Looking for boredom busters for kids? You’ll love this list of 101 fun ideas of what to do when you’re bored – for kids!
Does boredom strike at your home more days than it doesn’t? (Resulting in whiney, clingy kids and absolutely no productivity for you?)
Maybe the weather has been unwelcoming for days upon days (maybe months) and you have simply run out of things to do.
There’ve been so many days lately that the outside world has been freezing and horrible and the kids have worn out their favorite toys and played all the games that we normally play indoors… over and over and over again.
So I decided to create a huge list of what to do when you’re bored for kids to save both you and me a lot of future headaches and cries of “I’m boooored!” from the other room.
Read on for a list of ideas so extensive, that I’d print it out and save it for a rainy day if I were you.
The Problem with Having Bored Kids
Boredom CAN be good for kids. It can help them learn to use their imagination and make use of toys and activities that are often cast aside. Boredom can foster creativity.
If your kids aren’t ever given a chance to be bored, they will never be forced to be creative.
That’s all well and good and true but that can only last for so long. Kids WILL get too bored. If you have a more rambunctious child they will start doing ridiculous or dangerous things or fighting with their siblings. A dramatic or even a very laid-back kid may roll around on the floor hollering, “I’m bored!” at regular intervals.
Either way, it’s nothing you can handle too much of. If you’re like me you are working from home. Boredom for kids is a productivity buster for a work-from-home parent. Not to mention it can just drive you straight bonkers as well.
So for YOUR sanity (and mine) we need to have an epic list of what to do when you’re bored for kids!
Don’t you agree?
(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
What to Do When You’re Bored for Kids
Having a list of boredom busters for kids is super helpful. When you are able to help lead your children towards creative games and activities outside of their norm you can encourage creative thinking, reduce screen time, and help them try all kinds of things that they wouldn’t have thought of themselves.
Remember, boredom for a child isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They don’t need to be as regimented and scheduled as society wants us to think these days. If they don’t have a chance to be “bored” they are being robbed of an opportunity to think outside of the box and participate in creative thinking and play.
However, your kids’ boredom absolutely CAN get the best of them. They can get stuck in a negative mental boredom cycle that blocks any new creativity and causes distress as they focus only on the fact that they are bored.
Their minds get stuck only seeing that there is nothing to do and they begin a downward spiral of boredom. This is when you experience what we are all too familiar with, a call from the other room repeatedly of, “Mom I’m bored!”
Oftentimes, without being guided toward new ideas or new objects to play with your kids may get stuck feeling bored. They need some direction and guidance from you in order to break that cycle. You can take this huge list of ideas to do when your kids are bored and help channel them into fun ideas and activities.
There are all kinds of things that I’ve put together in this list of what to do when you’re bored for kids with all different levels of participation from you.
Maybe you are ready to break up what you are doing as well and jump right into some new activities with your kids. Breaking up your own boredom, doing a bit of teaching, and making some fun memories with your kids are never a waste of time.
I’ve got you covered!
But maybe you might be looking to resolve or redirect their boredom with very little to no participation from yourself this list of activities for bored kids will help with that too.
You aren’t a bad parent if you can’t be involved in every activity your child does… You are a BUSY parent!
Maybe you are just feeling a bit burnt out from the constant and unending demands of mom life or maybe you are a work from home mom like myself. Either way, don’t worry, this list has a ton of ideas that you can just help set up and get the free time you need while your kids participate in the activities.
How These Boredom Buster Activities for Kids are Broken Up
I tried to place the activities from what to do when you’re bored for kids into coherent categories so that it is easier for you to reference especially if you decide to print this list out for future reference. Some activities span multiple categories but you can always mix up where and what you are doing to suit the day and the weather.
The categories you’ll find here of what to do when bored for kids are crafty activities, science experiment activities, indoor activities, and outdoor activities.
So let’s get started busting that boredom together!
Make Sock Puppets. There are so many fun crafts that you can do at home with such a small amount of supplies. Keeping a medium-sized stash of supplies for easy crafts can help eliminate boredom so many times! You can use a pair of old socks for easy crafts by making sock puppets.
Upcycling Challenge. When you upcycle you create new things out of old things that would normally be trash. Think of using cereal boxes, cans, bottles, toilet paper rolls, etc., and challenge your kids to think of new things to create. By providing a lot of different materials that would normally end up in your recycle bin and some basic supplies like glue, markers, paint, pipe cleaners, and pom-poms you will be surprised at how creative your kids’ little minds will get!
Make a Felt Board. Using a bunch of different colors of felt, a piece of cardboard or wood, and a hot glue gun you can design a felt board. There are tons of different ideas for easy felt boards to create at home.
