7 Activities to Beat Boredom this Summer
From: Meghan Landi
The end of the school year is both exciting and chaotic. Those of us with school-aged kids are busy attending classroom celebrations, snapping pics at awards ceremonies, clapping at banquets, chaperoning dances, calming stressed teens as they cram for final tests and maybe crying as we watch our child walk to receive a diploma. The final weeks of school are a whirlwind and it feels like there is no rest for the weary, but hang in there my friends, we can see the summer light at the end of the jam-packed school activity tunnel and we are counting down the days! However, while I envision a fun, relaxing loose scheduled summer, I have learned that with no more school and lots of extra time often comes the dreaded phrase, “Mom, I’m Bored.” After several years of frustration and yelling at my kids to “find something to do or I will find something for you,” I have learned that a little preparation goes a long way when it comes to beating summer boredom. Check out these seven activities to help beat boredom this summer:
1. Create a Detailed Summer Schedule
Transitioning from a rigid school schedule to zero schedule at all is difficult, even for adults. Creating a detailed summer schedule and hanging copies around the house helps ease from school work mode to summer relax mode. If you have older elementary or teenage children, meet as a family to discuss a daily schedule. Allow your kids to speak in and express their goals or desires for the summer. We have found it helpful to create a daily, weekly and monthly activity schedule. My kids love to look at the monthly calendar and see what is coming up. It hangs in our kitchen for everyone to see. We also create a daily and/or weekly schedule to help keep each kid on task and organized.
Scheduling Tip: We use our summer schedule as a general guideline and means for staying on task but we try to be flexible in allowing our kids to choose when they do certain tasks or activities. As they get older, kids should be encouraged to plan out and prioritize their days. For an in depth look at creating family goals check out Five Tips for Pursuing Family Goals or Watch Goal Setting 101: How to Dream and Set Goals for Your Family.
2. Design a Beat the Boredom Jar
Rather than trying to come up with an activity at each declaration of boredom from my kids, I have discovered that having pre-planned activities or tasks helps take away my frustration and ultimately keeps the mood of our house more relaxed. Fill a jar with fun activities and helpful chores to encourage creativity and accomplishment.
3. Schedule Family Service Projects
Family discipleship through serving is incredibly powerful and summer is a wonderful time to schedule family service projects. Check in with local non-profit organizations to get information on their needs and schedule a time to serve together as a family once or even a few times. Moving in the direction of people in need opens our eyes to the world around us, often softening our hearts to love the least of these with God’s incredible love. Serving together as a whole family allows parents the opportunity to lead by example with a servant heart and self-less influence. What could be a better way to beat the summer boredom by serving others?
4. Adopt Pen Pals & Call Family Members
Technology advancements have allowed us to connect and communicate with friends and loved ones at an incredible speed. And while I am mostly glad we are not at the mercy of payphones, extra long phone cords and long distance calling rates; I have to admit, sometimes, I miss handwritten correspondence and old fashioned phone calls where I stretched the phone cord a long as possible to have a little privacy in my room. This summer go old school and beat the boredom by writing notes or coloring pictures to send to a pen pal or two. Pen pals could be friends or family members or reach out to your church to request names and mailing addresses for nursing home shut-ins or missionaries. Also, plan to call friends or family members your kids don’t normally get to chat with. Before they call, help them brainstorm some questions to ask so they can also learn good conversation skills while catching up. I mean, who doesn’t love getting mail, checking in with grandma and improving communication skills all at the same time?
5. Host Themed Hangouts with Friends and Neighbors
Choose your favorite theme or fun thing to do and host a hangout with friends, family or neighbors. Don’t worry about being fancy or over-the-top. Keep it simple and focus on building connections. Plan the hangouts together as a family and ask others to pitch in for food or games. The hangout theme possibilities are endless – so have fun planning, prepping and hanging out!
- Orange Food Picnic – Invite friends to pack a picnic that only contains orange food-or whatever your favorite color is
- Water balloons & Watermelons
- Ninja Warriors Obstacle Course – host at the playground using the playground equipment for no clean up!
- Pop-Up Tea Party at the Park
- Host a Bake off, Cook off or Snack off
- Nerf-War Battle – Challenge your kids to create homemade targets or trick shots
- Bike Parade – glitz and glam those bikes up and ride around a park, neighborhood or better yet coordinate a parade at a nursing home
6. Listen to Audio Books or Podcast Stories
Audio books and podcast stories are a great boredom buster at home or on the road. At home, my kids will color or play while they listen and they love listening in the car. Check out your local library for ways to download free audiobooks. A quick Google search will highlight the best podcasts for families and kids.
7. Teach a New Life Skill Every Week
Kids CAN often do so much more than we give them credit for. The summer is a great time to teach new life skills that will ease the load around the house AND even better, prepare them for life as an adult. Set aside some time to brainstorm important life skills you would like your kids to learn and then plan to teach a new skill once a week (or as often as you see fit). Need some ideas for age appropriate skills… Check out the Kids Can article for more information on empowering kids to learn and grow.
Boredom is Normal
We have all been bored at some point in our lives. Rather than express frustration when your kids say “I’m bored,” remember boredom is actually an incredible foundation for creativity. It doesn’t mean you have to over-schedule your kids, however you can leverage the opportunity to help your kids learn, grow and create. Challenge them in new and fun ways to take their boredom and turn it into Summer Fun!