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Boredom Basket: What to Have on Hand For When Your Kids Say “I’m Bored”

What to Have on Hand For When Your Kids Say "I'm Bored"Have you ever heard your kids say, “Mom, I’m bored!”? Does it drive you crazy too?

I have been hearing it a lot over the past 2 weeks, since my kids have been off school for their winter break. At school they’re entertained by new things and 20 other kids, so when they’re home with just little ol’ me, they seem to have forgotten how to entertain themselves with their imaginations.

I believe a little boredom is good for kids. I don’t want to over-schedule my kids with activity after activity — I believe strongly in unstructured time and it’s a large chunk of our days.

When my kids are bored one of two things will happen:

1) They sit on the floor with their arms crossed and looking angry  – or –

2) They spark their imagination and they find out new ways to play, learn new things on their own, and entertain themselves.

With my kids, they never chose option number 1 — I don’t think many kids will. Watching them use their imagination and trying new things is so cool to watch as a parent and it’s fun to see just how creative their imaginations can get.

But I do want to encourage them to use their creativity, so there are a few things I try to always have on hand for those moments. I will hand them a few items and tell them to play. At first they may be confused and not really impressed, but after 5 minutes or so they always come up with something fun to do for themselves.

Check out which items you should keep on hand for when your kids tell you they’re bored:


  • Board Games 1 of 8
    Board Games
    Chess, Candy Land, card games and more -- these are fun ways to play together and will get that boredom away from your kids. My kids favorite is Candy Land and they can play game after game.
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Building Blocks 2 of 8
    Building Blocks
    This is my kids #1 favorite boredom buster and it's amazing fun for their imagination. My kids can spend hours building things straight from their imagination.
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Puppet Supplies 3 of 8
    Puppet Supplies
    Have paper bags on hand with felt and other craft supplies. Encourage your kids to make puppets and put on their own show.
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Books and More Books 4 of 8
    Books and More Books
    When my kids tell me they're bored, I tell them to pick up a book. Have on hand different types of books, different reading levels, magazines and picture books. Even if you're child doesn't want to or can't yet read, they can get a lot from the pictures.
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Craft Supplies 5 of 8
    Craft Supplies
    Crayons, markers, scissors and paper is all your child needs when they're grumpy about being bored. Set them up at the table and encourage them to draw and color.
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Water Fun 6 of 8
    Water Fun
    There's not a whole lot more to stimulate a kids imagination like water. Have a waterproof mat on hand, different sized buckets and a mini water can. Set out the mat and watch your kid's boredom disappear with water fun.
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Fun Fort Things 7 of 8
    Fun Fort Things
    Pull out the pillows, sheets, a flashlight and diningroom chairs and tell your kids to use their imagination and build a fort!
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Sensory Stuff 8 of 8
    Sensory Stuff
    Dried rice, beans, noodles, sand and toy cars can bring lots of fun for kids. Build up a sensory table where they can drive the cars through the different textures. They can build roads and road blocks and who knows what else!
    Photo credit: photostock.

Photo credit: adapted from iStockPhoto

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