Fun hobbies at home?
May 26, 2010 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Fun activities for a couple at home (part II)? I'd love your suggestions for fun things to do together at home in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed. Difficulty: see within.

I'm looking for ideas and suggestions for things that my wife and I can do together in the evenings once the kids are in bed (beyond the obvious). In particular, I'm looking for ideas for hobbies that we might be able to do together.

I've found some good suggestions in previous threads like these; however, most of them involve doing things outside the house and we're specifically looking for things to do at home without having to get a babysitter (in addition to our datenights). Here are our special snowflake limitations:

- We have 3 small kids (4-2), so we're looking for something that is not tiring (since we're usually exhausted!) and can be done for short periods of time - maybe 1/2 - 1 hour max
- I'm a big reader; she's not - she's mildly dyslexic so does not enjoy reading or word games or the like
- I love to play games; she's not that into it - she'll play cards with me every once in a while but it's not her first choice. (We have game night at our house with friends once a month or so, which she participates in more to be social than because it's her favorite thing to do)
- She loves to watch movies; we do this together
- Neither of us is very into TV, though occasionally we've gotten into watching a series together on Netflix
- Neither of us is very crafty, though I like to knit and cross-stitch; she's not into anything 'fiddly' like knitting or origami
- She's very athletic and we're both decently fit
- She loves to garden; I'm not very into it (but not really an evening activity!)
- To completely over-generalize, I like more intellectual pursuits and she likes more physical pursuits, but we're both willing to try different things.

I'd love to get a laundry list of things/projects/hobbies that would be suitable given the above. We'd be willing to spend some money, though of course the less expensive the better. What do you suggest, Mefites?
posted by widdershins to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (24 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Do you think she would enjoy it if you read to her?
posted by ocherdraco at 1:26 PM on May 26, 2010 [5 favorites]

you could both help make cool bento boxes for the kids - that might be fun-ish
wine tasting/guzzling
wii fit/wii sports
ancestry project
posted by zeoslap at 1:33 PM on May 26, 2010

Do you play any musical instruments? How would you feel about picking up a ukulele, mandolin or guitar? The acoustic versions are quiet enough to let the children sleep, and you can use your electic instruments with headphones.

It's very easy to get started on your own, especially with the thousands of people publishing free video lessons on Youtube.
posted by halogen at 1:34 PM on May 26, 2010

Have you tried out the Wii? There are all kinds of great fun games you can do together and it's kind of active so you're not just sitting there.
Another fun thing to do is pick one night a week and cook something totally new together. It's fun trying a new recipe and not having the kids underfoot. It can be things you've had somewhere else and want to try and reproduce or something you just find in a book that sounds good.
Have fun!
posted by garnetgirl at 1:39 PM on May 26, 2010

-Each of you sit down separately and make a list of the top 10 (or 20) classic movies you've always wanted to see, but never have. See what matches and take it from there.

-Experiment and try new recipes with items from the garden.

-I love a good jigsaw puzzle. When I was growing up, we always seemed to have one in progress on a board on the dining room table. There are a lot of different kinds out there ranging from the easy to the totally challenging.
posted by NoraCharles at 1:44 PM on May 26, 2010

My wife, who never cared for video games at all, fell head-over-heels in love when I brought Rock Band home. To make it extra-awesome, spend an extra $20 on a microphone stand. It is incredibly cathartic, singing in your living room and feeling like a rock star, tilting the stand around as you hit the hard notes.
posted by jbickers at 1:44 PM on May 26, 2010

We've been looking for similar activites for the same reasons. We bought a DVD to learn Italian together but haven't started it yet. We have done a few TV series ("Lost" over the past 4 months) and moving watching. Would you both enjoy cooking? I do a bit of make-ahead meals and the post-bedtime hours work great for knocking out a few lasagnas or soup, or chicken pot pies. The bonus is that you have delicious meals to freeze and/or eat the next day, reducing the dinner-time chaos. We've talked about building something, like a toychest or the like and did do a small furniture painting job together. But DVDs do seem to be the most popular, owing to the utter exhaustion by the time dinner is done, dishes are cleaned, and the baby is asleep.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:50 PM on May 26, 2010

Bread Baking
posted by Gungho at 1:53 PM on May 26, 2010

Response by poster: Some great answers already - I'd like to try them all! I'm going to print this out for my wife so we can choose some together. Please keep 'em coming!
posted by widdershins at 2:00 PM on May 26, 2010

Seconding Rock Band, especially the beatles version. My wife and I play it all the time after the kid goes to bed.
posted by Four Flavors at 2:02 PM on May 26, 2010

Read to her. Pick something a little silly and escapist and not too intellectual.
There's something very nice about reading out loud. Like reading, but social.

