There is one thing that every parent dreads to hear—just two little words that can send panic rippling through your body and immediately push you into crisis mode. It’s something that can affect even the most organized parent at the most inopportune time. Yes, you guessed it … ”I’m bored.”
If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that children can become utterly insufferable when they’re bored. It doesn’t matter if they have piles of toys, or if they have clocked up hours and hours of Netflix, Tiktok, or YouTube. Children will always be bored at some point. Honestly, it’s hard to blame them. Being stuck at home with no one but their parents and siblings is tough on anyone, and we’re sure it’s made even worse when there is no end in sight.
Trust us, here at Let’s Roam, we know the struggle. While your first instinct may be to turn to screens for help, this isn’t always the best when it comes to children’s development, especially for young learners. We know that it’s hard to think of things that can compete with Peppa Pig, Baby Shark, or whoever the trending “influencer” is when you are trying to juggle work, homeschooling, and your overall sanity.
To help make things a bit easier, we’ve put together a list of boredom busters that are sure to keep even the toughest of critics entertained. Make sure to join in from time to time. Just because these are kids’ activities doesn’t mean that adults won’t have a great time doing them too!
20 Boredom Busters
1. Blow away boredom with Adventures From Scratch!
Sometimes, there is nothing better in life than a little spontaneity and a scratch-off adventure book is a unique way to keep your life full of surprises. Each book has more than 50 scratch-off adventures, in-home discoveries, tear-out surprises, and on-the-go challenges that have been hand-picked to provide ample opportunities to bring the family together.
Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition is perfect for kids from two-year-olds to teenagers and everyone in between! The activities have all been tried and tested by real families. With this handy book, life truly is full of adventure!
2. Play board games.
Whoever invented the very idea of board games for kids deserves a prize! Board games are one of the best ways to keep kids occupied when you are too exhausted to think of anything more creative. In theory, you have everything that you need in one small box with all of the rules neatly laid out for you. While anyone who has ever played Monopoly with their siblings knows that board games don’t always go to plan, at least you have everything you need at your fingertips to get the game going.
You can incorporate board games into a family game night with additional games like charades, Twister, Jenga, and more. Complete the night with a fun, DIY dinner where everyone gets to make their own mini pizzas or ice cream sundaes using a variety of toppings and you have a winner. Sounds super fun and delicious!
3. Fill in activity books.
Activity books are another great way to keep kids occupied with minimal effort on your behalf. These are generally workbooks full of coloring pages, puzzles, connect the dots, word finds, and other games. Luckily, the only extra “equipment” that you usually need is some crayons or colored pencils.
These are great when you are struggling with a work deadline or trying to get an important task accomplished and need something that can provide immediate entertainment to a bored child. You can find activity books at many grocery stores or purchase them on Amazon. Alternatively, you can make your own by stapling together free printable activity sheets that you download from the internet.
There are also adult activity books full of things you can do while your kids are keeping busy. It’s a fun way to create your own family-friendly activity and get some intellectual stimulation at the same time.
4. Make your own DIY science experiments.
Many of us may remember how exciting it was to do science experiments when we were young. From testing the reality of “urban legends” like what happens when you put Mentos into a bottle of soda to trying a DIY project in Highlights magazine, there was always something that sounded cool to try.
Why not recreate this same sense of excitement with your kids? DIY science experiments are a great way to teach them about some of the basic principles of science (and maybe refresh your memory as well!) and they can help create memories that can last a lifetime. If you need some ideas, check out this list of 5 Super Cool Science Experiments for Kids. All of these experiments can be done with things that you are likely to have already lying around at home.
5. Get a little crafty!
Art projects are fun for kids (and adults) of all ages and can really help get your kids’ creativity whirling while helping to develop their fine motor skills. Some projects that you can do include these family-friendly crafts, salt dough ornaments, which make great gifts, and simple spring crafts for kids, which incorporate things found in nature.
If you are not super creative yourself, don’t worry. There are also plenty of arts and crafts kits that you can buy that can help get kids started!
6. Put together jigsaw puzzles.
Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to keep kids of all ages occupied and can be very good for stress relief. There are also many benefits to doing puzzles including improving short-term memory and visual-spatial reasoning. They can also help build fine motor skills in younger children.
The trick is to find puzzles that are at the appropriate difficulty level. If they’re too easy, kids may finish and move on to the next activity quickly. Likewise, if they’re too difficult, you might find kids giving up before they’re able to complete it.
