One of the things I least like to hear come out of Sophia’s mouth are the words, ‘Mom, I’m bored.’ Mainly because I find it hard to believe that with all the stuff she has, she can find absolutely nothing to do. But, despite that fact that she has more toys, art supplies, electronic gadgets, books, etc…than some small countries, there are still those moments when she has the inability to figure out what exactly she wants to do. These are the moments when I’m am greeted with those favorite words of mine…’Mom, I’m bored.’
She seems to encounter these moments most frequently at her Dad’s house. She’ll get home from school and call me to tell me her predicament of boredom which is somehow my responsibility to help fix. Here are the ideas I throw at her–one of them is usually interesting enough to cure her case of the ‘boreds’:
Scavenger Hunt/Adventure Walk
In the warmer months of the year, this is one of Soph’s favorite activities. Usually, we make our adventure walks a family event and even old teenager Alex will join us. But even with out Alex and me, with the assistance of her neighborhood friends, Soph will develop a list and the go scavenging for items. Usually they create a sculpture or art project of some sort out of their findings, too.
Put on a Show – Musical/Comedy/Theater
With Sophia and her friends, these shows typically end up being either gymnastics related or fashion shows. When I was a kid, though, we’d get pretty elaborate. My Mom (Grandma Sue) did daycare, so we always had bunches of kids at our house. I, being one of the oldest, liked to lead activities such as creating variety shows and doing theatrical productions in the basement. We’d clip a blanket to the big green metal beam across the middle of the unfinished basement that would serve as the curtain and the magic would begin.
From play dough sculptures to turkeys made from leaves to fridge magnets, the internet is an endless supply of fun craft ideas for boys and girls of all ages. What I like to do is just keep lots of craft supplies for all types of artistic endeavors on hand. If your kids like a particular craft, keep extra supplies for that business on hand. If you’re less inclined to keep lots of stuff for crafty adventures in stock, there are some awesome craft clubs out there. Our favorite is Green Kids Crafts–all you do is sign-up for one of their subscription programs (from month-t0-month all the way up to one full year) Each month you get a package in the mail with 3 to 4 crafty and/or science-y kits containing everything you need, plus some extra stuff. Each month’s package has a cool theme and an activity guide. Oh, and all the stuff is environmentally friendly.
Board/Outdoor/Video Game Competition
Alex, Soph and I are all a little competitive by nature, so we take our gaming seriously. Pictureka, Battleship, Monopoly, Wii Sports…you name it, we like to play it. When we play as a family, we’ll play who ever wins the best of 3 plays Mom, and then the next best of 3 plays the previous loser, etc. But if you’ve got multiple kids, they could do a tournament of games, indoor or outdoor. The kids can even pull in friends to make it more fun if they want.
Work on Goals List
I’m a big goals person. Not just short-term goals, but long term as well. I encourage my kids to keep a list of things they want to do. For Alex it’s things like ‘build a hydrogen engine’ or ‘add a motor to my bike’. For Soph it’s ‘perfect my cupcake recipes’ and ‘get better at round-offs’. With these list on hand, if they’re ever looking for an activity to do, they can work on something from their goal list. (I also employ the goal list to encourage Alex to get off his computer when he’s been on it for just too long :D)
I’ve seen this idea on multiple blogs that I follow and I love it. Basically you and the kiddies write a bunch of things that can be done on strips of paper. These things can include fun stuff, like painting a picture; and less fun stuff, like vacuuming. Once all the ideas are on their stips, stick ’em in a jar. The deal is, if a kid starts the ‘I’m bored whine’ they either have to decide something to-do very quickly, or pick from the jar. If they pick from the jar, the MUST DO WHAT THEY PICK. The fact that there are actual chores in the jar as well serves as a bit of incentive for the kids to use their own imaginations and get creative without whining.
Luckily, now that Alex is a teenager, he seems to be able to consistently entertain himself. But, if like me, you still have some kiddies that need some activity inspiration, I hope these spark some ideas!