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According to a Nielsen data, the average American household watches 155 hours of television a month. The rest of the world watches significantly less, but the number is growing each year.

This trend is troubling because that time has to come from somewhere and being that we’re all limited in the amount of time we can spend on any one activity, it’s usually our hobbies that are taking a back seat.

That’s where we come in. As a service to the world, we at Make Use Of think it’s about time you take on a new hobby over a weekend. To aid in this endeavor, we’ve tapped the masterminds over at Udemy — a MOOC (massive online open course) facilitator that offers thousands of amazing courses.

Some inspiration might get you off the couch, into learning a new skill that you could grow to love as a hobby. Even more than your hours spent watching re-runs of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” on Netflix!

Hacking Perception: Easy and Cool Card Tricks!

Price: $30

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Besides the $30 for enrollment, all you need to take this course is a deck of cards, a desire to practice, and a bit of free time.

The course is taught by two professional performers, Blake Douglass, and Jason Wethington. Between the two of them, they have performed for the St. Louis Rams, Orlando Magic, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and The Smithsonian as well as performing at the world famous Magic Castle and at Walt Disney World.

Within the course you’ll find video instruction not just for the tricks you’ll be learning, but other foundations of sleight-of-hand magic such as springing, palming the card, and various cuts. The course features 47 short videos totaling about four hours of instruction. Each video teaches techniques, tricks and variations of some truly cool card tricks, and overall the course is a lot of fun and highly rated by those who took it.

If you enjoy the course, you can move on to another offering by the instructors, such as this one that teaches you coin tricks. Or you can try your hand at card tricks for free The Top 10 YouTube Videos With Easy To Learn Card Tricks The Top 10 YouTube Videos With Easy To Learn Card Tricks Read More with these YouTube videos.

Other highly-rated magic courses: 

Photography: Become a Better Photographer – Part 1

Price: $24

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Over 6,000 students have taken this course, and it has a near-perfect rating by those that have taken the time to review it. With a track record like that, this makes an excellent weekend foray into the addictive world of photography.

The instructor, Bernie Raffe actually took home an award in 2014 after being voted one of Udemy’s most outstanding instructors. A member at the “associate” level of the MPA (Master Photographers Association), Bernie has a passion for photography, and is well-reviewed as a knowledgeable, entertaining and engaging instructor.

All the course requires is a compact camera, but several of the 50+ videos (over 6 hours) delve deeper into topics that are best left for those with a DSLR. That said, if all you have is a compact, there’s plenty here to teach you the foundations of photography as well as some key concepts that apply no matter what type of camera you own. And, when you decide it’s time for a DSLR you’ll certainly have a step up from the complete photography novice.

If you want to get a head start on the course, you can always check out our Top 5 Photography Tips for Absolute Beginners The Top 5 Photography Tips For Absolute Beginners The Top 5 Photography Tips For Absolute Beginners Fueled by a desire to take better photos, last year I got myself a nice DSLR for Christmas. I'm certainly no photography expert - but I did take the time learn a few tips I... Read More or our Beginner’s Guide to Digital Photography A Beginner's Guide To Digital Photography A Beginner's Guide To Digital Photography You may think that picking up a digital camera, turning it on, and taking the photo is all that you need to know about digital photography. Think again. Read More (both free).

Or, you can take Part 2 of Bonnie’s Course.

Other highly-rated magic courses:

Build Self Confidence and Boost Your Happiness in 30 Days

Price: $29

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This course hooked me with a Matrix-like sentence: “…reality isn’t real, there are only perceptions.” If your perceptions tend to skew toward the negative, or you lack real confidence in speaking to others, your appearance, or other perceived shortcomings, this may be the course for you. This is not exactly a hobby course, but “happiness” is at the core of everything we do isn’t it!

By the end of the lessons, course instructor Harvey Volson — a human behavior analyst — ensures us that each student will be “happier and more confident” in everything they do. With over 1,100 former students, and near-perfect rating, he might just be right.

