200+ Summertime Ideas for Bored Kids

by Deborah Taylor-Hough

Since we try not to use the phrase “I’m bored!” in our home, we usually don’t hear our kids complaining about being bored during those long days at home during the summer months. But I have to admit that we’re still an incredibly normal family. Even without the “b-word” in their vocabulary, there are still those times when my three children just seem to be at a total loss for something constructive to do.

On one of those “I-can’t-think-of-anything-to-do” days, I had my children sit down and make a list of everything they could do completely on their own without parental help. After they brainstormed about it for over an hour (which was a good anti-boredom activity, itself), the kids had a list of about fifty activities. Surprisingly, they even included a few household chores like dusting and weeding!

I decided to ask for input from some other moms, and now my children have a list of over two hundred ideas to beat summertime boredom, and the list just seems to keep growing. Thanks to the suggestion of one mom, we’ve put each item on this list onto individual pieces of paper, placed the papers into a container, and when the children need inspiration for an activity, they draw two or three papers and then decide which idea they want to do, either as a group or individually. The mom who suggested pulling ideas out of a container told me she found this method more helpful than giving the kids a huge list of possibilities. By narrowing the choices down to just two or three, it was easier for the kids to pick out the one that sounded the best to them.

200+ Ideas for Summertime Activities

In no particular order, here’s our current (but continually growing!) list of activities: 

  • ride bikes

  • roller blade

  • basketball

  • play board games

  • make a tent out of blankets

  • squirt with hoses

  • run through the sprinkler

  • jump rope

  • read books

  • blow bubbles

  • make homemade play dough

  • play with play dough

  • press flowers

  • do crafts with pressed flowers

  • write a letter to a relative, friend or pen pal

  • clean bedroom

  • vacuum living room

  • clean bathroom

  • make a craft

  • draw

  • color

  • paint

  • pull weeds

  • watch a movie

  • write stories

  • use binoculars

  • use magnifying glass

  • use microscope

  • bird watching

  • write a play

  • act out a play

  • invent circus acts

  • perform a circus

  • play card games

  • make art on the front walkway with sidewalk chalk

  • play catch

  • play baseball

  • collect rocks

  • collect leaves

  • collect feathers

  • play Frisbee

  • make Frisbee’s out of old plastic lids, decorate with markers

  • dust the house

  • brush the pet

  • write letters

  • read a magazine

  • play dress-up

  • play Cowboys

  • pick vegetables

  • play outside with the pet

  • build a fort in your rooms

  • build a fort in the backyard

  • do a jigsaw puzzle

  • play on the Geosafari

  • play on the computer

  • listen to a story or book on tape

  • do extra schoolwork to get ahead

  • do brain teasers (ie: crosswords, word searches, hidden pictures, mazes, etc.)

  • cook

  • prepare lunch

  • surprise a neighbor with a good deed

  • play store

  • prepare a “restaurant” lunch with menus

  • hold a tea party

  • have a Teddy bear picnic

  • play with toy cars

  • play dolls

  • play house

  • chase butterflies

  • collect caterpillars and bugs

  • plant a garden or a pot

  • collect seeds

  • hunt for four-leaf clovers

  • learn magic tricks

  • put on a magic show

  • plant a container garden

  • sprout seeds or beans

  • make sock puppets

  • put on a puppet show

  • make Christmas presents

  • make homemade wrapping paper

  • make homemade gift cards

  • make picture frames from twigs glued onto sturdy cardboard

  • crochet or knit

  • make doll clothes

  • sew buttons in designs on old shirts

  • run relay races

  • make bookmarks

  • take a quiet rest time

  • take a shower or bath

  • bathe a pet

  • feed the birds or squirrels

  • watch the clouds

  • organize a dresser drawer

  • clean under the bed

  • empty dishwasher

  • vacuum under the couch cushions and keep any change found

  • write these ideas on pieces of paper and pick out one or two to do

  • whittle

  • whittle bars of soap

  • practice musical instruments

  • perform a family concert

  • teach yourself to play musical instrument (recorder, harmonica, guitar)

  • fold laundry

  • sweep kitchen or bathroom floors

  • sweep front walkway

  • sweep or spray back patio

  • sweep or spray driveway

  • wash car

  • vacuum car

  • vacuum or dust window blinds

  • clean bathroom mirrors

  • clean sliding glass doors

  • clean inside of car windows

  • wash bicycles

  • clean garage

  • play in the sandbox

  • build a sandcastle

  • work with clay

  • copy your favorite book illustration

  • design your own game

  • build with blocks or Legos

  • create a design box (copper wire, string, odds-and-ends of things destined for the garbage, pom-poms, thread, yarn, etc.)

