Getting your kids out of the post-holiday boredom slump is no joke. For us, It’s been not-stop entertainment for almost 3 weeks and while I won’t say my kids are brats and thankfully haven’t really adopted an unhealthy sense of entitlement, I still find myself screaming through determined teeth come 3 pm everyday, “Right Kids, that’s it. You are on your own now, the entertainment ends here!”
You see while they in no way resemble demanding little savages, it would seem that have simply forgotten their ability to play for a full afternoon without some form of entertainment. They have become so used to our daily outings and holiday excursions that it’s almost become second nature to them. Now, if we haven’t gone out or done something exciting within a few hours of being home from school, they begin with the inevitable “I’m bored, what can we doooooooooo?” saga. Of course, It’s always an elaborate story with a list of reasons why they are so bored their limbs are dragging on the floor and their faces look like they’ve endured some sort of stroke. It usually goes something like this:
“I don’t have anything do mom, I’m soooooo bored, what can we dooooooooo? I don’t have any toys, everything I want to play with Brody wants too. I’ve already done Lego and puzzles and drawing, theres nothing left to do at home.’ Then I will suggest they play with one of their many christmas presents to which they respond : “I don’t have any new new ones, they are all old now and I’ve played with them all like a gazillion times, it’s just so boring.”
Despite them regurgitating at least 50 other words, the only one that stand out, like a psychotic horror movie and that rings in my ears drums is “BORED!” It’s all my brain takes in. And it drives me up the wall!
Ok so maybe they actually are beginning to sound like entitled brats, when I put it like that hey? I mean where do they come off telling me they don’t have any new toys when my bank account is emptier than Satan’s soul. Of course my response is always the same:
“Oh so you don’t want your christmas toys anymore because they are old? Should we take them to the orphanage down the road and see if those children show a little more appreciation for them than you are showing right now? Let’s pack them all into the car and we can take a drive right now.”
Of course these situations often backfire on me because Noah will happily run to his room and pick out half his toy collection ready to hand out his beloved possessions to anyone who asks. And I’m like “Why did you even ask Father Christmas for this? How can you be over it in two weeks?”
So I’ve really had to sit down with these little critters of mine and put some firm boundaries and structures in place. I’m hoping that once we settle back into the normal school routine (more about that tomorrow!) we will get back into the natural flow of things and that my kids won’t rely on me so much to make all the fun happen. More so than they will realise than not everything they do is about them having fun.
Here is an excerpt from an online article entitled “Handling Boredom: Why It’s Good for Your Child” from AhaParenting.com :
Why does “I’m bored” become a constant refrain for so many kids?
Most kids given unstructured time rise to the occasion (after some minor complaining) and find something interesting to do with it. Kids are always happiest in self-directed play. That’s because play is children’s work. It’s how they work out emotions and experiences they’ve had. Watch any group of children playing (outside, when screens are not an option) and they will organize themselves into an activity of some sort, whether that’s making a dam at the creek, playing “pretend” or seeing who can jump farthest.
When kids simply can’t find something to do, it’s usually because:
- They’re so used to screen entertainment that they aren’t practiced at looking inside themselves for direction.
- Their time is always so structured that they aren’t used to finding fun things to do with their “free time.”
- They need some parental connection. All kids need to check in with their parents for refueling during the course of the day.
Ahaparenting.com suggest creating a Boredom Buster Jar that will help your child get through the “boredom slumps” that can occur at certain times in the day.
Here are 115 examples of activities that children can do themselves, that your child might want to include in his/her Boredom Buster Jar. (Obviously you will ave to decide which ones are appropriate to their age!) And feel free to add things you know will appeal to own child. Thank you Ahaparetning.com!
