Implementing A ‘Bored Box’

Implementing a Bored Box
We are nearly finished our first week of the school holidays. I always look forward to my children being off school. After all, it means no more rushing in the mornings, having to prepare school lunches and overseeing homework. During term time, when I’m looking forward to the holidays, I forget that the school holidays come with their own set of challenges.

It didn’t take long before this conversation was heard in our house:

Child, “I’m bored”

Me, “What would you like to do”

Child, ” I don’t know, all my toys are boring”

Me, “What about seeing if there are any kids on the road who want to play?”

Child, “No, boring”

Me, “What about we play a game together?”

Child, “Games are BORING”

Me, (feeling a bit exasperated, but trying not to raise the tone of my voice) “How about you tidy your bedroom?”

Child, (now getting even more frustrated) “No, I hate cleaning my room”

I continue with another couple of suggestions and then I have to leave the room before I start shouting back at her about how spoiled she is to have so many options and they all can’t be boring.

So, I’m going to put together a ‘Bored Box’ every night for my kids. Then the following day, once they start complaining about being bored, I’ll produce it and hopefully, the situation will be diffused early.

I think one of the biggest problems most Irish children have these days is that they have too many options and they feel overwhelmed with what to choose. I know that there are so many toys in our playroom that haven’t been looked at in a long time. Often, the fun they bring has been forgotten. My aim is to retrieve some of these toys/puzzles/games/books every night and put them in the Bored Box. I’ll also add some chores that need to be done (I probably need to add a monitory value to these, in order for them to get done!) and on the days were I know little has been organised, I’ll add some trips into the Bored Box on paper, which my kids can choose, if they wish. I want to continue encouraging some learning over the holidays, so if the forecast is going to be wet, I’ll add in some educational games too.

My children are 6 and 8 years old (at time of writing). Here’s a list of some things I hope to put into the box. I plan to put 5 or 6 options in every day. If it’s not something physical (like an actual toy), then I’ll write it on a piece of card and put the card in. Obviously, for different ages, you put in different things.

  • A jigsaw puzzle
  • A book or comic
  • craft materials
  • Some Lego or K’nex
  • Baking suggestion (especially if we are having people around or going somewhere that day)
  • A trip to the forest to make a den
  • An outdoor toy – learn to skip, do some street art with chalks, fly a kite ….
  • The option of going to a charity shop (I do a deal with my kids that if they bring 5 items they don’t want any more, I’ll buy them one thing in exchange at the charity shop)
  • Scoot or cycle to the newsagent to buy an ice-cream or treat
  • Do a science experiment
  • Do some role play/drama (I recently attended an anti-bullying course and was encouraged to role-play situations to prepare my kids for dilemmas they might find themselves in. Since then, I’ve googled for role play ideas and there are loads there. It doesn’t have to be about bullying,  it could be about anything your child is going to face in the coming year)
  • Buy something in preparation for the next school year (It’s always good to spread this out over the summer as between books, uniform, pencil case, school bag, coat etc, it adds up, so buying one thing a week makes it less work and spreads the expense)
  • Do some messy play (eg make some slime or play dough)
  • Go to the beach, park, lake
  • Cover school books
  • Put up the tent and play in it.
  • Do an educational game online. We like Space Hangman and this one. (If you’d prefer not to do this online, there are loads of educational games available to buy)
  • Choose a colouring picture online and colour it.
  • Do a job around the house or see if a relative has any jobs that need to be done
  • Go to the library
  • Get the bus instead of driving
  • Go on a nature walk
  • Prepare a meal together (it’s even better if you let them choose the meal)
  • Encourage them (with some other kids) to write, direct and put on a show.
  • Put on some music and dance
  • Go to a playground you haven’t been to in ages

The school holidays are great because you get to spend lots of time with your children. The school holidays are difficult because you have to spend so much time with your children. Try and get the balance right. Do things that you’ll enjoy yourself and it will make spending time with your kids even better. But also be aware that you don’t have to spend 100% of the time with them, especially if they are older and don’t need to be supervised all the time. It’s good for them to play on their own and to think up things to solve their boredom. Being bored is often good as it allows our children to think outside the box and learn to play. Try not to give in and allow them screen time every time they are bored.

Enjoy your Summer,

xx Suzie

If you liked this blog, you might also like my ‘How to keep a Playroom Tidy‘  or ‘Why our homes are falling down with toys that don’t get played with – 4 Tips‘ blog



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