By: Jolene Roehlkepartain
The familiar sound of “I’m boooored!” is bound to kick in at some point over the summer. But don’t despair! A bored kid often needs a jump-start with a new idea or a new activity. Consider these 10 secrets for shaking the boredom blues and getting kids excited about doing something.
1. Explore Movement Activities—Is there a sport that interests your child? How about exercise? Is there a video game that gets your child moving or dancing? What about a new sport that your child has never tried before?
2. Explore Art activities—Explore music, visual arts, theater, and drama. Pull out the art and craft supplies. Put on a puppet show. Buy a kazoo.
3.Explore Learning activities—There’s always something new to learn. Head to the library. Which subjects interest your child? PBS has educational programs. Which ones do your kids like?
4. Explore Outdoor Activities—Sometimes going outside can change everything. Where can your child safely explore? Is there a new playground to visit? Or a water park on the other side of town?
5. Explore Service Activities—Nothing busts boredom better than doing something for someone else. Bake cookies for a friend. Buy flowers for a grandparent. Draw “thinking of you” cards to mail to friends and family. Get more ideas from the book, Doing Good Together.
6. Explore Nature activities—How can you help your child connect more with nature? Go on a nature scavenger hunt. Explore a nature center or state park. Create a nature collage.
7. Explore Social Activities—Which friend would your child like to invite over to your home? (Some kids are too shy to coordinate these events, but they’re often open to a parent setting them up.) Try visiting a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, a friend, or a neighbor.
8. Explore Solitary Activities—What could your child safely do alone? Can you teach your child solitary card games such as Solitaire, Free Cell, Klondike, or Spider? Could your child work on an art project while you’re nearby doing something else?
9. Explore Reading Activities—If your child is learning to read, pull out boxes and cans of food. Have them read the food labels to you. Take a walk through your neighborhood and look for words to read. Check out books and magazines from the library. Ask a librarian for suggestions of good books for the age of your child.
10. Take a Field Trip!—Sometimes it’s best just to leave your home and go somewhere else. Visit a family member. Go to a museum or a zoo. Head to a park or playground. Take a walk. Go for a bike ride. Visit a friend who has a pet your child loves.
When all else fails, create a boredom box. Let your child decorate it. Then together, brainstorm 50 activities your child finds interesting. Write each idea on a separate piece of paper. When you finish, stick all the ideas into the boredom box. The boredom box has always been a lifesaver in our home, particularly on rainy days, or when kids are sick and bedridden.
When my kids have pulled all the ideas out of the boredom box and complain that there is still “nothing to do,” I say it’s time to clean their rooms and our house. There’s nothing like suggesting it’s time to do something kids hate to get them motivated to find something they love. ; )
1. Jenny Friedman and Jolene Roehlkepartain, Doing Good Together: 101 Easy, Meaningful Service Projects for Families, Schools, and Communities (Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing, 2010).
2. Summer learning, ParentFurther.
3. Image via John-Morgan on Flick’r.