And, definitely pick up some small quiet musical instruments. Ukuleles, mandolins, cheap classical guitars. Not too hard to get started on, and enormous lifelong rewards.
posted by Erroneous at 2:23 PM on May 26, 2010

Adding another gaming suggestion--while video games are classically a "niche" entertainment, there's something out there for everyone and it sounds like your situation might be ripe for something like that.

Some suggestions:
Arcadey racers, like Burnout Paradise
Various instrument-based music games, like Rock Band, DJ Hero, etc.
Short-term abstract games like Katamari

These kinds of games are built with beginners in mind but are usually just as entertaining to more "hardcore" gamers. If you both enjoy games like these, you might even move up to something a little more sophisticated, like Team Fortress 2. (The different classes keep the game from feeling like a mindless shooter. The wife and I used to spend time performing as a doctor/heavy pair, switching roles every other session.)

Another thing to mention on the gaming front--it might sound counter-intuitive that playing a single-player game together can be fun, but for short sessions having one person play while the other person watches can be just as good as a movie. So long as the controller changes hands eventually!
posted by Phyltre at 2:25 PM on May 26, 2010

It's kind of like watching TV, but nothing makes us laugh harder than watching Rifftrax shorts online. It's three of the original Mystery Science Theater guys (Mike, Kevin and Bill) cracking wise on PSAs and the kind of lecturey little movie you had to watch in school. You can watch them on a computer, they're about 99 cents each, and maybe last 15 minutes apiece.
posted by GaelFC at 2:26 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

nthing videogames and especially the Wii! We have Xbox, PS3 and the Wii, and while the other two are best for hardcore gaming, the Wii is great for games that actually get you up off of the couch. They have everything from curling and skiing to golf, tennis and racing if you are looking for sporty pursuits, and of course there are all kinds of games for each of the consoles based on movies.

If you want a Wii version of How to Train Your Dragon, just let me know and I can probably send you an unopened one; I got a bunch to review.

Jenga and jigsaw puzzles!
posted by misha at 4:03 PM on May 26, 2010

Could you get a dartboard?
posted by cider at 4:15 PM on May 26, 2010

Get some videos to teach yourselves how to dance. It may be that if you learn something like Argentine Tango, you can later go try out your moves at a local event (check listings to see if there are such events if you want that to help guide your choice of dance).
posted by amtho at 5:03 PM on May 26, 2010

if you share common musical taste, just cuddle up on the couch and listen to some music and talk about nothing
posted by parryb at 6:12 PM on May 26, 2010

-Home brewing - coffee, beer , wine, cider
-Candle making
posted by ljesse at 8:17 PM on May 26, 2010

Podcast listening + cuddling!
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:43 PM on May 26, 2010

watch or read the news and discuss. Write letters to those in local government with suggestions or to bring issues to their attention.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:14 AM on May 27, 2010

These are retreads for me from those other posts, but just the indoors stuff:

If you've got a DS, the New York Times Crosswords game is fantastic for couples. You only need one copy of the game but if you've both got a DS you can play Vs. or Co-op games. My husband and I routinely do puzzles in bed before going to sleep. Zookeeper has a similar Vs. thing.

We do that, play "would you rather" and "20 questions" and "either/or" type games, practice our languages (I'm teaching him French and he's teaching me Spanish), and read aloud in bed together. We also watch things with deliberate purpose--weird stuff, arthouse stuff, famous stuff, ridiculous stuff, favorite TV show marathons one of us has never seen before, etc. and then talk at length about them afterwards. Listening to an album in bed in the dark together is also super intimate. Good times.
posted by ifjuly at 10:48 AM on May 27, 2010

I remember playing Resident Evil on our big screen while my wife read the walk-through to me as I went. We played in the dark and she read with a flashlight. A lot of fun- when I'd open the WRONG door? And things would come at me? We'd both scream like lunatics.
posted by flowerofhighrank at 10:59 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

The reading out loud thing is a GREAT idea. If you do this, consider including some poetry. The Poetry Out Loud project has a bunch of poems online that are good for reading aloud. If you feel like it, you can even try memorizing them and reciting them to each other.

ifjuly's suggestion of listening to an album is also terrific. Mindful, attentive listening to an entire record is such a different experience from the usual random song order.
posted by kristi at 11:15 AM on May 28, 2010

Late to the discussion here, but my SO and I both really enjoyed working through the various incarnations of the computer game Myst together. This worked particularly well because his laptop hooks easily to our TV, and we used a wireless mouse, but it would also be fun huddled around the same computer. Take turns driving, but you both watch and try to figure out the puzzles together. The sense of team accomplishment when you figure something out is really fun!
posted by vytae at 2:55 PM on June 1, 2010

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