“I’m bored!” Are you hearing those words from your kids often these days? Summertime can be great fun for kids, as they enjoy the freedom of being out of school. It can, however, breed boredom at times.
Keeping kids busy all day is a challenge for parents. You need to find activities that your kids can do independently, that engage them, and ones that also take into account their age. The following are some ideas for activities that kids can do to keep from getting bored quickly.
Some are independent, while others might require your input. If you encourage your child to participate in these types of activities, chances are you will hear “I’m bored” much less often!
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Screen time does not necessarily bode evil for your child. Some screen time can be beneficial.
Just don’t use the screen to entertain your child too much, or you will find that when it is taken away, your child will be more irritable, angrier, less motivated and highly moody. The World Health Organization as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend limiting screen time each day for kids.
However, all screen time is not the same. Educational, slower-paced offerings are much better for kids than fast-paced animation, which can lead to attention problems in kids. With that in mind, here are some ideas for good screen activities to keep your kids busy and happy:
- Educational apps or games: there are some great educational apps and games out there for kids that will help to stimulate their brains and stave off any moodiness or irritability after they are done playing. Some of them include:
- Flow Free (available on i-devices, Android and Kindle Fire)
- Spell Tower (available for i-devices and Android)
- Stack the States (available for i-devices)
- Drawing Pad (available for i-devices)
- Google Earth (available for i-devices and Android)
- Yoga: Yoga is a great way to get kids active and calm their minds at the same time. Try this Yoga Kids video by Marsha Wenig for younger kids up to age 6, or this Yoga Fitness video for kids ages 7 to 12. Teens might like this Yoga Meltdown
- FaceTime, Skype or Zoom with family or friends: This type of screen time really is social time, as your kids get to interact with family who may be far away and they don’t see that often, or friends they want to keep in touch with.
- Take an online class. There are many online classes that offer topics kids are interested in, either free or at a modest cost. They include:
- Take a virtual trip. Your child can visit a plethora of places online, without leaving the comfort of their home. Some include:
- Listen to a book. Many children’s authors have created videos in which they read their books aloud online, so kids can have their own, personal, private story time. A collection of the best ones can be found Or have a famous actor read a book to your child through Storyline Online. If your kids prefer watching video adaptations of children’s books, they can do so online as well. For example, here’s a listing of classic kids’ books turned into modern-day video adaptations.
- Watch a documentary online. Kids love documentaries that are so entertaining, they don’t even realize they’re educational! Some good examples include:
- Watch Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Mister Rogers entertained many of us parents (and in some cases, our parents as well) for years. Why not let your child discover the wonder of Mister Rogers Neighborhood? You might even want to sit down with your child to watch together.
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Playing in the water can be loads of fun for kids of all ages. Some of the following activities do require adult supervision, based upon your child’s age.
- Turn on your outdoor sprinklers, have your child put on their swimsuit, and let the fun begin!
- Water Balloons. Fill up some water balloons, put your kids in their swimsuits, and turn them loose (outside, of course).
- Wash the car. Have your kids help you wash the car. Set them up with a bucket, sponge, soap and the hose.
- Take a bath. Put your kids in the bathtub with toys and let them have fun.
If your child can read on their own, these work even better. If not, they might need a bit of help from you.
- Listen to an audiobook. You can find some at Audible.com, Storynory, and the International Children’s Digital Library.
- Do puzzles. Whether your kids love word searches or crossword puzzles, there are tons of books available to entertain them.
- Kids can cultivate a love of learning at any age. If they aren’t sure what they like to read yet, take a trip to your local library and help them pick out a few options.
- Write a story. Kids can write their own stories, and illustrate them.
- Send a letter. Kids can write letters to their far-away relatives like grandparents. If you don’t know where to start, begin by having them write a thank-you note. This can be for anything, tangible (“thank you for the gift”) or intangible (“thank you for being my grandma”).
- Create a family newsletter. This can be sent out later to friends and family to let them know what’s going on in your lives, or just kept to read for posterity in your household.
- Start a journal. This is a great way for kids to cope with their emotions, as they must think about what they are feeling and put that into words. It can help your kids learn how to cope with stress. You don’t need a fancy journal to begin – just give them a notebook and a pencil, and off they go!
Spending time outdoors has been shown to make kids less anxious, more focused, and happier. Here are a few examples of fun things kids can do outdoors to curb boredom:
- Camp in the backyard. Backyard camping can be as much fun as “actual” camping!
- Make a bird feeder. If you don’t know where to start, check out these examples from the National Audubon Society and National Geographic Kids.
- Sidewalk art. Using colored chalk, have your kids draw and write inspirational sayings on the sidewalk or driveway.
- Have a picnic. Take lunch or a snack outdoors with a blanket and picnic basket.
- Play catch. This is an easily overlooked activity that is loads of fun for kids. Use a Frisbee, or a ball. See how long you can keep it in the air without dropping it.
- Walk. Take a walk around your neighborhood with your child. Point out new things they might not have noticed along the way.
Creating is always fun, and can help kids to relax and focus while learning to express themselves and their emotions through their creations.
- Rock painting. Paint designs and even inspirational sayings on rocks, then go around the neighborhood with your child and leave them for strangers to find.
- Design postcards. Get blank postcards and let your child decorate them. You can send them to family or friends.
- Do something nice for someone else. This can be one of the best ways to make kids feel good about themselves- through doing something for someone else. A few ideas include:
- Baking cookies for someone
- Writing thank-you notes
- Helping to fold and put away laundry
- Donating old toys to charity
- Making beds for others
- Reading books to younger kids
- Building with LEGOs, Lincoln Logs or their favorite building toys. Kids can create a myriad of things when they build.
- Create art. This can be done through drawing, coloring, painting…whatever they (and you) want to do.
- Take photos. Let your kids take photos with a real camera or mobile device. They can take them outdoors in their neighborhood, or in the house. Have them share what they’ve captured with you afterwards.
- Bake. Let your kids help you bake a family treat.
- Do a science experiment. Check out this website for easy and fun ideas of experiments you can do at home.
- Build a fort. This can be done with household items, like chairs, blanket and pillows.
- Play a board game.
- Play a card game.
- Do a jigsaw puzzle.
- Create with play dough.
- Make paper dolls and play with them.