Ugh. Those four little words that every parent dreads to hear during the summer months.
I am so bored.
As a parent, I struggle with this; I'm a big believer that we shouldn't entertain our children. Although it's good for them to find ways to keep themselves busy, I'm not opposed to directing them towards activities that don't involve electronics or trips to the pool when I really need to get three loads of laundry done.
If the excitement of summer is over and your kiddos are struggling to make it through the day without uttering those four little words, here are a few ideas that cost very little, keep their minds active and buy you some much-needed peace:
- The Boredom Jar: Grab a vase, bucket or other container and fill it with slips of paper that include individual mom-approved activities. Some ideas from the jar in our house includes:
- watch a movie and write an alternative ending;
- choose three famous pieces from an art book and read about them;
- draw a self-portrait using colored pencils;
- create a sculpture using only toothpicks and marshmallows; and
- start a summer journal.
The only rule in my house is – if you pick something out of the boredom jar, you have to complete it!
- Balloon Tennis: No, seriously. Pick up a bag of balloons the next time you're at the store because it will be the best one-dollar investment of your summer! If your kiddos are bored or worse, arguing non-stop, blow up a balloon and challenge them to a game of balloon tennis. If you really want to get into it, use crepe paper to create a “net” from one end of the room to the other.
- Museums: I'm a bit nuts about museums. I LOVE them; I have always loved learning about artifacts and paintings from a different time. For me, it's like time traveling. And, because I LOVE museums, my boys have learned to love them to. A few learning opportunities within driving distance from Kansas City:
- Union Station (check out the new mummy exhibit that opens this month!);
- The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art;
- Evel Knievel Museum, Topeka, KS (NEW!);
- Strategic Air Command and Space Museum, Ashland, NE;
- Pattee House, St. Joseph, MO;
- Pony Express Museum, St. Joseph, MO.
- Encourage Entrepreneurship: Lemonade stands come to mind immediately, but my son actually announced that he wanted to create a movie theater stand in our living room. He built one using an ironing board, sheet and props that he created from around the house. The best thing? He practiced his money-counting skills without even realizing it and we all got to enjoy a family movie night together.
- Flashlight Scavenger Hunt: It doesn't get any easier than this. Hide things from around the house outside and, come sunset, hand your kiddos a flashlight and list of the hidden items. It doesn't matter that they're looking for a soup spoon – they'll act like it's a priceless treasure when they find it!