Ten cool things your kids can do if they’re bored and keep asking you what to do

“I’m borrrred. There’s nothing to do. I already colored. I don’t wanna read. Why can’t I watch TV? How about I just hang out in whatever room you’re in and start whistling a super annoying song while stabbing you in the butt with a light saber?”

Seriously? Seriously?!! I swear we own 9000 toys and games and all sorts of stuff, but my kid claims there’s nothing to do. So over the years, I’ve managed to come up with a decent list of creative shit your kids can do with just random stuff you have lying around the house. Easy peasy stuff to keep them occupied.

So here goes. Ten cool things to do with your kids when they’re bored and keep asking you what to do.

1. The Drink Challenge

My kids BEG me to play this game all the time. I’m sure you’re like WTF is the drink challenge? It’s super simple. Tell your kids to leave the room (my favorite part!) Then you get out ten cups and fill them with mystery liquids from the fridge. Regular stuff like OJ or milk, weird stuff like soda water or soup, deeeeelicious stuff like chocolate milk or coffee mate, and one cup with something really gross in it. Maybe pickle juice, or soy sauce, or salad dressing. Blagggh. Then you blindfold your kids and they take a sip and on the count of three they all yell out what they think it is. Or if it’s pickle juice, they start gagging and freaking out and crying and you feel kinda bad, even though it’s pretty hilarious.

2. A Plain Boring Empty Box.

You know what I love? When I buy my kid a super expensive toy and they end up playing with the box. So these days I skip the middleman and I just hand them an empty box. At first they look inside and they’re like WTF Mom, it’s empty. But an hour later, they’ve created a puppet show or a clubhouse or the Taj Mahal and I’m like awwww shit, now they’re never gonna let me throw that box away.

3. A Photography Walk

ME: Wanna go on a walk?

KIDS: BO-ring.

ME: Want to go on a photography walk?

KIDS: Yesssss!!! (pause) Mom, what’s a photography walk?

I mean it’s just a walk, but you hand your kid a camera, and suddenly a boring walk is exciting. Whether they’re taking a super close picture of a pile of rocks or looking at a tree from a different perspective.

4. Makeshift Shooting Range (Inside or outside)

When Holden is bored, there are two things I can always hand him that I know will occupy him for a long time. A stack of solo cups and a nerf gun. Bada bing bada boom, we’ve got a nerf gun shooting range that will occupy him for hours. Reach into your recycling bin for some variety or throw in some Beanie Boos and it’s even awesomer. Take that you overpriced stuffie with giant eyes!!

5. The Blindfolded Drawing Challenge

So here’s how it works. Each kid has a piece of paper, a marker and they’re wearing a blindfold. And you just shout out something for them to draw. A dog. Go. A superhero. Go. A house. GO! And then they have to draw it without looking. When they’re done they get to take their blindfold off and see what they drew.

KID: Mom, look, the windows are on the chimney!!!

ME: Bwhahahahaha. That’s almost as hilarious as the fact that I ate an entire sleeve of Girl Scout cookies while you were blindfolded and you had no idea!

6. A ridiculously simple scavenger hunt inside or outside

I mean RIDICULOUSLY simple. Like take sixty seconds to type thirty words, and then hand it to your kids:

Black hat

Paper clips

A pink Lego

Plaid underwear

Etc etc etc.

It’ll take them at least fifteen minutes to find it all. That’s fifteen blissful minutes of not hearing “I’m borrrredddddd.”

7. Still Life

Sure, you could take them to Michaels to pick out an expensive art project that will occupy like two seconds of their time and make you freak out because it’s a huge mess, or you can do this. Pick up five inanimate objects from around your house. Flowers, a vase, a bowl, fruit, knickknacks, paddywhack, give a dog a bone, shit what was I saying? Oh yeah, get five objects, hand your kiddo a piece of paper and some markers, and let them draw a still life. That’s how Picasso got started, ya know? He was hitting his sister so he lost screen time and didn’t have anything to do.

8. Dinner

Nahhhh, I don’t mean just feed them dinner. Unless is 4:59 in which case go ahead. Nope, I mean THEY are in charge of dinner.

ME: Hey, Holden and Zoey, I want you to be in charge of dinner tonight. You need to create a menu, be the waiters, and do the whole thing without me.

HOLDEN AND ZOEY: How do I–

ME: Uh-uhhhh, remember, I can’t help you.

Sure, dinner might be Lucky Charms served with a side of string cheese and a pile of goldfish, but who gives an F? You won’t have to lift a finger and they’ll be busy for a long time. Or your house will burn down. Minor inconvenience.

9. A coin hunt

This one is soooo simple. Get a fistful of coins and hide them all over the house. Yup, that’s it. Yo kiddos, anyone want to go on a treasure hunt?!!!! Hint, make sure you count how many coins you hide so they’ll know when to stop looking. Or don’t. If they keep looking for hours, that works too.

10. A crapload of other things

Build a tent, put on a play, draw a self-portrait, set up a spa for your stuffies, take a bath with glowsticks, make a chalk obstacle course, write a song, make a video, ask Alexa to tell you jokes, build a dog out of Legos, make a school for your dolls, give me a back massage, etc etc etc.

And if none of those work, just tell them to clean their room. They won’t come back to you for hours.

What do you do with your kids when they’re bored?!

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There are 9 comments for this article
  1. Laura Haugen at 1:15 pm

    You’re hilarious and I love all of these ideas. You sure do love to blind fold them! ? hopefully I can remember some of these for when my kids are older. They’re still content playing Simon says… blocks or the play kitchen.

  2. Cathy at 2:23 pm

    Thank you so much for some great ideas! I can’t wait to let my bigger littles make dinner one night! I also love your art ideas! Here’s a couple for you:

    I keep a couple of toys they like in my closet, it’s like getting a brand new toy if they haven’t seen it I awhile. I also change them out occasionally. I’ve had games, puzzles, art sets and play sets. This is worth anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes (or more!) depending on the day. Surprise eggs, putting cheap little things in plastic eggs is also a good diversion for a long day. Sometimes it’s just random stuff like stickers, tattoos, little junky plastic toys or sometimes it becomes a new playset. Toy make up, no transfer to skin is going to be next for my granddaughter. All these are available from amazon or any party store.

  3. Kriss Jenkins at 4:43 pm

    One of my favorite things for a rainy day or restaurant busy work is to take a magazine you already read and stick a “scavenger hunt” list on the front of the magazine of items you can find in the magazine. I bring paper, scissors, and a glue stick and tell my kid to make a collage with the found items.

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