  • plan a neighborhood or family Olympics

  • have a marble tournament

  • paint a picture with lemon juice on white paper and hang it in a sunny window and see what happens in a few days

  • finger paint with pudding

  • make dessert

  • make dinner

  • give your pet a party

  • paint the sidewalk with water

  • start a journal of summer fun

  • start a nature diary

  • have a read-a-thon with a friend or sibling

  • have a neighborhood bike wash

  • play flashlight tag

  • play Kick the Can

  • check out a science book and try some experiments

  • make up a story

  • arrange photo albums

  • find bugs and start a collection

  • do some stargazing

  • decorate bikes or wagons and have a neighborhood parade

  • catch butterflies and then let them go

  • play hide-and-seek

  • create a symphony with bottles and pans and rubber bands

  • listen to the birds sing

  • try to imitate bird calls

  • read a story to a younger child

  • find shapes in the clouds

  • string dry noodles or O-shaped cereals into a necklace

  • glue noodles into a design on paper

  • play hopscotch

  • play jacks

  • make up a song

  • make a teepee out of blankets

  • write in your journal

  • find an ant colony and spill some food and watch what happens

  • play charades

  • make up a story by drawing pictures

  • draw a cartoon strip

  • make a map of your bedroom, house or neighborhood

  • call a friend

  • cut pictures from old magazines and write a story

  • make a collage using pictures cut from old magazines

  • do a secret service for a neighbor

  • plan a treasure hunt

  • make a treasure map

  • make up a “Bored List” of things to do

  • plan a special activity for your family

  • search your house for items made in other countries and then learn about those countries from the encyclopedia or online

  • plan an imaginary trip to the moon

  • plan an imaginary trip around the world, where would you want to go

  • write a science-fiction story

  • find a new pen pal

  • make up a play using old clothes as costumes

  • make up a game for practicing math facts

  • have a Spelling Bee

  • make up a game for practicing spelling

  • surprise an elderly neighbor or relative by weeding his/her garden

  • fingerpaint with shaving cream

  • collect sticks and mud and build a bird’s nest

  • write newspaper articles for a pretend newspaper

  • put together a family newsletter

  • write reviews of movies or plays or TV shows or concerts you see during the summer

  • bake a cake

  • bake a batch of cookies

  • decorate a shoe box to hold your summer treasures

  • make a hideout or clubhouse

  • make paper airplanes

  • have paper airplane races

  • learn origami

  • make an obstacle course in your backyard

  • make friendship bracelets for your friends

  • make a wind chime out of things headed for the garbage

  • paint your face

  • braid hair

  • play tag

  • make a sundial

  • make food sculptures (from pretzels, gumdrops, string licorice, raisins, cream cheese, peanuts, peanut butter, etc.) and then eat it

  • make a terrarium

  • start a club

  • take a nap outside on your lawn

  • produce a talent show

  • memorize a poem

  • recite a memorized poem for your family


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38 responses to “200+ Summertime Ideas for Bored Kids

  1. The problem with my family is that my kids always want me to do things with them or have friends to do things with.

  2. This is wonderful!! Thank you for posting it! We plan to make an “Fun Ideas” jar this summer. In our house growing up, if Mom heard the b- word (“bored”), she promptly gave us a chore to do. We learned quickly to find our own activities to do!! :) I like the idea of saying “go choose from the jar”.

    My mom always said the same thing about finding me something to do if I was “bored”. Funny … I sometimes say the same thing to my kids. ;-)

    ~Debi

  3. Hi I want a list for tweens and teens not 5 or 6 year olds. My kids are 10 and 14
    Please give me more age friendly tips.

    Hi, Lilly … you’ll want to take a look at Kristen B.’s comment later in this comment list. She’s a 16-year-old girl who found ways of adapting the list for herself. I think you’ll find the ideas you’re looking for in her words.

    ~Debi

  4. Pingback: Are your kids bored? « Boise Goodlife

  5. Hi – Fanstastic ideas! I hope you don’t mind – I linked my latest blog entry to yours! Have a great summer!
    GG

    http://goodlifegal.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/are-your-kids-bored/

    Glad you found the ideas helpful. And feel free to link to my blog to your heart’s content. :-)

    ~Debi

  6. I’m 16 going on 17, I edited this down to about 80 things I’d still be interested in doing. ^_^ A few of them may seem “childish” for my age, but still better than getting a headache from being so bored.

    I changed a few slightly, but still seems good to me.

    I didn’t even bother to change “play dress up” on my list. I’m a teenage girl, of course I’m going to like dressing up and looking pretty! Just mine’s more of a “try on different outfits and accessories” type.

    For the above parent talking about her teens, a lot of these things do work for tweens, like learning magic tricks can impress their friends as well as the learning a new instrument, making presents for friends never goes out of style, and really, when you’re a tween, there’s a lot of things you can do if you just realize you’re not “too good” for it because of your age.

