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Boredom Busters and
Rainy Day Activities
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- Indoor / Outdoor Activities
- Indoor Activities
- Outdoor Activities
- Dana's Wise Mother
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- Still bored? See Ana's Boredom Busters.
- Is travel in your future? See Traveling with Children.
- Bored with the same old lunches? See What's for Lunch?
- Have a busy preschooler distracting school time? See Activities for Preschoolers.
- See a great collection of on-line activites on Jacob Richman's Kids Page
Indoor / Outdoor Activities
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- Blow bubbles
- Play hide and go seek
- Play I Spy
- Play jacks
- Play Marco Polo
- Make and fly paper airplanes
- Plan a party (NOT a birthday party): an art party, a bug party, a baking party, a water party (sprinklers squirt guns etc.) ... be creative! Invite a few friends and think up related activities.
- Plan a trip somewhere and research what you could do there
- Train a pet to do something new
- Act out a play or story
- Do one of the projects you put off until summer
- Read Aloud (my personal favorite)
- Scavenger hunt
- Tie-dye T-shirts (or Daddy's underwear!)
- Do a paid job (Ask mom for a list)
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- Fill a large plastic bin with different shaped dry pastas dry beans rice whatever you can buy least expensively. Give them cups and "sand" toys and you have a winter alternative to the sandbox. (Spread a sheet under the bin they will get it everywhere then you can just gather up the sheet and dump it back in the bin.)
- Books on tape and stuff like that from the library.
- Camp in the house. One of our tents can be set up without the stakes so we have camp outs in the living room and make smores in the microwave. You can always drape a blanket over a table.
- Make a tower from paper cups as tall as you can. Then remove the bottom piece and watch it tumble.
- Subscribe or go to Family Fun's website. They always have a ton of creative ideas to try!
- Invite some friends over
- Learn something new together.... A foreign language, an instrument, how to sew, candle making, jewelry making, typing, etc.....
- Think up 100 things you can do besides watch TV
- Ask a question and find the answer
- Go to McDonald's playland and get a soda for the morning.
- Movie night - a special night a week where we rent a kid-friendly movie and eat popcorn.
- Take a nap (you can always try)
- Make a teepee
- Let them sort your spools of thread or stick pins into your pin cushion (if you think he wouldn't hurt himself).
- Write on a white board we all like that!
- Make your own word search puzzles
- Make a book of favorite animals, trees, bugs, etc.
- Kids' Aerobics Video.
- Play basketball with the Little Tikes basketball hoop.
- Line up cans etc and get a ball and bowl
- Go to the local appliance store and get large refrigerator boxes etc and make big forts (similar to McDonald's playland...okay use your imagination). The kids can have hours of fun running through them turning off the lights and using flashlights getting dad to play monster and even sleeping in them. You can also decorate them with paint or turn them into cars etc. My kids love to "invent" stuff out of them. I have even seen playhouses made that include curtains wallpaper etc. Check your local library for "The Great Big Box Book" by Flo Ann Hedley Norvell.
- Play chase
- Chin up bar we put it in one of the boy's rooms. This also helps to get out energy. - Diane
- Set up an obstacle course in the living room or the basement using chairs with pillows over them (kids crawled under) different things to make circles they could step in with different feet a jump rope and a mini-trampoline.
- Play racquetball in the garage or cellar (as long as you don't mind ball marks all over your walls)
- Have an indoor "snowball" fight. Divide; give each one a stack of newspapers yell go and they have to wad up the sheets of newspaper into "snowballs" and throw them. Great fun! Last part is seeing who can gather the most balls into a trash bag!
- Jump on a mini trampoline
- Clean out a drawer
- Clean the house fold laundry do dishes vacuum the rug... - Hee Hee
- Help a child re-organize or decorate his/her room
- Let them sort your canned goods or jello boxes.
- Plan a treasure hunt
- Do a craft
- Use large dry beans (limas etc.) and school glue and let him glue beans onto heavy paper or old folders. (You could dribble out a line of glue in the shape of something fun--a car for example--and then let him press the beans onto it.)
- Save boxes and containers then give them a roll of foil and duct tape and let them create.
- Make & send a card to someone who needs encouragement
- Start a new collection of something (besides dust :o)
- Make and color paper dolls
- Draw a picture together - take turns adding details
- Grab a pencil a notebook and practice drawing as a family
- Have him draw a picture and tell a story about it (you write down the story) and send it to Grandma.
