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It’s the middle of July, and the beginning of the school year is at least a month away. I don’t know about you, but I often need a summer pick-me-up about this time. I do want to say before I begin that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a kid being bored. Boredom is good for kids’ brains and often leads to them finding something really fun and creative to do (unless you’re my preschooler, and then it just leads to a huge mess). But there are times, like when it’s been raining for days or when it’s over 100 degrees outside when a fresh idea can help improve everyone’s attitudes. So today I’m bringing you 27 boredom busters for kids, all of which can be done at home with little-to-no prep or mess. To me, a true boredom buster doesn’t require a lot of work from me—either in getting it prepped or in helping to clean it up. These are all fun ideas for kids to do, and if you have older kids, they can do them all by themselves!
27 Summer Boredom Busters for Kids
Have a Scavenger Hunt
Quickly write up a list of household items or outside items for your kids to find (or let your kids make it up for each other!). You could have them try to find different amounts of things (1 rock, 2 pinecones, etc.) or do a color themed hunt (a red shoe, a black button, a green cup, etc.)
Use rocks from around your yard and whatever paint you have. You can also use Sharpies to write words on them!
Paint with Shaving Cream
Pull out shaving cream and cookie sheets and add food coloring if you want.
This is the only item on the list that might require you to buy something, but these Mad Libs will provide so much entertainment, it’s worth buying them now and having it on hand for a rainy day.
Go on a Simon Says or Follow the Leader Walk
Do this in the morning before it gets too hot! Everyone gets to take turn leading and telling everyone else how to walk. This is a great way to get some energy out!
Wash the Car
If you’re not that worried about how the car looks when it’s all over, then this is a boredom buster that requires no supervision as long as your kids are old enough.
Make Mini Volcanos
All you need for this is equal parts baking soda and vinegar. Put some baking soda in the compartments of ice cube trays. Then use eye droppers or small spoons to slowly add vinegar. You can use food coloring for extra fun!
Materials needed: sidewalk chalks, rocks, and energetic kids!
Throw Sponge “Water Balloons”
The last thing I want to do is fill up 500 water balloons. Instead, find some sponges in the garage or under the sink and fill up a big bin with water outside. Voila! Reusable “water balloons.”
Lay out huge sheets of paper, stickers, and markers and let them create to their heart’s content. Buying a new box of markers is sometimes all it takes to inspire some creativity in my kids.
Build a Fort
Pick a place where the fort can stay up for a couple of days, and this could be an extended boredom buster!
Create an Obstacle Course
Kids love coming up with challenges for each other! Let them make a small map of your yard and draw out the obstacle course, then provide them with a timer so they can compete with each other.
Set a Reading Timer
Make sure they find a good book, then set a timer for a number of minutes and require absolute silence.
Play “Hot or Cold”
Surely you remember this game from when you were a kid? Someone hides a small object and then says “hot” or “cold” when the others are looking (hot for when they’re close; cold for when they’re far away).
Play a Game
Dig way back in the game cabinet and find a game that you haven’t played in a while.
Eat Breakfast Outside
You can eat lunch outside, too, but it’s way too hot for that here. I like going outside for a good reason first thing, because it often turns into extended outside time.
Tell a Story Together
Let each person participate by each person saying one sentence at a time. For example, I might start with, “Once there was a girl named Lucy…” and the next person will add, “One day, Lucy decided to swim across the ocean.” See how outlandish you can get!
Teach Your Dog New Tricks
Pull up some dog trainers on YouTube and grab some treats for a fun activity for your dog AND your kids.
Put on a Show
Have the kids prepare and put on a show for you and your spouse. Think: telling jokes, dancing, singing, musical instruments, acting, etc.
Write Letters to Grandparents
Whether your kids have grandparents in town or not, this is a great use of their time and one that will definitely bless the recipients!
Have a Lego-Building Competition
Have your kids make cars, houses, or people out of Legos and then give each one a star rating!
This is a time-tested boredom buster for little kids. If you can’t be outside, just lay a big sheet on the floor to catch bubble solution.
Create a Book
Simply fold a piece of 8″ x 11.5″ paper in half, then staple at the fold OR punch holes and use ribbon or string to tie the pages together.
Whether it’s a component for dinner that night or just a fun snack that you can all eat together, including kids in the kitchen is a great boredom buster!
Color a Picture
Print off some new coloring pages and let them go to town. The more complicated the picture the better, depending on the ages of your kids.
Play Hide and Seek Inside
You can do this outside, too, or play Sardines if you have lots of kids and a bigger house.
Do a Puzzle
For older kids, you can start a big puzzle that you do over many days. For smaller kids, spread out on the kitchen floor and do a bunch of smaller puzzles all at once!
What are your favorite boredom busters for kids? Let us know in the comments!