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Quarantine and isolation have meant there’s almost infinite time to do whatever you want. But whether you’ve kept with your favorite pastime or tried a new hobby, it might be high time to mix it up.
But the real question is: What’s next?
Subscription boxes can be a great way to answer this question. Because they have a general theme and arrive regularly, you’ll always have a new activity to keep you entertained while we all wait for some good news about when life can properly resume.
Let’s take a look at some great subscription boxes that can help you try a new hobby.
1. Hunt A Killer
For anyone who breathes true crime or can’t get enough gritty detective fiction, Hunt A Killer is the ideal subscription box. Each kit comes with a series of clues that are aimed to help players...hunt a killer. The name is extremely literal in that sense, but the game is fictional; there’s no actual danger.
You can buy either a one-off adventure, a monthly subscription that will get you one “episode” (what each box is called) for 6 months to play out a continuing storyline, or bundles so you get a full mystery at once. So whether you want a one-off game for a mystery night or something to look forward to each month, Hunt A Killer has you covered.
2. Whisk Takers
There was a period at the beginning of lockdowns and quarantine when everyone was baking. Whisk Takers can help take things to the next level because it includes fun recipes like pistachio cakes, maple pecan blondies, and s’mores brownies; this isn’t just another batch of chocolate chip cookies.
Whisk Takers is inclusive of different dietary needs with gluten- and dairy-free recipes. Whether you have an allergy or just want to try a new diet, this can help you enjoy something sweet. Plus, there’s even an option of baking dog treats if you want to bake something but want to feed your pup instead of yourself.
3. Book of the Month
Aside from all the virtue signalling wrapped up in it, finding a good book is the worst part about reading. It’s also super disappointing to pick up a book, read it for three hours, and then figure out that you kind of hate it so it’d be better to start looking for something else all over again.
Book of the Month takes the pain out of choosing by sending you a new book each month. Past books include breakout hits like Madeline Miller’s Circe and popular books that become terrible movies like Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, so no one will be forced to read the same boring books that were hoisted upon them in high school.
Playing board games is a fun hobby because it can kill a ton of time, it gets your mind working, and it’s an inherently social activity. Even if you’re relatively isolated, you can play board games remotely if you can set up your phone or camera to show the board to all the remote players.
But like books, board gaming is a tricky hobby since you have to figure out what game works for you. UnboxBoardum will send you a new game (either monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly depending on which plan you choose) so you can find something new without all the hemming and hawing involved with shopping for yourself. Past games include popular staples like Settlers of Catan and Codenames, letting you finally see what all the hype is about.
5. The Hopebroidery Box
Embroidery is like painting without the mess. Unless you stick yourself with the needle and start to bleed, then there could be a mess. But anyway, you can stitch any pattern and bring your vision to life. The only hiccups are it can be difficult to get all the supplies together and find interesting patterns, and that’s even before thinking of how much time each piece could take.
Well now that we have nothing but time, the Hopebroidery Box can help with those first two parts. Each box includes all of the tools for a project and access to digital patterns/tutorials. This really is more for beginners; people who already understand how to stitch or have your craft tools organized at home, might need a more advanced subscription box.
It’s not a great idea to be indoors in any place that isn’t your own home, but the great outdoors is still pretty great. But going to a park or a walk around your neighborhood can get boring after awhile. A Cairn subscription will make it easier to go on longer adventures by outfitting you with all the right gear and supplies.
Now this box isn’t going to turn you into Bear Grylls or provide enough equipment to live off the grid. But if you want to start going for longer hikes and get out of your house, Cairn can outfit you properly.
There’s a level of irony to this recommendation: It seems like the message is “dress up and then have nowhere to go.” But this is more about learning nail art and spending time on something fun, and the benefit at the end of it is you have a fun manicure at the end.
Maniology’s Mani X Me features stamping plates, nail polishes, and bonus surprises. The important thing is to take your time to really get the designs down, which shouldn’t be a problem because a good manicure can take a while.
8. The House Plant Box
Plants are a great way to literally liven up your space and can help curb some of the negative effects of being stuck inside. The House Plant Box delivers a healthy, thriving plant to your door, taking some of the difficulty out of being an at-home horticulturist.
How much you pay depends not only how frequently you want a new plant, but also what type of plant you want. There are 11 different options and then three delivery frequencies within there, so it’s really up to you to figure out what you want to grow.
9. Creation Crate
For the burgeoning Frankenstein (insert snarky clarification about meaning the doctor because it’s not the monster’s name), the Creation Crate is the one of the best subscription boxes out there. Every month, this service brings all the circuits, wires, and finishing touches to create a small gadget like a decorative lamp.
Of course, you’re not going to be left to your own devices and figure out how to build everything on your own. Creation Crate offers instructions and online videos that walk subscribers through everything.
If you want to try your hand at writing as a hobby, you should consider Scribbler. In addition to a book and literary swag, each box continues lessons and access to live chats with people from the publishing industry so you can learn from their experience. You don't need to hold yourself to Shakespearean standards (remember people saying he wrote King Lear during quarantine?), but you can use this box to flex your writing abilities.
I’m a big advocate of anything that gets me off my computer or to put my phone down because I fall into a doomscroll way too fast. Knitting is wonderful because it requires both hands so it’s impossible to be on social media or reading the news, but it’s still possible to watch a TV show or a movie.
The fun part about KnitCrate is that it doesn’t ask subscribers to think about projects they want to knit. Instead the subscriptions are broken up by color palettes; this ensures that the knitwear will match each person’s style.
12. Mystery Tackle Box
Let’s talk about the great outdoors again. So you want to go outside but hiking isn’t your jam. Fishing is a good alternative because you get to spend time outside while mostly relaxing.
The Mystery Tackle Box ships lures and tackles, the most important piece of equipment needed to catch your own dinner. There are three tiers of subscriptions but the most fun part is that you can choose the lure for what species of fish you want to fish for. You can change your selection though in case you decide you want to mix things up.
Bread baking was a huge hobby in March and April when everyone was feeling motivated and OK with being at home for a while. Its popularity dissipated because bread baking is intensive and there’s only so many ideas the average person can think of on their own.
Breadista sends all the ingredients you need to make a fun German bread. There’s no telling what recipe you’ll get: it could be a loaf, pretzels, or rolls so you can really expand your baking repertoire and get to eat something fun.
14. Cocktail Courier
Many people miss their favorite bars and restaurants, and part of that is missing a good stiff drink. Unless you remember what you learned in that one mixology class in 2013, the Cocktail Courier is here to save the day and give you the drinks you crave.
There are two boxes: one with recipes and mixers, and another that includes those with the actual liquor. The hitch is that you might not be able to get the one with the liquor depending on where you live due to local regulations. So if you can only get the recipes and mixers, make sure you have your own booze.
These are pretty stressful times and it can be hard to just get through the day. Staying calm and relaxed is an effort, so you might as well try to make a hobby out of it.
Calmbox provides items meant for stress relief and to promote mindfulness. If you’re dealing with stress and looking for even a little help these days, Calmbox might be the answer.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.