- Start early to plan homemade gift ideas for Christmas!
- If he can cut give him some old magazines glue sticks paper and let him cut out pictures and glue them to paper.
- Finger-paint with chocolate pudding on a paper plate then lick the plate clean :-)
- Work on family photo album together
- Perform an experiment
- Play with the globe
- Make play dough
- Make puppets
- Rubber Stamp
- Bake or cook
- Bake cookies and invite a neighbor over to help eat them
- If you have a fireplace do a hotdog roast and make s'mores.
- Have a picnic inside on the floor
- Play board & card games!
- Make up your own game
- Play ‘How many things can you remember to do?’: Give them a list of activities and make the list longer each time. For example hop to the door knock on it 2 times crawl under the dining room table and do the crab walk back to me. If they successfully complete this then I name 5 things the next time.
- Bake some goodies to take to your community's firemen or policemen & attach a card telling them how much you appreciate their work to keep us safe
- Make a treat or meal for someone going through a hard time
- Write a letter to a relative/friend
- Play dress up
- Put a blanket on the floor and pretend you are on boat fishing etc...
- Play post office
- Playing 'restaurant': make the menus set the table take orders serve (& clean up)
- Play school: you are the student & kids take turns being the teacher
- Play store
- Have a tea party
- Worship the Lord sing dance play instruments to God
- Grab a pillow and a blanket and lay them in your lap and sing with them. (I just enjoyed this moment with my two-year-old.)
- Make music (pots and pans etc)
- Write your own praise songs with everyone contributing lines; make your own instruments to play as you sing!
- Tell a story (can't use a book).
- Listen to a story on tape (we love Adventure in Odyssey!)
- Play cars
- Give them a wide roll of masking tape and let them go to town making "roads" for Matchbox cars.
- Play cars
- Yahtzee or Uno
- Legos are a major attraction and my kids spend hours creating cars etc...
- Puzzles are contagious. Just start one on the table and they won't be able to keep away from it!
- Learn to do tricks with a yo yo
- Fill the tub or sink w/water & float boats
- Long playtime in the bath (I use the baby monitor so I can keep an ear out for any trouble he may have or for if he needs me).
- "Washing" dishes at the sink--get a big pan of soapy water some plastic bowls and cups and let him stand on a chair and play. This would keep some of my kids busy for 45 minutes or so.
- Write a story
- Write postcards or better yet a letter
- Make a family "newspaper" of recent events or happenings
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- Treasure hunt with a twist
- Play with a ball
- Shoot hoops
- Pick berries
- Ride bikes
- Catch bugs
- Make chalk and draw outside with it
- Lay on your back. What do the clouds look like? (I.e. ice-cream bird etc.)
- Go for a drive in the country
- Go fishing
- Pick and arrange flowers; press flowers or leaves
- Play hopscotch
- Fly a kite
- Go to a beach or lake or river
- Rake leaves and jump in them or tunnel under them.
- Go to the library
- Find an elderly/sick neighbor and mow their yard sweep their walks etc... IN SECRET..
- Mow the lawn
- Make mud pies (outside)
- Get the binoculars and a magnifying glass and start a nature journal with observations from your own backyard
- Build an obstacle course in the backyard (tires hurdles zigzag etc) then have timed races.
- Paint rocks
- Go to the park
- Go on a picnic
- Plant a tree or flower
- Pick up shells at the beach and we send them to friends and family. They love knowing they were hand picked.
- Snow activities - making tunnels in drifts making igloos using those snow blocks sledding (If you are new to the snow fort thing make sure that your kids don't put roofs on tunnels or forts. Or if there is a roof don't let the kids inside after the temp gets up to about 30 degrees. Every year a kid or two dies because a snow fort collapsed in on them.)
- Go swimming
- Go to a park and swing
- Make a tent of sheets in the yard & play in it. Mom & Dad too.
- Visit a friend
- Visit a nursing home or shut in
- Go for a walk
- Take walks or wagon rides around the yard.
- Run through the sprinkler
- Spray them with the hose
- Water fights in the back yard...did it yesterday; all had a great time. Mom and dog included!
- Dig worms
- Ice skate! Check out your park district to see what resources they offer.
- Start a rock or bug collection
- Build a fort
- Play different varieties of tag
- Ask nearby libraries if they give free passes to museums and go
Dana's Wise Mother
From: Dana in OKC
My mom was very creative with us when we were young, and she knew how to bust our boredom. Let me rifle through the file cabinet in my brain and see what I can recall...
