By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Are your children already proclaiming, “I’m boooored!”? Try these ideas to keep them happy and busy and off their screens at home.
• Consider their outdoor play equipment. If they have little to do outside, telling them to “play outdoors” will result in bored kids. Maybe it is time to invest in a playset for them.
• Find different uses for outside toys they already have. For example, use their flying discs for disc golf with a few baskets set out as the goals. Or use a small stuffed toy or bean bag for cornhole. Make a cornhole target by cutting a hole large into an empty pizza box and prop it open with the hinge side at the top. Maybe the badminton net could become a water balloon volleyball net.
• Make a giant bubble wand. Follow the directions at www.kenarry.com/giant-bubble-wand.
• Supply little ones with sidewalk chalk. Sidewalk paint offers better coverage (Amazon, RoseArt Washable Sidewalk Chalk Paint, $32.89) and washes off. Sidewalk spray paint (Amazon, Testors Spray Chalk, $15.04) will appeal to preteens and young teens, as it works and looks like paint but washes off like chalk. They may also spray it on grass and other surfaces safely. Stencils can also make sidewalk chalk more interesting. Ask them to draw numbered squares for a family game of hopscotch or a walking path with zany things do to (“On this square, quack like a duck.”).
• Challenge them to a nature scavenger hunt. Pragmatic Parent’s printable chart (www.thepragmaticparent.com/nature-scavenger-hunt-pdf/) directs a multi-sensory hunt.
• Set up an obstacle course. Use any objects you have, from delivery boxes to small trash cans to set up a fun course for them to run around. Or challenge them to kick a ball or ride their bikes around the course.
• Send them into the yard to find items to build a fairy house. Bark, twigs, leaves, acorn tops, pinecones and stones are all good materials.
• Let small children “paint” the fence/house with clean paintbrushes and buckets of water.
• Give them each a notecard or postcard to write a note to Grandma. The smaller size, compared with a full-sized letter, is much less intimidating for children who are not excited about writing. Encourage them to ask Grandma a few questions and maybe she will write them back.
• Pull out the extra sheets for a pillow fort. Make s’mores, turn off the lights and grab the flashlights and battery-operated camping lantern for an indoors campout.
• Visit the library. Even if your children are not big on reading story books, libraries also provide books on crafts, kids’ cookbooks, puzzles and games to check out, and other items.
• Pull out the craft supplies and give them a mission: can you make something that looks like a rocket? A flower? Your favorite animal? Pick up a few craft kits for children who feel uninspired.
• Hold an indoor scavenger hunt with ideas at www.idtech.com/blog/scavenger-hunt-clues-for-kids-indoor-outdoor.
• Encourage them to film their own movie with themselves and/or toys as the characters. Could they act out a Star Wars scene with their Lego set?
• Pull out a box of your old clothes for dress-up. Let them raid your closet to select an outfit for you.
• Bring inside a variety of leaves. Sandwich them between pieces of printer paper and lightly rub a crayon on them to make pretty prints.
• Paint rocks to make paper weights to give and keep.
• Older children can sort through their rooms for outgrown clothing, toys and books for a yard sale. (As a motivator, let them keep the proceeds.)
• Pull out some compatible ingredients to make a dish for the family to share at dinner, like fruit salad.