"MUM! I'M BORED!!"
If your kids are anything like mine, you'll probably be very familiar with this phrase, especially during school holidays. We live in a seaside town, so we frequently go to the beach and the park. We go on lots of day trips. But the days at home can sometimes be a challenge to even the most patient among us!
Although I fully embrace technology and highly value its place in our daily lives, I do limit my children's screen time to ensure they have a good balance of mental and physical challenges.
I have brought together my ten favourite activities to help conquer boredom and keep kids engaged.
1. Have a Cosy Read-a-thon
Grab some of your favourite children's books and snuggle up for a reading session. Read aloud to your child and, if they are old enough, you can take turns at reading. Discuss characters, plots and events in the story. Ask your child to predict what might happen next, or why a character behaves in a certain way. After the story, get them to write an alternative ending, or draw what could have happened instead.
2. Get Crafty
With a pack of coloured card or paper, a glue stick and some scissors, the sky is the limit. Even if you don't think you are particularly creative, places like pinterest.com are a great source of inspiration.
3. Seek out Some Science
You might not realise it, but your kitchen is the perfect starting place for your budding little scientist to find everything they need for some amazing science experiments. There are plenty of sites to visit that will give you loads of ideas for experiments. Just Google "Kitchen Science Experiments" for a great list that your little Einstein will love!
4. Make a Movie
We have made our own Stop Motion Animation videos using the free download from clayanimator.com. Even our 6 year old was able to use this programme independently. It is so simple to use and requires about 10 frames for one second of film. You just place an object in front of the webcam, snap a photo, then move the object a little. Repeat until you have at least a few seconds of film. Our children get get so excited to see the films they have made. I recently used this programme in one of my Summer Camps. Check out this video one of the kids made.
5. Get Your Bake On
Using maths in the kitchen in a practical way is absolutely crucial to children's understanding of mathematical concepts. There is no better way to learn about accurate measuring, capacity and ratio. If our recipe is for 12 muffins, what do we need to 18 muffins? Challenge, do the maths then enjoy eating the results!
6. Play Word Games
We often play a variation of a simple game my own mother taught me as a child. Pick a player to silently say the alphabet and another player shouts "STOP!" Which ever letter the alphabet caller was on is the letter used to fill on a grid of things with that same initial letter. As a kid, we used "boy's name - girl's name - fruit - flower - place" but we often start by each person choosing categories we will use in the game.
7. Get Up, Get Down!
Another well-used Boredom Buster in our house is a dance-a-thon. Keeping physically active on rainy days can be a bit of a challenge, so this is a perfect way to help burn off some excess energy. We take turns each at teaching the others a dance, or picking a dance from YouTube for everyone to perform!
8. Paint like Picasso
Get out the paints and brushes, clear the kitchen table and get painting! We often use a big roll of paper and either cut up large squares for each person or draw / paint on, or use one large rolled out piece of paper for everyone. This is a great social activity, where we can practice taking turns, respecting each other's creations. The roll of paper we use is from IKEA.
9. From Bored to Board Games
Dig out some board games to play together. This is another great way to develop social skills like taking turns. There is also the added bonus of maths practice, as many games include calculating (Monopoly), logic and problem solving (Connect Four or Cluedo), or even play spelling games like Scrabble or Boggle.
10. Put On A Show
This is a firm favourite in our home. Our kids love to perform and will put together their own plays, dances and musical compositions. This is a fabulous way for them to showcase their creative talents and give equal status to the non-academic areas of interest.
Now you have our checklist, let's hope the B-O-R-E-D word is one you don't hear too often!
Elaine Lingard runs Emerald Education Centre, offering English and Maths tutoring online and in-person. If you would like to find out more about tuition, please check out our website and our Facebook page, or call Elaine on (+353) 083 8550210.