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10 Ways To Beat Boredom Without Breaking The Bank

09/13/2011

Children who are encouraged to be active and use their minds to create and imagine are happier, more relaxed and overall better adjusted than those who do not get ample opportunities to play. It can be difficult, however, to create enough opportunities or offer enough interesting activities to keep our kids occupied. However, “it’s important to keep children’s minds active, but it doesn’t take an expensive activity or big vacation to capture their attention,” said Dr. Mary Zurn, Vice President of Education for Primrose. “After all, imagination is free.”

Primrose, the Leader in Educational Day Care, suggests parents encourage imaginative play to avoid boredom throughout the year. Despite the best planning however, even the most prepared parents find themselves occasionally faced with those two terrifying words, “I’m bored!” There will be times when the usual fun activities fail to elicit the same excitement and joy they normally do. Obstacles tend to get in the way of plans, especially when you have children.

When the weather does not allow outdoor play, or when circumstances change a busy day to one with lots of unstructured time, it helps to have a list of activities planned out to fall back on. You do not need to spend a lot of money to have fun with your kids. In fact, some of the best memories have been made without spending a dime.

Here are 10 ways to beat boredom without breaking the bank:

1. Boredom Buster Jar
Sit your entire family down together to brainstorm ideas for fun activities. Involving the whole family helps each child feel a personal connection to the project, which will make them more excited when it is time to use the jar. Each person can create an activity they would enjoy doing, and each activity is written down on a slip of paper. Decide as a family which activities make it into the jar. Anyone can take a slip from the jar later when ideas for fun come up short.

2. Act Out A Favorite Story
If your family reads together, you probably have certain stories you all enjoy. Your whole family can get into a reenactment of a favorite scene in a story, or play out the entire book. Have fun going through closets to make up costumes, and use household items as fun props. If you have a video camera, you can create a lasting epic drama or fall-over-laughing comedy to watch over and over through the years.

3. Have a Campout
Rain or shine, indoors or out, there is nothing like a campout for the whole family. You can set up a tent in the living room or out in the yard. A fort made of couch cushions, chairs and blankets is fun to make and a perfect substitute when a tent will not fit indoors. If the weather is nice, build a campfire and roast marshmallows while telling ghost stories.

4. Go On a Nature Walk
Parents and kids alike can find interesting things on a nature walk. Encourage your kids to look all around them to find special things like a unique rock, pretty caterpillar, or interesting rock formation. There is no end to the discoveries your kids can make when taking a walk through the woods. You can bring a camera along and let your kids take turns photographing the things that interest them. It is very fascinating to be able to see the world through a child’s eyes.

5. Draw On The Walls
What could be more fun than being allowed to do something you are always told not to do? A stapler and a few pieces of poster board open up limitless possibilities. Set out watercolors, crayons or colored pencils and let your children practice their artistic talents in a new way. You could expand on this to allow them to decorate an entire wall of their bedroom in their own unique way. When they tire of the look, they can simply remove the poster board and be back to where they started.

6. Tell a Round Robin Story
If your children can write, you can write out a story, with each family member writing one part and passing it on to the next. Let each person write a paragraph, then send it to the next person. Some really funny stories are written this way. Another option is to assign each person a part of the story and let everyone write independently. Put them all together and have a laugh trying to make sense of it all! For smaller children, speaking and acting out the story aloud can be a fun and hilarious adventure.

7. Make Photo Paper Dolls
Make a copy of full body photos for every person, then create clothes and accessories from construction paper to decorate the photo people. Goofy glasses, huge wigs and ridiculous outfits give this project a ton of laughs while your kids get to draw and create to their hearts’ content.

8. Learn a Craft
If you know how to do a craft such as knitting, crocheting or jewelry making, spend an afternoon teaching your children how to do it too. Kids really enjoy learning how to do those types of things and the lessons can stay with them for a lifetime, setting the foundation for their own crafty skills later on.

9. Make a Bird Treat
Watching wild birds gobble up a treat they made can be a very satisfying experience for kids. Tie a piece of string on a pine cone so it can be hung on a tree, then smear peanut butter all over it and dip it in wild bird seed. Birds will love this treat and your kids will enjoy feeding the birds.

10. Make Greeting Cards
If Christmas is coming up, kids can create a touching gift for friends and family by making homemade Christmas cards. You can make cards for birthdays and other occasions too. Construction paper, glittery pens and stickers can make some unique, colorful cards to give out. You can also encourage your kids to make their own Valentine’s day cards for school.

Finding a cure for boredom does not have to mean spending a lot of money or time. Using simple supplies many of us have on hand, you can provide your children with hours of creative play that does not rely on the weather or any special accommodations.

Gather supplies for these activities before you have need of them and you will always have something for kids to do, avoiding the dreaded, “I’m bored!”

–By Dan Gilbert

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 09/19/2011 11:29 am

    Indoor camping is always a great idea and can be done anywhere. It gets the whole family involved and also gets the imagination juices flowing. What’s best is that after the kids are hooked you can usually make foraging trips out of your tent to tend to important things like cooking while the kids continue to play.

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