The course itself is a short one, and you can easily digest the videos in just about 60 minutes. From there, you’re left to apply the techniques within, and attempt to make truly profound change in your mindset, and the way you interact with others. Those who take the course categorize it as simple, authentic, and effective, even though most of the items within it are more of a reminder of what you already know, and how to combine these tools into becoming a new you.

Other highly-rated happiness courses:

Become a Super Learner: Learn Speed Reading & Advanced Memory

Price: $56

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If you’ve ever dreamed of being a super genius with an eidetic memory this is the sort of class that can get you closer to that goal. While it’s not going to make you absorb and retain a reference book full of information in mere minutes, it can get you closer to learning and recalling information faster than you ever thought possible. But if you’d prefer to slow down your reading Put A Brake On Speed Reading: 5 Tips To Be A More Engaged Online Reader Put A Brake On Speed Reading: 5 Tips To Be A More Engaged Online Reader The idea of speed reading has been around for decades, but there's been an explosion of speed-reading apps lately that promise to get your reading speed up. But is it worth it? Read More , we’ve got you covered there too.

The course was recently selected as the #1 Staff Pick and has been updated for 2015. The instructors, Jonathan Levi (who can read 800+ words per minute — nearly 3-times the average reading speed), Dr. Lev Goldentouch and Professor Anna Goldentouch are adamant that anyone can develop these skills and that with practice and the proper techniques you too can become a “super learner.”

The focus areas involve three core areas, referred to as “super skills.”

  1. Speed-reading with 80%+ comprehension
  2. Memory techniques for storing and recalling vast amounts of information
  3. Developing the cognitive infrastructure to support new information long-term.

It’s one of the most popular Udemy courses with over 40,000 students enrolled and 354 ratings (most of which are 5 stars). Give it a try this weekend and see if you’re well on your way to becoming a genius by Monday.

Other highly-rated courses like this:

The Secrets to Drawing

Price: $22

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Many of us assume that artistic talent is something you’re born with. However, others (like the instructor of this course – Matthew Fussell) argue that it is a skill like any other, and with proper training and practice, anyone can learn to be at least passably artistic.

Featuring over 6 hours of artistic instruction as well as an over-the-shoulder camera view of some truly impressive works of the instructor, this class (which has over 4,400 students enrolled) looks to offer phenomenal instruction at a pace that even the most non-artistic amongst us can understand.

Matthew Fussell designed the course for anyone that is looking to improve their drawing skills, and he assures us that beginners are indeed welcome.

Other highly-rated drawing courses:

Italian Cooking for Beginners

Price: $18

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Italian food is one of the most celebrated types of cuisine on the planet. If you want to learn how to make amazing dishes such as bolognese, homemade ravioli, carbonara, or even a homemade pizza, this is the course for you. In addition to some amazing dishes, you’ll also learn fundamentals of Italian cooking such as rolling and cooking your own pasta and making your own sauces.

The instructor, Azlin Bloor, is a private chef and culinary instructor that hosts her own live cooking shows on YouTube and Google+ that focus on international cuisines ranging from Asian to Italian to Middle Eastern and more.

In just about 2 hours and with over 20 lectures, Bloor is sure to take your international cooking game to the next level. But don’t stop there, you should also check out 5 fun culinary challenges 5 Fun Culinary Challenges to Improve Your Cooking Skills 5 Fun Culinary Challenges to Improve Your Cooking Skills It's all too easy to lose your passion in the kitchen or to feel that your skills have plateaued. Luckily, these challenges exist to test your skills and reinvigorate your outlook on cooking. Read More , and learn how to create more creative meals Cook More Creative Meals With These 6 Cooking Shows Cook More Creative Meals With These 6 Cooking Shows Want to cook up something a little more creative in the kitchen? These TV shows will spark you with inspiration and push you in the right direction. Read More .

