Have you heard this lately?
“I’m bored; there’s nothing to do.”
It is so frustrating to hear this when you’ve just returned from a family vacation full of all sorts of activities for your kids. Or you’ve had them in special camps at home. (And most likely they haven’t thanked you.)
Instead, now they have a few free minutes and they expect you to entertain them. It’s enough to make a tired, unappreciated mother scream!
We are raising our kids in an “entertain me” culture.
However, making sure our kids are always entertained is not our primary job.
In fact, always having a planned, structured day or an ever-ready TV show or “device” can rob our children of the ability to develop creativity.
Kids don’t need more toys; they need more encouragement to make up their own games, to create things out of nature, to devise plays, write poetry, create art, hunt for treasures (like worms!) in the backyard.
Some time ago we created a list with our grandkids.
It says: We never say, “I’m bored at the farm.” Here’s a list of things to do by myself or with another child.”
So far we have 54 things on our list and the kids keep adding to it. It has become a game to see how many more things they can think of.
So now when a child says, “I’m bored,” we send them to the list.
OUR WE-ARE-NOT-BORED LIST
- CLIMB TREES
- PLAY FOOTBALL
- PLAY FREEZE TAG
- WORK A PUZZLE
- LOOK AT PHOTO ALBUMS
- PLAY TEA PARTY
- PLAY SARDINES
- BUILD A FORT
- PLAY BINGO
- LAY ON COUCH IN PARTY BARN
- PLAY WITH ARMY MEN
- BUILD SOMETHING WITH HAMMERS AND NAILS AND WOOD (GET SCRAPES FROM HOUSES UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
- PLAY DRESS UP
- WRITE IN JOURNALS
- COLOR ON FLOOR IN BASEMENT WITH CHALK
- KICK SOCCER BALL
- PLAY IN THE ROCKS WITH TRUCKS
- PLAY VOLLEYBALL
- GET A CUP AND COLLECT WORMS AND BUGS
- PLAY HOPSCOTCH
- DO HANDSTANDS
- PLAY BOCHE
- BUILD A TREE HOUSE
- PLAY PING-PONG
- SIT ON THE BENCH AND READ
- PLAY SCHOOL IN THE PLAY HOUSE
- ROAST MARSHMALLOWS
- MAKE JAM
- PICK BERRIES
- LOOK FOR STARS
- PLAY IN THE CREEK
- PLAY WITH RIDDLE DOG (THROW HIS BALL)
- MAKE A SECRET TRAIL IN THE YARD OR WOODS
- CREATE A SCAVENGER HUNT FOR THE FAMILY OR FRIENDS
- MAKE A PLAY OUT OF A BIBLE STORY AND PREFORM IT
- BUILD A FORT IN THE WOODS
- COLLECT ROCKS AND PAINT THEM
- PLAY IN THE SECRET WARDROBE
- CREATE AN OLYMPICS COMPETITION
- PLAY IN THE SPRINKLER OR LITTLE POOL
- GET A BAGGIE AND COLLECT THINGS GO HAS MADE
- PLAY WITH TRAINS
- WRITE A SONG OR POEM
- PLAY WITH BLOCKS
- GET LARGE CARDBOARD BOXES (FROM AN APPLIANCE STORE) AND CREATE PLAYHOUSES OR TRAINS OUT OF THEM
- PLAY HIDE AND GO SEEK
- COLOR PICTURES AND SEND THEM TO GRANDPARENTS
- SEE HOW MANY DIFFERENT LEAVES YOU CAN COLLECT. (IRON THEM BETWEEN 2 PIECES OF WAX PAPER AND HANG THEM IN THE WINDOW. )
- SWING IN THE HAMMOCK WITH A BOOK
Creating Your Own We-Are-Not-Bored List
Gather you kids and begin brainstorming together.
And make it a family fun time.
Turn it into a contest to see how many you can come up with and then post it. You can then let them add on to it over the weeks ahead.
Rather than get frustrated, simply say,“Honey, you are so creative. Go look at the great list we developed and find something to do by yourself, or I bet you can even create something new!”
A wise parent doesn’t always entertain your child, but gives him or her an opportunity to grow and learn and create.
Here’s another list for further inspiration: Free Printable: 50 Fun Things for Kids to Do
*What kinds of things would you include on your We-Are-Not-Bored List? Please share your ideas!
Susan Alexander Yates is a mom to five children (including a set of twins) and grandmother to 21 (including a set of quadruplets!). Susan and her husband John have been married 51 years. Susan has written 16 books and speaks on the subjects of marriage, parenting, faith, and women’s issues. Susan’s favorite time of the year is June when all her kids and grandkids are together for a week of “cousins and family camp” in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia.