281 ideas to beat summer boredom

You know how I feel about summer boredom.  I truly believe that my kids NEED to be bored.

I work hard to make sure they get bored.  I turn off the television.  I ban the electronics.  I keep them at home without direction.

(yes. i’m crazy)

I know that they normally pass through the bored phase (the time where they are annoying and whiny) and into creative play.  For the most part, they move past “I’m bored” and right into “mom, look at this” without too much effort.

But sometimes…. sometimes they need a nudge.

Sometimes, they need a little help.  Realistically, if my kids are looking to me for an idea of how to appropriately spend their time, I’m probably not in good shape to come up with a really good idea.  By that point, I’m normally so frazzled I’m doing good to remember my name.

But I can at least remember to look at a list.

(you can download this list in PDF form here.  it’s formatted to be able to cut these into strips.)

281 summer boredom busters


The list reminds me to check Pinterest for all the cool ideas I’ve pinned.  I need to be reminded.  If you follow me on Pinterest you’ll get a steady stream of ideas all summer (plus recipes for chocolate cake, cookies, salads, and green smoothies.  I’m a bi-polar pinner.)

281 ideas to beat summer boredom

  1. summer boredom buster 13act out a play
  2. alphabetize your books
  3. arrange photo albums
  4. bake a batch of cookies
  5. bake a cake
  6. basketball
  7. bathe a pet
  8. bird watching
  9. blow bubbles
  10. braid hair
  11. brush the pet
  12. brush your teeth
  13. build a clubhouse under the dining room table
  14. build a fort in the backyard
  15. build a fort in your rooms
  16. build a fort with all the wrapped rolls of paper towels and toilet paper
  17. build a marble maze
  18. build a rabbit trap and bait it with a baby carrot
  19. build a reading nook in the guest bathtub with all the pillows you can find
  20. build a sandcastle
  21. build a squirrel trap and bait it with acorns gathered from the yard
  22. build huge insects out of found materials
  23. build mud pies
  24. build swords out of cardboard tubes and duct tape. Use them.
  25. summer boredom buster 32build with blocks or Legos
  26. call a friend
  27. call your grandmother
  28. catch butterflies and then let them go
  29. chase butterflies
  30. check out a science book and try some experiments
  31. check the mail
  32. check the pinterest summer activities board or indoor kid stuff board or summer school board
  33. clean bathroom
  34. clean bathroom mirrors
  35. clean bedroom
  36. clean garage
  37. clean inside of car windows
  38. clean sliding glass doors
  39. clean under the bed
  40. collect caterpillars and bugs
  41. collect feathers
  42. collect leaves
  43. collect pill bugs (rolypolys) and build a small world for them
  44. collect rocks
  45. collect seeds
  46. collect sticks and mud and build a bird’s nest
  47. summer boredom buster 50color
  48. cook
  49. copy your favorite book illustration
  50. count how many days until school starts
  51. create a potato gun
  52. create a symphony with bottles and pans and rubber bands
  53. create an imaginary friend
  54. create something out of a few cardboard tubes
  55. crochet or knit
  56. cut pictures from old magazines and write a story
  57. declare backwards day
  58. declare opposite day
  59. decorate a shoe box to hold your summer treasures
  60. decorate bikes or wagons and have a neighborhood parade
  61. design your own game
  62. do a jigsaw puzzle
  63. do a secret service for a neighbor
  64. do brain teasers (ie: crosswords, word searches, hidden pictures, mazes, etc.)
  65. do crafts with pressed flowers
  66. do extra schoolwork to get ahead
  67. do some stargazing
  68. summer boredom buster 72draw
  69. draw a cartoon strip
  70. dust the house
  71. empty dishwasher
  72. feed the birds or squirrels
  73. feed the cat
  74. find a new pen pal
  75. find an ant colony and spill some food and watch what happens
  76. find bugs and start a collection
  77. find out what happens when you combine vinegar and baking soda
  78. find shapes in the clouds
  79. finger paint with pudding
  80. fingerpaint with shaving cream
  81. fold laundry
  82. fold the towels
  83. freeze large block of colored water. Use the ice blocks to build a sculpture
  84. gather the dirty laundry
  85. give your pet a party
  86. glue noodles into a design on paper
  87. go fishing
  88. have a “texas snowball fight” with wads of white paper
  89. have a marble tournament
  90. have a neighborhood bike wash
  91. have a read-a-thon with a friend or sibling
  92. have a Spelling Bee
  93. have a tea party
  94. have a Teddy bear picnic
  95. have leaf boat races when the neighbor over waters their yard
  96. have paper airplane races
  97. hold a tea party
  98. hunt for earthworms
  99. summer boredom buster 112hunt for four-leaf clovers
  100. invent a game from all the extra game pieces
  101. invent a new language
  102. invent circus acts
  103. jump rope
  104. learn magic tricks
  105. learn origami