Other highly-rated cooking courses:

Dog Training – Become a Dog Trainer

Price: $99

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If you have an unruly dog, you know just how difficult training could be. Thing is, most of us have all the tools we need to be a trainer, but we’re short on knowledge in how to break (or train) specific behaviors. This course aims to end the frustration with owning a dog, and teaching them basic animal behaviors such as leash training, controlling barking, and even puppy potty training.

As the course says, “Dog training is NOT rocket science.”

The course itself features over 5 hours of videos and is welcome to even the most novice dog owner up to intermediate owners who have a small bit of training themselves, such as attending a group obedience class or puppy training seminar.

The instructor, Sharon Bolt, is a contributor to more than 35 media sources and has appeared on the Chris Evan’s show, BBC radio, and others where’s she’s talked all things dog training from puppy chewing to stubborn older dogs refusing to go outside.

Other highly-rated dog training courses:

Easy Filmmaking: Travel and Vacation Video Film Making Guide

Price: $70

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If you’re looking for a hobby that allows you to share memories with friends and family, there’s nothing better than learning how to make your own films about family events and travel. For most of us, filling your phone with vacation footage or your daughter’s ballet recital is a regular occurrence, but few of us know how to make anything extraordinary with these videos so they’re relegated to Facebook sharing and unwatched YouTube uploads.

The class, taught by film director Paul Jenkins aims to change all that. Jenkins intends to show you how to craft quality films that people actually want to watch using nothing but your existing equipment and showing you the ways experts create truly amazing video.

The course itself doesn’t dive into deeply technical tutorials or require expensive video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut, so it should be suitable for just about everyone. And if you’re on a budget, try these 5 simple DIY filmmaking hacks. 5 Simple DIY Hacks for Filmmaking on a Budget 5 Simple DIY Hacks for Filmmaking on a Budget You can get great quality video from the family DSLR or even a smartphone camera, but putting together well lit and smooth motion shots can be tough without costly accessories. Read More

Other highly-rated video production courses:

The Secrets of Strong Chess Players

Price: Free

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Whether you’re brand new to the game, or you’ve been playing – badly – for years, Udemy has courses designed to improve your game. Known as “the game of kings,” chess, allows technology enthusiasts from non-noble bloodlines. In fact, you can think of it as the board game version of Game of Thrones, sans gratuitous nudity.

The course has no pre-requisites and players of any skill level are welcome to participate. In just about an hour, and with a mere 7 video lectures, you too can learn to play chess like Bobby Fischer, or, at least the kid who played Bobby Fischer in the movie.

Kidding aside, Igor Smirnov, an International Grandmaster, chess psychologist, and author is the mastermind behind the course. Where else in the world can you take a free class on chess given by a Grandmaster? Smirnov is also the founder of the Remote Chess Academy, a company responsible for the improvement of countless young players.

Other highly-rated chess courses:

Yoga for Busy Professionals

Price: $15

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Yoga is a great way to improve overall health while gaining peace of mind that comes with this relaxing form of exercise that focuses on stretching movements and controlled breathing. If you’re looking for a hobby with real health implications, yoga is obviously a great choice. It’s low impact, relaxing and carries with it a low risk of injury no matter what your age, physical condition or body type.

Marija Bukarac, a certified yoga instructor, leads you on the path to improved “flexibility, breathing, focus, concentration and decreased stress levels” with 38 lectures and over 3 hours of content. The course is intended for those of us that don’t have time to work out on a regular basis, and promises that with just 30 minutes of free time, you too can get that fitness boost you may be lacking. If you’re too busy for a course, you can also try these 10 yoga apps 10 Yoga Apps That Help You Workout Anywhere 10 Yoga Apps That Help You Workout Anywhere The world has taken to the benefits of yoga. With a smart yoga app, you can practice your favorite yoga poses anywhere. Here's some help finding a yoga app that suits your needs. Read More .

Other highly-rated yoga courses:

Have you ever taken a class at Udemy? Which one, and what did you like/dislike about it? Would you recommend it to others? 

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