10 Boredom-Buster Activities for Kids
Want to make the most of the time you spend with them, even when it’s just a few minutes?
Bring on the boredom-buster activities for kids!
We’ll help you find something fun to do together before they turn on the TV or electronics and tune you out.
The editors of My Kids’ Adventures have searched the web for fun things you can do with your kids in 10 minutes or less.
In this article I’ll share our 10 favorite ways to connect with kids and beat the boredom blues—fast!
Why Make Time for Quick Adventures?
Any time you spend with your kids can be quality time; you just have to find it and fill it with something fun.
Think of those little 10-minute chunks of time in between other things: while you’re driving to and from school, waiting for activities to start or end, having a snack, getting ready for dinner or bed… Often these short slots of time are filled with TV or video games, but you can fill them with fun family activities instead.
There are plenty of mini-adventures you can have with your kids in those short slices of time between other things, so make the most of those little moments. Fill them with something fun before the kids have a chance to check out and get bored.
These boredom-buster activities for kids will make it easy.
The key is to put together a boredom-busters kit, a box or bag or bin—preferably something you can grab and go—filled with items to use on your quick adventures. With a boredom-busters kit, your family will be ready for fun at a moment’s notice.
If you have these basic supplies in your house, it will only take about 10 minutes to put together your boredom-busters kit.
- Find a medium-sized box (the kind you might use for file folders). You can also use a bag (like a backpack, bookbag or old computer bag), a basket or any closeable container that fits full sheets of paper.
- Put each of your kids in charge of gathering different items (paper, pens, crayons, etc.). Make the search for materials into a scavenger hunt!
- There may be some things like magazines, painter’s tape, stamps and scissors that you’ll want to grab yourself. Note: Certain activity items, such as books or a digital camera, are not listed above since they won’t be kept in the box permanently.
- Put items in the box and you’re ready to go. Your kids may want to decorate the box or label it the “Boredom-Busters Box.” Be sure to replenish the craft items once a month.
Ready for the actual quickie activities? Let’s go. Here are 10 family adventures you can do with your kids in 10 minutes or less.
#1: Do a Quick Craft
Craft projects are instant fun, whether you draw a picture to describe your day, make a dinner centerpiece decoration, fold paper into an adorable animal or create something completely random.
Keep plenty of paper, crayons and markers in your boredom-busters box so you can spend your limited time creating art together, not gathering supplies.
#2: Play a Card Game
Pick a card, any card… and play cards with your kids.
Have you forgotten how to play your favorite kids’ card games? Check out this article from Nicola Anderson on Today’s Parent and refresh your memory of the rules for 10 kid-friendly card games, including Go Fish, Crazy Eights and Concentration.
Here’s a fun look at building a house of cards.
Card games are fun, but you can also use that deck of playing cards to build a house of cards.
#3: Create a Puzzle
Puzzles are a great way to spend a few minutes together. Spread out a puzzle and sit down together to look for a few pieces every day.
Or make your own puzzle. A craft stick puzzle, like this one from Amber at Real Purdy, is an easy family project you can do in just a few minutes (or even in the car). You can each make your own puzzle or create a puzzle together.
Tape several sticks together on one side and draw a picture on it using crayons, markers or paints (Note: paints will take longer to dry). Then, remove the tape, mix up the puzzle pieces and try to reconstruct the drawing.
Try this variation for older kids: Color pictures on both sides. The two-sided pieces add complexity and make it more challenging to put the puzzle together.
You can put your own puzzles back together or swap puzzles with your child. Or mix all of the pieces together and figure it out as a family.
#4: Read a Chapter… or a Book
Nothing says family bonding like reading together. Even if you have only 10 spare minutes, you can spend them reading a book aloud. This is a fun activity for kids of all ages.
You can read schoolbooks, library books or old favorites. If you have more than one child, let them take turns picking the book. This awesome list from BuzzFeed, 38 Books to Read Aloud with Your Kids, will give you lots of great kids’ books to choose from.
