There are three words that I hate hearing in the summertime (or anytime really): “Mom, I’m bored!”
Over my 20 years of parenthood, I’ve figured out that the best way to “cure” boredom is to give them something to do if they can’t find something to do themselves. Sometimes that includes cleaning the kitty box, weeding the garden, or scraping the paint off the wall in the basement. All great summer boredom busters!
After a while, they stop complaining of boredom, at least to me. 😉
As a mom, we need to be pro-active with this. I’ve divided this post into two parts: 7 Boredom Buster Tips for Moms and 7 Boredom Busters for kids.
7 Boredom Buster Tips for Moms
1. Be spontaneous, but not too spontaneous
I don’t like too tight of a schedule in the summer time because it’s fun to see what the day brings. However, if you’re having problems with kids complaining of boredom, some structure in your day and in your overall plans may help with that.
2. Find cheap or free local activities, and make plans
For example, our zoo has half off days every Tuesday, so we plan to go at least one Tuesday. Another fun activity we’ve always done is to walk around Bronner’s, the world’s largest year-round Christmas store, which is close to our house. It’s especially fun on those unbearably hot days. Many areas have free historical museums too.
3. Take advantage of the great outdoors
Nothing helps a little one (or a teenager) sleep well quite like time out in the fresh air and sunshine. Find parks, walking trails, and other outdoor events and activities to engage in.
4. Enroll in Library Summer Reading Programs
Our library has an amazing program for the kids, to encourage them to read more. I’m a big believer in the benefits of anything that encourages kids to read more for pleasure. Our library also has a program for not-yet-readers, that rewards them for books read to them.
5. Get crafty
When it’s nice outside, it’s easier to get crafty because you can move the mess outdoors. A favorite activity we have is making tie dye t-shirts (to learn how see “The Perfect Tie Die Shirt“). So much fun! Thanks to Pinterest and YouTube, the possibilities for creative projects are endless.
6. Have fun working their brains
Most kids don’t want to do “schoolwork” during the summer time. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be learning during the summer, though. Don’t tell them it’s educational.
Some fun but educational things include raising butterflies with a Butterfly Garden (we do this every year, and they still love it), raise tadpoles to frogs, have scavenger hunts, learn constellations (a great resource is 365 Starry Nights by Chet Raymo, which is one of our favorites), and do nature study. Hands on, “fun” activities like these will help them better grasp what they’re learning throughout the rest of the year.
7. Document the summer through their eyes
If your child is responsible enough, an inexpensive digital camera or video camera may be a good investment. After the first summer when my daughter got her digital camera, I realized that this was an excellent tool for seeing the world through her eyes, seeing what she saw and took notice of.