Let Them Be Bored!

“I’m Bored!!” How many days into summer do think it will be before you hear that?

Thinking back on your childhood, there was probably a lot of unstructured time in your summers. We hear so often that our moms sent us out and we came home when the street lights came on. This is untrue for most kids today. We schedule their activities and keep them busy. But with summer upon us, it is important to realize that kids need unstructured time — and plenty of it. Kids who are constantly occupied with organized activities don’t adequately nurture their creative instincts, and can become dependent on someone else to keep them happy.

Imaginative play is the core of childhood. A cardboard box becomes a spaceship; a collection of stuffed animals can be the classroom your budding teacher is teaching to. These games allow kids to try on different roles and solve problems by improvising. Playtime— whether alone or with others— is serious business.

If your child comes to you and says they’re bored, don’t jump to alleviate the problem. Being bored isn’t a problem, it’s an opportunity for them to learn, play, discover, and create. Encourage them to create a game or build something. If you lack ideas, here’s a list to get their creative juices going. As they learn to be self-directed, they won’t need you to give them ideas.

(List from All Star Activities)

Sort old photos, make a collage and frame them
Start a nature scrapbook
Draw on paper with wet chalk
Have a tea party with some friends and tell stories
Work on a puzzle
Try to make a copy of a famous painting
Practice how to fold a shirt
Watch a foreign DVD dubbed in English
Have a backyard carnival
Make a milk shake
Learn to sew on a button
Play a card game
Play in the rain but not when there is thunder
Make a map of your neighborhood
Learn a few magic tricks and produce your own show
Play hopscotch
Take a long bubble bath
Make birthday cards of all of your friends and relatives for the year.
Learn the alphabet in sign language
Go play on a swing
Go camping. Put a beach towel or sheet over two chairs for a tent
Create new words and your own dictionary
Learn Morse code
Arrange a centerpiece of flowers
Paint your nails or a friend’s
Memorize a poem
Pop some popcorn
Practice tying knots
Laugh 100 times today and keep a count
Wash your parent’s car
Use fabric paint and decorate a shirt
Start a lemonade stand
Learn to play a new sport
Clean your closet
Walk around the block and pick up litter but make sure you wear gloves
Go fishing and throw back what you catch
Run around the block three times
Bring flowers to a nursing home
Ask your parents if you can rearrange your room
Water all of the inside and outside plants
Find and use a recipe for no-cook cookies or candy
Read your parents a bedtime story
Make a word search puzzle
Make sand pictures
Plant a flower
Keep an address book
Change the words to your favorite song
Go to a museum
Take photos of clouds
Frame your favorite picture
Try a new hairstyle
Learn calligraphy
Make sundaes
Learn some words in a foreign language
Plan a trip to an amusement park
Bird watch
Feed the birds
Fill up water balloons
Learn to seat a table
Play with water guns
Try playing an instrument
Shoot baskets
Wash the dog
Color a picture
Pull weeds
Make instant pudding
Blow bubbles
Climb a tree
Collect rocks
Find names of rocks
Go to the library
Make and fly a kite
Have a scavenger hunt
Try origami
Play restaurant. You’re the chef and servers, grown-ups are your customers.
Learn to do a cartwheel
String beads on dental floss
Play a board game
Play paper dolls
Clean your bike
Tell a joke
Make a snack
Go to the playground
Make an instrument
Make name tags for your family
Make a grocery list
Freeze juice in ice cube trays
Make your own clay and sculpt something for a friend
Send a postcard to an old friend
Organize a bike parade
Make a club
Build a fort
Create a play
Learn the words to an old song your Mom or Dad likes
Memorize all 50 states
Start a seashell collection

Write your own list of 100 things to do!

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