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50+ Boredom Busters: At-home Summer Activities for Kids
May 11, 2017
50+ Boredom Busters: At-home Summer Activities for Kids
How many days or even hours into summer break is it before you say “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do!” Before your kids roll their eyes and sigh loudly, hoping Mom will get the hint, try this sanity saver: the Boredom Bowl.
Choose a fish bowl, hat, or any other container. This will be your Boredom Bowl. Now, try to think of a bunch of summertime activities. What do you love to do on a hot summer day? Write on a piece of paper, fold it and drop it into the Boredom Bowl. It’s that simple.
What could you do if it’s raining? Write it down! Think of things that are free, cheap, or even that cost a few bucks. Write each one on a separate piece of paper and put it in the bowl. Whenever you hear, “I’m bored!” reach in and pull out a boredom buster. Or make it a big production & let the kids pick from the bowl. Then, do it!
Here are some Boredom Buster Ideas for Kids of All Ages to get you started:
* Scrapbook Making or assemble photo albums– let the kids make their own memories of their summer vacation or other theme. Scrapbooks don’t have to be anything fancy. There are inexpensive paper ones at most craft stores. Or use construction paper & staple or fasten together when done. Get some inexpensive stickers at Dollar Stores.
* Scavenger/Treasure Hunt – Kids love adventure and excitement, and one of the best ways to do this is to organize a treasure hunt at home. Older kids will enjoy helping to write the clues.
* Cooking – kids are usually very eager to help and so, why not include them in the cooking process.They can learn a new skill & you have a helper!
* Turn on your favorite tunes & dance! Or let the kids listen to some of your favorite oldies & have a good laugh at the crazy dances they come up with!
* Do a craft (list them specifically.) Get them on sale at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s or make up your own. You’d be surprised what you can do with paper plates! Need ideas? Check out our Pinterest board.
* Make up a story, one line at a time. Have everybody make up a few lines. By the time you get to the end, it will be hilarious!
* Take photos of all the family members doing something goofy. (But don’t show your kids how to post them on Facebook! :))
* Make a collage from magazine pictures and words. Or gather things from nature like seed pods, feathers etc. Let kids glitter them up for some sparkle magic!
* Volunteer to help around the house or yard at a disabled or elderly neighbor’s house.
* Make your own ice cream the old fashioned way! Or just set up an ice cream bar complete with all the fixin’s!
* Go thru your closet & let the kids try on your old clothes. It’s a great way to force you to go thru them & get rid of the ones you don’t wear anymore. Kids love to dress up.
* Have “Christmas in July” by making some early Christmas crafts to display later or Christmas cards. December will come & you’ll be ready for Christmas.
*Design your own puppets & puppet show. Make hand puppets or finger puppets.
* Teach the kids how to decorate cakes and let them experiment with a few cupcakes.
*Take turns with other parents in your community teaching the kids about different crafts.
*Get a nice new workbook. Before the school year ends, ask the teacher what books she recommends, so your child will keep up with her studies.
*Ask your children to research a charity and brainstorm ways that they can raise money for it. (Put their PC skills to good use in summer!)
*Have the kids try out a new musical instrument.
*Form your own band & have a concert with instruments you already have or make your own using items you have at home. Example – pots can be drums, put rice in a paper bag for a maracca etc. Sometimes dollar stores sell “flutophones” or recorders.
*Clean out the “junk drawer” in your kitchen. Everyone has one! You might find some “hidden treasures” in there! Doing this together also teaches your kids about organization.
*Get out the hair gel and mousse! Have everyone come up with a crazy hairdo (mohawks, faux-hawks, spikey-do, comb-overs etc). Make it more interesting and hand out prizes for the most inventive ‘do!
*Art contest – get out your art supplies! Make it fun and let kids win prizes for their artwork. Get out your crayons, markers, colored pencils, finger paints – whatever you have – & get creative!
*Movie Day or Movie Night – go ahead, spend a day in your jammies watching movies all day! Pop some popcorn and get the kids their own candy treats. Tired of the same old flicks on TV? Get out some favorites from your own collection.
*Earn Some Extra Money – whether you give your kids an allowance or not, if you have some extra chores they can do (think pulling weeds or cleaning out a closet) let them have a chance to earn some cash for things you’ve been putting off. *Theme Day – have a theme day at home. Example – have a beach theme day. Do some beachy art projects, read books about your theme or research them online. If you can, eat some theme related snacks too! Make them if you can to involve all the kids.
*Become a Reporter – let the kids interview you, Grandma or anyone else. Help them with some basic questions to get started. They can combine all their interviews into a report to reveal at the end of summer or ask people funny questions and combine all the answers for a big laugh.
*Do a Research Project – what are your kids interested in? See how much you can learn on a favorite subject. If your child is old enough to do their own make some suggestions to make it more interesting for them. They can even write a progress report to share with you and dad what they learned.
*Whip up a batch of your favorite cookies (with the kids help of course) or make up your own recipe. Consider letting the kids decorate with icing or sprinkles.