- Make a book of jokes
- Make a laser obstacle course in your hall with yarn or tape
- Build a fort with blankets and pillows
- Write your Grandma a letter
- Cut out paper dolls and costumes for them
- Get a magnet and make a list of everything in your house that is magnetized
- Get a ruler and measure things in your house, recording their length
- Put on some music and dance
- Wash the mirror with a sponge
- Write down ten things you love about each person in your family to surprise them
- Brush the dog
- Draw a tree
- Make a dollhouse out of cardboard
- Learn a tongue twister
- Make homemade ice cream in a baggie
- Dig a hole in the back yard
- Give the dog a bath
- Find shapes in the clouds
- Make paper airplanes and fly them
- See how many times you can dribble the basketball
- Cut a guitar out of cardboard and add rubber band strings
- Paint a picture
- Play capture the flag
- Wash the car
- Make a birthday card for the next person you know who is having a birthday
- Plan a treasure hunt, with clues
- Ride your bike
- Make a scene in a cardboard box
- Use boxes to build a castle
- Use an eye dropper to drop vinegar tinted with food coloring onto a pie pan filled with baking soda
- Start a journal
- Make homemade wrapping paper
- Mix ivory soap, kleenex and water to make clean clouds on a cookie sheet
- Organize your room
- Write a story
- Create a play with costumes
- Make paper bag puppets or sock puppets
- Cut out pictures from magazines and make a collage
- Use plain white paper and envelopes and decorate your own personalized stationery
- Cut up old holiday cards and make holiday stickers for next year by coating the back with gelatin glue, let dry (dissolve 2 tsp gelatin in 5 tsp boiling water.)
- Surprise your mom by making lunch
- Make a zoo for your stuffed animals
- Have a lemonade sale
- Make & decorate a calendar of the summer, with important dates marked.
- Put juice & cut-up fruit into ice cube trays to make ice cubes.
- Create a family newspaper/newsletter
- Make dessert
- Use masking tape to make a race track for your cars all over your living room
- Play Tag or Freeze Tag
- Start a collection (leaves, rocks, buttons) and make a museum display
- Hang a clothesline in your room and clip photos to it to make an album
- Create a circus performance
- Learn a new card game
- Make a potion lab or pouring station outside with food coloring and containers (wear an apron!)
- Set up a shop and be the shop keeper
- Make your room into a rainforest
- Make a sculpture from pretzels and peanut butter
- Write the story of your life
- Do a something kind for someone, in secret
- Make an obstacle course
- Play Simon Says
- Bowl in your hallway with soda bottles or toilet paper tubes
- Make a placemat (just laminate it at the local copy shop)
- Write some limericks or haiku
- Decorate an old teeshirt with cool buttons & fabric pens
- Start a club
- Make rock candy
- Plant a terrarium
- Make a daisy chain
- Decorate a rock and make a house to keep it as a pet
- Use old cardboard tubes and boxes to build a marble maze.
- Make “funky junk” art out of old jewelry
- Read a book
- Make snow globes or calming jars with glycerin and glitter
- Have a water balloon fight (outside!)
- Memorize a poem and recite it for your parents
- Make a boat using a plastic soda bottle base & popsicle sticks (use duct tape) for the top, then float it at the pond.
- Draw a picture of a desert island with all the things you would want on it
- Blindfold your sibling & take them on a tour of your house & yard, then trade places.
- Play a board game
- Play Mother May I
- Make a fairy house for your garden
- Cut out a crown, tape into a circle to fit your head and decorate
- Create your own board game
- See if you can draw a picture with your foot.
- Draw on the sidewalk with chalk
- Play hopscotch
- Set up a restaurant and serve pretend meals
- Play jumprope
- Play with bubbles in the sink
- Plant some seeds
- Make a windsock
- Use the hose and a tarp to make a slip and slide on your lawn
- Paint your toenails
- Play dodgeball with a soft ball
- Make a curving line of dominoes and knock the first one so they fall down in a row
- Weed the garden
- Make puppets with old socks, buttons & markers.
- Make a list of fun things you can do without a grownup
- Mix liquid hand soap, cornstarch and food coloring into paint and paint the bathtub.
- String beads to make friendship bracelets.
- Use the hose, pvc pipe and soda bottles to construct waterways in your yard
- Use pipe cleaners to make animals
- Use pipe cleaners to make an indoor ring toss game
- Use a basket and string to rig an elevator to hoist stuffed animals up your stairwell
- String a necklace out of pasta
- Practice kicking a soccer ball
- On a hot day, give kids sponges and a bucket of water outside, and let them toss them to each other
- Glue popsicle sticks together to make picture frames, decorate.
- Make and fill a bird feeder
- Make playdoh
- Paint sea shells or rocks
- Make bean bags
- Blow bubbles
- Give your dolls or stuffed animals a bubble bath
If your child can’t read yet, tell them to draw a descriptive picture on each activity sheet. Fold them all up and put them in the jar.
How awesome are these ideas? Especially for the Grade 0 and up age group. I’m gonna have to head to Merry Pack me thinks!
Let me know what you think or how you deal with boredom in your home.