I have two children, one girl and one boy who are as different as night and day and yet love each other completely. Even though my daughter liked spending quiet time alone and reading she was always congenial and when her younger brother needed entertaining she was there for him.
If I was not at home with my kids they were being babysat by my mother who is the queen of inventiveness. She could literally come up with something out of what someone else could not see. Between the two of us we came up with a lot of boredom busters for the kids. Here are a few my kids still love to remember:
10 Boredom Busters for Kids
1. Sewing Fun – I remember coming home one time to my kids sewing on handkerchiefs with large blunt needles. They were absolutely fascinated with grandma’s sewing kit because it was a bit like Mary Poppin’s huge bag in that you never knew what was going to come out of it! It was of course full of sewing items which are quite interesting in themselves such as thimbles, tracing chalk thingamajigs, pin cushions, measuring tapes, and on and on. But she also had patches, glue, scissors, tape, tracing paper, multi-sized buttons of every color, and even marbles in that sewing kit. Old fashioned buttons and marbles are a wonder to a child and there are so many things to do with them. My kids loved to make art projects out of buttons. They also made necklaces and banners out of them too. If they could find a bell or something shiny to add on then it was the pride of their collection. When they got tired of it they could simply take it apart and make something new out of it. My mother even taught them to cross stitch a little as they got older. Although they could not sit still for big projects, they often made flowers or smiley faces out of tiny sewn Xs.
2. Marbles – The marbles were another big hit with my kids. Mom showed them how they used to play marbles and how to shoot them on the floor in the kitchen. Every design on each marble was different and the kids enjoyed looking at the different colors and designs and picked out their favorites. Then mom brought in some empty wrapping paper tubes and put them all together to make a makeshift track for the marbles to roll through and the kids had a blast! They also had marble races to see what type of fabrics or surfaces would be the fastest. They would fix the covers on the bed so it looked like rolling hills and then roll the marbles down the hills. This was another activity that they never got tired of doing.
3. Mud Pies – Another simple thing my children loved to do, just like I did when I was a child, was to take a cake pan and a spoon outside and dig in the dirt then add some water and make mud pies. For the life of me I do not know what the fascination is with doing this but I loved it and so did they. Pretend baking is always a hit and digging in the dirt and making mud just seems to make it better. My son always seemed to get covered in mud and had to be hosed off before he could even step into the house. Getting muddy was one of my son’s favorite things to do, he could not wait until is rained just so he could play in the mud so you can see why he loved this activity. But my daughter sat on a towel and made sure she had something to wipe her hands off if they got dirty, just like me!
4. Boxes – Boxes were always a boredom buster for my children and my nieces and nephews. My husband would come across huge boxes at his place of employment and bring them home. Sometimes he brought home huge pieces of PVC pipe, big enough for them to crawl through and that was also a big hit with the kids. There are just so many creative ways to entertain a child simply. The boxes could be turned into play houses, rocket ships, cars or whatever they wanted them to be. Or they could simply sit inside and use the walls of the box as a canvas to create art. We have even connected boxes to make tunnels and they pulled each other through the tunnels. And thank God children’s knees are not like adult knees because they could crawl through there for hours!
5. Sand Pile – I remember one time my mother ordered a big pile of sand to be delivered to our home. Right there in the driveway was a huge mountain of sand! Of course it eventually got distributed across the yard but until then the kids had a great time digging, tunneling, and making sand castles. Even without a huge pile like that kids can have a fun time with just a little sand in a box. Make sure the box stays covered to keep the cats out though! Along with the sand mom pumped up a nice size swimming pool and got the kids sand shovels and pails and they had their day at the beach. I never saw kids have so much fun especially when the cousins came over later that day.
6. Sprinklers – During the heat of summer playing in the sprinklers was a childhood favorite. We would set up a whole water course with a slip and slide, a wading pool and the sprinkler going. The kids would have so much fun. Add to that some water pistols and some water balloons and you had a fun and wet time even in the summer heat. Just beware of those slip and slides, if you do not move them around you end up with a big trench in your yard.
7. Cooking – My children always loved to cook with me, especially when we made their favorites. From mac and cheese to cookies and cakes we had a load of fun cooking together. Even the smallest kids can get in on mixing and pouring and the older ones love to decorate and add the sprinkles. The holidays are a great time to get the kids together and beat boredom by doing something productive. Sugar cookies are always a big hit during the holidays because there are so many neat cookie cutters for every holiday. You can add things before baking like sprinkles, raisins, red hot candies, or nuts or you can wait till they cool and ice them with different colored icings. We always have such a good time doing this at our house.
8. Cleaning – I know that cleaning doesn’t seem like an activity kids will like and you are right about that most of the time. However I have learned that boredom is quickly broken by the treat of work. In my house if someone says they are bored then they are given a job to do. Kids learn pretty quick to find something productive to do with their time that way!
9. Performing Plays – My kids have a vivid imagination. They love to write and perform their own plays. My daughter was one to use puppets but my son did not like ‘lying’ to people and pretending to be something he was not. Instead he used stuffed animals and became part of the story himself. He loved to tell the story of the cow that got too close to the bee hive and got stung in the bum over and over again. It was a joy seeing my children’s imagination at work and much more productive than an afternoon spent in front of the TV. We also loved to do charades but we generally changed it up a bit. We would start with a topic like animals, movies, cartoons, etc. and then each of us would act out something so the others could guess. They really loved this and it was a great way to get them to get real creative as well.
10. Reading Together – Last but not least is reading time. My daughter, as I said, loved to read. My son did not like to sit still for every long but when we read aloud to him using funny voices and actions then he got into it all too. He liked books about machines and construction as well as monsters and dinosaurs. We all enjoyed books of great adventure like Swiss Family Robinson. It was a great way to spend family time together. The key is to animate yourself if you have a child that needs more action, anything that you can do to make the story come alive for them will help them to love reading.
As you can see there are many things you can do with your children to keep them from getting bored around the house. Helping your children learn how to entertain themselves without television or computers is something that will help them for the rest of their lives. Teaching them to be content and use what they see around them or invent fun games is a great gift to give your kids. There is no reason for boredom if you use your imagination and make sure your children know how to be productive without having to be constantly entertained by technology.
Author Bio: Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for www.babysitting.net. She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.