10 Boredom-Buster Activities for Kids

Do your kids get bored in no time flat?

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!

Do your kids get bored in no time flat? Discover 10 boredom buster and fun activities you can do with your kids in 10 minutes or less.

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.

You Will Need

  • A medium-sized plastic box with lid (a bag or bin will also work)
  • Old magazines
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Playing cards
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Tape
  • Crayons and/or markers
  • Paint and brushes (optional)
  • Paper (plain and colored)
  • Pen
  • Envelopes
  • Stamps
  • Scissors
  • Odds and ends of craft materials

Preparation Time

10 minutes

Activity Time

5-10 minutes per activity

Location

Your home, indoors or outside

If you have these basic supplies in your house, it will only take about 10 minutes to put together your boredom-busters kit.

Here’s how:

  • 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!

    kids looking in box

    Put together a boredom busters box so you’ll be ready for fun at a moment’s notice. Image source: iStockPhoto.

  • 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.

butterfly craft

This adorable butterfly craft can be made in just a few minutes.

Make a family of butterflies with your kids. A few magazine pages and a pipe cleaner are all you need to make this quick butterfly craft from Carolyn Staub at Mama’s Little Muse.

#2: Play a Card Game

Pick a card, any card… and play cards with your kids.

playing cards

There are lots of fun card games you can play 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.

craft stick puzzle

Draw a picture on craft sticks, mix up the pieces and put the puzzle back 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.

38 books

Read a book—or part of a book—with your kids.

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.

fruit monsters

Fruit Monsters are delicious, nutritious and easy to make.

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.

#6: Dance

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.

kids dancing

Family dancing doesn’t need to be formal. Just blast some tunes and get dancing.

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!

Just dance!

#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).

They can decorate the paper to make their own stationery or you can print out letterhead like this from Kate at Picklebums.

writing letter

Letter-writing is a habit you can help your kids develop, even in short amounts of time.

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.

If your kids love to write, take it a step further and teach them to keep a journal or write stories or poetry.

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.

Paige at The Game Gal has simple instructions and an example of how to play, as well as a word generator.

20 questions

Teach Mama has a party version of 20 Questions that’s worth checking out.

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.

child with camera

Photography is a great project for kids of all ages.

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.

handmade musical instrument

Musical instruments are easy to make and can be used over and over again.

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.

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About the Author, Debra Eckerling

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 »


  • http://www.familylifeuniversity.org/ Eric Dingler

    Number 3 is such a great idea for toddlers. Thanks for this list.

  • http://GuidedGoals.com Debra Eckerling

    Thanks, Eric. Glad you liked it! The other super-easy puzzle is to draw a picture on a paper plate, and cut it up. Instant puzzle. You can also do this with letters (combine #3 and #7), and drop it in the mail. My mom did this with camp letters when I was a kid.

  • http://www.fineartmom.com/ Crystal Foth

    Great list Debra! I love the puzzle idea too – think I need to try that one out! I can thing of so many options!

  • http://GuidedGoals.com Debra Eckerling

    Thanks, Crystal! Feel free to share some pics. We’d love to see them!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks, Debra! These are fun ideas. We like to play 20 Questions and usually start with a hint: is it a person, place, or thing?

  • http://GuidedGoals.com Debra Eckerling

    Thanks, Jennifer! This was so much fun to write! I really love how these activities are great for all ages – you just adapt or make them more challenging, if necessary.

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ KJ Ammerman

    I love how you have a master list of supplies and then 10 activities the kids can do. It makes everything so much simpler! Thank you! -Kristin

  • http://GuidedGoals.com Debra Eckerling

    Thanks, Kristin! It’s helpful to have something like this – with odds and ends of materials, games, etc. – all in one place. Instant, easy-to-find boredom relief!

  • I Am Rosa

    THANK YOU!!!! Finally a list of things I can do with toddlers that doesn’t take hours of prep or oodles of supplies. I used to have a go-to list of fun stuff, but since having my own kids, my brains fell out and I can never think of anything when I need to. This is perfect. Did I say, “Thank you”?? lol

  • http://GuidedGoals.com Debra Eckerling

    You are welcome! So glad you like the article. Let us know how it goes…. And have fun!

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