hobby

Dutch-style 

This famous style of aquascaping brings to mind lush fields with densely planted vegetation with a variety of rich colors and textures. 

Dutch-style is the earliest recognized form of aquascaping and started in the 1930s as the range of exotic aquatic plants began to expand.

The Dutch Society of Aquarists is credited with this form of aquarium design that puts more emphasis on the plants than the fish.

You will be able to recognize Dutch style aquascaping by its absence of wood and rock, known as hardscape

Japanese style 

Japanese style or “Nature Aquarium” style aquascaping was championed by the aquarist Takashi Amano, mentioned above. His fascination with the natural world and encyclopedic knowledge of aquatics lives on in this distinctive style of aquascaping.

The objective of Japanese style aquascaping is always to create a miniaturized terrestrial landscape underwater. 

Nature Aquarium style draws heavily from Japanese gardening techniques with meticulous attention to the positioning of rockwork and the introduction of a select few plant species that are cultivated to give the impression of a natural landscape.

These aquatic scenes also draw on the Japanese principle of “Wabi-sabi”, which embraces and includes the imperfections and asymmetry encountered in nature in the tank design.

Wabi-kusa 

Wabi-kusa is a Japanese gardening technique for aquatic plants that takes balls of plant substrate or aquatic moss and wraps the roots of selected aquatic plants around them, to create modular plantings that can be arranged very flexibly as part of aquascaping designs.

Guide to Aquascaping

Diorama style

The Diorama style is a fantasy-rich and highly imaginative style of aquascaping that seeks to create a vivid terrestrial scene complete with “grass” covered hills, “trees” and resident fish flying by as birds”. 

These storybook tank scenes are very popular with Southeast Asian aquarists who often outdo one another with dramatic, yet meticulously groomed designs. 

Jungle style

Wild jungle style is another vegetation-rich style of aquascaping and uses elements of both Dutch and Nature-style aquaria. 

This style of aquascaping is all about imitating nature, with tanks taking on the dark, brooding atmosphere of a tropical rainforest. Jungle style tanks are very densely planted, often with large untrimmed leaves. 

To create this effect coarse-leaved and tall plants are planted in a dark substrate and allowed to grow wild and tall. 

Biotope style. 

This mindful form of aquascaping is an attempt to recreate natural aquatic habitats like freshwater pools or mountain streams complete with the hardscape, plants, and fish that complement that environment. 

The objective is to emulate and support an existing ecosystem with organisms that naturally coexist.

Even water chemistry and turbidity may be precisely matched, for example, by using leaf litter to stain the water brown. 

Saltwater reef aquascaping 

Most aquascaping is done in a freshwater tank, but reef aquascaping takes basic aquascaping principles and puts them to work in a saltwater environment.

Here the aim is to mimic a reef, with all the organisms found there, including corals and live rock.

Reef aquarists and aquascapers are adept at creating a thriving environment, stocked with carefully selected species that will not predate one another. 

Key Equipment and Accessories for the Beginner Aquascaper 

Having the right resources and equipment for aquascaping to hand will make all the difference in the results you experience. Aquascaping requires commitment so there is no better reason to invest in good quality aquascaping tools to develop real expertise in your new hobby.

We hope you will find that this list gives you a good idea of what’s needed for aquascaping. 

Guide to Aquascaping

1. Tank

A tank is to an aquascaper what a canvas is to an artist! You can use any type, shape, or dimension of an aquarium tank to create an aquascape. 

When choosing your first aquascaping tank you may find that lots of backward depth will provide you with the room that you need to compose your aquascape. 

Longer tanks also provide the ideal dimensions for a landscape design and less height on your tank will make lighting easier. 

Smaller, more compact tanks also make aquascaping possible if your available space is limited. 

Here are some great starter tanks for aquascaping:

2. Filters

Without a filter to remove, waste, dead foliage, leftover food, and other debris, a tank can quickly become overwhelmed. Filters are generally rated by the size of the aquarium they support. Your choice of filters for aquascaping include:

3. Heaters

Thermostatic temperature control is critical to keep a biotope or aquascape thriving. Select a heater that is rated for the water volume of your tank. 

Hygger is a reputable aquarium brand that produces a line of digital freshwater aquarium heaters that use quartz-glass to safely maintain your tank’s water temperature. 