7. Try your hand at crocheting or knitting.
Despite being skills that were passed down for generations, crocheting and knitting have been largely forgotten by much of the population. However, it’s a skill definitely something that is worth revisiting.
Knitting and crocheting have proven to be good for not only relieving boredom but also for helping to reduce anxiety, which many people have been dealing with over the past two years, including kids. If you don’t know how to knit, there are many different YouTube videos to help you get started with basic stitches as well as knitting kits that include everything you need to create something new.
8. Play I-Spy.
“I spy with my little eye …” Most of us have played I-Spy at some point in our lives. This fun guessing game helps kids learn how to take turns, and is great for building vocabulary skills. One of the best things about it is that you don’t need any special “equipment” to play. You simply need to see what is around you.
While I-Spy may seem a bit too simple for older kids, don’t forget how easy it is to change the rules to make it a little harder. You can limit the number of questions kids could ask, or set a time limit on how fast they must guess the object.
9. Write to a pen pal.
Although much of our correspondence today is electronic, there is still something quite magical about having pen pals. Pen pals are a wonderful way to learn about other kids and different ways of living. While many of us found our pen pals through school or summer camp, there are tons of ways that kids can connect with other children from around the world.
10. Listen to a podcast.
Over the past few years, podcasts have increased exponentially in popularity and it now feels like you can find podcasts on virtually every subject under the sun. Much like audiobooks, podcasts are great for busy moms who want to learn something new while they’re doing laundry, cleaning, etc.
But, did you know that they’re also great for kids and provide an alternative to staring at a screen? There is a plethora of family-friendly content out there that is suitable for both children and adults. Some of our favorites include the Stories Podcast, which tells a new ten to twenty-minute story each week, alternating between classic fairy tales, folk tales, legends, and myths from around the world.
Story Pirates has proven to be another hit. This podcast creates an entertaining mix of content including stories and silly songs that are actually pretty catchy! Listen closely as every once in a while you may even hear the voice of your favorite celebrity.
If you are looking for something a bit more educational, Brains On offers science-themed content that is interesting for both parents and kiddos. This is a great one to listen to when you are in the car if you want to have a quick science lesson.
Pro Tip: It’s always a good idea to listen to a few episodes of a podcast before you let your kids listen to them. Some podcasts may seem like they’re family-friendly but may still include some adult content and it’s always good to double-check.
11. Take online classes
While many kids may groan at the thought of more online classes, there are many fun and unique options out there that are sure to bring some excitement back to online learning. Online learning companies like Outschool have classes covering pretty much everything that you can think of including Disney dance classes, Harry Potter books, and drawing, as well as topical courses covering current affairs, Black History Month, holidays, and more. The classes are created by teachers based on what they’re passionate about so you know that it’s going to be educational and entertaining.
If you are looking for something a bit more technical or structured, Code with Google and the Khan Academy have a great range of classes for kids. The classes are free and can give kids valuable skills that they can carry with them to school.
12. Go backyard camping.
Sleeping under the stars can be a magical experience and luckily, you don’t need to head out to a national or state park to do it! You can actually have your own little camping trip in your own backyard! You simply need to pitch a tent, grab some sleeping bags or old blankets, and you already have the essentials covered.
To make it extra special, you can light a bonfire where you toast marshmallows. If your kids are a bit older, you can even tell spooky stories!
13. Practice a new language.
Being bilingual is a major asset in our highly globalized world and giving your kids a head start when it comes to learning a new language could turn out to be a major advantage. Even if you aren’t fluent in another language, you could start out by teaching them counting and simple phrases. From there, you can enroll them in online language courses or set up a profile on apps like Duolingo.
Learning a second language not only gives them language skills that can help them later in life, but it’s also been shown to boost critical thinking, problem-solving, and listening skills. These are skills that can enable them to excel in school and in relationships.
14. Build an obstacle course.
The floor is lava!!!! While this may now be a bit of a catchphrase, most of us have created our own little obstacle course where certain sections of the floor are off-limits. Obstacleva courses are a great way to keep children amused at home for a few different reasons.
First, obstacle courses are great for helping increase coordination, strength, and balance. As they hop from one obstacle to the next, their bodies are working extra hard which means that they may also be getting a good workout! This is incredibly important at a time when kids are more likely to spend their time playing video games or watching TV shows on an iPad than they are to be playing outside.