    Excellent comments, Kristen! Thank you so much for the teen perspective on these ideas and activities. I’d love to see YOUR list. :-)

    ~Debi

  7. hey im tina (17 yrs), thanks a lot, i was really getting bored as my school hasn’t started yet & i wanted to do something interesting & fun other than surfing the net. i have already made a list of things i’ll do for the rest of the day, they are quite childlike but i wont regret being a 8-10 yr old again. thanks again bye.

    Hi, Tina … I’m so glad to hear that the list was inspiring to you. Hope you have a fun-filled summer! :-) ~Debi

  8. I think this list is great. I have two girls 9 and 12. My friend has a daughter 5. We have “Mommy Camp” during this summer. We were trying to come up with things to do while my friend tries to run her business out of her house. They are wonderful kids and they will appreciate this grand list of many activities, us as moms used to do as kids, many years ago.
    So, thank you.

  9. I find this website handy when my kids get bored. Plenty of ideas – http://www.holidayboredombustersforkids.co.uk

    Thanks,
    John

  10. great stuff

  11. What a comprehensive list! I love that so many of the activities can take place outdoors. The more time we spend outside the better!

  12. Thank you sooooo much now my kids don’t have to sit around watching TV and going on the computer all the time! :D

  13. I have 3 kids but the younger 2 have a sleep in the afternoon. This is when my son is bored and he has to be quiet as well. Its usually 35 – 40 outside which is a bit hot for playing outside, but we still found a few options. Thank you.

  14. Pingback: Summer Adventures | My Big Move To Washington DC

  15. Hey there! Thanks alot for the list! My kids sometimes say “I wish I was bored so we could get out the bored jar!”

  16. haah some good ideas here ;)

  17. i love these ideas :D

  18. the best stuff to do in the ‘WORLD’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Hi!!
    I translate to Portuguese and send to my Group, its amazing, thanks for give to us

    http://flyrobrasileira.blogspot.com/2010/01/mais-de-200-ideias-para-distrair-as.html

    Roseli from Brazil

  20. Backyard camping is one you should add to your list. Put some charcoal in the grill and make Smore’s! Here is the recipe for a Smore dilla, our Texas summer camp tradition:
    Toritlla
    Banana
    Hershey’s Chocolate
    Marshmallow
    1. Wrap it all up in the tortilla, wrap in foil and place under the fire. Rotate with a stick. Leave for about 7-8 min. and Enjoy! Caution: Might get messy!

  21. We are just implementing a 2 hour “Study Hour” at our house from 5-7 each day, in which there are no computer, t.v., gaming systems, or phones allowed while they complete homework and do other things that don’t involve any electronics! I created a list of possibilities to work on during that two hours after their homework was finished and used your fantastic list of choices to add to that. Thank you so much for sharing!

  22. This website was brilliant i found 2 idea that i could try with my brother

  23. Hey
    (this is for kids)
    Try building a fort or either or make a treasure map!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. thx a lot i found some things to do with my mom

  25. hello my name is dayna and i think when children are bored they can draw or make cards for their friends,mum,dad,brother,sister,and your relatives.

  26. Thanks for the ideas! I’ve decided to babysit over the summer and I’m sure these will come in handy!

  27. this was really good i am always looking for thing to do when im board and cant think of anything this list is really gr8 :)

  28. Thanks so much i was so eager for something to do, instead of just sitting around all day! And another big thing to do is a lemonade stand I LOVE them there so much fun! thanks again.

  29. Pingback: Day 169: I’m Bored « If you buy what you don't need…

  30. Interesting list some great ideas in there! If you have older kids (or you’re bored too…) I’ve also created a list that might be fun! 100summer.webs.com

  31. Pingback: I’m Bored! {How to Never Hear that Phrase Again} | A Learning Experience

  32. The first time my child came to me saying he was bored, I said, “God gave you a wonderful brain. If you don’t want to use it, I have something you can do to help me. Then I told him sweep the patio. And I made sure he did it.

    Later, when his cousins came for a visit, one of them came to me saying, “I’m bored.” My son came running, yelling, “No, she’s not bored!” He whispered something in her ear, then they both quickly left the room.

    I never had to find activities for the kids to do–they used their own imagination. There is a danger in spoon feeding children.

  33. These are all really great ideas!! I’m definetely going to use them.

    There’s also another website that has some good ideas:
    ideasforthebored.webs.com. Check it out!

  34. good ideas

  35. Reblogged this on 1D Bows and commented:
    I really love all of these ideas and we had so much fun!

  36. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something
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  37. Deborah

    A very very innovative idea to make your kids do something constructive. I liked the idea of making chits and choosing a few to do the things when bored. I am definitely gonna share this with my friends who especially have naughty kids that cant be handled alone.

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