Simple controls and a clear LCD make all the difference in maintaining a stable temperature. Just attach the heating rod to the wall of your tank to get started. 

4. Carbon dioxide system

With so much planted vegetation in your tank, you are likely to need a source of water carbonization to support your living design. CO2 generation systems like this one by FZONE can provide a regulated supply of gas to your aquarium continuously. 

5. Lighting

Your strategy for lighting the tank will have a significant effect on aquarium conditions. Excess lighting can lead to the proliferation of algae which can quickly outcompete other tank vegetation and organisms. Lighting, therefore, needs to be able to be as carefully controlled as temperature.

The Hygger digital LED lighting system offers the precision control needed for lighting aquascapes. Its built-in digital timer can be programmed to create 24-hour lighting cycles that mimic the sunrise and sunset and light intensity can be varied across the spectrum. It is easily installed across the top of a tank via adjustable mounting legs.  

6. A set of aquascaping tools

Aquascaping tools are needed to cultivate and groom your aquascape. They are sized according to the size (especially depth) of the tank. At a minimum you will need:

All the tools can be acquired online. Read this awesome review of the best aquascaping tools by fishkeeping forever.

7. Books 

Feed your creativity and knowledge with a decent collection of books on aquascaping. Here are must-have books for the novice aquascaper who is looking to grow:

8. A Journal

A scrapbook or journal is great for jotting down notes, sketching aquascapes, and curating images and ideas. 

A notebook with dotted or graph paper like this smart notebook by The Minimalism Art Store can help you accurately plan your next aquascape. 

9. A Camera

You will need a camera on hand to capture all the hard work you will have put into your hobby aquascaping designs. A decent camera for photographing aquarium tanks is also great for visits to Aquatics stores or aquascaping trade shows and contests. 

The Nikon D3200 is a basic DSLR that can take great aquarium shots. It has four shooting modes and with adequate lighting and the flash off, a beginner aquarium photographer can capture high-resolution images. 

Complete Guide to Aquascaping

Composing your First Aquascape 

When confronted with some of the fantastic designs created by aquascapers like Filipe Oliveira or George Farmer, getting started might be daunting. 

Start simply and add greater detail and complexity to your projects as you gain the experience and skills. Aquascaping is all about aesthetics so you will want to balance the proportions of planted and open space as well as the use of height.

Like landscape painting, aquascaping uses several rules and ratios to help give designers a gauge of the type of composition that will work. 

The rule of thirds can be used to plan designs by dividing the tank space horizontally and vertically into thirds. By using this method, you can plan the foreground, midground, and background, and also subtly center your design on a focal point where you will want the viewer’s attention and thoughts to rest as they view your creation. 

It can be easy to overcrowd a tank with many plants, but while it is good to embrace variety, establish aquatic plants in stages to see how they become established as part of your design. Also, don’t be afraid to scrap a failing project and start again - experimentation is key. Try, try and try again!

To get an idea of the principles of aquascaping, watch this excellent masterclass by George Farmer:

Materials and Plants for Aquascaping Design

Further reading, links, and resources for the beginner aquascaper 


Rounding Up

Aquascaping is a great hobby that produces some really satisfying and beautiful workmanship in a serene and timeless underwater setting. 

For most enthusiasts mastering this aquatic hobby is as much about the exercise of the natural sciences as it is about design. 

You will have to accept making some mistakes and even crashing your tank with nitrogen overload if you take your eye off the ball. Water changes are essential for keeping tank conditions optimized, especially if fish are included. 

So all you need to do now is grab your first tank and some supplies and have a go.  As with most hobbies, practice makes perfect!


For the keen angler, ice fishing is about the most fun you can have at subzero temperatures! It is an authentic, intrepid adventure, and the fishing is great too.

Perhaps you feel cold enough when you hit the local lake in your Jon boat, but believe us, it can get colder! 

In this comprehensive guide, we will tell you everything you need to know to make a success, a hobby that is enjoyed across the world.

Pack your rods, a tent, and some great company as we explore this wintertime hobby, learning to stay safe as you go.

Complete Guide to Ice Fishing

So, just what exactly is ice fishing?

Ice fishing is a fishing hobby that involves catching fish on frozen lakes and other bodies of water. The fish are accessed by drilling a hole in the ice to allow the fish to be hooked with a line, speared, or even clubbed.

