The school year has ended and children who eagerly looked forward to summer vacation may now be complaining about being bored! Adults can help a child overcome summer boredom by being prepared with a variety of activities that are both fun and educational.
Play is essential for children to learn and grow.W hile they are playing they figure out how things work, pick up new words and ideas and use their imagination. Play also helps children solve problems and learn to cooperate with others.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Make a teepee – Give your child an old sheet which can be colorfully decorated with markers, fabric crayons or fabric paint. Let the sheet dry and then drape it over a card table for an instant teepee.
Plan a scavenger hunt – This can be an inside or an outside game. Make up a list of fun items you want your child to find such as a small rock, a bird feather, a twig, etc. If you child is too young to read, draw pictures of the items and write the name underneath them. Go over the list so the child understands what to look for and where to look. Give your child a small bag or basket to put the collected treasures in. Be sure to plan a special treat or surprise for when the hunt is over.
Items that might spark interest – Put together a collection of items that will spark your child’s interest and creativity. Wagons, bikes, boxes, puzzles and blocks allow children to exercise their muscles. Water toys, musical instruments, bubbles, play dough and sand toys are sensory objects. Toys for make believe and social development include dolls, dress-up clothes, cars, trucks, games and books. Clay, crayons, paints, books, paper and scissors are excellent for creative and intellectual development.
Additional items to include in the collection are: prisms, magnets of different sizes, rulers, yardsticks, tape measures, thermometers, scales, flashlights, kaleidoscopes, magnifying glasses, measuring spoons and cups, an old clock, glue, washable markers and cookie cutters.
You and your child can make some play items with ingredients found in your kitchen. Two recipes that do not require any heat to prepare are Soft Dough Clay and Bubble Soap. Soft Dough Clay 1 1/2 cups salt 4 cups flour 1 teaspoon alum 1 cup water 1/2 cup cooking oil Food coloring, if desired Mix dry ingredients in a plastic bowl.
Gradually add oil and water. Knead (fold, press and stretch the dough) in food coloring. This clay will not harden or sour. Bubble Soap 1 cup dish detergent dishwashing liquid 8 cups water 1 cup corn syrup Mix all ingredients together.The bubble solution keeps well.
Store any unused portion in a closed container. Use a clean, plastic flyswatter with holes as a bubble wand, or make your own by twisting one end of a pipe cleaner into a ring. Plastic margarine tubs are convenient for dipping the wand into a small quantity of the bubble liquid. Blowing bubbles can be a great source of self amusement.
More tips to chase the boredom blues away: With your finger, trace a design on each other’s backs. See if your children can tell what the design is. If your children can read, try spelling different words. Make sure each child gets a turn. This is a great winding down activity and allows you time to interact and touch your children.
Take a walk together and collect sticks, stones, leaves or whatever captures your children’s attention. Once you return home, sort what you have gathered by size, laying out the largest to smallest.
Make paper airplanes.
See how far you can get them to fly. Cut up old magazines, and paste pictures onto newspaper. It makes a mess, but children will love it! Make your own recording.
Sing songs into a cassette tape.
Grandparents especially appreciate receiving such a tape. Or you may want to keep the tapes for memories. Create your own movie or play.
Assign parts and act it out.
If you have a video recorder, tape the movie and watch it with friends and family.
Using construction paper, markers, colors, scrap materials, feathers and other art materials, make homemade cards.
Children can create cards for friends and family. Use blankets, sheets, and clothespins to make tents. Let children have a snack and take a nap in the tent. Or better yet, set up your old ground tent in the backyard and watch the fun.
Read a book.
It sounds revolutionary, but it cures boredom every time.
Even the old standbys like the “Little House” or “Boxcar Children” can still be enjoyed.
A side note – your children may want to “recreate” a few scenes, so be prepared for churning dirt in a flowerpot (to make butter), playing school, and lots of picnics.
These are only a few examples of fun activities you and your children can enjoy together.
Children often need a little motivation and creativity from adults to help them engage in an activity.
Children are very creative and can be encouraged to come up with other ideas on their own.
Originally posted 2012-04-08 00:30:08.