Try Making Paper Mache Balloons. You can make an easy paper mache paste in minutes with items you already have on hand in your kitchen. If you blow up a balloon and rip up some pieces of paper you can create paper mache globes, decorations, or masks.
Create a Vision Board. This is a wonderful activity for adults and children alike. If you aren’t familiar with a vision board it is a collage of things meant to inspire you to help you manifest your dreams and goals. By taking pictures and magazine clippings of images and words of places you want to go, things you aspire to have, or what you want to be and pasting them all together on a piece of paper or poster board, you can better make your dreams become a reality. Plus you can put your mind into a better headspace just by looking at your inspiring vision board.
Write Your Own Books. Depending on your child’s age you can encourage them to create new books either by hand or on the computer. Take 3 or 4 sheets of white paper together and fold them in half to create a small book to design. You can also use a site like Canva to allow your kids to digitally design their own books as well.
Design a Fairy Garden. It’s amazing how much fun kids can have designing a miniature garden in their backyard. You can also craft new supplies for your fairy garden to take up even more possible boredom time. You can add new things all the time for an ongoing boredom buster. There are endless fairy garden craft ideas but these 21 fairy garden ideas with items from the Dollar Tree will help to get you started.
Decoupage Something. You can literally decoupage anything and this is one activity that you can get almost any age kid into. Decoupaging is simply gluing usually paper (sometimes fabric) with modge podge onto something. Some simple and decoupaging creative activities include making a pencil holder out of a can, decorating jars, or even decoupaging old furniture. Magazine cutouts and scrapbook paper are great to use.
Paint Canvases or Cardstock. Kids of any age can better develop their fine motor skills with painting. Little kids may be best suited with wide paint brushes, their fingers, and non-toxic paint. Older kids are able to be much more creative and precise with different shapes and sizes of paintbrushes and blank canvases.
Paint an Old Piece of Furniture. Depending on how much storage space you have in your house you may have old furniture outside or in the shed or garage. Or maybe a piece inside is just super old and worn out. It can be very easy and fun to let your kids design a new piece of furniture. Whether it be with painting, sponge painting, printing it with their hands, decoupaging, or something else, they will have SO much fun with with activity.
Play with Wood Scraps. There’s a chance you have a scrap wood pile somewhere in or near your garage. You can let your kids use it to paint, learn to hammer, use a play toolset if they are younger, set it up as an agility course, etc. The possibilities are endless. Let their creativity run wild!
Craft with Popsicle Sticks. One of the craft supplies that is great to have on hand at all times is popsicle sticks. You can use them in science lessons, make mini picture frames, make magnets, and make them into animals like butterflies. Or just let your kid play with them creatively. Try out these fun popsicle stick crafts to get you started.
Make a Shoebox Dollhouse. A shoebox can be a great creativity starter for your bored kids. You can turn it on its side and create a tiny house they can use for their toys. Or if dollhouses aren’t your kiddos’ thing you could make a barn, an ocean scene, or any number of things out of a shoebox. You could even stack and tape a bunch together to create an epic dollhouse.
Make a Collage. Kind of like the vision board mentioned above but with no real rules. Give your child some old magazines and let them cut out anything that strikes their fancy and paste it together into a fun creative art piece.
Make Jewelry. If you have a jewelry-making kit it may make this pastime the easiest but you can make jewelry other ways as well. Use twine to macrame, put pony beads on pipe cleaners for little kids, or let your child creatively make braids with yarn.
Make a Sensory Bin. You would be surprised how many ages enjoy sensory bins. It isn’t just toddlers. Find a large box and fill it with something small with a cool texture like beans or rice. Then add in some scooping or pouring devices. (I just raid my baking drawer.) If you want you can even make it a theme by adding small toys into the mix or making everything a certain color.
Make Some Salt Dough. Salt dough is so easy to make and can be used in so many ways! You can fill a pie tin and have your child stamp their hand in it, you can create ornaments, or you can let your child sculpt a figurine. After your child is done playing with the dough you bake it. Then they can continue the activity by painting their creations.
Make Homemade Play-Dough. Did you know that you can quickly and easily make playdough with items you’ve already probably got laying around in your kitchen? Try this easy homemade playdoh recipe for endless hours or days of fun.
Design a Board Game. By simply supplying your child with a manila folder (or even two pieces of paper taped together) they can spend time designing their own board game. They’ll love the idea of making their own theme and rules. Cut some blank pieces of paper into 8ths or give them some index cards to make the playing cards. Throw in a die or two and they are all ready to design what may be the best board game they’ve ever played.
