JUST FOR FUN

35 Ways to Conquer Boredom and Have Fun at Home (aka a parent’s guide to Day 4,264 of quarantine, or summer, or beyond)

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t enjoyed having all my kids home for the past few months — in the house, in the yard, and really not much farther away than that. I have always wished I could collect people and memories and tuck them safely away in my pocket to always have them close to me. In a way, this bizarre and unprecedented 2020 has allowed me to do that. Ya know – metaphorically in my pocket, but really in my heart, and in the case of my immediate family, just a “Mom I need a snack!” yell from down the hall.

So, yeah, there has been a lot of awesome memory-making and family time throughout quarantine and remote learning. And here we are, a few months in. Boredom is creeping in as this actually has become a bit of the new normal. My own energy level has dipped from week one when I created daily fun challenges for the kids, to rainy, grey Saturdays like today when I focused on laundry while the boys played video games more than I usually allow them to.

Whatever phase of opening back up your state is in, or whatever your comfort level is with getting back out there, there’s a good chance you might be wondering how to conquer boredom, too. So, here is a list of activities or toys or stuff to do to help you through your days of quarantine, summer, or beyond. What can you add to it? How do you conquer boredom?

From a hockey rink to a breakfast nook to a school desk to a weight bench, there is so much creative stuff you can do with these foam mats!
  • Alphabet foam mats: We have literally had these mats for 12 years. My husband almost threw them out recently, and I said, “No, let’s hold onto them just a little bit longer.” Ten points for me, because they have provided a creative outlet and served as lasting entertainment for my kindergartener throughout all of quarantine. He has thought up, and built on his own, everything from a desk for remote learning, to a breakfast nook, to a store, to a weight bench, to a hockey rink … the list goes on. If you have these mats, keep them. If you don’t have them, buy them.
  • Scavenger hunt: Make your own, or look online, or have your kids make one for each other.
  • Talent show: Do your kids love being in the spotlight? Most of the time, mine do. After dinner, they love to plan their acts (helpful while the hubs and I clean up) and then perform a show for us — whether it’s dancing or singing or charades or jokes or skits or magic tricks . . . One of my kids has even gotten into writing hos own movie scripts (think 2-minute movies!), and so we’ve filmed a lot of those lately, too.
  • Bubble bath with glow sticks: I saw the glow stick idea online and I honestly can’t remember where. But I decided to add a bit more sensory stuff and surprised the boys each one at a time with a warm bubble bath, lavender scented (in hopes of soothing them, but you know — they have a lot of energy), and glow sticks for a disco/zen vibe.

  • Today’s Challenge : If you’re feeling ambitious, think up a challenge for your kids each day. Things like “Write a song as a team,” or “Bake brownies,” or “Make a scavenger hunt for Mom and Dad.” I did this, they loved it, then I burnt out. Your turn now!
  • Dance party!!! Any time, any music, any dance. Or full-on with lights and a dj set like my oldest son just got for his birthday.

  • STEAM kits (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math)! We’ve had fun with the egg drop kit and building floatie boats in affordable kits from Oriental Trading.
  • Finger paint. Get Crayola Washable, and you don’t have to stress about the mess.
  • While we’re getting messy, let them make SLIME. I seem to be one of the few parents out there who doesn’t mind slime . . . stick with me, and read here why you should love it, too.
  • Board games. Yes, good old board games. Click here for some of our favorites!
  • Family movie nights . . . or afternoons . . . or mid-mornings. Rent it, stream it, DVR it, whatever you do . . . and of course have yummy snacks, too.
  • Cooking Challenge (like Chopped!). I tailored the ingredient list for each kid based on his age and skill in the kitchen — such as having the oldest working with eggs and a frying pan, while the youngest had ice cream and lots of toppings.
  • Story time! What were your favorite books as a kid? Maybe your kids can read them now.
  • Play store. If we can’t go out to the stores as readily as we usually do right now, why not put a pretend store in your house and shop there?
  • Legos. My youngest has a new interest (addiction?!?!) to Legos. I’ve bought him lots of sets, and I love seeing him spend hours at a time to go through the manual and build his creation step by step.
  • Snap circuits. They’re super-cool.
  • Video games. That’s right. I allow it.
  • Baking: We’ve made muffins and pumpkin bread and cookies. Oh my!
  • Play-Doh. I know, I know. Some of you classify that in the same messy category as slime. I really don’t mind it.
  • Bike ride. I just relearned how to ride a bike after having not been on one in probably 25 years. It’s true what they say — it was like riding a bike.
  • Hike. If it’s safe and you can maintain social distance, get outside and enjoy.
  • Send happy mail. Have your kids make fun worksheets or sticker pictures for friends, or letters for family. My son has been sending my mom home-made mazes that he draws, then she completes the maze and sends it back to him with a cute note. It’s a sweet new tradition.
  • Virtual visits. We arranged a Zoom call for my son’s hockey team, I did a virtual happy hour with friends. Connect!
  • Play in the dirt. I’m a boymom. I had to include this one.
  • Ice cream party: Yes, I feed my kids healthy food. But I also see the value in little celebrations and lots of fun, and I see snacks and comfort food playing a role in this quarantine life.
  • Sink or Swim science experiment: fill a pot or the bathtub with water. Give the kids a bunch of different objects and ask them to predict whether each will float or sink. Then put them in the water and find out!
  • Family Olympics. Have each family member create a sporting event.
  • Sidewalk Chalk. Draw a chalk track or town on your driveway . Use your imagination, then have fun with bikes and other riding toys.
  • Good old blanket fort-building. Enough said.
  • Make your own pizza. Check if a local pizzeria has a DIY kit available.

  • Spin Art. Always one of our favorites.
  • Make your own puzzles or board games!
  • Indoor camping! Set up a tent or sleeping bags, make s’mores in the microwave, play games, and enjoy even more family time.
  • Virtual Vacation: We had to cancel a Disney trip for obvious reasons. So we did our best to bring Disney home to us. Think of bits and pieces of whatever your favorite activities or vacation spots are, and see how you can bring them to life at home.
  • Lemonade stand: We had one recently and donated all money raised to Covid-19 relief. So simple to do with Country Time deliciousness! We did pink lemonade, regular lemonade, and thanks to our creative babysitter, a third pitcher that had strawberries and watermelon blended in. So delicious!

Which of these will you try? And what else are you doing? Send ideas my way, for when my boys get bored of these!

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