To catch your fish, you will have to brace yourself for venturing out onto the frozen surface of the water. This is not for the fainthearted and requires discernment of the right type of ice that can take the weight of you and your gear.

Though ice fishing is now enjoyed as a recreation rather than a necessity, the catching of fish via a hole in the ice or hardwater angling has been the preserve of many indigenous and first nations peoples across the world. 

Most noted historically, and admired, are the ice angling skills of the native peoples of North America whose oral and cultural traditions have handed down expertise in spearing fish out on the ice, which was observed and later adopted by the European settlers. 

In Canada, the traditional skill of ice fishing is still being actively passed on to younger generations as a way of enjoying the environment and living off the land. 

Europe also has a tradition of ice fishing, particularly in central and Eastern European countries known for their monastic aquaculture.

Daring poachers were known to fish through the ice of their expansive fishponds.

Ice fishing is also known in the icy reaches of Scandanavia and Iceland, which offer a good season with suitably frozen waterways. 

5 great reasons why ice fishing is a great hobby! 

If you ask an ice fishing addict, we're sure that they will have many more, but here are 5 key benefits of getting out on the ice and landing yourself some very fresh fish!

1. Your ice fishing hobby is a great winter pastime!

If you love getting out on the water to fish on long spring and summer days, but find your season curtailed once the chill of winter sets in, you can take things to the opposite extreme and hit the ice.

With ice fishing, you can fish all year round! The colder it gets, the safer the ice is and the better the fishing.

Once you know how to handle yourself and keep warm on the ice, you will find ice fishing just as enjoyable as other kinds of angling.

2. With ice fishing, the good bites come to you.

Ice fishing is a satisfying endeavor as you almost always come away with a catch. If you think about it, the fish are going to be much easier to catch. During their grueling winter months, food is scarce so your bait will be incredibly popular with fish. 

Your second advantage with ice fishing is that the low temperatures make the fish incredibly sluggish and those reflexes that would have gotten them off the hook simply aren't there. This makes ice fishing a great experience for novice anglers who are up for braving the frost.

3. With ice fishing, you'll have a great sense of adventure!

We can't all go on an expedition to the north pole, but with ice fishing, you will feel like you are an arctic explorer, especially if there is a major wind chill. 

One of the reasons so many anglers enjoy ice fishing is the sense of adventure that comes with being out on the ice.

With ice fishing, you have plenty of substrate for making some great memories. The bleak white expanse coupled with the dimness of the shelter makes this type of fishing truly unique.

As you drill down with your ice auger into the ice you will be tapping into your inner survivalist too.

4. For the enthusiast, ice fishing is an event with a great atmosphere!

Despite the harsh environment, you will struggle to ice fish alone. A suitably frozen lake is going to get a lot of action from fellow anglers looking for some good fishing.

In areas where ice fishing is popular you will find that many families gather to enjoy fishing together. So, you'll have to learn to share all that good fishing. 

5. You may enjoy ice fishing so much that you will travel for it.

For many anglers the call of the ice is irresistible, and they are willing to put in the air miles for prime ice fishing opportunities throughout the year.

Pack your rod as ice fishing is a great way to see the world! 

Ice fishing holidays can take you to some of the most spectacular natural settings on earth, with guided ice fishing tours in Lapland, or amidst the Scandinavian northern lights

Guide to Ice Fishing

What does ice fishing involve?

Heading out onto open ice and trusting it with your body weight goes against just about every instinct, but this is where the pastime begins and ends.

Double up on base layers and well upholstered outer garments and trek or sled out to your frozen lake or river.

Once an assessment of the ice has been made (more on this below), snow can be cleared from your selected location and holes can be made in the ice. 

This can be done with an ice saw, auger, or chisel. The hole should be no more than 10 inches (25 centimeters). Too large and someone risks falling through, too small and you can't pull your fish through it.

An ice skimmer and sometimes heaters are used to keep the hole open. Time and experience will refine your technique and when leaving a hole, mark it in some way so that other anglers can stay safe!

You have several options for your angling technique while ice fishing:

Guide to Ice Fishing

Sounds good. What kind of fish can you catch while ice fishing?

Your catch will depend on where in the world you are seeking to fish. In North America, the following species tend to predominate as freshwater fish that are biting in the winter. In some ways, they are the big bad bullies of the waters which remain active and prey on weaker fish while food is scarce. These are the types of fish that would give you a run for your money in the summer months. 

