101 Great Answers for “I’m Bored” This Summer
Kids these days are so over-programmed it’s ridiculous. They go to this camp and that one, moms run them to classes and clubs. When we were kids we made our own fun and it really was fun! Here are some of the things we used to do that you can suggest to your children when they say, “I’m bored!”
1. Go outside. Turn off the devices and get moving. You’ll feel better, have more fun and be more imaginative, children of mine!
2. Somersaults. The secret to somersaults is to tuck your chin. Tell them, “Tuck your chin right down on your chest. Now, close your mouth. Roll, baby, roll!” It’s easy and fun and hard to hurt yourself if you just tuck your head down.
3. Sprinkler fun. Put on old clothes or swimsuits, set up a sprinkler and run over and through it!
4. Popsicles. If you must, make them yourself, but every child ought to try those old-fashioned straight-line cheapo ones. They’re just fun.
5. Play Pretend. We used to climb in the old bass boat under my grandfather’s carport and pretend we were customs agents, explorers, fishermen, ferry operators, wildlife agents, and more.
6. Bike-riding. If you can’t afford bikes, check out yard sales, craigslist, and thrift stores.
7. Build forts in the hedges. Keep some old sheets on hand for this kind of thing. I remember how much fun it was to find a tree or hedge that had a secret open place on the inside. Take some treats in there and have a picnic or rubberband guns and have a war!
8. Climb a tree. The world looks different from up there. Take a book in your back pocket and you can really go on an adventure.
9. Build a treehouse. You can do a lot with scrap lumber, a hammer, and some long nails.
10. Have an imaginary battle. Be the Secret Service and hunt down a ring of counterfeiters. Pretend you’re George Washington and fight the Redcoats.
11. Pick berries. Some of our earliest memories are picking strawberries and blueberries and popping them straight into our mouths. Of course, the bigger kids and parents can pick to take home!
12. Draw your own comic book.
13. Make rubberband guns. Or, order some rubberband machine guns and have an epic battle.
14. Go swimming. Or, learn to swim. Every single member of your family should learn how to swim. It’s a safety issue. If they’re too young, they need to wear a life jacket around water. Here’s a podcast of ours that may help.
15. Go fishing.
16. Make a movie. Friends of Hal’s mom invite all the cousins over in the summer and they make an epic movie. Once they bought two old satellite dishes and put them together to make a flying saucer.
17. Dig a hole.
18. Make real lemonade. All you need: lemons, sugar, and water.
19. Make a matchbox town out of a pile of dirt.
20. Design a house. Use pinestraw to lay out the walls.
21. Build a model railroad.
22. Shelter. Build a shelter out of umbrellas or tarps and sit outside while it’s raining. You can put a rock in the corner of a tarp and tie a string around it outside the tarp, then use the string to hang the tarp from trees or fences. (Cheaper alternative, but won’t last – plastic tablecloths from the dollar store.)
23. Eat watermelon. This is especially wonderful served on a dock while you stand in the Lake. No worries about the juice!
24. Build a catapult.
25. Build a dinosaur out of paper mache’. Then write a script and make a movie about him.
26. Learn the constellations.
27. Camp in the backyard.
28. Grow something. Tomatoes or bell peppers are easy.
29. Sleep under the stars in a hammock or sleeping bag.
30. Wash the car.
31. Wax the car.
32. Teach the dog to fetch.
33. Make paper airplanes.
34. Run races.
35. Have swimming races.
36. Play board games.
37.Make homemade ice cream.
38. Invent a board game.
39. Repaint your own bed room.
40. Learn a new craft. Last year, our boys learned how to make chain mail with these kits.
41. Build a boat. This is not as hard as it sounds. We’ve built four boats!
42. Make up a crazy story about something in your yard. Maybe that mud puddle is really a giant footprint!
43. Gather lightning bugs.
44. Shoot off fireworks or firecrackers. Of course, this isn’t legal everywhere. Obey the law. Only kids old enough to do this safely should try this one. Younger kids can do poppers and string fire-crackers.
45. Finger paint.
46. Play hide and go seek.
47. Eat lunch outside.
48. Learn to grill.
49. Build a dam across a stream. Take it down when you’re done.
50. Learn more about God. Read your Bible. Read a great book like Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Learn some hymns or songs. Ask your parents and grandparents about how they became Christians.
51. Put up a tire swing.
52. Go rock hunting.
53. Go wildflower hunting.
54. Start an insect collection.
55. Hatch a brood of chickens. Your cooperative extension agent will often provide the incubators and the eggs, and take the baby chickens back when you’re done.
