July 27, 2010
Tip of the Week: December 24th, 1969

200+ Ideas For Summertime -- Or Anytime -- Fun!
Copyright Deborah Taylor-Hough
Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Since we don't use the phrase "I'm bored!" in our home,we never hear our kids complaining about being boredduring those long days at home during the summermonths. But ... I have to admit that we're still anincredibly normal family.

Even without the "b-word" in their vocabulary, there arestill those times when my three children (ages 16, 12and 8) just seem to be at a total loss for something constructive to do.

On one of those "I-can't-think-of-anything-to-do" days,I had my children sit down and make a list of everythingthey could do completely on their own without parentalhelp. After they brainstormed about it for over an hour(which was a good anti-boredom activity itself), thekids had a list of about fifty activities. Surprisingly,they even included a few household chores like dustingand weeding! I decided to ask for input from some othermoms, and now my children have a list of over twohundred ideas to beat summertime boredom, and thelist just seems to keep growing.

Thanks to the suggestion of one mom, we've put eachitem on this list onto individual pieces of paper, placedthe papers into a container, and when the children need inspiration for an activity, they draw two or three papers and then decide which idea they want to do, either as a group or individually. The mom who suggested pulling ideas out of a container told me she found this method more helpful than giving the kids a huge list of possibilities. By narrowing the choices down to just two or three, it was easier for the kids to pick out the one that sounded the best to them.

