What to do when kids say - I'm BORED!!!

We live in a very structured world.  From the time we wake to the time our heads hit the pillow, we are in a state of constant organization, attempting to get the most out of each day.  Our children often live in the shadow of this structure and as many of us have seen, have difficulty knowing what to do when there is slack in the timeline.  This is when comments of being bored start striking.  

Kids need structure to learn how to do many basic skills.  But offering times when structure is lifted is just as important.  This is the time when creativity is fostered - where kids learn to be independent and use imagination.  This is when they learn to listen to their inner selves and start exploring what really interests them.  

Nurturing unstructured time takes effort from parents and guardians.  It takes conversation, gentle nudging, even some preparation.  Oftentimes, kids can find their own direction after talking things through with an adult, but there may be times when they really need help thinking of ideas to get creative juices flowing.  Collaborating on a "boredom jar" may be an answer to some of these problems.  Boredom jars include activities to get a child started on an unstructured, creative path without using a screen.  To make a boredom jar, the following supplies are needed:

- a clean container (old pickle or mayo jar?) 

- strips of paper (6-8 inches long) OR craft/popsicle sticks - amount is dependent on how many ideas you come up with.

- writing utensil (may need a permanent marker if using craft sticks)

- list of activities your child can do if boredom strikes

Take the list of activities and write each one on a strip of paper or craft stick, then stick them in the clean container.  When boredom strikes, have your child grab three of the ideas and choose one of them to do.  There are various lists all over the internet on how to keep kids from being bored and things to do over the summer months, but here are a few of the best to get you started:

  • Make a book of jokes
  • Make a laser obstacle course in your hall with yarn or tape
  • Build a fort with blankets and pillows 
  • Write your Grandma a letter 
  • Cut out paper dolls and costumes for them 
  • Get a magnet and make a list of everything in your house that is magnetized 
  • Get a ruler and measure things in your house, recording their length
  • Put on some music and dance
  • Wash the mirror with a sponge 
  • Write down ten things you love about each person in your family to surprise them
  • Brush the dog 
  • Draw a tree 
  • Make a dollhouse out of cardboard 
  • Learn a tongue twister 
  • Make homemade ice cream in a baggie 
  • Dig a hole in the back yard 
  • Give the dog a bath 
  • Find shapes in the clouds 
  • Make paper airplanes and fly them 
  • See how many times you can dribble the basketball 
  • Cut a guitar out of cardboard and add rubber band strings 
  • Paint a picture 
  • Play capture the flag 
  • Wash the car 
  • Make a birthday card for the next person you know who is having a birthday
  • Plan a treasure hunt, with clues

What are your tactics for when boredom strikes?  We'd love to hear them over on our Facebook page!