Friday, November 1, 2013

Helping Kids Beat the Boredom Blues

Many kids are so dependent on electronics - television, games, CDs, and videos - they are lost when these things are unavailable. A power failure or loss of television privileges causes some kids to have an emotional meltdown.Loving kids doesn't mean we have to entertain them every minute. When we provide nonstop entertainment for kids we are actually harming them. Kids need down time, lazy, quiet moments when they can listen to their thoughts and let their imaginations run free. We can help kids learn how to beat the boredom blues.First, we can give kids suggestions, and that's what this article is about. Second, we can stock up on supplies like school glue, markers, colored paper, and craft scissors. Third, we can get them started and supervise when necessary. These activities are fun for kids of all ages.CAMERA ACTION. Provide each child with a disposable camera and have him or her take photos of the house, yard, friends, pets or shapes. Older kids who have their own cameras should have several rolls of film. Display kids' photos on the refrigerator door, on posters, or put them in an album. You may wish to frame several special photos.PERSONAL PILLOW CASE. Give each child a white pillow case. (Watch for white sales and discount store deals.) Kids decorate their pillow cases with fabric paint. Buy a variety of colors in small bottles that have narrow tips on them. To keep paint from soaking through to the other side, put a brown paper bag inside the pillow case. This is a great slumber party activity!WALK AND TALK. Log onto the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center at and print out the "Walkability Checklist." Give each child a copy of the checklist and a pencil with an eraser on it. Kids walk around the block or neighborhood and rate the area for walking safety. How is your neighborhood doing?BUTTERFLY GARDEN. Buy some nectar plants - Asters, Black-eyed Susans, Daisies, Lavender, Marigolds, Lilacs - and plant them in a sunny place. If you don't have garden space plant several plants in a large clay pot. To attract butterflies put a pan of water in the garden and a piece of ripe fruit next to the pan. Kids track the different kinds of butterflies that come to visit.ROUTE 66. Kids choose a state they want to visit, such as Texas. Next, they read library books and/or Internet articles about the state. Kids decorate a table, porch, or deck with things that represent the state, such as red, white, and blue streamers, the colors of the Texas flag. Finally, kids enjoy foods that represent the state.COMICAL PLACEMATS. Give each child several pages of comics. Kids cut the comics into squares and plan their designs on the table top. Then they stick comics squares on clear, adhesive plastic cut slightly larger than placemat size. Kids lay a second sheet of plastic over the comics and rub it to remove bubbles. Any remaining bubbles are pricked with a pin. Using craft scissors, cut a decorative edge around the mat.BOARD GAME CARNIVAL. Kids plan a board game carnival: date, time, place, invitations, refreshments, and prizes. (Young children will need help with planning.) The carnival may include a variety of board games or focus on one game, such as Scrabble. Give every child a favor and a larger prize to a few "champs."ROCK COLLECTION. Each area of the country has its own rocks. Provide each child a plastic ice cream bucket (gallon size with a handle on it), a magnifying glass, and digging tool. Take them to a place where rock finding is easy. Kids collect rocks, bring them home, wash them, and learn more about them. Do any of the rocks contain mica? How are striated rocks formed?ALL ABOUT BUTTONS. Look around the house for old buttons and/or buy them in bulk at a craft store. (You can get dozens of buttons for $3.99.) Using child-safe glue, kids stick buttons onto wooden picture frames or cardboard boxes. School pictures may be displayed in the frames and boxes may be used for jewelry.With practice and help from us, kids can learn to beat the boredom blues. In fact, the kids will enjoy it. Kids who know how to beat the boredom blues grow up to be interested, active, and productive adults. Beating the boredom blues is a lifetime skill worth nurturing.Copyright 2006 by Harriet Hodgson