Hobbies are practiced for interest and enjoyment, rather than financial reward. Examples include collecting, creative and artistic pursuits, making, tinkering, sports and adult education. Engaging in a hobby can lead to acquiring substantial skill, knowledge, and experience. However, personal fulfillment is the aim.
What are hobbies for some people are professions for others: a chef may enjoy cooking as a hobby, while a professional game tester might enjoy playing (and helping to debug) computer games. Generally speaking, the person who does something for fun, not remuneration, is called an amateur (or hobbyist), as distinct from a professional.
An important determinant of what is considered a hobby, as distinct from a profession (beyond the lack of remuneration), is probably how easy it is to make a living at the activity. Almost no one can make a living at cigarette card or stamp collecting, but many people find it enjoyable; so it is commonly regarded as a hobby.
In the UK, the pejorative noun anorak (similar to the Japanese "otaku", meaning a geek or enthusiast) is often applied to people who obsessively pursue a particular hobby that is considered boring, such as train spotting or stamp collecting.
A game is a structured or semi-structured recreational activity, usually undertaken for enjoyment (although sometimes for physical or vocational training). A goal that the players try to reach and a set of rule concerning what the players can or cannot do create the challenge and structure in a game, and are thus central to its definition. Known to have been played as far back as prehistoric times, games are generally distinct from work, which is usually carried out for remuneration. Because a wide variety of activities are enjoyable, numerous types of games have developed. What creates an enjoyable game varies from one individual to the next. Age, understanding (of the game), intelligence level, and (to some extent) personality are factors that determine what games a person enjoys. Depending on these factors, people vary the number and complexity of objectives, rules, challenges, and participants to increase their enjoyment. Games generally involve mental and/or physical stimulation. For this reason, they are beneficial after a large meal or a long and tedious task, but counterproductive if played immediately before sleeping. Many games help develop practical skills and serve as exercise or perform an educational, simulational or psychological role & also roaming.
Outdoor pursuits can be loosely considered to be the group of sports and activities which are dependent on the great outdoors, incorporating such things as hill walking, trekking, canoeing, kayaking, climbing, caving, and arguably broader groups such as watersports and snowsport. Outdoor sports most often include nature in the "sport".
While obviously enjoyed by many as a bit of fun, an adrenaline rush, or an escape from reality, outdoor sport is also frequently used as an extremely effective medium in education and teambuilding. It is this ethos that has given rise to links with young people, such as the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and PGL, and large numbers of outdoor education centres being established, as the stress on the importance of a balanced and widespread education continues to grow. Depending on the persons' desired level of adrenaline, outdoors can be considered a type of hobby.
As interest increases, so has the rise of commercial outdoor pursuits, with outdoor kit stores opening up in large numbers and thriving, as well as outdoor pursuits journalism and magazines, both on paper and online.
The increased accessibility of outdoor pursuits resources has been the source of some negative publicity over the years also, with complaints of destroying the landscape. A widely-seen example is the destruction of hillsides as footpaths are eroded by excessive numbers of visitors.
Replicas of real things in a smaller scale go all the way back to prehistoric times, as small clay "dolls" and other children's toys have been found near known population areas. Greeks, Romans, and Persians took the form to a greater depth during their years of world domination, using scale replicas of enemy fortifications, coastal defense lines, and other geographic fixtures to plan battles.
At the turn of the Industrial Age through the 1920's, families could more often afford things such as electric trains, wind up toys (typically boats or cars) and the increasingly valuable tin toy soldiers.
Scale modeling as we know it today became popular shortly after World War II. Prior to 1946, children as well as adults were content in carving and shaping wooden replicas from block wood kits, often depicting enemy aircraft to help in identification in case of invasion.
With the advent of modern plastics, the amount of skill required to get the basic shape accurately shown for any given subject was lessened, making it easier for people of all ages to begin assembling replicas in varying scales. Superheros, air planes, boats, cars, tanks, artillery, and even figures of soldiers became quite popular subjects to build, paint and display. Although almost any subject can be found in almost any scale, there are common scales for such miniatures which remain constant today... The most popular scales for each subject are (in order of popularity):
Figures are probably the most variable of all subjects in terms of scale, and are often referred to as their metric equivalent... for example, a 1:32 scale figure soldier is more commonly described as "54mm". Likewise other popular sizes are 90mm, 120mm and almost every increment in between. An example of a Diorama hobbie is Warhammer 40,000, from Games Workshop
In addition to plastic kits, resin has become a popular material for "short run" productions. The level of detail is often quite exquisite, and while more expensive than the typical plastic soldier, is much easier to work with and modify than White Metal or Pewter figures.
Scale modeling is no longer a high growth industry as it was during the 60's and 70's, but there are still thousands of retail shops selling kits, supplies, paints, and tools to support both the new and established hobbyist. There are certainly more companies producing more varieties of kits on various subjects than ever before, and the levels of detail has become unbelievably accurate with the advent of modern drafting and molding equipment, and digitized CAD software to drive accuracy to the 1000th of an inch.
With the increased costs of good kits moving upward, and entertainment competition for youth moving more towards computers and video gaming in the home, the average age of the avid hobbyist is now much older than ever before - with adults making up the vast majority of enthusiasts. At the same time, there are probably more people building now than ever, and there is a large selection of supportive magazines such as Fine Scale Modeller, Military Miniatures in Review (MMiR) and Tamiya Magazine to please almost every niche and taste of interest, from every imaginable era. There is also several modeling clubs in most cities, with the largest and best known International Plastic Modeler's Society (IPMS)supporting chapters and contests around the world.
If you are looking for a pure model-focused shop, there are several of note in the US... Kings' Hobbies (Austin, TX), Hobby Annex (Dallas, TX), Venture (Chicago), CMS (St. Louis) and HobbyTime (Amarillo, TX) are some of this author's favorties. All support a website, and can be found easily using any search engine.
Gardening also takes place in non-residential green areas, such as parks, public or semi-public gardens (botanical gardens or zoological gardens), amusement and theme parks, along transportation corridors, and around tourist attractions and hotels. In these situations, a staff of gardeners or groundskeepers maintains the gardens.
Indoor gardening is concerned with the growing of houseplants within a residence or building, in a conservatory, or in a greenhouse. Indoor gardens are sometimes incorporated as part of air conditioning or heating systems.
Water gardening is concerned with growing plants adapted to pools and ponds. Bog gardens are also considered a type of water garden. These all require special conditions and considerations. A simple water garden may consist solely of a tub containing the water and plant(s).