God knows we humans get bored and I think that’s why He made seasons for us. But when it comes to kids, sometimes the seasons are just too long! By now, I’m sure you’ve heard those dreaded two words: “I’m bored.” And you know telling your kids to go outside and play just doesn’t work.
I scoured the Net for new ideas to help bored kids and I got bored with the same old stuff I’d read in magazines when my kids were young; like read a book, watch TV. I did find a few out of the hundreds I read, which I share in this blog, but I’m also going to tell you about some things I did with my kids when they got bored, that still work with my grandkids today.
Blame it on routine
We can blame boredom on routine and that’s probably why we love to go on vacation to break away from the everyday grind of routine. As a reformed slob I know that when I was in a pigpen, it was my disorganization and lack of a routine that put me there. But I must say I was never bored in those pigpen days!
I escaped the pen by creating a routine that had my kids and me up, dressed and fed by 7:00 and in bed with a clean and tidy home by 8:00. I love what Flylady says, “Routines and habits are the backbone of a peaceful life.” Routines and habits breed success, but they are also the perpetrators of boredom. When boredom creeps in, it’s time to shake things up.
A Lesson from the bears
There’s a place in West Yellowstone, Montana called Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. The Center offers every visitor to Yellowstone a chance to uniquely experience the world of grizzly bears and gray wolves. All the animals at the Center are unable to survive in the wild and serve as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. Terry, my husband, took this photo at the Center.(I promise this has something to do with boredom.) If you plan to go to Yellowstone don’t miss this place. But what does it have to do with boredom? Hold your pants on, it’s next.
Animal behaviorists have discovered that bears in captivity get bored. Have you ever seen a bear pace back and forth at the zoo? (There’s a polar bear at the San Diego Zoo that does it and it’s heartbreaking.) A pacing bear is a bored bear. There are no pacing bears at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, because they experience change every day. When you think about it, Nature is always in flux. That’s why it’s so good to get out in Nature as much as we can.
At the Center, visiting children are each given a bucket of food for the bears and they’re allowed into the bear’s cage to hide the food (the bears are put in a holding cage while the children are hiding the food or else the children would be the food).So your first boredom-buster is:
1. Hide breakfast
Let the kids sleep in while you prepare breakfast. Whatever you fix, put it in a cooler along with utensils and hide it where you want everyone to eat. You could eat in the bathtub, the family room, under the dining room table with a blanket thrown over to make a tent, your bedroom or in the garage (don’t eat in the car, you do that enough already).
Or you could eat outside someplace. Put a note at the table where you always eat that says: “Find breakfast.” (You could give some hints.) When they wake
up and expect to eat, they’ll find the note instead.
2. Move the furniture
At the Grizzly Center, to change the look of the environment, they have excavating equipment to move rocks, bushes and even trees around (like we move furniture). Bears aren’t the only ones that like this kind of change. Moving the furniture around will refresh you and your children.
3. Shower in pajamas
Let your kids take a shower with their pajamas on. Tell them they’re human washing machines and have them soap up their jammies and rinse thoroughly. Then hang them up to dry outside. They’ll be thrilled at the incredible fresh smell of clothing hung outside to dry.
4. Paint with water
Get out paint brushes, rollers and other painting equipment and let your kids paint with water on the deck or driveway, if it’s blacktop.
5. You’ve got mail
Let your kids make something or write something to send to themselves in the real mail. You know how great it is to get real mail and it’s fun to expect something.
6. It’s for the birds
Make a bird feeder by rolling a pinecone in peanut butter, then in bird seed. Hang it from a tree with string.
7. Make placemats
Have your kids design their own placemats. They could cut out shapes like a knife, fork, spoon, plate and glass in contrasting construction paper, placing the shapes in the correct place setting. Help them cover their art work with clear contact paper.
8. Wash the car
Have your kids help you wash the car. Spray them when they’re not looking, and be prepared for a water fight. Have fun and plan to get really wet!
A twist to hide-and-seek: It’s called Sardines. One child hides and the other children seek, but when a child finds the hider, instead of exposing him, he hides with him until everyone gets squished into the hiding place.
10. Watch a Christmassy movie
You don’t have to wait for the season to change when you can watch wintry movies like Elf or The Muppet’s Christmas. Five minutes into one, you’ll be magically yanked out of a hot summer day and into chilly times.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! If you liked it and found it helpful, I’d love for you to share it with any moms you know who need help busting the boredom.