The joy of school letting out has given way to a summer routine. In June that was fine, but by July we are hearing “I’m bored” from kids everywhere. No wonder July is Anti-Boredom Month. Kids may even tire of their gaming devices, or you may just want to distract them. Adults are not immune to ennui either. It is a great time to shake things up and help shed the boredom blues.
Countdown of 10 Boredom-Bashing Ideas
10. Have a tent? Pitch it in the yard, the basement, or even the garage. Small children can fill it with stuffed animals and get their picture taken hiding among them. Older kids can let their imaginations run free. Is it the Dome of Silence, where you can only communicate with hand signals? Does a fortune-teller live there, ready to share visions with you? After dark, can a flashlight turn it into a silhouette screen for hand puppets? Or pretend you are in the deep woods and share scary stories!
9. Visit the library. Don’t be deterred if your kids roll their eyes—there are often great activities at the library. Check your local library’s schedule. If nothing is on tap for today, go anyway, but have a plan. How many books about polar bears can you find in the picture book section? What magazines do you find for the budding auto mechanic in the group? Who can find a book with a character who has their name? Check out a DVD to watch later in the week.
8. Check out a field guide. Be it Peterson’s Field Guide to Birds of North America, a book about the night sky, or a weather guide, you can find something for any neighborhood. Check it out and let the kids spend the week making a poster of all the things they find, photograph, or collect using that book.
7. Have a parade. Small kids can break out their drums, maracas, and whistles and parade on the sidewalk. They can also decorate bikes and wagons and dress up silly. A parade of pets might bring out the dog walker or cat groomer in your child.
6. Make-believe mealtime. Declare that next Friday’s dinner will be a Wizard’s Gathering. Ask for food suggestions. Decorate the table with magical props like herbs, stars, and little bottles of colored water for potions. Set the mood with lighting. Have everyone dress as a wizard, be it a simple cape or hat or an old Halloween costume. Not into wizards at your home? Invite a zooful of animals (let kids paint their faces like zebras and tigers). Or pick a favorite family book or movie, let everyone choose a character, and have the family eat in character.
5. Board game night. Board games are a tried-and-true way to gather friends and family. Break out your own set of games, borrow others from friends, or even design your own game together. Twister can get kids moving while Monopoly brings out the wheeler and dealer in any kid. Spice up an old game like Chutes and Ladders—if you climb a ladder you have to sing a song, if you slide down a chute you must whistle loudly.
4. Gather your change and visit a thrift store. Look for props for your make-believe meal night. Find an old trophy for geocaching. Get clothing articles for parades. Make a shopping list and set a clear spending limit before you head out to keep the “I wants” in check.
3. Create a family workout dance routine. Silly moves like elephant walks and kangaroo hops can keep everyone moving—and laughing. Pick a tune and set all your own moves to it, then play it whenever the blues need shaking or Mom needs to let off steam or someone is mad at his brother. It’s hard to stay mad when you’re imitating a gorilla as you dance. For truly great laughs in future years, record it on video!
2. Make frozen treats for hot days. Have the kids help—yogurt with fruit, juices, and many other things can be frozen in ice cube trays with toothpicks stuck in the middle when they are slushy. Pop them out later when you want to cool down. Or chunk up bananas and halve some grapes, spread them on a baking sheet, and freeze them up. Once frozen, they will keep in zipper bags for a long time and are delightful eaten straight or dipped in peanut butter.
1. Try geocaching! Your local parks may have geocaching events, but you can do this one yourself. In your own backyard, or as a joint effort with neighbors, hide a selection of objects and make a list of directions for finding them. Tuck things under plants, in the mailbox, or anywhere safely accessible to your kids. Then put in clues that lead to the next item. Kids leave the items in place and check off the list as they go (if they have smartphones, they could snap photos of the items to prove they found them). For younger kids, a simple scavenger hunt at home would be a great substitute. Make a list of objects for them to find and check off—some in clear sight but others a bit more challenging. Give a prize to the first kid to find everything on the list, perhaps a trophy you got at the thrift store.
What fun things have helped break the boredom at your home?
We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.