Editor’s Note: There’s a few more weeks until school is back in session. Have you heard these words yet? “Mom, I’m bored!” I heard them for the first time yesterday, so I thought we’d re-share this post from last summer to give us all some fresh ideas of how to combat that pesky boredom problem.

“School’s out. Yea! Summer’s here. Whoopee! Finally, I can do what I want!”

Sounds good, but it’s not too long before we’ll hear:

“I’m so bored, there’s nothing to do.”

It makes a mother (or grandmother) want to pull her hair out! When did boredom become a sin?

In recent years, kids have grown used to being programmed, scheduled, and entertained. It’s no wonder some have lost the ability to be creative and to entertain themselves. Summer gives us the opportunity to help our kids learn they can be responsible for their own play!

Gather the kids together for a brainstorming session. Make two lists: one of “fun things to do by myself” and one of “fun things to do with others.” Be sure to include some rainy-day activities. Do this with the attitude of a challenge: “Let’s see how many we can come up with.” Computer and TV options are not allowed for this list.

Leave room on the list for them to add ideas they’ll think of later. Here are a few to get them started:

  • Read
  • Climb a tree
  • Play with trains
  • Work on a puzzle
  • Look at old photos
  • Play hide-and-seek
  • Play dress up
  • Color with chalk on the sidewalk
  • Play hopscotch
  • Get a cup and collect bugs
  • Count stars
  • Build a fort
  • Create a scavenger hunt
  • Play in the sprinkler
  • Go for a walk with a bag and collect things God made
  • Use old toothbrushes to clean rocks
  • Paint rocks
  • Build a block castle
  • Cut things we like out of old magazines
  • Write postcards to friends
  • Cook
  • Play with modeling clay or make clay from your yard
  • Play in a creek
  • Make something out of pieces of old wood (keep a hammer, nails, and glue handy)
  • Think of something special you can make or do for someone else

These are just to get you started. It’s best to have the kids write the list and then post it in the kitchen. When you hear, “I’m bored,” simply respond:

“This is a great time for you to try out some of those good ideas on the list! And I bet you can even think up some more! You are such a creative kid.”

They’ll probably roll their eyes and whine, but if you persist, they just might rediscover the joys of creative, independent play. And if they don’t, you can always suggest doing a chore for you as an option!