Year-round we had to "lease" the TV knob (remember knobs? This was before remote controls) from her by maintaining our chores as well as "other duties as assigned" (which could be anything from read a particular book she thought was useful, to mowing the neighbor's yard). We could watch television just about any time we wanted to, when we had the "currency" to "lease" the knob for a specified amount of time. It was all spelled out and was just the way our hose worked.
We were fined for saying the words "I'm bored". Mom kept a "help wanted" bulletin board in the laundry room. She wrote down things that needed to be done and we could choose a job off the board if we wanted to earn some extra money or a certain privilege. Every time "I'm bored" came out of my mouth, she would silently walk to the board, stand in front of it as though in deep contemplation, and ceremoniously hand me a card off the board. The job listed on the card had to be completed, to HER satisfaction and with NO compensation (monetary or otherwise). All other options for activities were suspended until the job card was turned in and the job was inspected. In other words, I couldn't just say, "Oh, sorry Mom! I didn't mean it. I think I'll go practice piano or read a book or call a friend or roller skate or try out a new hairstyle or sit on my bed and gaze at my navel..." The only two options at that point were do the job or sit and stare into blank space. She never raised so much as an eyebrow. That was just how it was. If I wanted to read or use the phone or sunbathe, I had to do the job first.
I am pretty stubborn, and once I sat on a job for two days. I was not even allowed to eat because I hadn't completed my job. I got water and had bathroom access (for the call of nature only...no baths or showers). I didn't dare say anything negative, because I knew I'd just get another card, but I thought she'd at least have to feed me. She just cheerfully said, "If a man does not work, neither shall he eat" (2 Thes. 3:10). "As soon as you finish that job, I hope you'll join us at the table. See you then, Honey!" Well, needless to say, I broke down and did the hateful job (weed the front flower bed) and I was never so happy to see a bowl of Cheerios in my entire life. I believe that was also the last time I ever said, "I'm bored!"
I also remember that Mom encouraged us to make short-term service commitments in the summer. She would help us find different opportunities, some to earn money, some just as pure service. I house-sat for a week when I was 15 (just went over every day to take in the paper and mail, let the dog out and so on), I baby sat, cleaned the church, sorted baby clothes at the Women's shelter and so on. Mom would suggest that we enlist a friend in our little service projects. That made it pretty fun. Most of the jobs were for a week or less, so I had a lot of different things to do in the summer.
Another fun part of summer was the day trips Mom would take us (and one friend apiece) on. We would get out a map and some travel brochures and take turns picking free or inexpensive places to go that were within a certain driving distance. We would usually pack our own food and head out early in the morning. We saw a lot of great stuff that was "right in our own backyard". It seems like we took about one of those a month (3 trips per summer).
Mom enjoyed writing and wanted us to, too, so she started "dialogue journals" with us. We each had our own spiral notebook. In it, she would write the date and ask a question such as, "What do you remember most about last Christmas?" Then we would write our answer. The answer had to be at least three paragraphs. We could also ask her questions if we wanted to, and she would answer them. Those journals are among my most cherished possessions today, and I carry on this tradition, and many others, with my own children.
Another summer writing project she gave us was to hand write a short note of encouragement to everyone on our family's Christmas card list. We might write one or two notes every day or so. It only took a few minutes. It seemed pretty lame at the time, but looking back, I see the value in it: thinking of others and how to encourage them, honing writing skills and developing personal discipline. She would look over the notes and comment on style and content. She would talk to us about the person we were writing to that day and give suggestions on what kinds of things to say. A lot of the people were older relatives that lived out of state. It was a good way to get to know some of our extended family. Many times we got notes back, and that was always exciting. And Mom made sure that we always answered our mail, so sometimes the correspondence could get quite long.
We also had a list of Summer Big Jobs, and on Saturdays in the summer, the whole family would devote 2 hours to a Summer Big Job. Some jobs were so big they took several Saturdays, and some didn't quite take the whole two hours, so we would get off easy. It was amazing what a whole family working together could acomplish in just two hours. I remember not minding it too much, because there was an end in sight. At the end of two hours we were done with the Big Job for the week.
And this brings us to the end of Boredom Busters, Volume I. I hope my little trip down memory lane sparks some ideas that will Bust Summer Boredom in your house.
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