If you’re a mom, you’ve probably heard your kids utter, “I’m bored.” It seems to happen pretty often during breaks, especially summer break. Kids are used to a schedule during the school year when people (i.e. teachers) list out what they’ll do all day. When they have a break, kids sometimes find themselves with a lot of extra time.
My kids learned early on that if they said, “I’m bored,” I’d give them a list of things to do, including chores. So they tended to find things to do.
To help them use their time wisely during breaks, or even after school, I have discussions about things they can do. I’ve even printed out a list of ideas.
I love to encourage my kids to be creative and use their time to develop talents. I also like them to be active and to spend time helping others.
Here are 5 ideas to answer: “What can kids do when they’re bored?”
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While I like to see my kids have time to relax, I don’t want them to be slugs on the couch. Being active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, so I ask my kids to do something active for at least an hour (preferably more) every day.
Some ideas for activities can be free dancing to music or choreographing routines (I love to dance to disco music while I clean the house), riding a bike, swimming, playing a sport (like tennis, soccer, or basketball), playing a video game like Just Dance on the Wii U (we have to find active things to do inside when it’s too hot and humid to be outside), or walking around the neighborhood.
You can make a walk around the neighborhood even more interesting by playing a game like, “I Spy with My Little Eye.” (You choose something like a red car and say, “I spy something red with my little eye.” The kids then start to guess what it is and whomever guesses the right thing is the one who gets to pick the next thing. We played this game all the time when my kids were young).
I’ve found that if I set the example of being active myself, the easier it is to get my kids to be active. And my kids always like it when I swim or play tennis or even just take a walk with them. Time with my kids + exercise = win-win.
Do Something Creative
My kids are very creative. Before I became a mom, I thought I’d spend a lot of time at sporting events to support my kids, especially because I played sports as a teenager. But that didn’t happen because my kids aren’t into sports. They love to be creative and found their “home” in creative arts. (I’ve spent much of my time as a mom going to art shows, plays, and musical performances).
To encourage creativity, I buy each of my kids an artist pad, markers, colored pencils, and paints and encourage them to draw, paint, and color. I also like to have sidewalk chalk to let my kids create masterpieces outside on the driveway.
My kids have made lots of movies over the years. I bought them an inexpensive video camera and they put together all sorts of movies, talk shows, fashion shows, and dance/music videos (incorporating their choreographed routines). Some of their productions had storyboards and in-depth planning, while others were created on-the-spot. Sometimes, they included cousins and/or friends in their productions.
We have a piano so the kids can play it as well as sing. One of my daughters loves to write her own songs, so she’s spent hours creating new songs and recording them. We also have guitars and violins to encourage kids to develop their musical talents.
I’m a huge proponent of encouraging my kids to develop and nurture their talents. Talents can be developed in:
- raising animals
Fresh air and sunshine helps both the body and the mind. Being outside and listening to the birds or examining plant life or watching animals is a great way to spend some time.
My kids enjoyed going outside and building dams in our creek, playing pirates on an old hay wagon, and hunting grasshoppers with their cousins.
They also learned to look for animal footprints and how to identify local plant life (this comes in very handy so they can avoid plants like poison ivy or poison oak).
They also enjoyed time on the swing set, playing with the dog, swimming, and climbing in the trees.
Read a Book
One of the best ways to engage the imaginations of children is to have them read books. We used to join a program at the public library every summer that rewarded reading. My kids loved going to the library every week to pick out new books. They still enjoy going to the library and checking out books.
One of the chores I gave to my kids was to read 30 minutes every day. My youngest daughter used to plead with me to not make her read. She would fall on the floor and roil around as if in pain whenever I asked her to read (yes, my kids are dramatic). But I persevered and now she loves to read. In fact, I often tell her to stop reading and come to dinner.
Books encourage kids to immerse themselves in different worlds, to think in new ways, and to experience things they would never experience in real life (unless there are actually dragons lurking in your attic :)).
Give Some Service
There are always opportunities to help those around us–neighbors who need a lawn mowed, a church member who needs some vacuuming done, a community member who needs some weeds pulled. Having children be involved in service projects helps them realize that other people need help.
Building strong communities comes from noticing and helping members within that community. My kids have spent many hours doing yard work, helping people move, painting, cleaning out garages, and taking care of other people’s animals.
Service projects are available through community groups, church groups, and neighborhood organizations.
When kids have extra free time, they can become “bored.” Extra time in the summer or during breaks can be used to develop talents, engage imaginations, or reach out to others who need help. Extra time doesn’t have to mean kids are just sitting around on couches playing video games.
The more we, as moms, can give our kids ideas and direction to use their time wisely, the more we’ll all enjoy that extra time.