by Jovanna Acevedo Quesada
When you have kids, you know that "bored" is a summertime, four-letter word! Your kids, on the other hand, might find nothing to do with all their spare hours.
You would like your kids to entertain themselves, preferably on their own. After a couple weeks, they might run out of ideas. That's a common reality of summer vacation. How can you keep them busy?
Pregnancy.org member Marie shares, "When my child complains, 'I'm booooorrrred,' I take advantage by sharing my chore list. It doesn't take her long to discover all kinds of fun things to do -- at least more fun than helping clean the kitchen or weed the garden."
That's one way to deal with the situation. We've gathered a few more summer boredom busters to get the kids moving, learning and maybe even grooving.
Summer Boredom Busters
Children need together time with you to recharge. Once their "love" battery hits full, they can put on their creative hat and think up ways to best use the long summer days. If they're low on ideas you can post an idea list or make a "Boredom Buster" jar.
The "I'm Bored" Jar
Go ahead and decorate a jar. You can delegate decorating it to that "bored" child. Once the jar's ready, jot down an idea on a slip of paper that will get everyone busy. Fold and drop the pieces of paper into the jar. I add activities that are fun and a few that are not. The kids have to decide if it's worth the risk to be entertained.
Our jar contains inside and outside activities such as:
- Get a cup of water and a paintbrush. Go outside and paint the sidewalks, plants and rocks. See if they change colors.
- Set up a target on the ground. Make a paper airplane and see if you can land it on the spot. How about ball or a frisbee?
- Find five toys to donate. Put them in a sack and give to mom.
- Watch a movie and have popcorn.
- Build a fort using the couch, chairs and blankets.
- Make an obstacle course, in the backyard or in the living room.
- Do a chore for mom or dad.
- Play a game of ________________.
- Draw a chalk path on the sidewalk or driveway. Ride your trike or bike on your path.
- Have a popsicle stick puppet show. Cut out pictures from old magazines and glue to popsicle sticks. Make a stage from a shoe box.
- Draw a picture of your dream vacation place. Tell a story about what you'll do when you're there.
Take the idea one step further: Fill one jar with ideas for individuals and another with family activities.
Need even more suggestions? Dr. Laura Markham compiled a fantastic list of Summer Activities for Kids to Do With Minimal Supervision!
Cooking Up a Storm
The benefits go beyond entertainment. Kids eat better when they help prepare their food. Your time together in the kitchen gives you an opportunity to teach important skills that empower your children to be lifelong healthy eaters.
Rainy Day Watercolors
It's raining and everyone would rather be outside than inside. This watercolor craft turns kids' grumbles and complaints into smiles and anticipation.
You'll need watercolor paper or card stock and watercolors or washable markers. Let your kids paint or draw just like normal. When they're done painting, put the masterpieces outside in the rain and watch the colors run. Once your child's happy with the picture bring it inside to dry.
Do the kids want to try this project on a sunny day? Spritz the artwork with a water bottle. Let the colors run and then set it aside to dry.
The Big Outdoors
When the noise level and pounding of feet stomps on your last nerve, send the kids outside. You might turn on the sprinklers or dump a bag of ice on the sidewalk. Maybe a clothesline tent will make their day...or maybe it won't.
Perhaps today, you'll reach into your bag of community events, pack drinks, a lunch and head out to explore at the science museum, the zoo, the beach or the fossil site. How do you fight back when you hear the "b" word?