You will need to be strategic. These fish will be in deeper main lake reaches of the ice, so you need to be willing to venture out, fishing these in the spots you would in a boat with an enticing jigging lure. 

Early on in an ice fishing season, they tend head further out, but are available in shallower water as the ice season progresses. They will look for light and the brighter and more reflective lure and glow jigs may have success. 

Prowl their favorite haunts of mudflats and shallow reed beds where they are known to forage. Beautiful rainbow trout may not have room to leap under ice, but they can still put up a good fight making you feel as though you have earned your supper!

Pike is usually caught with rod and reel and will gladly chow down on live and frozen bait. You may also be able to entice them with artificial lures. Make sure your tackle is up to the fight as these fish are capable of breaking a line.

Tool up with the best gear for your ice fishing hobby.

Having the right ice fishing equipment and gear is critical to not only catching a fish but also staying warm and safe on the ice. Here is a rundown of your essentials for an ice fishing trip. 

Clothing for ice fishing

Warmth, comfort, and freedom of movement are advantageous out on the ice. Layer up items to retain heat as hypothermia can set in quickly:

The Complete Guide to Ice Fishing

Personal safety items for ice fishing

Amongst others, these safety essentials should be on your person at all times, just in case you need them. 

Ice fishing equipment  

This list is not exhaustive but should have you equipped with the essentials to have a productive day out on the ice. 

The Complete Guide to Ice Fishing

13 Fishing produces an excellent ice fishing rod and reel combo that is available in right or left-handed design. This high-viz green design has a strong, flexible composite frame with a split-grip Tennessee handle and thin wire line guides.

Tech accessories for 21st-century ice fishing

For many ice fishing anglers, the pastime is no longer primitive and is much more mobile, driven by GPS, sonar, and fish finders, which means you can search for fish rather than waiting it out by your home all day.

Many anglers routinely carry a Garmin Fishfinder with GPS, though for the old-timers and diehards, it takes all the mystery out of the sport!

When is the best time to go ice fishing?

There is a saying amongst seasoned ice anglers: “first ice and last ice produce the best bites!”. 

If in your region, ice forms, you probably will enjoy the best fishing in December and February. Also, the time of day does affect your chances of success, with mornings and afternoons bringing the briskest bites. 

Temperatures do affect ice fishing with cold fronts slowing down the bite too. As temperatures rise toward freezing the bite will improve.

Snow-covered ice is more insulating for the fish and you will probably find that they are more active where the ice is insulated and shaded by snow. The fish bite more where it is shaded.

Accidents happen, so staying safe while ice fishing is essential!

Understandably, the greatest fear of most ice fishers will be falling through the ice into freezing water, and this is not an exceptionally rare event.

However, ice fishing does carry several other risks that require vigilance for their prevention. 

A Mayo Clinic study took a closer look at the accidents that befell ice anglers over 5 years using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. Here are some of the most common ice fishing accidents and injuries they found:

Safety on the ice is critical as, just like on open water conditions can change throughout the day, and by concentrating on fishing or having a good time, anglers can neglect to keep adequately warm or protected. 

Though some anglers do go ice fishing alone, this can be very dangerous as you may not have anyone to help you or raise the alarm if you run into difficulties. Always go ice fishing with at least one other person, at least to take a great picture of you and your catch! 

Let folks at home know where you are going and how long you will be gone, and ensure that safety items like a phone, personal floatation device, and ice picks are on hand should the worst happen.

WARNING: Do not walk on ice unless you are assured of its safety

Ice can be tricky and vary greatly in thickness and strength in a single body of water. Also, early and late in the ice fishing season, the ice may not be at its thickest and you may run the risk of falling through. If in doubt, trust your instincts and stay off it. A popular saying amongst ice fishing enthusiasts goes something like this:

“Thick and blue, tried and true. Thin and crispy, way too risky.”

You need to be sure that the ice you walk on is of an adequate thickness to support your weight as well as any equipment or sled you are carrying with you.

Deep Thick Blue Ice

An ice thickness of 4 inches is the minimum thickness needed to support body weight, and over 12 inches or more if you intend to use a snowmobile or ice shanty. A bit of research and local knowledge is worthwhile to learn about the ice where you intend to fish. 

