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101 Things to Do When Kids Say 'I'm Bored'

Care.com Australia
19 Jun 2017

Banish boredom forever with these 101 kid-tested fun activities.

"I'm bored!" If you're raising or acting as a nanny or sitter for kids, chances are you're all too familiar with this phrase. But what do you do?

When kids are bored, the best thing for parents and babysitters to do is help guide them in ways they can entertain themselves -- so you are not their activity. Aim for activities that engage the senses and are at the right level of difficulty (not too easy, not too challenging). Create a "boredom box" with coloring books, action figures, and a puzzle to encourage independent play when a child says she's bored. Update this every few months with a new kit activity book. 

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that kids, even young ones, are perfectly capable of entertaining themselves with a little push, says Sarah Hamaker, parenting coach and author of "Boredom Busters."

But if you're looking for a new activity to do together, here are 101 great ideas for when your little one whines, "I'm bored!"

  1. Plant a tree.
  2. Bake cookies for the neighbors -- or your family.
  3. Explore nature and go geocaching.
  4. Act out your child's favorite book.
  5. Make lanyard key chains.
  6. Visit an interactive museum.
  7. Have a catch in a local park or the backyard.
  8. Build an indoor tent or fort with couches and some bed sheets.
  9. Play Frisbee.
  10. Head to the local library.
  11. Turn on the radio and dance.
  12. Play Simon Says -- an oldie, but goodie.
  13. Dress up in last year's Halloween costumes and have a have a costume parade.
  14. Put together a jigsaw puzzle.
  15. Create papier mch.
  16. Make homemade play dough.
  17. Follow a no-bake recipe.
  18. Play DIY bowling: Spray-paint two-liter bottles as makeshift bowling pins and use a handy soccer ball in place of a bowling ball.
  19. Plan a scavenger hunt.
  20. String together macaroni for jewelry.
  21. Host a picnic lunch -- indoors or outdoors.
  22. Learn how to tie-dye T-shirts.
  23. Pull out the dress box, put on funny clothes and have a photo shoot.
  24. Head outdoors for bird watching.
  25. Create a time capsule.
  26. Write letters to soldiers.
  27. Play balloon volleyball.
  28. Have a potato-sack race.
  29. Arrange a Jenga tournament.
  30. Camp out in the backyard.
  31. Make up a secret handshake.
  32. Count how many times you can spin in a circle without getting dizzy.
  33. Make fruit kabobs.
  34. Create a smores station.
  35. Draw murals with sidewalk chalk.
  36. Play lily-pad leap with small rugs and towels strategically placed throughout the playroom or living room.
  37. Construct an indoor obstacle course.
  38. Choreograph a dance routine.
  39. Host a movie night. Plan for it by drawing tickets, making popcorn and setting up the room like a theater.
  40. Make bath fizzies by combining citric acid, baking soda and cornstarch.
  41. Pull out some old socks and draw faces on them to make sock puppets -- then put on a show.
  42. Play "Mother May I?".
  43. Make a friendship bracelet.
  44. Exercise those finger-painting skills.
  45. Pull out Twister.
  46. Practice saying the 50 states in alphabetical order
  47. Take silly pictures with a camera.
  48. Make up your own mad-libs.
  49. Host an at-home field day, complete with tug of war and team colors.
  50. Explore small areas of nature with a magnifying glass.
  51. Experiment with science. Make a papier mch volcano and mix baking soda and vinegar for an explosive reaction!
  52. Learn a new card game.
  53. Host a tea party.
  54. Partake in brainteasers, such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles and word searches.
  55. Set up the basketball game of HORSE or just shoot hoops.
  56. Teach kids to hula hoop.
  57. Jump rope.
  58. Go on a walk and let kids take pictures (with a disposable camera) of their favorite things around the neighborhood.
  59. Break out the pots and pans and practice drumming skills (ear plugs required for parents!).
  60. Rearrange your child's bedroom.
  61. Find and write to a pen pal.
  62. Mix homemade bubbles: 1 cup granulated soap or soap powder, 1 quart warm water, and liquid food coloring
  63. Make sandwiches and deliver them to a homeless shelter or the local food pantry.
  64. Set up a platter of new foods, maturing your tykes palette.
  65. Sew a pillow. Just grab some fabric, scissors, stuffing and a needle and thread.
  66. Play Hot Potato -- use anything from a bean bag to a bar of soap.
  67. Explore the world with Google Maps -- find your home, your child's school, favorite spots, etc.
  68. Name that tune.
  69. Ask "what do you want to be when you grow up" and then plan your day around that career. What would a fireman wear? What would a teacher do?
  70. Build an outdoor fort with tarps and bungees around trees.
  71. Make up a secret language.
  72. Phone a friend. Better yet, use Skype or FaceTime.
  73. Set up a make-your-own-sundae station.
  74. Host a watercolor night where everyone paints their favorite (fill-in-the-blank).
  75. Count and roll loose change lying around the house.
  76. Construct a family tree.
  77. Roller blade.
  78. Start a mini garden.
  79. Run through the sprinklers.
  80. Give the family pet a bath.
  81. Reminisce about your favorite family vacation and draw pictures of everything you did to make a book.
  82. Search for four-leaf clovers.
  83. Learn magic tricks.
  84. Run relay races.
  85. Make up a fun song about the family (My name is Jim and I like to swim, my sisters name is Cate and she likes to skate).
  86. Write a letter to someone special (Grandma, Santa, the Tooth Fairy, your child's favorite athlete, etc.) then mail it.
  87. Research popular constellations. At night, head outdoors to spot natures bountiful creations.
  88. Publish a pretend newspaper.
  89. Learn origami.
  90. Make a playdate with a friend.
  91. Try to replicate a famous painting.
  92. Learn the alphabet in Sign language.
  93. Have a lemonade stand.
  94. Pick flowers (from your own garden, of course) and create a flower arrangement for the dining room table.
  95. Practice cartwheels, somersaults and handstands in the backyard
  96. Memorize all 50 state capitals.
  97. Practice manners by pretending to go out to a fancy restaurant (at your own kitchen table).
  98. Construct a sun dial.
  99. Write a haiku poem.
  100. Make an eye-spy scavenger hunt (something shiny and blue, something round that makes noise, something clear, etc.).
  101. Head to the local farmers market and look for interesting products you've never seen before.

Kayla Mossien is a writer for prominent blogs and websites and is the former editor-in-chief of PARENTGUIDE News. Learn more about her work here.

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