Last summer I shared 281 boredom busting ideas for the summer. It turned into quite the popular post! Now it's time for 25 MORE boredom busting ideas just in time for Christmas Break.
My list last summer didn't include anything exciting like "take a trip to the zoo" or "schedule your visit to the theme park". Instead, it was 281 ideas for how to respond when your child says "I'm bored".
The ideas ranged from "go clean your room" to "why not write a letter to your grandmother" and almost every single one of them avoided the use of computers, televisions, or digital devices.
Most of them avoided heavy crafting skills, intense parental involvement, or trips to the store for supplies.
There were a lot of great ideas that work year-round (like "take out the trash" please) but many of them were specific to summer. "Go run through the water sprinklers" isn't such a good idea during the winter months.
I like to be prepared for "I'm bored". So I made another list.
I started thinking about the ideas for Christmas break. Even with all the new stuff my kids get for Christmas, I'm quite certain I will hear them say "I'm bored" long before they return to school in January.
So here you are, the list.
Before Christmas you can:
1. Calculate how long it is until Christmas. This can be in days, hours, minutes, or even seconds depending on the age of your child. If they are still bored, have them create a countdown calendar.
2. Pre-address their thank you notes. For added fun, have them get crafty and MAKE the actual notes. Washi tape and some blank cards are my first choice.
3. Make up their own song. Start them with the prompt "what did the sheep say" and guide them towards all the other creatures in the manger. You can even video their antics. If you've avoided the whole "what does the fox say" thing at your house, you can use the 12 days of Christmas as a starting point.
4. Build their own nativity/creche using items from the toy room. You may end up with stuffed animals, Lego figures, Barbies, or kid's meal action figures in the manger. Be sure to take photos of their creation!
5. (Outdoors) Clear a runway for the reindeer. Since we don't have snow where we live, making a reindeer runway involves raking up the yard and then laying out a path in sticks and pinecones. Maybe for you it would involve sprinkling glitter on the snow. Let your kids get creative with the idea.
6. (Outdoors) Turn a broken branch into a "tree" and then decorate it for the birds. String it with cereal garland and hang apple slices.
7. Play the present game. This is not my original idea, but I can't find the source. Each person is handed a used gift bag and told to place a "present" in the bag from somewhere in the house. It's something you already own. They then give the present to the person on their left (or right, or whatever works). The person who receives the gift has to (1) look happy about the gift (2) say thank you in a credible tone and (3) say two reasons why they like the gift. This is true even if the gift is dirty socks. (In that case, I would like the gift because it shows that my child is picking up after themselves AND that they know that I don't like my feet to be cold.) I like the present game because it teaches my kids how to act when they open presents. My boys like it because it gets very silly in a hurry. We normally exchange four or five rounds of gifts before it's hopeless.
8. Craft some origami ornaments. How-to videos are easy to find.
9. Make a holiday video for Grandma. If you don't want to fool with video, you can suggest writing a letter or making a phone call. You might even talk Grandma into a video phone call where she keeps the kids occupied long-distance while you regain your sanity.
10. Clean out your toys to make room for new ones. Personally, I think this is an "any time of year" idea, but the kids seem a little more receptive to it in the days leading up to Christmas.
In the kitchen you can:
11. Bake some sugar cookies. This can be as simple as slicing the store-bought loaf and sprinkling them with decorations or as elaborate as Pinterest. Small children can slice the loaf ones with a plastic knife. Older kids can be more involved. Finished cookies can then be delivered to neighbors or the fire station.
12. Make some Chex mix. The microwave recipe really does work. When the kids are done they can package it up and deliver it along with the cookies.
13. Make gingerbread houses from canned frosting, graham crackers, and leftover Halloween candy. Honestly, we don't eat these. Ever. We have been known to blow them up with tiny firecrackers on New Year's Eve. (If you do that PLEASE make sure that it's with sober adult supervision. Don't let your littles get hurt! Or your bigs. Just...be careful. And I'm not responsible. Okay?)
Good any time:
14. Draft your resolutions for the New Year. If it's after New Year's Day, this can become "create a tracking chart" for the goals you set. Or "do some research on your resolution". Or if they resolved to have a clean room, you should just have to remind them of their resolve.
15. Craft a marble run from empty cardboard tubes (wrapping paper, paper towel, and toilet paper are all good) and some duct tape.
16. Draw something amazing and mail it to your distant relatives.
17. Create scultures out of gumdrops and toothpicks. If you don't have gumdrops, use play dough or clay. What kind of sculptures? Tiny houses would be fun. Or maybe an entire village. Or perhaps a dinosaur or spacecraft. If you don't have toothpicks, dry spaghetti noodles work.
18. Enjoy a "bored" game challenge. Hand each child a small piece of poster board and suggest they create their own board games. Then hand them a small box with all the random game pieces and small objects that end up in my kitchen. By the time they are finished, they should need the glue and construction paper and crayons as well.
19. Mad Libs. Don't tell the kids, but these actually do a good job of enforcing grammar. There is an app version and multiple printable versions.
20. Make some rock sugar. The instructions are easily found online or on my Christmas activity Pinterest board.
21. Download an activity printable. Coloring pages, word searches, cut and paste activities, games, and crafts can all be found online. Pinterest is a great way to find these.
22. Issue a few "minute to win it" challenges. My kids love the one where they race the clock to wrap me in toilet paper. They also have fun with the ones that involve red plastic cups and small balls.
23. Decorate a window or mirror with a dry erase marker.
24. Check your "kids activities" Pinterest board and get some inspiration. If you don't have one, I do.
25. Chores/Flash Cards/Read. Don't laugh. I'm always amazed at what my kids can find to do when the alternative is sweeping the front porch or practicing their subtraction facts. I'm also amazed that sometimes they end up fighting over the vacuum cleaner because they both like to use it. I never know until I try.
Be sure and follow me for more holiday fun!