Activities and Fun Things to Do When Kids Are Bored
By Maria Healey, MariaHealey.com
For every holiday or special occasion, I confidently purchase toys or activities that will keep my son from saying those two dirty words every parent fears: “I’m bored.” I’ve rounded up some great kid-friendly activities that will have them forgetting all about their boredom in no time. Many of these activities can be taken outside too, so that kids can enjoy the great outdoors, or at least their very own backyard. Depending on what kind of kiddo you have at home, here are a variety of things to do when your kids are bored.
Here are a few simple science experiments and activities that are perfect for a STEM-loving kid bored at home:
- DIY Mini Volcanoes: Using modeling clay in a shallow dish, create a hollow volcano shape so you can pour some baking soda inside. Add vinegar slowly, so you can watch the eruption build and flow from the belly of the mini volcano. This is a good project to set up outside, since it can get messy.
- Rainbow Lemons: Cut lemons in half and set them pulp-side up in a shallow dish. Squeeze a drop or two of food coloring on each lemon or mix colors for more fun. Use a fork to squish the pulpy part of the lemon and make it juicy before adding a teaspoon of baking soda. Look on in awe as you add some vinegar to create a bubbly, colorful creation overflowing from the lemon.
- Wine Glass Xylophone round up all your wine glasses or crystal stemware and line them up on the table. Pour varying amounts of water in each glass and tap the side of the glass lightly with a knife to hear the difference in the tone and pitch of each glass. Bring further fun to the music making by adding a few drops of liquid food coloring to each glass to create a rainbow or monochrome shades of your child’s favorite color.
When it comes to helping your kids find something to do when they’re bored yet feeling artistic, set them up with the supplies necessary, but then leave the creative freedom up to them.
- Movie-Making with LEGO Toys: Using a tablet or mobile phone camera, kids can shoot a video or series of stop-motion photos to edit together a short film featuring LEGO minifigures as the stars of the show.
- Photo Session with Stuffies: Let kids get comfortable as budding photographers behind the camera while they pose toys and/or stuffed animals for portrait sessions. Kids can print and frame the printed photos to proudly show off in their bedrooms.
- Painting: Kids can reference a photo they want to recreate in paintings using stretched canvas and acrylic paints or just paper and watercolors, based on their age and skillset. Finger painting is always a fun activity for younger kids to do outside, since it can often get very messy.
These activities are perfect for bored kids who love the great outdoors:
- Bird-Watching: For naturally curious kids, set them up with some binoculars and a notepad and then send them outside to pay attention to the birds in the neighborhood and encourage them to take notes about their observations.
- Nature Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of items for your child to find outside (ladybug, hummingbird, dog, dandelion…) and have them check off everything they’ve seen. Time them to add a little challenge or motivation, especially if they’re competing with other kids.
- Campground; Setting up a tent is always a good idea when kids complain they’re bored, and it can be done inside or outside. Kids can gather up logs for a fake camp bonfire and use sticks for “roasting” marshmallows or they can set up a picnic for enjoying at their homemade campground.
Kids often complain that they’re bored when all they really want to do is watch TV or play video games. Here are some suggestions for keeping kids engaged when they want to be entertained:
- Podcast: There are so many great podcasts just for kids that are entertaining and (secretly) educational too. Check out Brains On for a variety of topics that will keep any bored kids’ attention.
- Coding: Teaching kids to code is a valuable skill and can be done on a tablet, computer or even as a tactile game. Osmo converts a mobile device into a coding machine in Coding Awbie and Coding Jam and does so in such a fun way that they won’t even realize they’re learning!
- Books: Reading is such a better alternative to screen time for kids when they’re bored. Encourage them to learn a new joke or riddle to share with friends, or pick up a Brain Games for them to figure out puzzles on their own.activity book for them to figure out puzzles on their own.
When all else fails, it’s time for parents to step in and decide. Here are a few ways to stop boredom in its tracks:
- Chores: Every parent can use a little help around the house so point to the chore chart and remind kids that they can earn privileges or allowances as they complete their household responsibilities.
- Boredom Jar: Fill a jar with slips of paper with an activity written on each one (such as: read a book, clean your room, ride your bike, etc.) and then have them pull a slip out to randomly select a “boredom buster.”
- “I’m Bored” Box: Find some tactile or sensory-friendly fidget toys and puzzles and keep them in a box designated for the purpose of offering things to do when kids are bored at home.
Now your arsenal is fully stocked with quick suggestions to fire back at kids when they utter those frustrating words, “I’m bored.” With these categories of things to do when kids are bored, they’ll never have a reason to complain again… at least for the afternoon.