Nothing ruins a summer so much as the phrase “I’m BORED!” But letting your children pass the days sitting in the air-conditioning in front of some screen or another is not the answer to this problem. Here are all kinds of things your older children can do to engage in life, relieve bordome, stimulate their minds and imagination and use their gifts to bless others. [Check out my son’s stop-motion videos if you want to learn the value of stimulating the imagination.] Here’s hoping that awful phrase is removed from your home this summer. These activities are — for the most part — FREE!, child led (not a lot of parent involvement necessary), and can be done right in your home or yard. Almost all of them don’t even require electricity much less a screen (although I do send you to some internet links to help you get started on some of them). Print ’em and Post ’em. When the kids even HINT at being bored, point to the list. Enjoy!
Go here https://blessandbuild.com/2014/07/07/unplug-and-explore-60-things-kids-can-do-at-home-when-theyre-bored/ to see my list for younger children,
and here https://blessandbuild.com/2014/07/07/road-trips-unplugged/comment-page-1/#comment-160 to see my ideas for fun things to do in the car.
LEARN and ENTERTAIN
Alone or With Friends
- Learn at least 3 different kinds of SOLITAIRE.
- Learn to SHUFFLE and “bridge” cards
- Find old FRAMES and/or old FURNITURE (get permission!) and PAINT them with fun designs.
- Practice SPORTS SKILLS – dribbling, shooting, passing, free-throws, lay-ups, kicking, batting, pitching, volleying, archery, etc.
- PAINT a masterpiece (If you haven’t got any ideas, try to copy a famous piece of art.)
- Practice DRAWING – I heartily recommend Mark Kistler’s books (or videos).
- Explore the world from a DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE with binoculars, magnifying glass or microscope.
- Have a KOOL-AID STAND.
- Gather, clean, and price outgrown toys and have a TOY SALE.
- CHALLENGE YOUR BRAIN with Cryptograms, Crosswords, Sudoku or Logic Puzzle
- Create a MAZE, with pencil and paper or with blocks or dominoes.
- Write a STORY.
- Complete a 500 piece PUZZLE. (or more difficult if you choose)
- Use RUBBER STAMPS to make a collection of cards
- Learn ORIGAMI. – Get a book on how to do it from the library.
- Listen to AUDIOBOOKS (Check your local library for a plethora of titles.)
- CLIMB a tree.
- DECORATE your room.
- Build a TREE HOUSE.
- Go for a BIKE RIDE. – With your parent’s help map out a 10 mile route and conquer it.
- Practice creating an outstanding AUTOGRAPH. Your signature says a lot about you. Make it stylish and unique.
- Make a MINIATURE GOLF COURSE in your yard or basement. Use soup cans for holes.
- Learn some fancy JUMP ROPING moves.
- Learn some MAGIC TRICKS.
- Try a simple BUILDING PROJECT – shelves/bench/wooden crate/etc.
- Make an awesome COSTUME.
- Go on a NATURE HIKE.
- Create a SHELTER out of branches, leaves, etc. Sleep in it, if you dare.
- Press FLOWERS.
- Make PICTURE FRAMES from twigs (or any other objects) glued onto sturdy cardboard
- Learn to KNIT or CROCHET.
- Make DOLL CLOTHES.
- Create a FAIRY GARDEN in a corner of the yard.
- RE-FASHION old T-shirts.
- Make BOOKMARKS.
- RE-CREATE your favorite book illustration.
- DESIGN your own GAME.
- Write SECRET MESSAGES with lemon juice on white paper. When dry, hold paper over heating toaster to make invisible letters appear!
- Start a JOURNAL or write in one you already started.
- Organize your photos. Create a PHOTOBOOK.
- Find and ant hill, drop some crumbs or sweet liquid nearby and watch the ANTS do their thing.
- Play CHARADES.
- Draw/write a CARTOON STRIP of your own characters.
- Make a MAP of your bedroom, house or neighborhood.
- Find a PEN PAL from another country. Share ideas about your cultures with each other.
