Highlights magazine had a great feature in its July issue of 30 ways to turn your kids’ words around when they come harping to you that they’re “bored” this summer. Yes, sometimes it’s good to be bored. But also: it’s summer; they’re kids; coronavirus means camps are cancelled or starting late; and you as a caregiver deserve to stay sane. I’m guessing you are as hungry as I am for ways to keep the littles entertained!
Tonight I’m kicking off a week-long series of posts, a full week’s worth of activities to stymie the statement, “I’m bored”. We’ve tested all of these in the past month, so I can guarantee they work!
Idea 1: Make a Jumbo Jump Rope. The first time I heard, “I’m bored”, I pulled out every scarf from my dresser and tied them into one long rope. A giant jump rope!
Because Travis hasn’t had much practice even on a regular jump rope, first I encouraged him simply to work on his jumping skills, back and forth over the dangling scarves. This was a super fun challenge!
Well then little sister grabbed on, and it became a shaking scarf for musical play. Use a rope like this to shake shake shake, then stop/freeze, teaching your child about pauses in music.
Then Travis pretended he was climbing a rope up, hand over hand, like a ninja! And then mommy got captured. Uh oh, I hadn’t quite planned on that one.
As you can see, one long line of ropes busts boredom.
Idea 2: Bake a Giant Chocolate-Chip Cookie. If kids announce they don’t know what to do and it’s only 8.45 in the morning, then it is definitely time for a giant cookie. “Let’s make a cookie as big as a pizza!” I said, and I instantly had two happy faces, even my toddler marching around the kitchen chanting “cookie cookie!”
Luckily I had a mix in the pantry, making this easy for me too. The mix, a dash of almond milk, a little oil, and a little vanilla, and we were ready to pat our cookie into a circle on a pizza pan. After it baked, we even sliced it with a cookie cutter for a snack time full of chocolate smiles.
Idea 3: Balance a Pen on One Finger. This little challenge turns out to be quite a moment of zen. What worked best? By trial and error, Travis and I worked out the following formula: elbow supported (either on one knee or on the table); pointer finger crooked back; cap removed from the pen; and then finding the fulcrum. Balance!
I was proud of Travis not getting frustrated, too!
Idea 4: Do Stuff with Tiny Stones. What couldn’t we do with tiny rocks? This boredom prompt filled a whole afternoon! First we headed outside to the driveway, where we knew there were just the right tiny pebbles near the garage, and the kids gathered them into a bucket.
They then discovered the storm drain, and spent almost half an hour plinking rocks through the holes and watching the water ripple at the bottom!
Okay, I got them inside, and now we had so many ideas. First we piled them up and built pyramids.
Then we decided to get artsy. I hot-glued rocks to two pieces of paper and asked Travis what he saw to finish the drawing. He thought this one looked like a deep-sea anglerfish!
I made a second into a stone wall in front of a house (meaning this was a boredom buster for mama, too).
Then we decided to paint the remaining stones. For the blue, we put them in a cookie tin with blue paint and shook until coated. “Loud!” Veronika said. The orange ones we painted normally with a paint brush.
We left them to dry, and then by evening we could play games that involved two sides, like jacks…
…or tic-tac-toe (make that tic-tac-rock).