As seen on Pinterest!

E was sick much of last week, which happened to be the last week of school. This was not a good thing, as I had planned to spend my mornings getting our house and calendar and lives ready for the summer. Instead, I spent it with her on my lap while she hacked into my face and wiped her nose on my shirt.

She was finally well enough for school on Thursday, the last day of school, and I spent that morning in a frantic rush to get the most important things done. Like surfing Pinterest for over an hour.



See, I was looking for inspiration for more Summer Sanity Savers. Where did people go for creative ideas before Pinterest? Their own heads, you say? PSHAW.

If you've spent any time on Pinterest lately, you've probably seen the "I'm Bored" jar. There are many, many options for how to make these but basically it's a jar filled with ideas for your kids to do when you catch them saying "I'm bored." Unfortunatley, I had major problems with most of the items that were listed in these Pinterested jars, mainly because they required waaaay too much in the way of motherly assistance. Many jars were super fancy with decoupaged labels and listed things like "Get ice cream cones!" and "Set up a lemonade stand!"

I'm sorry but for my kids to set up a lemonade stand, I would have to find the lemonade mix, help them mix it, help them move the table and chairs outside and down the street (we live on a cul de sac, so every lemonade stand has to be down the street.) Since my kids are usually bored at times when I'm busy doing something else or fresh out of the kind of energy required to assist in fun things like lemonade stands, I wanted to find activities that wouldn't require me to be involved in any way.

Lemonade stand? NO. Make a house for fairies out of legos? Yes.

"Oh! You're bored? How about you put away the pencil sharpener and the rubber ducky and the creepy dead-eyed puppy?"
I set up our "I'm bored" jar in about 20 minutes (If you don't count the hour I spent on Pinterest looking at ideas, which I don't) and it has been, for the most part, a positive thing. However I have learned a few important things:

1. Set a limit on the number of times they say "I'm bored" and reach for the jar. The first day, there was a lot of excitement about the jar and they raced through five each in 20 minutes. Now we say they can do two per day, one in the mornings and one in the afternoon.

2. Make sure you pick things you don't need to help them with. I cannot stress this enough. That is the whole point, yes? I have to read the item to E, since she can't read, but otherwise they should be on their own for the actual activity.

3. A mix of fun things and chore-type things seems to help cut down on the excitement and overuse. They might get something relatively easy and enjoyable like "build a fort out of couch cushions" or they might get "wipe all the baseboards in the house with a damp rag."

4. Non-messy activities are good (therefore, playing with play dough or painting of any kind are out.) As is stressing that cleaning up after themselves is part of the activity.

5. Put a limit on when they can reach for the jar, ie. 5 minutes before dinner or bedtime are NOT GOOD TIMES.

6. Print out your ideas on slips on paper, then fold them over. This will hopefully cut down on the selective browsing of activities by whiny children.


Here's my list of activities for our "I'm bored" jar:

Clean out mom’s car
Brush Sadie
Find/observe/sketch 3 animals in the yard
Write/draw a story about a dog with fleas
Write/draw a story about a princess with blue hair
Write/draw a story about a lonely fish
Write/draw a story about a walk in the woods
Do a yoga DVD
Wipe all the baseboards with a damp rag
Write a letter to anyone you want
Sharpen all the colored pencils
Do a jigsaw puzzle
Make an obstacle course in the basement
Take pictures with Mom’s little camera
Build a fort out of couch cushions
Play a computer game
Do 3 workbook pages
Dance party!
Water all the potted plants
Take a play bath
Sweep the kitchen floor
Sweep the patio
Make your bed
Call Nana
Call Gramma
Throw the ball for Sadie (in basement or outside)
Organize the food in the play kitchen
Make a happy surprise for a neighbor
Find 10 different leaves outside
Make a fairy house out of legos

What do you all do when your kids say "I'm bored"? If you have an "I'm bored" jar, what goes in it?


april said...

How old were your kids when they started complaining about being bored? Mine at 2.5 and 5, and they never say this. They'll ask for the ipad or tv sometimes but they never claim to be bored. I keep wondering when it will start.

bessie.viola said...

I really need to set up a jar like this for our house - but like you said, much of the fun of Pinterest is in the looking, not the doing! ;) Glad it's working out for you & love the tips on use.

Jen Anderson said...

Combining chores and fun activities is brilliant. It's like Russian Roulette for kids.

Anonymous said...

Great idea! I may try making one of these. The hard part will be picking activities. Can you list some of the other ones you came up with?

Anonymous said...

April- Z started the "I'm bored" refrain last year, so around 6 years old. And E picked it up quickly like the good little lemming she is.

Anonymous- I'll edit the original post to list what I included. I also did say the girls were welcome to add to the jar with other mother-approved ideas and once they've done one, they are welcome to do again the next time they feel bored.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Not sure why my last comment posted as "anonymous"? That was written by me, Jenna of Clueless But Hopeful Mama.

KG said...

Call Nico and Jasper! Make hats or drawings for Nico and Jasper! Make a happy surprise for Nico and Jasper!

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