1. /

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

Nip boredom in the bud with this list of fun, low cost and low stress activities to keep your children occupied and happy.

"I'm bored!" If you’re raising children or you're a nanny or babysitter, chances are you're all too familiar with this phrase. But what do you do?
To optimise your chances of getting -- and keeping -- children’s attention, you should aim for activities that engage the senses and are age-appropriate (neither too easy, nor too challenging).

Looking for childcare? Find carers in your area now

Don’t feel down if you're having a hard time brainstorming inventive new ideas - children, even young ones, are perfectly capable of entertaining themselves with a little push. So the next time your little one whines “I’m bored!” check out this list of 101 child-friendly, parent-approved things to do.

  1. Plant a tree.

  2. Bake cookies for the neighbours - or your family.

  3. Explore nature and go geocaching.

  4. Act out your child's favourite book.

  5. Make lanyard key chains.

  6. Visit an interactive museum.

  7. Play catch in a local park or the garden.

  8. Build an indoor tent or fort with couches and some bed sheets.

  9. Play Frisbee.

  10. Visit the local library.

  11. Turn on the radio and dance.

  12. Play Simon Says - an oldie, but a goldie.

  13. Dress up in last year's Halloween costumes and have a have a costume parade.

  14. Put together a jigsaw puzzle.

  15. Create something out of Papier-mâché.

  16. Make homemade play dough.

  17. Follow a no-bake recipe.

  18. Play DIY bowling: Spray-paint two-litre bottles as makeshift bowling pins and use a football instead of a bowling ball.

  19. Plan a scavenger hunt.

  20. String together macaroni for jewellery.

  21. Host a picnic lunch -- indoors or outdoors.

  22. Learn how to tie-dye T-shirts.

  23. Pull out the dressing up box, put on funny clothes and have a photo shoot.

  24. Head outside for bird watching.

  25. Create a time capsule.

  26. Write a letter to a soldier.

  27. Play balloon volleyball.

  28. Have a sack race.

  29. Arrange a Jenga tournament.

  30. Camp in the garden.

  31. Make up a secret handshake.

  32. Count how many times you can spin in a circle without getting dizzy.

  33. Make fruit kebabs.

  34. Create a s’mores stall.

  35. Draw murals with pavement chalk.

  36. Play leap frog 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 cinema.

  40. Make fizzy bath bombs.

  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. See if you can name all the British counties

  47. Take silly pictures with a camera.

  48. Make up your own version of Mad-libs.

  49. Host an at-home sports day, complete with tug of war, egg and spoon race and team colours.

  50. Explore small areas of nature with a magnifying glass.

  51. Experiment with science. Make a papier-mâché 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 a game of table tennis

  56. Teach children to hula hoop.

  57. Get out the skipping rope.

  58. Go on a walk and let children take pictures (with a disposable camera) of their favourite things around the area.

  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. Make homemade bubbles: 1 cup granulated soap or soap powder, 1 litre warm water, and liquid food colouring.

  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 little one’s palette.

  66. Sew a pillow. Just grab some fabric, scissors, stuffing and a needle and thread.

  67. Play Hot Potato -- use anything from a bean bag to a bar of soap.

  68. Explore the world with Google Maps -- find your home, your child's school, favourite spots, etc.

  69. Name that tune.

  70. 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?

  71. Build an outdoor fort with tarpaulin and bungee rope around trees.

  72. Make up a secret language.

  73. Phone a friend. Better yet, use Skype or FaceTime.

  74. Set up a make-your-own-sundae stall.

  75. Host a watercolour night where everyone paints their favourite (fill-in-the-blank).

  76. Count and roll loose change lying around the house.

  77. Construct a family tree.

  78. Roller blade.

  79. Create a miniature garden.

  80. Run through the sprinklers.

  81. Give the family pet a bath.

  82. Reminisce about your favourite family holiday and draw pictures of everything you did to make a book.

  83. Search for four-leaf clovers.

  84. Learn magic tricks.

  85. Run relay races.

  86. Make up a fun song about the family (My name is Jim and I like to swim, my sister’s name is Kate and she likes to skate).

  87. Write a letter to someone special (Grandma, Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy, your child's favourite athlete, etc.) then mail it.

  88. Research popular constellations. At night, head outdoors to spot nature’s bountiful creations.

  89. Publish a pretend newspaper.

  90. Learn origami.

  91. Organise a play date with a friend.

  92. Try to replicate a famous painting.

  93. Learn the alphabet in sign language.

  94. Set up a lemonade stand.

  95. Pick flowers (from your own garden, of course) and create a flower arrangement for the dining room table.

  96. Practice cartwheels, somersaults and handstands in the garden.

  97. Memorise all the Kings and Queens.

  98. Practice manners by pretending to go out to a fancy restaurant (at your own kitchen table).

  99. Construct a sun dial.

  100. Write a haiku poem.

  101. Make an eye-spy scavenger hunt (something shiny and blue, something round that makes noise, something clear, etc.).


Read Next: Picnic Ideas for Summer

Read Next: 11 Tips for Flying with Toddlers 

Read Next: 5 Kids' Summer Cocktails 

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Related content

How much should you pay for a babysitter?