Children’s lives are becoming increasingly scheduled. Soccer practice, violin lessons, math tutoring, and sleepovers – the list goes on and on. But when kids say they’re bored, it doesn’t mean they have nothing to do. It means they don’t know what to do.
Watching television is often the first thing kids do when they have free time because it is easy and passive. It doesn’t take any effort or imagination. But it is also harmful if children spend too much time watching instead of engaging in healthier activities such as playing outside or reading a book.
When kids say they’re bored, use this as an opportunity to show them how to entertain themselves in a positive way. The following ideas are perfect for when children have “nothing to do.”
Here are some simple ways you can help your 8year, 9year, 10year, 11year, and 12-year-old kids combat boredom.
Build a fort
Bored with nothing to do? Build a fort! All you need are some blankets, pillows, and furniture to create the perfect structure for an at-home adventure. When it’s finished, read a book or have a snack inside your new home away from home.
Play with toys — without toys
Take out the toy box and encourage your child to explore. But what if they don’t want to play with any of their toys? The good news is that there are plenty of ways to play with items in your home that aren’t toys. For example, playing dress-up with old clothes is a great way to teach kids about clothes while also getting them up and moving around the house.
Build a Lego house
Start by having your child create a floor plan on graph paper, then build it using Legos or other blocks. If he wants to take it further, he can draw up plans for the exterior and interior of the house on graph paper as well. Then he can decorate the rooms with cardboard furniture and paper decorations — or create his own out of clay or other materials.
Clean out their closets and donate the items they no longer wear
This is a great way to teach your children about giving back to those in need while cleaning up their rooms at the same time.
Write a Letter
Kids use technology day in and day out, but getting back to old-fashioned pen and paper can be fun. Writing letters to friends and family is a great way to stay connected, and it will take your child’s mind off being bored in an instant. If you don’t know anyone else who would like to write letters with your child, send him/her one yourself.
Play board games
Board games are a great way to fill up an afternoon or evening when you’re bored at home. They come in all shapes and sizes, from simple games like checkers, chess, and Yahtzee that require almost no setup time to games like Monopoly or Risk that can take hours to play and require a significant amount of attention.
Make homemade play-dough
You might have forgotten how much fun it can be to get your hands dirty with this simple recipe (and if you have little ones, this may be the best way to keep them busy).
Play a game
We love playing board games as a family because it gives us an opportunity to spend time together and connect in a way that we don’t always get when we’re watching TV or running around doing errands. If you don’t have any board games on hand, try making up a game of your own.
Play old-fashioned games
The next time your kids say they’re bored, have them choose from one of these games that don’t require any batteries or electronics at all. Board games, card games, and even sports can help kids develop cognitive skills and social interaction.
Teach Them to Cook
Cooking is another great activity for kids because it helps them learn an important life skill while spending time with others. If your kid is young, you might need to help them out a bit, but soon enough they’ll be able to make meals on their own. It’s a great way for them to develop creativity while learning how food works.
Cleaning up around the house is something that all kids should be doing anyway. So when they’re bored, why not have them clean up? This can be a way for your kids to get some exercise without having to go outside or pay money for fees at the gym. It also teaches them responsibility and how to take care of their space.
Go on a Treasure Hunt
Make a treasure map and hide a “treasure” – it could be some chocolate coins or something else the kids would like – and let the kids follow the clues to find the treasure. You could draw your own map with directions like, “Cross the bridge and take five paces forward.” Or even better, get them involved and let them draw the map themselves.
If your kids are tired of playing with their usual toys, help them make something new out of old materials. Empty cardboard boxes can turn into castles, spaceships, or other creations. A trip to the dollar store can provide plenty of cheap art supplies like pipe cleaners, construction paper, and glitter glue.
Do some yard work or help with the gardening
There’s always something that needs to be done outside — weed the garden, trim the bushes, washes the car, etc. These tasks are great for teaching kids responsibility and how to follow directions. Plus, they’ll have fun doing it. You can also make it into a game by seeing who can finish first or who can get their chores done without wasting time.
Write a story or a poem
Writing is a great way to express yourself and makeup adventures that would never happen in real life! Kids should write whatever comes to mind and not worry too much about spelling or grammar — they can always go back and fix mistakes later on.
Dress Up – Have Them Pick Out an Outfit
Young children love to dress up as firefighters, princesses, or pirates, so why not turn this into a fun game? Go through your child’s closet and pick out clothes they haven’t worn in a while and let them do the rest. They can create a fashion show or put on a play using these old clothes. Your child will be delighted by all the attention they receive from you and the opportunity to dress up.
Draw, paint, or color a picture
No kids’ activity list would be complete without this one. In addition to being fun, letting them create on paper or canvas helps develop hand-eye coordination and motor skills. Let them use their imagination, but you can also give them prompts such as “Color a picture of your family.”
Make up a dance routine
Let your kids teach you how to dance. They can come up with the moves and then you can all perform together. Dancing is a great way to stay active and burn off energy.
Close your Eyes and Guess Game
This game is great for younger children, who love guessing games and use their imaginations. Take turns asking your child to close his or her eyes and guess what the object is that you’re holding. Make sure your objects are simple enough for them to guess!
Kids love music, and they’ll have a blast playing around with instruments — even if they don’t know how to play them properly. Make up a new song together or decide on a theme for your songwriting session, such as “Sea Creatures” or “My Favorite Color.”
Have a family study group
Take turns teaching each other something new. Your child can learn anything from algebra to cooking to sailing. Let him or her pick the topic of discussion. This will give your child some independence and teach him or her valuable lesson-planning skills.
Scavenger Hunt for Kids
This activity encourages children to explore their surroundings and use teamwork to find things on the scavenger hunt list. It can be done indoors or outdoors and can be played on a rainy day!
Have a Pajama Party
Pajama parties are completely underrated. They don’t have to be just for sleepovers either. If your kids need a little more excitement in their lives, throw them a pajama party complete with snacks, movies, games, karaoke, etc.
Learn New Skills
Teach your kids practical skills like sewing on buttons or tying knots (which is helpful when they lose the strings in their hoodies). You can also help them learn new artistic skills by taking them to art classes or teaching them at home.
With a little creativity, you can come up with your own unique and fun ideas for things to do when your children are bored. This is especially important if there isn’t anything on TV or if the weather is bad and they can’t go outside to play. At the end of the day, your kids should be learning through boredom than letting their minds wander.