You have all the games, toys, and activities for your kids. They are signed up for sports teams, music lessons, and more. And still, they say they are bored all the time! Let’s be honest, having kids who are bored is tough. They complain, tease each other, and complain some more. You need things to do when your kids are bored. But having bored kids isn’t necessarily the worst thing.
Bored isn’t bad
It’s easy to assume that it’s bad when your kids are bored. We want to fix the problem by overscheduling our kids or never giving them a moment of downtime. But, being bored isn’t a bad thing! In fact, boredom can be a great thing for your kids. Bored kids learn to think creatively. They learn to create their own fun.
What to do when your kids are bored
When your kids complain about being bored, don’t jump in to solve their problem. Instead, pause to connect with them.
Sometimes kids complain that they are bored because they need some time with you. Spend a few minutes giving them your undivided attention. Put down your phone. Stop doing dishes. Play a quick game or read a book with them. Connection with you might be enough to pull them out of their bored funk. If not, encourage your kids to do something in one of the four following categories. These include:
- Play outside
- Do something nice for someone
- Read something
- Create something
Still having trouble coming up with things to do when your kids are bored? Having an arsenal of activities for kids is a great way to head off boredom anytime you hear those two dreaded words, “I’m bored!”
Giving your kids the control of what they do when they are bored is key. One way you can do this is with a bored jar. You aren’t telling them what to do to fill their time. They are simply picking a fun activity idea out of a jar. If they don’t love the first idea, let them put it back and choose another!
Bored jar printable ideas
Print out the bored jar ideas here. You can even throw in a few of your favorites!
Things to do when you’re bored (for kids!)
Make a paper airplane. Make your favorite paper airplane and see how far it’ll fly. Or, search online to find a new way to make a paper airplane.
Make a paper boat. Paper boats can be a ton of fun. Simply fold and float them in a nearby stream, pool, or even your bathtub.
Put away your laundry. Yes, we said it! Take 10 minutes and put away your laundry.
Leave a secret gift for someone. Make a card or cute craft leave it for a friend or neighbor.
Make someone’s bed. It could be yours, mom’s or a sibling’s bed.
Ding dong ditch a treat for a friend. Make cookies, brownies or leave a package of candy on the doorstep of a friend. Ring the doorbell and run!
Sidewalk chalk. Pull out that dusty sidewalk chalk and get drawing. Leave messages for passerby’s and your family.
Write a letter. Do you have a friend who lives far away? Write them a letter and send it in the mail.
Paint kindness rocks. Kindness rocks can be seen everywhere from playgrounds to businesses and schools! They are painted rocks that carry fun images and kinds messages. Paint a kindness rock and leave it somewhere to brighten someone else’s day.
Make sock puppets. Gather some old socks, buttons, and yarn. Create sock puppets and put on a puppet show.
Create a vision board. A vision board is place you put pictures of the things you want to achieve or do. Create a vision board that can help you set goals for the next several months.
Write a story. Be an author for a day! Write a story and then share it with your family. If you’d like, create illustrations for your story as well.
Word search. Do a wordsearch. You can even create your own wordsearch online to challenge your friends.
Volcanoes science experiment. Create a volcano using baking soda and vinegar. Use playdough, dirt, or even snow to build the volcano form. Next, place ½ cup baking soda into the volcano. Add the vinegar and watch it bubble!
Nature scavenger hunt. Spend some time outdoors. Collect things like a pinecone, flowers, shells, leaves, rocks, or bugs for a nature scavenger hunt.
Plan a month of family nights. Plan what you’d like to do for the next four family nights. You choose the activities and plan out the desserts. Write everything down and present your plan to the family.
Make play dough. This homemade playdough is easy to make. Once it’s made, it will last 6 months or more.
Bake something. Find your favorite recipe for cookies, bread, or cake. Next, create a yummy home-baked treat.
Cooking class. Ask your parent, grandparent, friend, or the internet to teach you how to cook your favorite meal.
Photoshoot. Grab a camera and do a photoshoot. Try taking pictures from viewpoints you wouldn’t normally use.
Photo scavenger hunt. Go on a scavenger hunt. Instead of collecting items, simply take a picture and move on to the next thing.
Journal. Write in a journal. Tell about your day. Write down your favorite things. Draw pictures.
