“I’m bored!” This is a complaint that every parent hears over…and over…and over! My mom used to respond to this by saying, “Do you need me to find you something to do? Because there’s a lot of cleaning to catch up on around here.” It was miraculous how quickly we’d find a way to occupy ourselves!
One of the things my generation struggles with is the question of how much we should entertain our kids. We don’t want to be absent in their lives–we want to take out time to play with them. However, we also don’t want to coddle them. A big part of that is deciding if we should initiate play with them, or if they should play independently.
This varies by age, of course. Children three years old and younger will need some help finding things to do. But as our children grow, they can be expected to play on their own more often.
Ideas For Occupying Our Kids
Kids can be so creative, when given the chance. They don’t need new toys just because they’re currently bored with their collection. Here are some ideas for kids to keep busy. These are frugal, and use supplies that you probably have at home. The ideas are also screen-free…no technology involved here. They can be done as independent play, depending on the age of your child. And the best part, in my mind, is that you don’t have to do a lot of prep work. Forget about being Pinterest worthy! These are just plain old activities to keep your kids’ lives happy and simple. (Keep in mind, this list is mainly for children 3 and up.)
- Build a fort out of blankets and furniture
- Do some coloring or painting
- Act out a story with stuffed animals (my son loves to pretend his bear is driving to the store, gets a flat tire, has to go to the car shop, etc. Whatever their interest is, they will incorporate that into their pretend play!)
- Do puzzles
- Read, or look through books
- Play with the hose or sprinkler on a hot day
- Make a sticker page (a paper covered with car stickers, a garden sticker page, etc.)
- Grab some sidewalk chalk and go crazy on the driveway
- Kick a ball around the yard with a brother or sister
- Make some pretend food with play dough, “cook” it in a frying pan, and serve it for “dinner”
- Take an old blanket, some snacks, and books into the backyard, and have a picnic
- Dig in a sandlot in the backyard
- Play with the neighbor kids
- Have a play date with a friend
- Go to the library and get some new books
- Draw a hopscotch board with chalk on the sidewalk, and play
- Shoot some hoops
- Build a tower (or a city!) with blocks or legos
- Start a rock collection or bug collection–use your own backyard
- Water or weed the garden (it’s amazing how much kids love getting down in the dirt! Just make sure they’re old enough to tell the weeds from the flowers.)
There is so much for kids to do right at home, without a screen and without their parents’ entertainment. I hope these ideas are helpful to you, especially with the summer months coming upon us so quickly. What are your kids’ favorite activities? Please comment below!
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