By Lani Aquino
The lazy days of summer are in full swing, but sometimes that laziness and the lack of structure accompanying these days can make for some bored kiddos. All year is often spent anticipating the joys of an extended vacation from school, but when all of two days into summer break have passed, many kids are finding that the active environment of a busy classroom is now replaced with a slower schedule and likely a little bit of boredom. When parents are armed with ideas for battling boredom, it can make life a lot easier for everyone.
One of the first things to establish as the boredom battle begins is the fact that sometimes boredom will win, and that’s okay. Kids need to learn to cope with not being entertained 24/7. When a lively activity isn’t an option and/or some solo time is on the agenda, some quieter individualized choices should find their way onto the summer to-do list. We’ve got some boredom battling ideas that don’t involve spending a fortune and nicely fit into either scenario.
Cooking- It may be summertime, but everyone still has to eat! Make the kids a part of the meal plan and prep process. Time spent looking for recipes, preparing shopping lists, and finally preparing a dish or two is a great way to teach kids important skills and actively occupy their time. Once a few cooking lesson are under their belts, a family food challenge with creating original dishes could be a fun extension activity. A budding chef may be waiting for that push to emerge!
Obstacle Courses- Backyards, basements, and/or living rooms can be transformed into boredom battling obstacle courses. For outdoor courses, some rope, sporting equipment, and recycle bin options can be crafted into various stations. Let kids get creative with the obstacles to be encountered. They can do a little research to find some different challenges that may work best with the supplies at hand. For warmer days, a water themed course would be a perfect activity to help them stay cool and active.
Games- Transport the kids back to the childhood games of yesteryear. Introduce them to some classics like Kick the Can, Freeze Tag, Hide-and-Seek, Kickball, etc. These no-tech activities give kids a great way to burn off all that energy they seem to have in endless supply. Put out a few sporting supplies like bats, balls, nets, and cones, and have the kids come up with their own games with unique sets of rules. This could be a fun challenge of summer for the family or the neighborhood kids. Rainy day or indoor options can also take a classic turn by pulling out the old board games or shopping for some bargains at garage sales. Monopoly, Sorry, Trouble, Life, etc. are all perfect ways to spend some quality time without a power cord.
Nature- It’s awesome; it’s amazing; it’s in endless supply! Climb a tree, start a wildflower collection, construct an outdoor fort, make a fairy garden, design a painted rock garden, build a bird feeder, etc. Get dirty and love it (also a great season to offer some lessons on doing laundry)! Encourage kids to take advantage of the fresh air and this time that isn’t being spent in the confines of a classroom!
Books & Notebooks- Reading is an excellent escape when boredom is lurking. Kids can be transported to entirely different worlds that are created through mind pictures rather than digital ones. Find a local library or organization with a reading contest. Set up a family challenge for reading books or read family titles together. Supply kids with a spiral or journal and some writing tools, and let them document their summer memoirs, begin a nature journal, create a sketchbook, etc. Reading, writing, and art make perfect quiet and go anywhere activities. They can even be enjoyed while some of that fresh air and sunshine are being absorbed.
It’s easy to fire up an app or push play on a gaming system when boredom starts lurking. While screen time is going to happen, it doesn’t have to be the go-to answer every time I’m bored. What can I do? is uttered. With these activity ideas, parents can help kids find constructive ways to occupy their time. Teaching kids strategies to battle boredom (and deal with it) can make a world of difference as the lazy days of summer unfold.
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