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Recreation refers to activities that are intended to take place during leisure time, for pleasure or amusement. Broadly speaking, leisure is the time available to a person when they are not involved in necessary activities like working, household chores, eating and sleeping.

Recreation encompasses a wide range of activities which would generically include hobbies, playing or watching both games and sports, travel, entertainment and social activities. Hobbies can be sub-divided into such concepts as arts and crafts, collecting and self-education. Recreational pursuit of games and sports is when it is not done as part of serious competition or exclusively for exercise.

Recreation is related to children's play, in that both are alternatives to behaviours that are socially obligatory or necessary to live (such as eating). While play also has a strong developmental role, adults' recreational activities are primarily for enjoyment.

People living in developed countries spend a significant amount of time and money on evening recreation, i.e. the 'night out'. For example, in 2019 over 55% of people surveyed in United Kingdom said that they had a night out at least once a week (defined as visiting bars, nightclubs or cinemas).[1]