Activity Jars (aka the Solution to “Mama, I’m Bored!”)
The oppressive heat of summer has brought a halt to our constant outdoor fun, so Kieran and I have started to go stir crazy. To beat the boredom, we came up with Kieran’s Activity Jar. This is a great year-round solution to the problem of “I’m bored,” or “But there’s nothing to do!”
Here is what we did:
1) Come up with a list of fun activities. I actually went through our oft-neglected craft drawers and included craft projects, so I could use some of the materials we’ve been holding onto. I also went through some of the boxes of toys that are seldom used and added those to the list. You can see a portion of our list at the very end of this post.
I tried to make most of our activities things that I would not have to buy materials. There are a few items that I might need to make a quick trip to the store (i.e., “Make S’mores”), but nothing too outrageous or specialized.
You can easily incorporate any this into your normal “school at home” activities as well. For example, you could create “themed” jars for different topics you are studying, and you could also include field trips around your city that corresponded with your children’s interests.
2) Make activity strips. Either write out each activity on a piece of paper, or type it all out and print it on a printer (easier!). Then cut your activities into strips (one activity per strip).
3) Color code your strips. I highlighted outdoor activities in green, indoor activities in pink, and put a line of both green and pink on activities that can be done inside or out. We keep them all in the same jar, but if we’re looking for something to do inside or out, it’s easy for Kieran to pull out the matching color.
4) Put your strips into a jar or box. Decorate, if you so desire.
Once you have your activities in a jar, let your child pick out an activity a day. Or any time boredom strikes and they “can’t find anything to do.”
Yesterday we created our own indoor carnival games (first we knocked over plastic cups with beanbag balls, then we turned the cups back over and tried to toss in plastic golf balls).
Need ideas for more fun activities? Below are examples from our list, feel free to share your own ideas in the comments!
Kieran’s Activity Jar Activities
- Play catch with water balloons
- Create obstacle course outside
- Put up the tent outside and play
- Get a sheet, swing kids in it like a hammock
- Make homemade fruit pops (or chocolate covered bananas) and eat them for dessert!
- Hold a carnival in the back yard. Rig up some easy contests (knock over pop bottles with bean bags, toss the ball into the bucket and so on).
- Tell the kids that for dessert today, they’re not allowed to use their hands! Have a camera handy.
- Write one thing you like about each person on a slip of paper; everyone can read them out loud or quietly.
- Play charades
- Make S’mores
- Make mix-and-match pancakes for dinner. Make up a big batch of batter and set out bowls of add-ins like blueberries, coconut, chopped banana and chocolate chips. Let the kids add their ingredients and then cook them up!
- Make a sidewalk chalk creation
- Try bubbles – with food coloring!
- Grab some old sheets and paint them (on the ground or hung up) – stand back and get messy
- Go on a bug hunt
- Make a tissue paper sun catcher
- Draw on windows with window crayons
- Write notes to people and mail them
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