Second, when constructed correctly, obstacle courses can help improve memory and problem-solving skills, as well as fine motor skills. All of these will be invaluable in their academic lives.
15. Create your own store.
If you are like many parents and have found your house overflowing with toys, books, and kids’ clothes that are no longer in use, how about having your kids create their own little stores? You can then “buy” the items from them using specially created coupons that they can exchange to get out of doing a certain chore, stay up 10 minutes longer, and so on.
This is a wonderful way to teach kids about money and placing values on things, and introduce them to the world of sales and marketing. You can then donate any of the toys or clothing you bought to families in need.
16. Do a Let’s Roam in-home scavenger hunt.
In-home scavenger hunts can easily turn your house into a world of adventure! During the hunt, the Let’s Roam app will give you a series of challenges to complete ranging in difficulty and the points that you get for achieving them. There are special scavenger hunts designed for kids below the age of 10, as well as themed hunts covering geography, science, math, and animals.
These are a great way for children to learn how to make any environment suddenly feel more exciting and to have a greater appreciation for the world around them. They are also an interesting way to get a little sibling rivalry going and to have a few hours of family fun.
17. Host a virtual game night.
If you have friends or family who want to join in on some fun from afar, a virtual game night could be just the thing to get things going. Virtual game nights are the perfect way to connect people, even if you can’t be together in person. Getting started couldn’t be easier. You simply need to create an account at letsroam.com and invite your friends and family to join.
Each game night can be customized based on your group preferences and with a wide range of games to choose from such as trivia, geography, and drawing, there is sure to be something for everyone.
18. Make your own playdough.
Playdough is a great tool to encourage creativity and can aid in the development of fine motor skills. Playing with it can also be therapeutic for kids who have been in a high-stress environment or tend to have issues with anxiety. However, playdough can get pretty expensive, especially if your kids go through it quickly. Rather than rushing to the store and buying more, why not make your own?
Making your own playdough is surprisingly easy and you’ll likely have most of the ingredients already lying around the house. You simply need flour, tartar, vegetable oil, and food coloring. The process is pretty similar to baking bread and kids can easily do it with just a little adult supervision. Check out this recipe for homemade playdough for more details.
19. Create holiday cards.
If there is a holiday coming up, like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Christmas, having kids create their own holiday cards can be a wonderful way to beat boredom, and inspire creativity. Plus, there will be a few recipients who will be lucky enough to receive a handmade card at the end!
All you need is some construction paper, markers or crayons, and maybe even some stickers to help add a little extra flair to the cards. If your kids are a little older, you can also look up some quick tutorials on YouTube or Pinterest to learn some new tips and tricks.
20. Make pinatas.
Many kids’ birthday parties include smashing a pinata and rushing to grab any of the candy that falls out. However, they can get pretty expensive considering that it’s something that is going to be destroyed. Rather than buying one big expensive pinata, making a few smaller ones could help save money and be a fun way to help bored kids keep busy.
Having a few smaller pinatas at a party is nice because it allows everyone to take part in the fun! To start making them, you just need to blow up a medium-sized balloon and create a paste using flour and water. Dip pieces of paper into the paste and then stick them onto the balloon. Allow that layer to dry before adding another one. Keep layering the paper on until it seems thick enough to hold its shape.
Once the pinata reaches its desired thickness, you can pop the balloon, and voila! You have your very own homemade pinata. If you want to up the fun factor, you can save the plain pinatas until the next party and have the kids decorate their own to take home with them.
Ready to Bust that Boredom?
We hope that this list has given you some ideas on fun-filled educational activities that can keep kiddos occupied. As always, we would love to hear your feedback and please let us know if you have a special trick that you think we should add to this list!
Need more inspiration for boredom busters? Try these Mom-Approved Activities for Kids at Home!
Frequently Asked Questions
There are lots of boredom busters that appeal to artistic kids. Try inspiring them with craft ideas, helping them learn how to knit or crochet, making pinatas, or enrolling them in online art classes.
Sometimes, it can be tough to help children with inquisitive minds to find activities they’ll enjoy. Try boredom busters like kid-safe scientific experiments, online classes, or in-home scavenger hunts.
If you’re looking for a fun way to keep kids occupied at home, a scratch-off adventure book can be just the thing! A handy key is included, to help you choose activities that meet your current needs.