By Guest Blogger Ashley McNeill

When I was younger, if I used the phrase “I’m bored,” the response I got was either “Go outside and find something to do” or “There are SO many things you can do!” A friend of mine said her response to “I’m bored” is, “only boring people get bored!” 

In our home, I try not to let my children use the words “bored” or “lazy.” So let’s start by banishing those words from our lexicon. Let’s turn boredom into an opportunity to get creative with our time. Whether stuck in a rut or just a rainy day, there are limitless options for every age! Remember the commercial where the line was “the mind is a terrible thing to waste?”  It is! After you’ve read all the books, seen all the movies, completed all the puzzles, gone on all the walks, cleaned all the rooms, let’s utilize the world we have at our fingertips to come up with some more fun things to do! 

I remember the wise words our pediatrician said to me many years ago: “Boredom is good for you. It allows you to explore new things, think creatively, and maybe most importantly, rest.”

Here are 10 boredom busting ideas for your kids that you can alter to fit their age and ability:

1. Scavenger hunts – these can be as simple or involved as you like. Suitable for indoor and outdoor, they’re great for one child or teams of multiple kids! Make up your own list, or use one from Pinterest! Also, check out this archived blog from TMoM.


2. Nature art – Allow your child to pick items from outside and create free form art, or get inspiration from Pinterest. This can even be done in conjunction with a scavenger hunt. We love the ideas on this page! Photo credit goes to this same blogger, The Artful Parent. So creative!


3. Up-cycled art – Create art from recycled items. Make a toy car garage or parking lot using cereal boxes, build a “tree house” from cardboard and paper towel rolls, the sky’s the limit.


4. Gardening – Container gardening is especially appealing to this age group. Less maintenance, less space, and less mess! Planting and caring for something that you will later eat teaches so many important lessons. We have two archived blogs that will help you get started. Check here and here!


5. Cooking – Yes! Your young child can cook and bake! This isn’t just a fun thing to do, it’s a life skill. Start early! Here are a few ideas of simple recipes for your kids to try. This blog also has some great ideas that were put together by a 10-year-old TMoM fan!


6. Creek Walking and River Wading – Who else grew up exploring the woods and creeks every day? There is so much fun to be had while exploring nature trails. You could incorporate a scavenger hunt while walking, or just enjoy nature. TMoM put this list together of places where you and your kids can enjoy the water. Use the bigger “swimming holes” for older kids and the creeks & waterways for the younger ones.


7. Make a puppet – This can be tough! One of my own children had to do this for a book report and spent hours on it, however the kids love it. We found many cute ideas here. For a quicker and easier version, try a paper bag puppet or sock puppet. (Photo credit: Taking Care of Monkey Business.)


8. Paint rocks.  Let them get messy!  Find some rocks and paint them for your garden or flower pots. There are also many areas around town or on local greenways where you can find rock collections. The community has used these to write inspirational messages. Have your family paint a few and hide them along walkways for others to find!


9. Science activities – Simple experiments abound on Pinterest. “Exploding” things is a favorite at my house. All you really need is some baking soda, vinegar, and the willingness to get messy! We also love this YouTube channel, Ryan’s World. He is so much fun and always has great experiments for the kids!


10. Read, read, read – In addition to the obvious finds on your bookshelves, our Book Nook blogger finds fabulous read-alouds to share as a family! Check them out here. In addition, visit your local library’s website or Facebook page. Many are hosting weekly storytimes.

Hopefully something on the list inspired you and encouraged you to add something different to your life!  Are there more things you have done this summer that you want to share with others?? We would love to hear about it!

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