Hobbies and interests

The research revealed that both the self-employed and the career-oriented people see freedom and free time as relative concepts.

The wage-earners see the pursuit of hobbies and interests as synonymous with freedom and free time and as part and parcel of family relaxation.

The term “free time” can be described in four different ways, which, however, in no way accurately reflect how parents spend their leisure time:

  • timeto spend income on personal consumption
  • timeto spend large portions of one’s income on personal consumption and purchase of consumer goods for the family and on investments in one’s own personal expansive free time
  • timeavailable for the pursuit of an important hobby/interest, to participate in social club or organisation in which one’s family can also participate (actively or passively) - additionally can be a practical, supportive arrangement.
  • timespent with the family in private interaction and family activities and experiences for all members of the family together.

In this research, parents were asked: “Do you have a hobby or special interest? Something you enjoy - maybe a sport, a pastime, the family, something you collect, a practical or theoretical interest - tell us about it!”

If the parents named more than three activities/hobbies or interests, only the three most important of these were used in the research analyses. All the free time activities mentioned are included and all the interests and hobbies registered in the research material.

Activities in the research have been split into 9 main groups. The main group “Hobby/creative interest” is then subdivided into a number of sub-categories. All the activities are described in just a few words - as indeed the parents themselves described them.

Parents’ interests/hobbies (Table

- and time spent on these, see tables and, Steenhold (1993,d)

The parents were asked to name three important/significant hobbies or interests.

Parents have a wide variety of interests in their free time and these research results corresponded to Andersen (1988) who registered free time in Danes’ everyday lives. As there is no research material available covering what effect parents’ interests/hobbies have on children’s choice of toys and play, this research has also registered how much time parents estimate they have available for their hobbies/interests.

The table indicates, however, that fathers spend far more of their free time on different hobbies than mothers, who spend time on the family, home and garden.

The research did not provide documentation as to whether certain groups of parents pursue special interests or hobbies more than other groups but there seems to be a tendency for this to be the case.

The most important aspect is how much money parents spend on interests/hobbies as some parents can certainly afford to invest more in a hobby than others. This is a question about how the family prioritises its financial resources.



Interaction/interrelation within the family, interest and participation in partner’s and children’s everyday lives, work and activities.



Interaction with friends, neighbours and acquaintances



All ball games, including individual games, swimming, body-building, workout, dance, ballet, athletics, riding, martial arts, self-defence, relaxation/meditation and gymnastics



Music/singing lessons, choral singing, playing in an orchestra, etc. Going to musical concerts and performances. Singing/music studies.


Video/photography/TV - as technician

Drama and other performing arts, amateur theatre, film, video, going to theatrical performances and film club presentations - as technician


Performance/theatre - as performer

Drama and other performing arts, amateur theatre, puppet theatre, film, video - as a performer. Going to theatrical performances and film club presentations.



Tutoring/lectures in connection with one’s education, a desire for development or to gain knowledge, interest in a variety of (school) subjects, the arts, social studies, etc.



Political work, party/organisation worker. Trades union and residents’ committees, etc. Active in citizens’ groups.


Idealistic/religious work

Participation in international and inter-cultural work, Amnesty International, Red Cross, active in grass roots movements. Leader in idealistic, uniformed youth group. Active church member, evangelism.


Humanitarian/Care work

Voluntary care work, caring, visiting, voluntary humanitarian social work in support organisations and groups.





Classes or participation in hobby or creative interest


Artistic activity

Drawing, painting, printing, making natural dyes, woodwork



DIY and maintenance work. Day-to-day repairs and maintenance of the family’s property, home and garden



The finer points of cookery, wine-making



All forms of games


PC/word processor/communication

Computer games, programming and participation in classes or other activities connected with these.



Building models from building sets, model railway, electronics and mechanics



All forms of collecting, e.g. stamps, coins - and keeping pets, running kennels



“Trips” into natural surroundings, ecological/nature interests, rambles, experiences in natural environment, excursions



Crafts and major carpentry/masonry etc. work on family property, the home and garden, sometimes doing the same for friends and acquaintances



Camping trips, sailing trips and family holidays




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