All about me collage. Think about the things you love. Create a collage that tells all about you. Make it on a poster and hang it in your room.
Read a book. Find a new (or a favorite) book. Sit down and read for at least 20 minutes.
Listen to an audiobook. Pull out a quiet activity like Legos, puzzles, or art. Put on an audiobook and listen to a new book.
Practice math with flash cards. Get better at your times tables, division, subtraction, and addition. Make flash cards and practice your math!
Do an education app. Get online and practice your schoolwork with your favorite education app.
Listen to a podcast. There are so many great podcasts available for both kids and teenagers.
Learn something new. What is something that you’ve always wanted to learn to do? Learn now! Watch a video online or find a book that will teach you.
Learn a magic trick. Become a magician. Find a friend, online resource, or book that will teach you a fun magic trick.
Learn to draw. Sharpen your pencils, it’s time to draw! Ask a friend to teach you or look online for tutorials.
Play a board game. Choose your favorite board game and play with a sibling.
Play hide and go seek. Have fun playing hide and seek with your siblings. Make it more challenging by playing in the dark with flashlights.
Go for a walk. Get outside and enjoy nature. Even in the winter a walk is good for your body and your mind. Dress appropriately and have fun.
Skip rope. Grab your jump rope. It’s time to get hopping. See if you can to 20 hops in a row. Next 50, then 100!
Backyard camping. Set up a tent or sleep on the trampoline. Pull out your sleeping bags and enjoy being outside tonight.
Watch zoo animals. Go to the zoo, or if you can’t get out, watch online. Check out the penguins, giraffes, or elephants and choose your favorite.
Yoga class. Get ready to stretch! Take a yoga class online through Cosmic Kids.
Picnic. Set up a picnic outside. Make easy sandwiches, make lemonade, and enjoy the sunshine.
Make a bug house and catch bugs. Find a jar, poke a few holes in the lid, and go find some grasshoppers.
Balloon off the ground. Blow up a balloon and see if you can keep it off the ground for 1 minute. Then 5 minutes. Then 10.
Water the plants (or garden). Pull out the hose or fill a cup of water and water the house plants, or the garden.
Play follow the leader. Choose a leader. Now everyone must do what they do!
Floor is lava. There’s only one rule…the floor is lava! Don’t touch it or you’re out!
Red light, green light. Red light means stop, green light means run!
Decorate your room. Daydream about what you’d like your room to look like. What color of paint would you use? What artwork would you put on the walls? Draw out your plans to decorate your room.
Bike ride. Hop on your bike and go for a ride. Don’t forget your helmet!
Play or practice a sport. Grab a basketball and go shoot some hoops. Or play catch with a sibling.
Wash the car. Get out the hose, find a sponge, and wash the car.
Dance party. Play some music and shake your booty! Dance party!
Make a fort. Pull out the pillows and blankets. It’s time to make a pillow fort.
Obstacle course. Set up an obstacle course. Then time yourself as you run it. Try to get better each time.
Lego challenge. Challenge yourself to build something amazing with Legos. A city, castle, zip-line, car, or pool would all make a great Lego challenge.
Scavenger hunt. Go on a scavenger hunt around the house! Make it fun by having someone else set it up, or set it up for a sibling to complete.
Play dough sculptures. Find the playdough and create your own sculpture. Let it dry and keep it!
Do a puzzle. Put on some music and do a puzzle!
Make a time capsule. Memorialize today with a time capsule. Gather pictures, write a letter, and choose a spot to store your time capsule until you open it.
Toothpick and marshmallow tower. Gather supplies and then build the tallest marshmallow and toothpick tower that you can.
Make slime. Get ready to squish some slime between your fingers. All you need is a 6 oz container of Elmer’s glue, ½ tablespoon of baking soda, and 1 ½ tablespoons of contact solution. Mix until firm and then play!
Make lunch. It’s your turn, make lunch! You can choose what to make, you just have to make it yourself.
Snack art. Make a snack that’s both fun and delicious. It can be whatever you’d like to eat, just make it look like something fun.
Dress up. Pretend to be something that you aren’t! Dress up like a super hero, princess, or 80’s aerobic instructor.
Tea party. Plan a tea party. Dress up. Plan snacks. Set out the tea set.