Ice is not a homogeneous substance and is affected by factors that include the weather, air temperature, the size and type of water, and the presence of springs or currents.

High winds can break apart the ice and leave anglers drifting towards open water too. These conditions need to be considered as they affect the maintenance of an ice layer that can support you safely. 

Visually inspecting the ice, looking for cracks and water as well as logs or rock that can heat up and weaken the ice in their location. 

Know the best ice for ice fishing.

As the saying above states, clear blue ice is strongest. You can expect this type of ice fishing ice after three consecutive weeks of temperatures below -8 degrees Celsius (17.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Be wary of snow-covered opaque ice, which may be thick but is far less strong. 

Frequently asked questions for ice hobby ice fishing.

Q. What are the best locations for ice fishing?

If the ice is reliable and the fishing is good you will find that people will even travel internationally to enjoy it! Here are some of the best-known ice fishing locations in North America. They all offer perfect conditions, a range of fish to catch, and a long season, making it possible to visit again and again. 

In the United States the best ice fishing locations include:

In Canada the best ice fishing locations include:

Q. Do I need a license to ice fish?

In most parts of North America, you are going to need a fishing license before you hit the water. Fishing licenses help the authorities keep track of fish stocks and ensure that lakes are not overfished.

The cost of your fishing license also funds vital environmental protection and stewardship which makes these beautiful, frozen lakes great for everyone.

A valid fishing license is not usually specifically issued for ice fishing. Purchase an annual license and you should be good to go. 

Q. Where can I learn more about ice fishing?

Here are some great organizations that provide more information on ice fishing:

The official ice fishing Reddit has a thriving online community of Redditors who love everything ice fishing. This is a great page for asking questions too. 

Also, check out Ivo Coia of Thundermist Lures on YouTube. This Ontario native is a real encyclopedia of all that is exciting about ice fishing.

Lake Erie Ice Fishing 

Rounding up

We hope that you have found this article a great head-start for making ice fishing a well-loved hobby. The only way you are going to know if this is the hobby for you is to wrap up warm, fill your flask and get out there and have a go. 

In North America, anytime between late November and March is well within the ice fishing season, meaning that you have a whole winter of winters to rig and jig your lines in the deep freeze!

Whittling is an ancient art that dates back to when sticks and sharp objects existed.

Although the terms “whittling” and “wood carving” are often used interchangeably, they are different. 

Whittling is the act of trimming, cutting, or shaping a piece of wood or a stick using a knife. 

Wood carving is quite similar but involves additional tools like gouges and chisels.

The final products from carving are usually more decorative and detailed than just whittling which results in rough edges and fewer details.

It is believed that between 1865 and 1965, whittling was a popular hobby in the United States.

During the Civil War, soldiers from different states came together around campsites to relax. 

Their activities included conversation, writing letters, playing cards, and whittling.

Most soldiers had a folding jackknife making them prone to whittling. 

Soldiers who got good at it taught others to whittle objects like canes, spoons, smoking pipes, animals, and human figures.

A soldier from one state would teach a soldier from another state and so on. 

That’s how it grew into a popular hobby among the soldiers.

When the veterans returned home after the war, they taught this skill to their children and communities.

Why Whittling Is A Good Hobby

Playing with knives is not advisable except when you’re whittling. This is a great hobby to help you relax during your free time. 

If you want to make cool objects without spending too much or feeling the pressure of being perfect, whittling is perfect for you. Here’s why you should try it out:

Affordable

Whittling requires minimal investment in terms of money and workspace. As a beginner, you don’t need any skills to start, only interest and a bit of time. 

As far as tools are concerned, you won’t need anything more than a knife.

They come in various types and quality; however, you can find a good whittling knife for less than $20. 

Creative

Whittling will get your creative juices flowing. There’s no limit to what you can create with a whittling knife and piece of wood. 

As a beginner, you can make objects like a wooden spoon, a cat, mushroom, standing shark, bass fish, owl, tobacco pipe, squirrel, baby dinosaur, and many others. 

There’s a satisfaction that comes from watching your hands turn a plain piece of wood into an art piece. 

Therapeutic

The fast-paced life we have nowadays can be stressful and we need is to slow down and relax.

Whittling is believed to lower stress, heart rate, and blood pressure. 

Most whittlers will attest to the fact that this activity is therapeutic, calming, and makes them happy.

Talk about going for therapy without paying for it. 