In no particular order, here's our current (but continuallygrowing!) list of activities:
  1. ride bikes
  2. roller blade
  3. basketball
  4. play board games
  5. make a tent out of blankets
  6. squirt with hoses
  7. run through the sprinkler
  8. jump rope
  9. read books
  10. blow bubbles
  11. make homemade play dough
  12. play with play dough
  13. press flowers
  14. do crafts with pressed flowers
  15. write a letter to a relative, friend or pen pal
  16. clean bedroom
  17. vacuum livingroom
  18. clean bathroom
  19. make a craft
  20. draw
  21. color
  22. paint
  23. pull weeds
  24. watch a movie
  25. write stories
  26. use binoculars
  27. use magnifying glass
  28. use microscope
  29. bird watching
  30. write a play
  31. act out a play
  32. invent circus acts
  33. perform a circus
  34. play card games
  35. make art on the front walkway with sidewalk chalk
  36. play catch
  37. play baseball
  38. collect rocks
  39. collect leaves
  40. collect feathers
  41. play Frisbee
  42. make Frisbee's out of old plastic lids, decorate with markers
  43. dust the house
  44. brush the pet
  45. write letters
  46. read a magazine
  47. play dress-up
  48. play Cowboys
  49. pick vegetables
  50. play outside with the pet
  51. build a fort in your rooms
  52. build a fort in the backyard
  53. do a jigsaw puzzle
  54. play on the Geosafari
  55. play on the computer
  56. listen to a story or book on tape
  57. do extra schoolwork to get ahead
  58. do brain teasers (ie: crosswords, word searches,hidden pictures, mazes, etc.)
  59. cook
  60. prepare lunch
  61. surprise a neighbor with a good deed
  62. play store
  63. prepare a "restaurant" lunch with menus
  64. hold a tea party
  65. have a Teddy bear picnic
  66. play with toy cars
  67. play dolls
  68. play house
  69. chase butterflies
  70. collect caterpillars and bugs
  71. plant a garden or a pot
  72. collect seeds
  73. hunt for four-leaf clovers
  74. learn magic tricks
  75. put on a magic show
  76. plant a container garden
  77. sprout seeds or beans
  78. make sock puppets
  79. put on a puppet show
  80. make Christmas presents
  81. make homemade wrapping paper
  82. make homemade gift cards
  83. make picture frames from twigs glued onto sturdycardboard
  84. crochet or knit
  85. make doll clothes
  86. sew buttons in designs on old shirts
  87. run relay races
  88. make bookmarks
  89. take a quiet rest time
  90. take a shower or bath
  91. bathe a pet
  92. feed the birds or squirrels
  93. watch the clouds
  94. organize a dresser drawer
  95. clean under the bed
  96. empty dishwasher
  97. vacuum under the couch cushions and keep anychange found
  98. write these ideas on pieces of paper and pick outone or two to do
  99. whittle
  100. whittle bars of soap
  101. practice musical instruments
  102. perform a family concert
  103. teach yourself to play musical instrument (recorder, harmonica, guitar)
  104. fold laundry
  105. sweep kitchen or bathroom floors
  106. sweep front walkway
  107. sweep or spray back patio
  108. sweep or spray driveway
  109. wash car
  110. vacuum car
  111. vacuum or dust window blinds
  112. clean bathroom mirrors
  113. clean sliding glass doors
  114. clean inside of car windows
  115. wash bicycles
  116. clean garage
  117. play in the sandbox
  118. build a sandcastle
  119. work with clay
  120. copy your favorite book illustration
  121. design your own game
  122. build with blocks or Legos
  123. create a design box (copper wire, string, odds-and-ends of things destined for the garbage, pom-poms, thread, yarn, etc.)
  124. plan a neighborhood or family Olympics
  125. have a marble tournament
  126. paint a picture with lemon juice on white paper andhang it in a sunny window and see what happens in afew days
  127. finger paint with pudding
  128. make dessert
  129. make dinner
  130. give your pet a party
  131. paint the sidewalk with water
  132. start a journal of summer fun
  133. start a nature diary
  134. have a read-a-thon with a friend or sibling
  135. have a neighborhood bike wash
  136. play flashlight tag
  137. play Kick the Can
  138. check out a science book and try some experiments
  139. make up a story
  140. arrange photo albums
  141. find bugs and start a collection
  142. do some stargazing
  143. decorate bikes or wagons and have a neighborhoodparade
  144. catch butterflies and then let them go
  145. play hide-and-seek
  146. create a symphony with bottles and pans and rubberbands
  147. listen to the birds sing
  148. try to imitate bird calls
  149. read a story to a younger child
  150. find shapes in the clouds
  151. string dry noodles or O-shaped cereals into a necklace
  152. glue noodles into a design on paper
  153. play hopscotch
  154. play jacks
  155. make up a song
  156. make a teepee out of blankets
  157. write in your journal
  158. find an ant colony and spill some food and watchwhat happens
  159. play charades
  160. make up a story by drawing pictures
  161. draw a cartoon strip
  162. make a map of your bedroom, house or neighborhood
  163. call a friend
  164. cut pictures from old magazines and write a story
  165. make a collage using pictures cut from old magazines
  166. do a secret service for a neighbor
  167. plan a treasure hunt
  168. make a treasure map
  169. make up a "Bored List" of things to do
  170. plan a special activity for your family
  171. search your house for items made in other countriesand then learn about those countries from the encyclopediaor online
  172. plan an imaginary trip to the moon
  173. plan an imaginary trip around the world, where wouldyou want to go
  174. write a science-fiction story
  175. find a new pen pal
  176. make up a play using old clothes as costumes
  177. make up a game for practicing math facts
  178. have a Spelling Bee
  179. make up a game for practicing spelling
  180. surprise an elderly neighbor or relative by weeding his/her garden
  181. fingerpaint with shaving cream
  182. collect sticks and mud and build a bird's nest
  183. write newspaper articles for a pretend newspaper
  184. put together a family newsletter
  185. write reviews of movies or plays or tv shows orconcerts you see during the summer
  186. bake a cake
  187. bake a batch of cookies
  188. decorate a shoe box to hold your summer treasures
  189. make a hideout or clubhouse
  190. make paper airplanes
  191. have paper airplane races
  192. learn origami
  193. make an obstacle course in your backyard
  194. make friendship bracelets for your friends
  195. make a wind chime out of things headed for thegarbage
  196. paint your face
  197. braid hair
  198. play tag
  199. make a sundial
  200. make food sculptures (from pretzels, gumdrops,string licorice, raisins, cream cheese, peanuts, peanutbutter, etc.) and then eat it
  201. make a terrarium
  202. start a club
  203. take a nap outside on your lawn
  204. produce a talent show
  205. memorize a poem
  206. recite a memorized poem for your family
Have a wonderful summer! (And for all you people inthe Southern Hemisphere, feel free to save this articlefor December reading!)

--Deborah Taylor-Hough (wife and mother of three) is a free-lance writer, editor of the Simple Times ezine, author of the bestselling book "Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month" and the newly released "Frugal Living For Dummies(r)" (Wiley, 2003). Visit Debi online and subscribe to her free e-newsletter at: hometown.aol.com/dsimple/. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com

Posted by Staff at 7:21 PM