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It’s that time of year again! School is almost out for many. For us, our lessons are at a bare minimum, the weather is hot, and the good ol’ saying “I’m bored” is constantly ringing in my ears. This is often followed by one of the three saying that make me cringe: “Can we watch tv?” – NO! “Can we play on the tablet?”- NO! Or the famous “Can we play on the PlayStation?” – UGH, NO!
You see, we have an after-dinner rule in our house. After dinner, the kids get their electronic time. Otherwise they will be glued to those devices all day. We did grant a few days of “unwind time” when summer hit where we allowed some half binge days but I ended up having four mini zombies occupying my home. But now we are well into summer vacation and their boredom is becoming something I am constantly hearing about. It’s funny really because I have noticed that as imaginative as my kids are, when their normal schedule and structure go out the window so does the civility between them; and then my sanity soon begins to follow.
Over the last few years my husband and I have tried to combat this evil boredom. Some ideas have been complete disasters while others have proven to be a success. The most challenging thing is finding something that all of our children can enjoy; you see we have a six-year gap between our youngest and our oldest, so you can imagine the challenges we are presented with to keep everyone happily entertained.
These are our top 5 ways to beat summer boredom. Some are helpful, some are wild, and some are just random. No matter what it is I encourage you to give them a try.
1) Have A “Have You ___?” Checklist
Every time I hear “I’m bored” it’s like a routine of questions that follow: Have you read a book? Did you draw something? Did you do all of your chores? Should I go check? Did you play with the animals?… Ugh! This list could go on forever! So I had to create something for the kids to keep themselves in check because it got to the point that I was repeating this list to four different children at least twice a day.
This “have you” printable has saved me a little sanity! Not only does it keep me from having to repeat myself with what seems like a bazillion times, but it teaches kids to be accountable for themselves and their responsibilities.
2) Extra Help Means Extra Earned Time
This is probably my favorite boredom beater! This allows kids to earn extra time on their choice of electronic device for up to 30 minutes a day. Not only do they learn to work for something but extra chores get done! This is especially helpful for all of you busy mamas out there. Need that floor mopped? Or how about the living room dusted? Some chores amount to 5 minutes gained while others may earn 10 minutes. Of course, it is always best to make sure the job is done correctly, again to teach accountability.
This is a win-win beat the boredom activity for everyone!
3) Beat The Heat
There are often two ways the kids enjoy some outside play while keeping cool. Dollar tree sells these nifty little water squirting toys. They don’t last forever but for $1 each, you really can’t go wrong! We don’t like to waste a lot of water so I will fill an ice chest full of water and let the kids go wild for a bit.
Another fun thing is mud. Pigs, like our dear little Kevin Bacon, keep cool so in it so why can’t the kids? Since we don’t own a pool, we allow the kids to “make one”. I offer them five minutes with the hose to create a mud pit and then they suddenly turn into little pigs! The way I see it, they have to shower anyway and playing in mud is something every child should experience.
Both of these are great ways to get the kids outdoors for a bit without worrying too much about them overheating. (Of course don’t forget to promote the importance of drinking water when playing outside in the heat, even when in water or mud).
4) Keep A Random Box
One person’s junk is another man’s treasure. Ever heard this? Well, it applies to kids too! I can’t even begin to count how many times I went to throw something out and one of the kids wanted to keep it; a bent spoon, a random piece of cardboard, even that old streamer I took off the wall after a party. I began to keep a random bin full of some of these things. Not everything, and every once in a while I do have to weed through the box of treasure-junk. However, this random box of things useless to me has sparked much creativity with the kids. You can pick up a decent sized bin for about $8.00 at Walmart and just begin to let the kids save some random things. You may be surprised on what they create.
5) Get Your Science On
This one is great for older kids. My kids love to explore the internet & Pinterest for science experiments but throughout the year we don’t get to many of them; they just don’t fit in with our studies. So we made a deal during the summer- they are allowed to do as many science experiments as they want! The catch is they have to prepare a mini presentation on the steps of the scientific method leading up to the experiment to me before I okay it and purchase the materials.
This has allowed them to keep exploring the science they want and I can watch them learn and encourage them to be independent, plus they get pretty good at utilizing the scientific method. My girls, 9 & 11, love doing this (their brothers also love watching them) Sure this one may cost a little money here and there, but nurturing their brains while they have fun is always worth it.