#5: Make a Snack
Kids love to play with their food and this fun project is more a creative construction activity than a cooking project.
Have a fun foodie family mini-adventure when you create these Fruit Monsters, shared by Stephanie Keeping of Spaceships and Laser Beams on B-Inspired Mama. Since only a single type of fruit is used in this food art project, you can put it together really quickly.
Prep the fruit or vegetable of the day with your kids and create what could be a snack or part of a meal together. The only limits are your creativity and the fruits and vegetables you have on hand.
Got a minute? Got 5 or 10? Turn on some music and dance with your kids. It doesn’t have to be formal, just break into some spontaneous fun.
The benefits of dancing are endless. Dance improves physical and mental health, restores confidence and encourages self-expression. It’s an all-ages activity that’s a wonderful cure for a bad day and makes a good day even better!
#7: Write a Letter by Hand
Letter-writing is a lost art—and one that can be rediscovered when you and your kids write letters together when you have short amounts of time.
Encourage your kids to write a letter to a friend or relative. Make sure they include all of the important parts. Letters include the date, opening (“Dear …”), body (what the letter is about), closing (“Love,” “From” or “Yours Truly”) and signature (name).
Another option is to have your kids write letters to you, telling about their days. You can write a letter back. And then exchange them or put them in their rooms to read later.
Writing together is like reading together. It encourages a great habit to develop a skill your kids will have the rest of their lives.
#8: Play 20 Questions
20 Questions is the perfect boredom-buster game because you can play it anywhere, anytime with your kids. You don’t need any materials, just your thinking caps.
Think of a word (don’t tell!) and have your kids ask up to 20 yes or no questions to see if they can guess it. The winner picks the next word.
Loving 20 Questions? Have some extra time? Check out the party version of the game, which comes with printables, from Amy Mascott at Teach Mama. Note: This version is better for older kids. Or just print out the people and characters they know.
#9: Take Pictures
These days, kids can and should take pictures at any age. And it’s another activity you can do together in short amounts of time.
After school, enjoy a few minutes and have quality camera time with your kids. Take pics of the family pet, flowers or each other. You can even do a photo scavenger hunt at home in 10-minute increments. Each day you take another photo on the list.
Use a camera phone or inexpensive digital camera. In this post on Digital Photography for Kids, Melissa Taylor at Imagination Soup says don’t bother with a kids’ camera. The traditional ones are so much better. Just keep an eye on your younger kids. The article has a few tips for kid photographers, as well as some project ideas.
For more advanced mini-photogs, go through the 13 Lessons to Teach Your Child about Digital Photography by Darren Rowse at Digital Photography School. You can focus on a different lesson each time you take out the camera.
#10: Make an Instrument, Then Make Music
Like dance, music has a huge happy factor. So make a musical instrument with your child. This DIY Harmonica by Maya Donenfeld at Maya Made is quick and easy to make and can be used in many future mini-music sessions.
Also, check out these 10 Homemade Musical Instruments for Kids by Chelsea on Buggy and Buddy. Note: the cardboard guitar and rattle drum by Leslie on Pink Stripey Socks, and some of the others, will take some time. They are more of an afternoon activity than mini-musical bonding.
Once you have your instruments, you can turn any amount of time into music time!
Some Final Thoughts…
Don’t stop here! Be on the lookout for quick, fun boredom-buster kids’ activities you can do on the spur of the moment and you’ll hear, “I’m bored” a lot less often.
Any time you spend with your kids is quality time. Make the most of all of it, even if it’s for 5 or 10 minutes.
What do you think? What’s your favorite quickie family adventure? What activities do you do with your kids when you have just a few minutes at a time? Please share them and include a pic if you want in the comments.
Image from iStockPhoto.
Debra Eckerling is an editor at My Kids Adventures. The creator of Write On Online, a website and community for writers, Debra helps individuals define, plan and achieve their goals. Other posts by Debra Eckerling »