Sew a Pillow. Teaching your kids to sew can be so helpful in life. Learning to sew a basic pillow is a great starting place. Let them pick the fabric, show them how to place the two pieces inside out, and then help them learn to stitch by hand.
Make Homemade Instruments. You can further your kids’ creativity by giving them a ton of random supplies like jars, paper clips, old boxes and cans, rubber bands, etc. that they can use to build their own instruments.
Coloring or Drawing. Don’t forget simple activities like coloring books or free drawing on blank paper.
Make Moon Sand. Kinetic sand is really amazing but you don’t always have it on hand and it’s kind of toxic and can be kind of expensive too. You can make your own homemade version with things you’ve got in your kitchen.
Learn Origami. You can make almost anything you want out of origami. It can be really fun to learn.
Make Slime. There are a ton of different slime recipes, but even the basic slime recipe works great.
Make Silly Putty. Another great STEM activity that is both fun to make and fun to play with is creating your own silly putty.
Make a Volcano. You can get as creative as you want with this by using a simple jar or letting your child first sculpt a volcano before you fill it with baking soda (maybe food coloring) and then pour some vinegar on top.
Make a “Lava Lamp.” You can pretty easily make a mini lava lamp at home with this experiment.
Learn About Viscosity. Using different items from around your house you can teach your kids to layer liquids with this classic science experiment.
Grow Crystals. This one takes a bit of patience, but you can use all sorts of materials you have at home like salt or sugar to grow crystals.
Try the Milk Dish soap Experiment. This is a really fun one. You get to make magical colors in a shallow dish of milk. It looks so cool!
Make a Weather Vane. Science can be fun. Set your kids up to make their own weather vane they can then use outside.
Try the Cabbage Experiment. You can actually use red cabbage to test whether something is an acid or a base. How fun!
Make it Rain. Ok, so we can’t REALLY make it rain, but you can show how a rain cloud works with simple supplies from home.
Make Elephant Toothpaste. Have you ever seen this amazing experiment? Try making elephant toothpaste for some messy but impressive fun.
Now we are getting to a portion of the 101 ideas of what to do when you’re bored for kids that aren’t quite as creative but are just as fun. I really think a lot of my favorite boredom busters for kids are in the last half of this list coming up. They are all pretty simple and entertaining. Some inside, some outside (don’t worry, I divided those up for you), and a lot more hands-off than many of the craft and science activities are.
Put on a Puppet Show. Use those sock puppets you made before.
Play A Board Game. This is a great way to entertain kids of all ages for hours.
Play Card Games. With even a basic deck of cards, you can play endless games.
Scavenger Hunt. On a piece of paper make a list of things for your kids to find like, “Something green” or “Something fuzzy.”
Have a Dance Party. Move over your living room furniture and let the kids rock out to their favorite songs.
Jigsaw Puzzle. This is a great option to kill a lot of time for older kids!
Magic Tricks. Learn some easy magic tricks or let your kids learn them and do them on each other.
Play Hide-n-Seek. You can do this indoors or out for some classic entertainment.
Have an Ice Cream Social. Not much breaks up a day better than an ice cream social. You can simply bring out a ton of flavors of ice cream, or go all out with sprinkles, chocolate syrup, caramel, whipped cream, candy, cookie crumbles, and maraschino cherries.
Play a Video Game. This suggestion is meant to be used selectively. Most of these ideas are screen free and while sticking your kid alone on a screen isn’t the best idea to kill the time (though can very much play an important role in buying a few minutes or saving your sanity at times) how about an active video game like fruit ninja on a Wii or Kinect, something that gets them moving.
Care for Stuffed Animals. Younger children love pretend play like doctoring their stuffed animals. Get out a pretend doctor kit or even a real first aid kit and let them play veterinarian.
Play Doctor. Or you can let them play doctor on you or with each other!
Play Kitchen. Staying in the pretend play venue, take out the play kitchen supplies or give them a bunch from your real kitchen to play with. Even if you have cooking to do, offer your little one their own supplies and some beans or something to mix and pour.
Bake Cookies. This is a really fun activity that the whole family can get involved in. (As long as your kitchen space allows for it.) Older kids and young kids alike love baking a sweet treat.
Decorate cupcakes. If you’re not into baking, you can purchase cupcakes and cake decorating bits, and JUST do the decorating. Christmas cupcake decorating is a hit in our house!
Food Coloring Eggs. This does not only have to be for Easter (although decorating Easter eggs is a blast)! Children get so excited to color eggs on any other day too.
