We went on an amazing vacation and are signed up for a few camps throughout the summer and I am still hearing “I’m bored” on a regular basis. I vacilate between replying with “good, that’s how you’ll learn to use your imagination” and “too bad, figure it out.” I’m human afterall, and I am starting to lose my patience. But in an effort to make it a little “kinder” summer I have decided to help my kids make a Boredom Buster Jar. While I still feel like boredom is a good thing for children, I also think having them create the jar themselves will serve us all well.
Step 1: Gather together some popsicle sticks. I prefer the fatter ones because they give you more room, but go with what you have or find. In cleaning out my crafting drawers I found I already had a ton (too many trips to Michaels I guess) so I am excited that I have a new use for them.
Step 2: Pick a jar, vase or container to hold the popsicle sticks. You want something that is low enough so the ends of the sticks will show. Have the kids decorate.
Step 3: Decide how you want to decorate the popsicle sticks. You will only want to decorate one end of the stick and leave the rest blank for words. My kids and I are obsessed with washi tape so that is what we went with, but you can also paint, color or use small sticker jewels.
Step 4: Have your kids come up with things that they like to do in general. Have them get creative and use their imagination. Maybe include something new, but also include simple things like reading a book. Write one idea on each popsicle stick. Keep in mind you may want to color code (or identify) the sticks that require adult supervision/help in case you need to bust out the Boredom Buster Jar at a time when you need them to play on their own. My kids wanted to take it a step further, and color coded their own activities, and things they like to do together.
Boredom Buster Ideas:
- Paint rocks
- Bury a treasure outside and draw a map to find it
- Set up an obstacle course
- Have a tea party
- Have a backyard picnic
- Make cards for children in a hospital
- Make up and perform a play or host a talent show
- Play a game with the family pet
- Play smashball with a balloon and paper plates attached to sticks
- Jump rope or hula hoop
- Make a menu, plan and serve lunch for your family
- Go on a nature scavenger hunt in the backyard or front yard
- Play a board game or do a puzzle
- Wash the car (and start a water fight)
- Come up with carnival games using only the toys and things you have at home, invite the neighbors over to play them
- Blow bubbles with a friend and see who can pop the most
- Make your own twister board by taping together construction paper with your painted handprints and footprints (in red, yellow, blue and green)
- Make a bird feeder (so many ideas on pinterest for this)
- Earn money by doing extra chores around the house
- Write a story
- Draw with sidewalk chalk and insert yourself in the picture (ie. draw butterfly wings and antenna and insert yourself as the body). Have someone take a photo of you.
- Make things with pipe cleaners (ie. animals, jewelry, crowns)
- Play handball in the driveway
- Time yourself on sprints, try to beat your time
- Take a walk or go for a hike
- Invite the neighbors over for a small game of soccer, basketball, etc.
- Make lemonade, cookies or crafts to sell to raise money for a charity
- Bake something and deliver to your neighbors
- Go searching for different kinds of bugs. Try to identify them. Keep a journal and draw a picture of them.
Step 5: Refer to their jar every time you hear the phrase “I’m Bored.”