Enhances Concentration and Mindfulness

Whittling is a form of meditation because it keeps you focused. You’re able to fully experience being in the flow. 

Time will pass without you even realizing it. This reduces negative emotions while increasing patience and tolerance.

Being in a state of mindfulness gives you a new perspective on stressful situations.

Social Benefits

Whittling is an activity you can do well on your own, but you can also meet as a group of friends or members in your nearby community who love whittling. 

Some communities have whittling events and workshops that bring them together.

Many online whittling communities exist as well to provide each other with virtual support.

Complete Guide to Whittling

Muscle and Motor Skill Development

Whittling develops a child’s motor skills and strengthens the arm muscles right from the shoulder to the hand. 

For younger children, the new strength in their hand muscles helps them hold a pencil better and improves their writing.

It also develops their hand-eye coordination and keeps them focused.

Connection to Nature

Whittling is a great activity that creates a bridge between you and nature especially if you’re doing it outside. 

Nature provides the materials (wood), inspiration, and space for contemplation while you whittle. 

Walking through the woods also helps you connect with nature when you learn about different types of trees and their wood. 

Business Opportunity

Whittling has the potential to grow from a hobby into a business if you choose to sell your creations.

It’s an opportunity to make money while doing what you love. 

This helps you grow your skill and creativity even more as different customers will make orders for a variety of projects that you may never have tried before. 

Of course, there’s no pressure, it can always remain just a hobby if you want.

Who Can Whittle?

The great thing about whittling is that it’s an all-inclusive hobby.

As long as you’re interested, can hold a knife and piece of wood, you’re good to go. 

From children to teens to adults and then seniors, this hobby is a great relaxing activity.

Children

You’re probably wondering if it’s a good idea to give a child a knife.

Whittling teaches children knife and safety skills and at their age, it’s the best time to learn. 

Right from 5 years old, children can take on whittling under the guidance of an adult.

It channels their natural curiosity into something enjoyable and gives them a sense of independence as they learn to assess risk. 

Complete Guide to Whittling – Wood Carving

Seniors

Whittling is a popular activity with seniors. In some nursing homes and assisted living communities, whittling is one of the activities they engage in. 

Staying actively creative keeps their brains alert and enhances memory function, attention span, and problem-solving. 

Depending on their age and health condition, their response time and motor skills may not be sharp so safety measures must be taken.

What Equipment Do You Need?

For starters, you won’t need much – only a knife and a piece of wood. You can find a variety of knives at a reasonable cost. 

As you get better at whittling, you’ll naturally add more advanced tools to your collection.

Let’s explore what items you’ll be using and what they do.

Pocket Knife

Using a pocketknife is perfect when you’re starting before you invest in an actual whittling knife. Make sure it’s not just any pocketknife.

Ideally, it should have a high carbon steel blade and the blade must be able to lock.

BeaverCraft, Whittling Knife C1M - Small Sloyd Knife - Wood Carving Knives Tools for Beginners - Carbon Steel Scandi...
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A non-locking blade will easily lead to accidents as severe as lost fingers. 

The convenience is that most pocketknives have multiple blades, and you can keep them safely in your pocket.

Wood Block

After experimenting with random twigs and branches, you can start whittling with actual woodblocks.

Beginner whittlers should start with softwood like pine, bass, and balsa wood. 

You should choose a straight-grained piece of wood without knots.

You can find single wood blocks or whittling sets online depending on your preference and budget.

It’s not always easy to determine the direction of the grain on a woodblock. You can only tell when you make a few shallow cuts in the wood. 

Guide to Whittling

If you’re cutting with the grain, the wood will smoothly peel away.

If you’re cutting against the grain, you’ll experience resistance and split wood.

The idea is to cut with the grain and not against it or else you’ll have a difficult experience and ugly-looking creations.

The following tools are not mandatory, but they show your seriousness and determination in whittling. They also make your journey a whole lot easier. 

Whittling Knife

Today various types of whittling knives exist on the market. Their blades are fixed and don’t fold like pocketknives. 

This offers more stability and sturdiness than with a folding blade. Specialty whittling knives generally have curved handles designed to fit in your hand comfortably. 

This makes it easy to withstand long whittling sessions. The blade of a good whittling knife should have an extremely sharp blade that is made of carbon steel or stainless steel. 