56. Build a shed.
57. Listen to a great audiobook while you fold clothes and make your mama happy.
58. Pretend your house is a spaceship or Noah’s ark. This works best in the rain.
59. Build a fire. Try to do it with a magnifying glass first. Or, try rubbing two sticks together (this is way easier with a bow-type arrangement). Clearly, younger kids need supervision and older ones, wisdom.
60. Make S’mores.
61. Roast a hotdog on a stick.
62. Choose an ambitious reading project. The whole Lord of the Rings series. The whole New Testament. Read a whole series of something. Read every book in the library by your favorite author.
63.Be the chef. Cook all three meals for your family. My kids can do this by nine or ten, really anyone ought to be able to by 11 or 12. Older kids can do something more ambitious – cook a new recipe from scratch or try a new ethnic food.
64. Omelets. Kids that can make good omelets get invited to cook a lot. This is a good thing for a growing, hungry boy who wants protein!
65. Make gas. Put a few inches of vinegar in the bottom of a two liter and quickly add baking soda and stretch a balloon across the top. Shake it up and watch the balloon inflate. This is why you burp when you take an antacid.
66. Turn a box into a house. If you see a big box by the side of the road, grab it and cut side-ways H’s to make windows that close. Use crayons to draw bushes and flowers on the outside. Give it to a preschooler or toddler to play in.
67. Learn how to sword fight. You can start with sticks (make sure they aren’t sharp), or make your own from wood or foam, but for best results, use training swords.
68. Have a water balloon fight.
69. Play horseshoes.
70. Lay on the couch and look up at the ceiling. Imagine what it would be like to walk on the ceiling. For some reason, we did this a lot as kids. 🙂
71. Build a bird feeder and try to identify the birds that come.
72. Build a scratching post for your cat from scrap wood and carpet.
73. Learn to knit or crochet. There are lots of instructional videos online.
74. Have a tea party.
75. Write a short story. Who knows, it might one day become a book or even a series of books like the Promised Land series. Hope started it by writing a short story about what it was like to be a slave in ancient Egypt when she was 13.
76. Learn to play spades, hearts, or another card game.
77. Learn about heraldry and make up a coat of arms for your family.
78. Take up wood-burning. Make a gift for someone, a treasure box for yourself, or burn your new coat of arms. Here’s a kit you can start with.
79. Play in the rain. Put on old clothes and play outside when it is really pouring rain. So much fun. Don’t track mud in the house, though.
80. Bake a cake, make cookies, or make some other snack for the family.
81. Make a train out of laundry baskets. Pretend it’s taking you somewhere amazing.
82. Make a salt dough map or sculpture. Use two parts flour to one part salt and one part water.
83. Fold paper boats and test them out.
84. Hang a sheet over your bed and pretend it’s a stagecoach.
85. Have a shooting contest with foam dart guns or rubberband guns. Targets make this much more fun.
86. Freeze ripe bananas for fast, healthy popsicles.
87. Pick flowers and make a bouquet for your mom.
88. Make a tin can telephone with old cans and string.
89. Learn to play an instrument. One of our sons taught himself to play the guitar with free online videos.
90. Take the dog for a walk. He’s just as bored as you are.
91. Bathe the dog. Do it outside with the hose so you both get wet.
92. Make up a new sport. Grab a ball, make some rules, have fun.
93. Explore the crawl space under the house.
94. Learn to refinish furniture. Start with something out of the garage or that you pick up on the side of the road or at a thrift store.
95. Learn wood-carving. Make a whistle or flute from a piece of bamboo.
96. Polish your mom’s silver. Listening to an audiobook while you do it will make it more fun.
97. Make helmets out of milk jugs. Cut the handle part out and paint to make a helmet. Pretend you are in the Roman Army.
98. Step up to adulthood. Learn how to do something real – change the oil in the car, do the laundry, make your bed, change a tire, repair a leaky sink.
99. Do a play or talent show for your grandparents. Memorize a poem, sing a song, show a painting, play an instrument. Or, write a play for yourself and your siblings.
100. Make a card or write a letter for your grandparents or a far-away relative. Making someone else happy is a great way to make yourself happy.
101. Keep a journal. We have a journal kept by one of our ancestors over a hundred years ago. We’ve loved learning about what life was like in their time. Record your memories for your children’s children.
Can you add to the list? Did we forget anything?
We hope you’ll have a wonderfully creative, productive, and memorable summer!
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Hal & Melanie