“School’s out. Yay! Summer’s here. Whoopee! Finally, I can do what I want!”
Sounds good, but it’s not too long before we’ll hear:
“I’m so bored, there’s nothing to do.”
It makes a mother (or grandmother) want to pull her hair out! When did boredom become a sin?
Kids today are used to being programmed, scheduled and entertained. It’s no wonder they have lost the ability to be creative and to entertain themselves.
Summer gives us the opportunity to help our kids learn that they can be responsible for their own play!
Gather the kids together for a brainstorming session. Make two lists: one of fun things to do by myself and one of fun things to do with others. Neither list should necessitate an adult. Be sure to include some rainy day activities. Many kids like to make lists and to compete so create your lists in the spirit of a challenge, “Let’s see how many we can come up with.” Electronic devices are not allowed on this list.
Be sure to leave space on your list for them to add ideas they’ll think of later. We have a list on the wall at our farm. Some of our ideas include:
Read a book, climb a tree, play with trains, work a puzzle, look at old photos, play hide and seek, play dress up, color with chalk on the basement floor (or street), play hopscotch, get a cup and collect bugs, count stars, build a fort, create a scavenger hunt, play in the sprinkler, go for a walk with a bag and collect things God made, use old tooth brushes to clean rocks, paint rocks, build a block castle, cut things we like out of old magazines, write postcards to friends, cook, play with modeling clay or make clay from the mud in our yard, play in a creek, make something out of pieces of old wood (keep a hammer, nails and glue handy), think of something special you can make or do for someone else.
These are just to get you started. It’s best to have the kids write the list and then post it in a convenient place.
Next time you hear, “I’m bored,” simply respond, “This is a great time for you to try out some of those good ideas on the list. And I bet you can even think up some more! You are such a creative kid.”
They’ll probably roll their eyes and whine but if you persist they just might re-discover the joys of creative, independent play. And if they don’t, you can always suggest doing a chore for you as an option!