- Collect sticks and mud and build a BIRD’S NEST.
- Create a family or neighborhood NEWSLETTER.
- Make PAPER AIRPLAINES.
- Learn to COOK a meal.
- Gather junk and discarded materials and turn it into a sculpture or other piece of art. This is called FOUND OBJECT ART.
- Create a STOP-MOTION VIDEO.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9115ZqfkXM4 (See how creative my kids are?)
- Learn some CARD TRICKS.
- Practice FANCY LETTERING – a great skill to have for making cards and signs
- Start a BLOG.
- Learn to FACE PAINT.
- Learn to whistle, snap your fingers, swim, ride a bike or ANYTHING ELSE YOU’VE WISHED YOU COULD DO. (Probably not flying though.)
- REARRANGE your bedroom.
- Learn to tie a variety of KNOTS.
- Learn a new VOCABULARY word every week and try to use it correctly every day that week.
- Play MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
- Pitch a tent and CAMP OUT in the backyard.
- Learn to make SHADOW PICTURES.
- LIP SYNC to a favorite song. Or just go ahead and learn to sing it —really well!
LEARN and ENTERTAIN
With Friends / Siblings
- Play BOARD GAMES.
- Play cards with a friend. Look up “POPULAR CARD GAMES” and learn the rules and strategy.
- Play MARBLES.
- PUZZLE RACES – Using two puzzles of the same difficulty (100 pieces or less) Race a friend to see who can complete their puzzle first. You can also do this with teams.
- MAKE A VIDEO staring you and your siblings/friends.
- Play HOPSCOTCH.
- Set up an OBSTACLE COURSE and challenge friends/siblings to beat your time.
- Have a water BALLOON TOSS or an egg toss.
- Have a WATER FIGHT with water balloons, water guns, big plastic cups or all three!
- Play FLASHLIGHT TAG.
- Play KICK the CAN. http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Kick-the-Can
- Have a SCAVENGER HUNT. Form teams and a list of things that must be found outside/ in the house/ in the neighborhood. State a time limit and see which team can find the most items.
- Record you and your friends doing CRAZY STUNTS like posing as mannequins in a store window, asking a stranger for a bite of his sandwich, handing out candy bars to random passers-by, having a parade down your street, or protesting something ridiculous.
- Play FOUR SQUARE. http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Four-Square
- Play photographer. Have a friend take turns with you doing PHOTO SHOOTS of each other.
Be a Blessing
We Are Most Blessed When Blessing Others
- WRITE a Letter.
- Wash WINDOWS.
- Clean a SHELF or DRAWER in your room.
- Set Up CARNIVAL GAMES for the kids in your neighborhood or for your siblings. (If you want to get really into it – have the kids bring old toys in exchange for tickets and use the old toys for game prizes!)
- Memorize then Recite BIBLE VERSES.
- Memorize then recite a POEM.
- Put on a PLAY.
- BAKE A TREAT for your family or neighbors.
- ADOPT A GRANDPARENT from among the many lonely people in assisted living. Write them notes, visit them, make things for them.
- Make CARDS/PICTURES and send them to loved ones
- CLEAN your bedroom.
- Pull the WEEDS.
- Using family friendly movies, run a THEATER in your living room for friends (complete with popcorn!).
- Write “THANK YOU” cards to tell someone how they’ve blessed you — even if you haven’t received a gift from them.
- Create circus stunts and perform a CIRCUS for/with the neighbor children.
- DUST the house.
- BRUSH the pet.
- PICK berries or vegetables.
- ENTERTAIN a younger sibling or neighbor child and give mom a break.
- Play outside with a PET.
- Surprise a neighbor with a GOOD DEED.
- Host a TEA PARTY.
- BATHE a pet.
- READ to younger siblings.
- ORGANIZE a dresser drawer.
- Clean UNDER the BED.
- MOW the lawn.
- Create a list of “RANDOM ACTS of KINDNESS” you can do. See how many you can accomplish.
- Hold a neighborhood BIKE WASH.
- Do a STORY HOUR for the younger children in your neighborhood.