Leisure Pursuits: Vocabulary for Hobbies and Free Time

In our busy lives, we all yearn for those precious moments of leisure, when we can pursue activities we truly enjoy. Hobbies and free time activities provide a wonderful escape, allowing us to unwind, express ourselves, and discover new passions. When engaging in conversations, being able to discuss our hobbies and interests adds depth and connection to our interactions. For those learning the Russian language, it becomes even more essential to delve into the vocabulary and phrases associated with these pastimes.

In this article, I will help you discover a wide range of Russian words and phrases to express yourself confidently when talking about your favorite pastimes. Whether you enjoy art, outdoor adventures, or anything in between, we will provide guidance on how to have natural and engaging conversations about your hobbies and interests.

Let’s start with basic words:

хобби – hobby (this word is indeclinable)

занятие – occupation, activity (pl. занятия)

интересы – interests

свободное время – free time

Now let’s move on to discussing hobbies in Russian.

Asking About Hobbies and Interests

To ask about someone’s hobbies and interests in Russian, you can use the following phrases:

Чем ты увлекаешься? – What are you passionate about?

Чем ты интересуешься? – What are your interests?

У тебя есть хобби? – Do you have any hobbies?

Чем ты занимаешься в свободное время? – What do you do in your free time?

Что ты любишь делать в свободное время? – What do you like to do in your free time?

У тебя есть хобби? – Do you have a hobby?

Как ты проводишь свободное время? – How do you spend your free time?

By using these phrases, you can initiate a conversation about hobbies with someone in Russian. Remember to actively listen to their responses and show genuine interest in their hobbies and activities. This will help create engaging and enjoyable discussions about shared interests.

List of Hobbies and Activities

Here are some of the most common types of activities:

  • чтение – reading
  • спорт – sports
  • готовка – cooking
  • музыка – music
  • искусство – art
  • фотография – photography
  • путешествия – traveling
  • танцы – dancing
  • садоводство – gardening
  • кино – movies

Examples sentences:

Готовка приносит мне удовольствие. – Cooking brings me joy.

Я увлекаюсь фотографией. Я фотографирую природу и пейзажи. – I am passionate about photography. I capture nature and landscapes.

When we chat about our hobbies, we usually use different verbs and expressions to add more details to our story.

Hobbies and Free Time in Russian

играть в волейбол – to play volleyball

играть в футбол – to play football

В свободное время я играю в футбол с друзьями.
In my spare time, I play football with my friends.

играть в баскетбол – to play basketball

играть в теннис – to play tennis

играть в хоккей – to play hockey

заниматься карате – to do karate

плавать в бассейне – to swim in the pool

играть на музыкальных инструментах – to play a musical instrument

играть на гитаре – to play the guitar

играть на скрипке – to play the violin

играть на пианино – to play the piano

Я играю на пианино с трёх лет.
I have been playing the piano since I was three.

играть на синтезаторе – to play the synthesizer

играть на клавишных (инструментах) – to play the keyboards

играть на барабанах – to play the drums

играть на саксофоне – to play the saxophone

сочинять/писать музыку – to write music

See Also: Useful Russian Phrases to Describe Your Daily Routine

Hobby in Russian: write music

петь – to sing

кататься на велосипеде – to ride a bicycle

кататься на скейтборде – to skateboard

кататься на коньках – to ice skate

кататься на роликах – to roller skate

кататься на лыжах – to ski

Зимой я часто катаюсь на лыжах.
I often ski in winter.

кататься на самокате – to ride a scooter

изучать иностранные языки – to learn foreign languages

learn foreign languages

читать книги – to read books

читать комиксы – to read comic books

ходить в кинотеатр (ходить в кино) – to go to the movies

ходить в караоке – to go to karaoke (club)

рисовать – to draw

Несколько лет назад я начал рисовать.
I started painting years ago

слушать музыку – to listen to music

смотреть телевизор – to watch TV

смотреть сериалы – to watch shows (series, soap operas)

Watch series

See Also: Talking About Preferences in Russian

готовить – to cook

шить – to sew

вязать – to knit/to crochet

вязать спицами – to knit

вязать крючком – to crochet

ездить верхом (на лошади) – to ride a horse

ловить рыбу – to (catch) fish

рыбачить – to (catch) fish

Я люблю рыбалку.
I like fishing.

танцевать – to dance

заниматься танцами – to take dance lessons/to practice dancing

Я занимаюсь бальными танцами.
I do ballroom dancing.

фотографировать – to take pictures

Я люблю фотографировать природу.
I like to take pictures of nature.

сидеть в интернете (informal) – to spend time online/surfing the web

surf the web in Russian

залипать в соцсетях (informal) – to spend time on social media

общаться с друзьями – to chat with friends

играть в онлайн-игры – to play online games

играть в видеоигры – to play video games

играть в настольные игры – to play board games

играть в шахматы – to play chess

вести канал на Youtube – to maintain a Youtube channel

У меня свой Youtube-канал.
I have a Youtube channel.

If you’re not much of a reader, watch my video on the topic to listen to the pronunciation of all the phrases.

Talking about your free time

You’ve already seen some example sentences above, they may help you a lot. But now that you have all the basic phrases, it’s quite easy to learn how talk about your free time and hobbies. Just say “Я люблю…” and add any of the words/expressions above.

For example:

Я люблю петь. – I like to sing.

Я люблю танцевать. – I like to dance.

Я люблю кататься на лыжах. – I like skiing.

Я люблю играть в футбол. – I like to play football.

Instead of “Я люблю” you can use Мне нравится… (I like…) or Я обожаю… (I love/adore…).

The phrase “Я увлекаюсь…” means “I am passionate about…”. You need to use a noun in the instrumental case after it. For example: “Я увлекаюсь чтением.“, “Я увлекаюсь музыкой“.

Or you can describe the frequency and duration of engagement to add depth to conversations.

Я играю в футбол каждую субботу. – I play soccer every Saturday.

Я играю на гитаре каждый вечер. – I play the guitar every evening.

Летом я часто катаюсь на велосипеде. – I ride my bike a lot in the summer.

I encourage you to actively practice asking and discussing these topics with others. Learn from those around you and share the joy that stems from pursuing your hobbies.

You can also read a text about free time activities, that I posted some time ago.

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