This unrelenting heat coupled with air quality advisories have been keeping us indoors a lot , which elicits the same, tired refrain from my 2 sons– “Mommy, I’m bored”. Primrose Schools, the leader in educational child care, has offered up a list of 11 Boredom Buster ideas for summer, courtesy of their Vice President of Education, Dr. Mary Zurn.
1. Boredom Buster Jar: At the beginning of the summer, sit down with your family and brainstorm a list of activities that can be done alone or that you can enjoy doing together. Encourage your children to share their own ideas and help you decorate and label a simple jar as the family “Boredom Buster Jar.” Next, write everyone’s ideas down on slips of paper and as a group decide which ones should go in the jar. Anyone in the family can pull any idea out of the jar to fight summertime boredom.
2. Stories Alive: Make reading even more fun by finding ways to bring the stories to life. For example, in the book Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, children create a make-believe town in the desert out of rocks, boxes, and their imaginations. Read the book with your children and then challenge them to create their own town with materials they find in the backyard.
3. Art Start Box: You’ll need to gather basic art supplies-child safe scissors, glue, markers, tape and construction paper. Put them in a special box along with empty oatmeal boxes and paper towel rolls, colorful magazines and bits of aluminum foil. Occasionally add a special surprise like chalk, stickers, or stamp pads so there’s always something new for the children to find.
4. Family Performances: Break out old clothes or costumes and encourage children to make up characters and create a play to act out. They can also make musical instruments out of pots/pans, wooden spoons, empty canisters and have a parade; or everyone can play along to your family’s favorite songs. Record or video the performances, and enjoy the replay.
5. Family Dance Party: Dancing is a great activity that can involve the whole family and doesn’t take very much preparation.
6. Fort Building: Children love to build all kinds of structures–from small towns to large towers. Constructing forts or tents is an activity that can keep children focused and problem solving for hours. All the items you need can be found around the house- some chairs, cushions, blankets, and of course adult supervision.
7. Cookbook Fun: Have you ever shared your favorite cookbook with your children? Take it out and ask your children to choose a recipe to try. Measuring can be a fun and easy way to keep math skills fresh.
8. Summer Scrapbook: All you need for this project is a spiral notebook. Encourage everyone in the family to draw pictures of favorite activities and collect mementos from special events throughout the summer.
9. Listening Game: Lie down in the backyard, in the den or at the park and listen. What do you hear? Do you hear what I hear? Can you imitate the sound? This is similar to watching the clouds and naming the shapes, and it encourages everyone to slow down and focus on listening.
10. Camping Out: Pretend to campout in the backyard. Plan a meal, pack a backpack and set up a campsite.
11. Scavenger Hunt: Make a list or picture cards of common household items and have your children find the items on the list. Invite friends or neighbors to join in the fun to make it a competition.
To find other great tips for parents, check out Dr. Zurn’s blog at DrZandme.com.