Things to do (indoors) to keep kids from saying 'I'm bored'

Every parent dreads rainy weekends, and being cooped in the house with bored kids. But with the current lockdown the world over, that is exactly the kind of situation parents are in. Except it's not just one weekend or even one month of weekends, it's for a considerable amount of weekends. And weekdays. Which merge into one another…

But, life has to go on and we have to keep our kids entertained. 24/7. Everyday till we're stuck safe at home. While most of us are working from home too. Yes, there is a significant amount of homeschooling work to do, there are electronics, toys, puzzles, games, art and craft but on some days, all this just doesn't cut it. You will still hear your child whining that he or she is "bored".

It's at moments like these that you have to put your supermum cape on and just improvise. Sometimes, the most seemingly mundane things and objects can bring immense joy and 'novelty' to our kids. I've jotted down a few ideas we've thought of (and work!) these past few weeks. Feel free to add your own in the comments…

 

 

Play 'School'

Little Man loves to play 'school' where he is the teacher and I am the student. It's an exact replication of his actual day at school, so this game gives me a great insight into what he does at school. Another plus point is that although he's the teacher, he doesn't realise he's still doing a fair bit of 'learning'! So on days when homeschooling hasn't gone as planned, I (innocently) suggest this game and voila, he's reading me a story (Reading – done), explaining lesser than and greater than to me (Math – ticked off the list) and even telling me about the different parts of a plant (Science – check).

Psst: Kids love role play and most children enjoy enacting the roles of their teachers.

Making reading 'fun'

Another little trick to get them to practice their reading without them realising it. Little Man loves collecting these Disney/Marvel cards (that were available through Sainsbury's a couple of months ago) but any similar cards will do the trick. He sorts them out according to the movies/ characters and then reads out the characteristics on the cards. This takes a good half hour and helps him practice both his sorting and reading skills. Which also gives me enough time for a nice cuppa!

Create and Ideate with Lego

Yes, I know Lego is all about ideating and creating but we add a further twist to it for variation. I make little Lego creations (we usually pick a theme – the 'creations' in the picture below are weapons) and Little Man then ideates and elaborates on them, stating possible uses of the said figure. A fantastic way for kids to use their imagination.

 

Making designs with Hotwheel cars and/or clothes clips

Again, this can be done with any other small objects/ toys – we just chose Hotwheels because of the significant amount of cars Little Man has! I love this one – get creative with shapes, words, alphabets, numbers, random designs, the list is endless… (and this provides a nice break from the usual 'activities' and nips the 'I'm bored' phrase in the bud).

Psst: Make them count the number of cars/ clips used in each design. Make them add one more or ask them how many would be left if you hid three. Getting the drift? Add a spot of Maths in as well – they won't realise it and you score. Win win!

Make bathtime an extension of playtime

When all else fails, I reach out for (no, not wine, ok, sometimes the wine) – the bathtub! This almost always does the trick. The combination of water, foam, bubbles, slime (sometimes) and toys often equals to a great distraction from being 'bored' or fed up and before you know it, your child/ children have spent a happy hour splashing and messing about in the tub.

I let Little Man take his superhero figures inside the tub and invent his own superhero v/s baddie games. Other times, he pretends the tub is his restaurant and I 'order' dishes (made with soap and foam) which he serves up in a bathroom mug (how fancy!!!). Another fun option is to add bath slime to the water or most often, just the soapy bubbles do the trick.

Set up 'challenges' and do one every day

There are a lot of challenges doing the rounds on the Internet – Lego challenge, Drawing challenge, Reading challenge etc. Pick one from each every other day (to break the monotony). If you ask your child to read or to draw, you might get a straight out 'no'; however, if you ask them if they're up for a 'challenge', it will almost always be a resounding 'yes'!

Build a pillow house/fort

This one's a favourite in my house – Little Man LOVES making pillow houses! I ignore the fact that ALL the pillows and cushions in the house are strewn all over the living room carpet, because this gives him so much joy (and occupies him for a good amount of time!!!). He then even 'plays' in his house and all is well until… he invites me over and then I have to eat and sleep and play in said house! Without breaking down the walls!

Indoor scavenger hunt

Create an indoor scavenger or treasure hunt (the longer the better) and let the kids run around the house searching for clues or items. Will keep them busy and off the sofa seeing TV!

Paint leaves and stones

Add a fun twist to your art sessions by painting leaves and stones. Decorate them in different colours and patterns and then show them off in a little corner of your garden.

Teach (age-appropriate) life skills

This one could be a bit challenging but there's no better time than this to teach your child life skills (things like making their own bed, folding their own clothes or helping to unload the dishwasher). Of course this will more often than not be met with resistance, but if you make it fun or give them rewards, who knows, your child could emerge from the lockdown being the perfect home-maker!
PS: I'm still trying on this front!!!

The 'list'

This is often my first go-to when i hear the words 'I'm bored'. Little Man and I made a 'list' of all the possible things he could do/ activities he could engage in/ toys he could play with when boredom strikes. And which don't require mummy! From Lego to puzzles to colouring to playing with his cars and superheroes, it's all there!

I let him choose what he feels like doing rather than telling him what to do – the 'choice' often gives kids the feeling of doing something out of free will rather than instruction. Not to say that the 'list' always works, but sometimes realising that they can do X or would like to do Y helps when it's written down in front of them.

How do you'll deal with the kids' boredom? Any new or exciting ideas? Do share in the comments!

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