*Make figures or other items out of Play-doh or modeling clay for older kids. You can even make your own Play-doh. See our Pinterest board for the recipe. You can have a contest or have everyone attempt to make the same item.
*Write a Biography – have (older) kids think of their favorite person (athlete, movie star, politician etc) and research them. Then write up what they found.
*Build Stuff – think Legos or Lincoln Logs or Tinker Toys. If you don’t have any of those get creative with your building materials.
*Spa Day (ok, so this works best with girls only) – paint each others nails and do hair. Add some sparkle or fake strands of colored hair for fun.
*Plan an Outdoor scavenger hunt. All you need to do is list 20 or so items that are frequently found in nature. Then distribute the list to each of the kids. The first person or team to find everything and bring them back wins a small prize.
* Go for a walk as a family (or with just one chosen family member.)
* Go to a park (name each of the parks separately)
* Race Dad to the end of the block
* Go for a bike or scooter ride.
* Play hopscotch on the sidewalk.
* Doodle on the sidewalk or driveway with sidewalk chalk.
* Camp out in the backyard one night
* Walk the dog – the dog will appreciate it! Or take him to a dog park.
*Teach the kids some jump rope rhymes from your own childhood.
*Find a new trail to hike.
*Take the kids to a scenic area with a set of watercolors or pencils and ask them to paint or draw what they see.
*Get a group of friends together and take the kids to the nearest sprinkler park or just turn on the ones in your own backyard if you don’t have a pool.
*Map out all of the different parks in your county and hit each one (on a different day) with a picnic lunch.
*Explore a new bike path.
*Each Friday, eat a picnic lunch somewhere new.
*Plant a vegetable or flower garden together – not only is it educational – it produces healthy results!
*Ask the kids if they would like to learn a new sport or activity. The summer is a great time to try something new without the commitment that often comes with starting it for a school year.
*Make an obstacle course with sidewalk chalk and time each other on how long it takes to complete the course.
*Have a squirt gun fight in the backyard. If you don’t already have some, let the kids go to the store at the start of summer to pick out an awesome new one.
*Set up your own soccer goal in the backyard or hit a baseball.
*Have a silly string or water balloon fight.
*Set up your own miniature golf game in the backyard. Kids plastic golf sets are available at most toy stores or see if you can borrow dad’s putter. Get creative using cups and tubes. *Create a Pirate Adventure in your own backyard. Draw a map that leads to a treasure chest filled with stickers, pencils and coloring paper. Along the way incorporate physical opportunities like jumping, hopping or running in place.
*Bubbles – need we say more? You know what to do with bubbles and all the bubble machines & blowers out there! Bubbles are so affordable but you can make your own too.
READING & GAMES:
* Play a board game (list each board game on separate pieces of paper.)
* Read one chapter of a book together or take turns reading out loud.
* Buy a new book
*Download a free ebook.
* Have the kids make up their own story. If they’re old enough, have them write it down. Great keepsake or send it to Grandma!
* Go to the library. (Summer reading programs or story times are great.)
*Start your own reading incentive program for the kids. For every three books, treat them to a sundae or a special trip to the bookstore.
*Hold tournaments for favorite games. Invite the neighbor kids to join in.
* Play the old favorite game of “telephone.” Start a funny sentence & let the kids re-tell it to the group. See how funny the sentence or story is at the end!
*Visit Half Price Books for some affordable reading. Or clean out your bookshelf to re-sell your books there.
*Play old-fashioned games such as “Duck Duck Goose” Freeze Tag and Musical Chairs. Older kids might even get a kick out of it!
PLACES TO GO:
*Go ice skating in summer
*Tour a local factory or museum. (see our 100+ kids summer activities for a list of tours)
*Visit a local botanical garden or arboretum. (see our Things to Do/Parks section for a list of gardens)
*Bake a dozen muffins or cupcakes and take them to your spouse’s office. Visit for a bit. Younger kids love going to the fire station so consider taking tasty treats to the firemen.
*Visit a local farm or orchard and help out for an afternoon.
*Visit a local farm or orchard & pick your own fruit & veggies (see our 100+ kids summer activities for a list of orchards)
*Visit a local downtown area (see our 100+ kids summer activities for a list of old downtowns like Carrollton, Grapevine or Frisco’s Gazebo or McKinney’s square) and teach the kids about the history of the area. Sit under a shady tree and imagine what it must have looked like in yesteryear. Top it off with a cool ice cream or snow cone to beat the heat!
*Go to your Local Pet Store (if you can refrain from bringing one home!) and observe the variety of animals. Great teaching opportunity too! Need more ideas? Don’t forget about our book Kidding Around Town, which includes 100s of places to go in DFW (and over 100 of them are free!) with age-appropriate activities to make your child smarter!
For a positive spin on the boredom – Summer is a great time to finally squeeze in all of those activities that you don’t have a chance to do during the school year. We hope you enjoyed this list of fun, cheap, and easy ideas for keeping your kids busy until the school bell rings again in the fall.