A Parent’s List of Summer Boredom Busters

By Barbara Danza, Epoch Times
June 6, 2016 4:23 pm Last Updated: June 6, 2016 4:23 pm

Ah, summer. Sunny days, warm nights, fireflies, relaxation, not a care in the world…until, that is, you hear those dreaded words from your kids: 

“I’m bored.”

Despite the beautiful plans you’ve crafted that even Mary Poppins would envy. Despite your color-coded spreadsheet that hangs on the wall explaining daily routines, summer bucket list items, and fun scheduled events. You know, the one that was explained most thoroughly with your keynote slide presentation to the family. 😉

At some point, perhaps even on the last day of school, but definitely before July, your kids are going to tell you they’re bored.

Now, you can respond to this in a number of ways, but the key is to be ready for it.

First, let’s remember a few things about “boredom.” 

Boredom is good. Now, if you tell your kids that, they probably won’t buy it. But, there are many advantages to boredom if handled well. 

First, decide whether you’ll fill the boredom with something to do or ignore the cries of boredom. There is no in-between here. If you’re wishy-washy in your response, you’ll prolong the boredom complain-fest and everyone will get cranky. Bleh.

Ignoring the complaints is a great strategy. Here your goals are two-fold. First, you’ll avoid rewarding complaints. Second, you’ll teach them to entertain themselves and allow them the breathing room to explore, create, discover, and play freely. 

Either change the subject or truly ignore your kids (gasp) until they come to the realization you’re not going to rescue them from their boredom, and they need to come up with something to do without you.

Once that happens, watch the magic unfold. They’ll find toys they haven’t played with in ages; create something; make up a game; build a fort; rearrange their room; catch butterflies; ride their bikes; or discover something new that they, apparently, love to do. They’ll eventually do something and they may get lost in it for hours.

The thing about this is, the “magic” could take some time to arrive at first. You’ll need to muster up all of your parental fortitude to not cave in and turn on the television or throw them an iPad or entertain them yourself. Just ride it out. Magic will, eventually, show up. 

If, on the other hand, you wish to jump in and give everyone something to do when they tell you they’re bored, that’s fine too. Just don’t allow them to go on with their complaining. When they say they’re bored or looking for something to do, decisively tell them what you’re all going to do and do it.

For these moments, it helps to have some ideas to pull from. You may want to print this, pin it, or cut it out. Here is the ultimate list of summer boredom busters:

  • Create with sidewalk chalk
  • Prepare a meal together
  • Go for a nature walk
  • Make your own ice pops
  • Perform a random act of kindness
  • Play hide and seek
  • Go to the library
  • Ride on a boat
  • Build a fort
  • Make up your own holiday and celebrate it
  • Have a picnic
  • Paint a picture
  • Feed the birds
  • Ride bikes, skateboards, skates
  • Make paper airplanes
  • Blow bubbles
  • Play miniature golf
  • Pick your own fruit
  • Go for a drive
  • Play tennis
  • Make a scrapbook
  • Bake something
  • Have a water balloon battle
  • Write letters to loved ones
  • Have a dance party
  • Camp out
  • Play a board game
  • Go to the park
  • Make toilet paper roll puppets
  • Clean out a closet
  • Read together
  • Plan a party
  • Make your own play dough
  • Write in a journal
  • Run through the sprinklers
  • Visit a farm
  • Make a sock puppet
  • Have a doll photo shoot
  • Go to an aquarium
  • Play cards
  • Set the table
  • Record your own song
  • Go geocaching
  • Go to the playground
  • Work a lemonade stand
  • Plant something
  • Have a bike wash
  • Play frisbee
  • Make your own pizza
  • Play with legos
  • Make a dollhouse out of a cardboard box
  • Sew
  • Illustrate a story
  • Make s’mores
  • Fly a kite
  • Go paddleboarding/kayaking/tubing
  • Make an ice cream sundae bar
  • Go to the movies
  • Visit a farmer’s market
  • Play kickball
  • Visit a nature center
  • Swim
  • Visit the zoo
  • Play charades
  • Write a story
  • Make your own instruments
  • Do a science experiment