You can buy the knives as singles but whittling knife sets (usually 3) are also available on the market.

Sharpening Tools

Whittling is so much easier when you have a sharp knife. A sharp knife is more useful and safer to use.

You will have better control of a sharp knife because you can push it easily through the wood. 

Imagine how hard it would be trying to push a blunt knife through the wood. You could easily get injured. 

Sharpening your whittle knife is easy and will require a few tools.

To sharpen your knife using a sharpening stone, place the blade on the stone at a slight angle facing you.

Complete Guide to Whittling

With a blade on the stone, push the knife away from you in a few strokes.

When using sandpaper, attach it to a firm object like a brick. Place the blade on the sandpaper at a 22° angle. 

Stroke the blade gently across the sandpaper, ensuring that its tip gets sharpened too. Use light pressure moving the knife away from you.

Gloves and Thumb Guard

A glove will protect your fingers from being sliced and give you a firm grip on your object.

If you’re careful enough, you’ll hardly get injured while whittling but who wants to take any chances? 

It’s better to be safe than sorry. Some whittlers use only a thumb guard, others use whittling gloves. Some use both. 

It’s best to wear the glove on the hand that holds the woodblock as it’s more at risk of injury.

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The thumb guard is for the thumb the hand that’s holding the knife. 

It’s especially helpful with whittling methods like the push or pull stroke which can harm your thumb.

The two most common types of gloves are steel mesh and Kevlar.

These materials are the best because they protect you from cuts and slices. However, they are not puncture-resistant.

Safety Glasses

As you whittle away, there’s always that occasional flying wood chip that might land in your eyes if they aren’t protected.

Cover your eyes every time you whittle with safety glasses. 

How to Whittle

Now that you know what this amazing hobby is about and the equipment you need, let’s look at what the basic process of whittling is like.

Of course, the best way to learn to whittle is directly from someone else who has mastered the art. 

Follow the safety guidelines and keep practicing until you get good at it. Don’t feel pressured to be perfect.

Like most hobbies, everyone is nervous the first time around.

Types of Whittling Cuts

Whittling entails several cutting styles, but you only need to know three official techniques.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re right-handed or left-handed. The instructions apply either way.

Straightaway Rough Cutting

This cut comes first because it creates the general shape and outline of your project. 

Holding the wood in one hand and your sharp knife firmly in the other, make long, sweeping cuts with the grain going away from your body.

Cutting deeply will split the wood and you don’t want that. Simply make thin slices to remove the wood you don’t need.

Push Stroke (Thumb Pushing)

Now you’re starting to shape your object by cutting while pushing the knife away from you. This stroke gives you excellent control over your knife. 

Holding the wood in one hand and the knife in the other, make sure the blade is facing away.

Place both thumbs on the back of the blade and push forward. 

Your cutting hand should steer the blade through the wood to create smooth cuts. 

Pull Stroke (Pare Cut)

This is the most commonly used and useful cutting technique. It offers you great control and accuracy and is perfect for detailed cuts.

However, it’s riskier because you pull the blade towards you. 

This technique is also called the “pare cut” because it is a similar stroke to paring or peeling.

Hold the woodblock in your none-cutting hand and the knife in your dominant hand. 

The blade should be facing towards you. Brace the thumb of your dominant hand against the wood, then squeeze your fingers (of that same hand) so that you can pull the blade towards you in short, controlled strokes. 

Your thumb should be out of the blade’s path. It’s advisable to wear a thumb pad for this stroke.

Where to Learn Whittling

Like most skills and hobbies, there’s always someone ready and willing to teach you.

There might be a whittling class in your area. Ask around for referrals or better still, use the internet.

Type in your search engine bar for “whittling classes in (your area)” to find out.

Physical classes aren’t the only way to learn in this digital era. Almost every hobby has online classes and whittling is no exception. 

Online spaces like Perennial offer virtual whittling classes via Zoom for beginners where you’ll learn the basics of the skill hands-on. 

You can also find books on whittling. For beginners, starter guides are great resources to guide you step by step. 

They contain how-to photos with easy-to-follow instructions. They also include ready-to-carve patterns and easy projects you can create. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully by now, playing with knives doesn’t sound so scary after all. Whittling has great health benefits for everyone and doesn’t cost much to start. 

With this hobby, you’re only as limited as your imagination. Give it a try and see where your creativity takes you.