“50 Fun Things to Learn,” New Era, Sept. 2014, 8–11
You don’t always get to choose what you learn in school. Fractions, parts of speech, and the difference between cumulus and stratus clouds? Not everyone’s going to find those topics totally captivating. But even if you don’t love every class in school, you can still love learning. There are countless things to learn—some practical things that will save you from stress and some fun things that will save you from boredom.
Find something you’re passionate about and you’ll discover that being enthusiastic about learning comes naturally. Developing skills and hobbies will not only make you a more interesting, well-rounded person, but it will also boost the quality of your life through added abilities and interests. So learn on! To get you started, here’s a list of 50 fun things to learn.
Say common phrases in the five most commonly used languages in the world.
Write in fancy calligraphy.
Crochet or knit. Scarves, mittens, elf hats—the possibilities are endless.
Speak a second (or third!) language. Parlez-vous français?
Identify geography. Be able to point out places like Tajikistan, Vanuatu, and Addis Ababa on a map.
Learn more about the cultures of the countries you hope to visit one day.
Play an instrument. The harmonica, ukulele, and bagpipes all count.
Cook an authentic recipe from your favorite country or region.
Recite famous poems, passages, or speeches—historical or fictional. Ideas to get you started: “Jabberwocky” or one of Shakespeare’s soliloquies.
Learn about five political leaders from outside your country.
Juggle. Just don’t practice with eggs.
Make balloon animals. Kids will love you.
Whistle with your fingers (helpful for sporting events and in large crowds).
French braid your hair for young women or tie a bow tie for young men.
Memorize the entire periodic table of elements. Then send a friend a clever note.
Write with your nondominant hand—legibly.
Paint. Either the watercolor-on-canvas kind or the painting-your-whole-room kind—with your parents’ permission.
Draw portraits. Or caricature drawings. Or just work on improving those stick figures.
Solve a Rubik’s cube. Try to see if you can do it in a certain amount of time.
Cook five real meals—instant mac ’n cheese doesn’t count.
Sew. Know at least the basics or get really ambitious and learn how to make your own clothes.
Bake bread from scratch. See how tasty a loaf you can make using as few ingredients as possible.
Drive a stick-shift vehicle—if you’re of driving age, of course!
Pick out good produce. Do you tap on a watermelon to see if it’s ripe? Smell it? Check for bee stings?
Garden. You can start by planting your favorite vegetable to give you some incentive.
Make (and stick to!) a budget. Consider starting a savings account and calculate how much interest you’ll earn in five years.
Become an upcycling pro. See what ordinary things you can repurpose.
Change a flat tire on your bike, car, or unicycle.
Write HTML or other computer code. It’s almost like learning a new language.
Create a web page. Wouldn’t you like to have your own .com?
Become skilled at storytelling. Memorize some fairy tales while you’re at it.
Be comfortable with public speaking—without passing out.
Write in shorthand, or in other words, taking notes really fast. It’s useful for learning from all of those quick-speaking teachers at school or in Church meetings.
Do creative writing. Or tell your story, but tell it in a fun way.
Learn to iron like a pro.
Index at familysearch.org/indexing. You’ve heard about it. You’ve thought about it. Now go do it and see how fun it really can be. Want to learn how to index? Ask your parents if you can throw an indexing party.
Choose some favorite people from Church history—whether it be the Apostle Paul, a latter-day prophet, Emma Smith, or Parley P. Pratt. Learn facts about them and memorize quotes by them. Identify one of their Christlike attributes and work to develop it in your life.
Learn about the countries your ancestors came from.
Play a hymn or conduct music.
Find family history stories and discover what you have in common with your ancestors.
Study symbols or objects from the scriptures whose meaning you don’t understand. You can divide it into categories, such as colors (red, white), body parts (shoulders, heart), animals (lamb, wolf), clothing (robe, hem), food (milk, fruit), natural elements (fire, water), places (Zion, Dead Sea), numbers (7, 40), objects (swords, oil), and nature (trees, sand).
Memorize favorite scriptures, the family proclamation, or “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles.”
Learn CPR and basic first-aid. Being prepared can feel pretty cool.
Tie different kinds of knots, Navy-style.
Learn to protect yourself with self-defense.
Identify constellations and research astronomy: black holes, nebula, supernova—it just sounds cool.
Learn a new sport. Consider swimming (after all, 71 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by water).
Navigate somewhere new. Try it with a paper map and a compass before using GPS.
Country, swing, or ballroom dance—unless you’re more interested in Irish hard shoe.