Kitchen Band. Using household items straight out of your cabinets your child can make a drum set. Pots and pans make great drums and wooden spoons can be wonderful drumsticks.
Play Charades. Hand your kids a bunch of index cards (or cut papers into 8ths) and let them create their own charades ideas. There are also premade charades board games you can buy as well.
Learn a New Language. Older kids can have fun with this one. Sign language counts.
Visit a Local Museum. Kids museums are the best but adult museums can be fun too.
Make a Normally Store-Bought Food From Scratch. Learn to bake bread, bake English muffins, make butter, or make whipped cream. Something you’ve never made and always buy premade.
Play with Stickers. Stickers and a sheet of paper, an empty box your child fits in, or anything else can provide a lot of fun for a while. Puffy stickers peel off the best.
Build a Fort. If you don’t have a kids’ play couch like a nugget you can still build a fort with regular couch cushions, chairs, blankets, and sheets.
Sort Through Old Toys/Clothes. Your kids love their things. But sorting through things they have outgrown can actually be a lot of fun too, especially if you bribe…. err offer them a prize at the end for all their hard work like an ice cream cone.
Play with Balloons. By simply blowing up some balloons with air your kids can creatively make up a ton of games.
Play with Bath Paint. Buy some cheap bath paint or learn to make your own bath paint and let your kids play in the bath.
Play with Shaving Cream in the Bath. Shaving cream makes a great “bath paint” when mixed with food coloring or can just make fun floating “clouds” in the bath too.
Play the Floor is Lava. This classic game is easy if you give your kids some pillows, blankets, or placemats and let them hop around.
Make Shadow Puppets. Flashlight in the dark, easy peasy.
Do an Animal Workout. Start with some basic workout moves that look like how an animal walks. Jump squats can be a bunny, a crab walk can of course be a crab, and a sprint can be a cheetah. Challenge your kids to make up more animal moves and have fun getting moving together!
Workout with Youtube. There are so many great workouts on you can either let your kids follow along with themselves or do together. Try these workouts for kids, brain breaks, yoga, Pilates, primal movement workouts, or HIIT workouts.
Do a Color Hunt. Tell your child a color and have them gather a certain number of items in that color from around the house to bring to you. (Great for buying yourself a handful of minutes of time for every color!)
Do a Shape Hunt. Same thing as above but with shapes.
Do a Treasure Hunt. How to do a treasure hunt.
Write a Letter. Write a letter to a family member and or friend far away. Teach your child how to address and stamp a letter.
Have a Tea Party. You can or cannot join in on this great activity. Let your child dress up fancy, use a tiny tea set if you have it, and whatever tiny pastries or snacks you can dig up.
Play Dress Up. You can dig out old Halloween costumes or let them go through your closet if you don’t have a designated dress-up bin.
Make Paper Airplanes. Here are 3 different ways to fold paper airplanes they can try.
Play Paper Football. Learn how to make and play paper football.
Tell Knock-Knock Jokes. If you don’t know many here are 101 knock knock jokes for kids.
Play the Green Glass Door Game. Have you ever played this riddle? It is a GREAT one! But you can only play once. The Green Glass Door is a great way to kill some time with your slightly older kids.
Play Camping. Set up a play campsite inside and let their imaginations run wild! Perfect for both younger kids and older siblings. You can of course also do this activity outside in the backyard as well if weather permits.
Play Rock Paper Scissors.
There are so many simple and fun outdoor activities that are really easy ideas that can be a great opportunity to get some sunshine and really get your kids’ wiggles out. Next time the weather is nice and your kids are bored, try spending time outside doing a number of these activities.
- Obstacle Course
- Bike Ride
- Hula Hoop
- Nature Walk
- Time Capsule
- Go to a Local Park
- Build a Race Track
- Jump Rope
- Do an Ice Ball Dino Dig
- Draw with Chalk
- Play with Bubbles
- Ride Scooters
- Go for a Jog
- Visit a New Local Spot in Nature
- Plant a Garden
- Play in Sprinklers
- Cut a Fresh Bouquet
- Do Yoga Outside
- Play Hopscotch
- Play Soccer
- Try a New Sport
- Simple Water Table
- Play Tag
- Play Eye Spy
These Are the Best Ideas of What to Do When Bored for Your Kids
I hope this list helps keep the “I’m booooooored” cry to a minimum at your house for a long time.
You can print out this list or save this page to your Pinterest board so that you can reference it often. These 101 ideas are sure to break up the monotony and give your children tons of ways to learn and play creatively for hours.
Do you have any amazing boredom buster activities that I missed? I would love to hear them in the comments below! I could even add your great ideas to this list too!