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101 Things to Do with an Extra Hour

Alaina Sullivan
Sept. 1, 2017

Any free time is a gift. But when you hire a babysitter for a whole kid-free hour, the possibilities are endless.

You love your kids, you really do. But they're always there! Sometimes you just need a few moments to yourself. What would you do if you had an entire hour of child-free time? (Can you even imagine such a thing?)

That dream can easily be a reality. All you have to do is hire a babysitter and make the most of those precious 60 minutes. Check out our babysitter calculator to see what to pay a sitter in your neighborhood (it's typically only about $12 for one hour).

Here are 101 ideas to creatively spend your free hour.

  1. Take a much-needed, well-deserved nap.
  2. Discover your om: Catch a yoga class.
  3. Take a hot bubble bath.
  4. Enjoy one hour of uninterrupted time with your spouse or significant other.
  5. Grocery shop without kids begging you to buy every sugary snack.
  6. Catch up on all the adult shows that fill your DVR.
  7. Watch your favorite sports team on TV.
  8. Sit in the park and enjoy the quiet.
  9. Call your parents or family.
  10. Call a friend to catch up.
  11. Write a friend a handwritten letter (or at least an email).
  12. Go out to eat with a friend and have an uninterrupted adult conversation.
  13. Enjoy your favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt without having to share, suggests North Carolina mother of two young boys, Michelle Pennington.
  14. Practice meditation -- use a site/app like Calm to help.
  15. Walk on a treadmill.
  16. Tackle at least one thing (if not more) on your to-do list.
  17. Get a manicure, pedicure or go crazy and get both.
  18. Make an appointment at your hair salon and treat yourself to a blowout.
  19. Enjoy a nice cup of coffee and read a good book.
  20. Organize your shoe collection.
  21. Try a new recipe.
  22. Create a “family recipe book.”
  23. Sign up for something new like Zumba or a painting class.
  24. Dust off your helmet and go for a bike ride.
  25. Balance your checkbook.
  26. Organize your office.
  27. Get a massage.
  28. Or ask your partner to give you a half-hour massage, then switch.
  29. Create fun new Pandora stations to listen to.
  30. Clean out the refrigerator.
  31. Straighten up your pantry.
  32. Catch up on the dishes overflowing in the sink.
  33. Take one look at the dishes and post a job for a housekeeper.
  34. Make a scrapbook.
  35. “Take a walk,” says Ryan Schultz, an Indiana father of two. “It is nice to just look ahead and enjoy the scenery rather than look behind you every five steps to see if kids are keeping up and did not find a distraction.”
  36. Watch the sunset with your spouse.
  37. Unplug your computer, hide your cell phone, turn off the television and just enjoy the silence.
  38. Take a drive with the windows down.
  39. Enjoy a nice glass of wine and some fancy cheese that you don't have to share.
  40. Pull out your makeup and give yourself a makeover.
  41. Tend to your garden.
  42. Cook in advance: Prepare some quick and easy meals you can freeze and thaw out during a busy work week.
  43. Write in a journal.
  44. Go through your closet, cleaning out the clothes you no longer wear.
  45. Now that you have room in the closet, go shopping and treat yourself to something new.
  46. If you can't get out, do a little online shopping.
  47. Go on Amazon.com and create a “wish list.”
  48. Bake your favorite dessert.
  49. Take a cooking class.
  50. Start a new knitting project.
  51. Create a game plan for getting a promotion at work.
  52. Hit a few balls at the driving range.
  53. Take broken jewelry to the store to get fixed.
  54. Go bowling with a friend.
  55. Indulge in a guilt-free episode of reality TV.
  56. Do a little feng shui and rearrange the furniture in a room.
  57. Read a magazine article about how to get organized -- then promptly forget everything.
  58. Clean out your kids' toys while they're not around to argue about which ones they “still play with.”
  59. Play your favorite music as loud as you want and dance and sing around the house.
  60. Read the newspaper and catch up on current events.
  61. Play your child's favorite video game -- and beat their high score.
  62. Go to the library and visit the adult section for once, instead of the kids' corner.
  63. Roller-skate.
  64. Slice up a cucumber, lay back and see if placing them on your eyes really helps puffiness
  65. Visit a local museum.
  66. Snuggle up on the couch with your pet or partner.
  67. Daydream and plan out your perfect vacation.
  68. Take your car to get the oil changed.
  69. Play a board game with a friend or your significant other.
  70. Go outside and take pictures of nature.
  71. Organize the family photos on your computer and get them developed.
  72. Create a collage of your favorite pictures.
  73. Take a bike ride by yourself or with a friend.
  74. Update your résumé.
  75. Clean out and organize your email inbox.
  76. Reply to old emails.
  77. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen.
  78. Look up funny videos on YouTube.
  79. Visit a local pottery shop and create a masterpiece.
  80. Take a “wine and canvas” class with a friend.
  81. Research something you've always wanted to learn more about on the Internet.
  82. Play around on StumbleUpon and see what sites pop up.
  83. Catch up on business. Blogger Michelle Gannon, of Language Playground,says she would catch up on work and finish blog posts she started but never finished.
  84. Read your favorite blog.
  85. Are you a single parent? Try a local speed-dating event or browse an online dating site. And try these 6 Tips for Dating as a Single Parent.
  86. Browse Pinterest for recipe and craft inspiration.
  87. Have an indoor picnic with your significant other.
  88. Take a trip down memory lane by watching old videos or looking through old albums.
  89. Indulge in a guilty pleasure, like reading celebrity news magazines.
  90. Do a jigsaw puzzle.
  91. Challenge yourself and your brain by trying to complete the New York Times crossword.
  92. Roll up your extra change and come up with a creative way to spend it, no matter how small.
  93. Clean out your gift bag collection; toss the ones that have seen better days.
  94. Write a short story or poem.
  95. Write a love note to your spouse or significant other.
  96. Create a list of all the things you like about yourself.
  97. Research inspirational quotes online, write each one on a Post-It note and place them around the house for when you need them most.
  98. Learn a new language. Pop in a Rosetta Stone disk to begin learning a language you've always wanted to master.
  99. Or just go out to a Mexican restaurant and practice saying "margarita".
  100. Catch up on any sewing projects (like those loose buttons on your coat) that you've been putting off for so long.
  101. Create a bucket list … then scratch something off it!

Any parent can tell you that free time is a luxury. An hour may seem short, but sans kids, you'll be amazed what you can accomplish in 60 minutes.

What would you do with a kid-free hour?

Alaina Sullivan is a freelance writer in Indianapolis.

Comments
User
Feb. 25, 2014

Good One

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