They’re two words every parent dreads— “I’m bored.” They tend to ring out in the midst of summer when kids have nothing but time to kill. The worst part is, they’ll most often look to you—the mom— to solve their boredom. And every parent knows entertaining a bored kid is harder than it sounds.
That’s where we come in. We want to help you banish those boredom blues without any hesitation on your part. If you have an arsenal of go-to boredom busters, you might make it through the summer unscathed. The next time your kids say those two dreaded words, try out one of these eight ideas to keep them excited and entertained.
1. Take Lunch Outside
Something as simple as a change of scenery can make your child perk up again. Instead of serving up sandwiches in the kitchen, grab a blanket and a basket — you can even get creative with the menu if you have enough time to plan a true picnic. Head outside and eat lunch in the backyard or in a nearby park or green space. As soon as the fresh air hits, all that boredom will blow away in the breeze.
2. Make a Sales Pitch
Use boredom as an opportunity to hone your kiddo’s entrepreneurial spirit. Another great summer to-do is to open up a lemonade stand. Help your kids mix up a pitcher of the sweet stuff and set up a table at the end of the driveway. Even if they don’t get a lot of sales, the excitement of selling something — and making a bit of cash — will seriously enthuse them.
3. Bake Together
Perhaps you’re home for the day without any responsibilities of your own. If so, take time to partake in a boredom-busting activity with your little one(s). They’ll love helping you measure out and pour ingredients into a mixing bowl, and they’ll enjoy taste testing even more. You’ll get bonus points if the baked good allows for a bit of decoration — kids can spend hours icing and pouring sprinkles onto cookies and cakes.
4. Guide a Nature Walk
Some say that boredom is a bad sign — and that quenching one’s curiosity is one way to relieve such a sentiment. As such, you can teach your children something new by taking them on a walk through a local park or nature preserve. If you’re not well-versed in the local flora or fauna, a park ranger can probably outfit you with a bit of information about the trail that you can relay to your brood. Better yet, they’ll get to walk around and explore the wilderness, scoping out birds, bugs and blossoms. Even without a lot of answers to their questions, they’re sure to be engaged and inquisitive.
5. Build a Village
Rainy weather often brings on the “I’m bored” announcements in the summer, so it’s especially important to have some indoor activities on your list of to-dos. If your child has lots of blocks, Legos, or any other kind of kid-friendly building material, then suggest they round them all up and start building. You can piece together an entire village with these materials, and your child’s imagination will run wild. Older kids might love to build something bigger, such as a blanket fort. Once it’s built, they’ll be liable to hang out there for the rest of the day. Not too shabby.
6. Go on a Photo Safari
A lot of today’s photography takes place on a phone, but you probably have an old digital camera somewhere in the house. If you can dig it up and also happen to have batteries that fit, you can use it to help staunch that summer boredom. First, teach your kids the basics of how to use the camera — zooming, taking the picture, and perhaps framing shots if they’re older and willing to learn. Once they have the basics down (and have probably taken over 100 pictures of the dog) go somewhere with lots to see and shoot. Botanical gardens and museums are good places to start. Your kids will love being the ones taking pictures for a change, and they’ll be even more excited to print them out to view their work.
7. Stock the Craft Box
Having a well-stocked craft box can be the difference between boredom and entertainment for kids of all ages. Along with that, you might want to have a few ideas in your arsenal, too — guiding your kids through a simple, summer-themed craft can get them out of their funk. Imagine they make something useful, like a bird feeder for the backyard. Not only will they love to create it and decorate it, but they can spend some time watching as winged ones sneak in for a snack.
8. Plan a Staycation
Finally, you can take time this summer to explore all that your hometown has to offer. Get online and start looking for the best entertainment options. And if your kid is old enough, they can do the research. Perhaps you’ll uncover local museums, theater productions, famous eateries… whatever it is, you can easily engage your child by showing them something new.
Say “Bye” to Boredom
All you want is for your kids to have a fun, memorable, and active summer. Keep these exciting activities on the back burner until you hear those two little words — “I’m bored.” You’ll know just how to respond, and when you do, the activity you choose will be a memorable one for both you and your child. And we think that’s what summer is all about.