Take an ordinary hobby and give a spin to it. You will find that it not only becomes interesting but also great fun.

Summer is the best time to begin a new hobby. Here are a few suggestions:

Memorabilia If you travel a lot, make the most of it. Visit stores that sell souvenirs. While sight seeing, make notes and take pictures of places you visit. Almost all important landmarks will have a store selling trinkets and giving away brochures and other information related to the place. Collect them. If the place you are visiting has any celebration or festival coinciding with your time of visit — make sure to be a part of it. Check what they do, what they wear. Look out for a specific line of events and what they sell during that time.

Tip: This will definitely help you build your information bank and help you get more systematic in your travels.

Read and Write: While reading may not be an offbeat hobby idea, writing reviews might be. Send it to publications and magazines that encourage kids to write or start a blog. Take help from your parents when you go online. Start a virtual group or get together with friends to discuss books. This will help improve your vocabulary, gain confidence in group discussions and give you a different perspective.

Tip: A great way to not only read but also hone your writing skills.

Gardening: Time to go green. Here’s a checklist of basic things you will need. Pots, shovel and watering can, to begin with. Don’t worry about space. If you stay in an independent house, chalk out a small portion of the garden for yourself. If you live in an apartment, get pots and plant your favourite plants and herbs. Begin with roses, chrysanthemums or wild flowers. They are easiest to bloom. If you don’t want flowers then choose ferns. Easy to maintain and hassle-free, they look good too.

Tip: Reading up on plants and flowers will help you understand them better. Go for flower shows or visit public gardens.

Cycling: Form a group of friends who have bicycles. Ride together and discover new places in your neighbourhood. If your parents cycle with you then venture out further. Each weekend you could try a different direction. Once there, look for unusual things, landmarks, try finding trivia about the place. Look for buildings and houses or other structures that can help you know more. Trek along the area to discover a hidden waterfall or a lake or a haunted house.

Tip: Carrying a map, a compass, post-its, pen and paper will help. Make notes, check for locations and landmarks.

Photography: This is again a group activity. Decide on the location. You can cycle or walk to it. Look around and see what makes for a good picture. One common rule is to keep your ears and eyes open and mouth shut. This will help you concentrate and you could chance upon some interesting things. Click pictures and find out more about the subject of your picture. Many websites offer free entries to process data collection and build a database. You could also make a ‘to-do list’ each week to spot three new trees or birds or insects and get to learn more about them.

Tip: A camera can be your best friend. Take spare batteries.