  106. listen to a story or book on tape
  107. listen to the birds sing
  108. make a collage from magazine photos.
  109. make a collage using pictures cut from old magazines
  110. make a craft
  111. make a diorama
  112. make a fairy house
  113. make a hideout or clubhouse
  114. make a macaroni necklace
  115. make a map of your bedroom, house or neighborhood
  116. make a parade float from your wagon
  117. make a sundial
  118. make a teepee out of blankets
  119. make a tent out of blankets
  120. make a terrarium
  121. make a treasure map
  122. make a wind chime out of things headed for the garbage
  123. make an obstacle course in your backyard
  124. make and eat ants on a log
  125. make and eat fruit salad
  126. make and freeze popcicles
  127. make art on the front walkway with sidewalk chalk
  128. make bookmarks
  129. make Christmas presents
  130. make dessert
  131. make dinner
  132. make doll clothes
  133. make flowers from craft foam or found materials
  134. make food sculptures (from pretzels, gumdrops, string licorice, raisins, cream cheese, peanuts, peanut butter, etc.) and then eat it
  135. make friendship bracelets for your friends
  136. make Frisbee’s out of old plastic lids, decorate with markers
  137. summer boredom buster 145make granola
  138. make homemade gift cards
  139. make homemade play dough
  140. make homemade wrapping paper
  141. make lemondade
  142. make paper airplanes
  143. make picture frames from twigs glued onto sturdy cardboard
  144. make sock puppets
  145. make some popcorn and eat it
  146. make some salt dough and then make a sculpture while blind folded
  147. make trail mix
  148. make up a “Bored List” of things to do
  149. make up a game for practicing math facts
  150. make up a game for practicing spelling
  151. make up a play using old clothes as costumes
  152. make up a song
  153. make up a story
  154. make up a story by drawing pictures
  155. match your socks
  156. memorize a poem
  157. organize a dresser drawer
  158. paint
  159. paint the sidewalk with water
  160. paint your face
  161. perform a circus
  162. perform a family concert
  163. phone a friend
  164. pick flowers
  165. pick vegetables
  166. plan a neighborhood or family Olympics
  167. plan a special activity for your family
  168. plan a treasure hunt
  169. Plan a trip
  170. plan an imaginary trip around the world, where would you want to go
  171. summer boredom buster 148plan an imaginary trip to the moon
  172. plan pranks for Aprils Fools Day next year
  173. plant a container garden
  174. plant a garden or a pot
  175. play “I spy”
  176. play “murder in the dark” remember it?
  177. play a guessing game
  178. play baseball
  179. play board games
  180. play card games
  181. play catch
  182. play charades
  183. play checkers or chess
  184. play Cowboys
  185. Play doll hospital
  186. play dolls
  187. play dress-up
  188. play flashlight tag
  189. play Frisbee
  190. play frisbee golf
  191. play hide-and-seek
  192. play hopscotch
  193. play house
  194. play in the sandbox
  195. play indoor tennis with a balloon and paper plates
  196. play jacks
  197. play Kick the Can
  198. play marbles
  199. play momgo
  200. play nerf guns
  201. play outside with the pet
  202. play school
  203. play statues
  204. play store
  205. play tag
  206. play the alphabet game
  207. play the present game
  208. play with play dough
  209. play with toy cars
  210. play yatzee
  211. practice musical instruments
  212. prepare a “restaurant” lunch with menus
  213. prepare lunch
  214. summer boredom buster 218press flowers
  215. pretend you are a cat
  216. pretend you are a game show host
  217. pretend you are invisible
  218. pretend you are super heros (or super villains)
  219. produce a talent show
  220. pull weeds
  221. put on a magic show
  222. put on a puppet show
  223. put together a family newsletter
  224. read a magazine
  225. read a story to a younger child
  226. read books
  227. recite a memorized poem for your family
  228. research your favorite animal, sport, food, or hobby
  229. ride bikes
  230. roller blade
  231. run a lemonade stand
  232. run relay races
  233. run through the sprinkler
  234. search your house for items made in other countries and then learn about those countries from the encyclopedia
  235. sew buttons in designs on old shirts
  236. sprout seeds or beans
  237. squirt with hoses
  238. start a club
  239. start a journal of summer fun
  240. start a nature diary
  241. string dry noodles or O-shaped cereals into a necklace
  242. surprise a neighbor with a good deed
  243. surprise an elderly neighbor or relative by weeding his/her garden
  244. sweep driveway or sidewalk
  245. sweep front walkway
  246. sweep kitchen or bathroom floors
  247. sweep the porch
  248. take a nap in the closet
  249. take a nap outside on your lawn
  250. take a quiet rest time
  251. take a shower or bath
  252. take the trash out
  253. teach yourself to play musical instrument (recorder, harmonica, guitar)
  254. try to imitate bird calls
  255. use a potato to run a lighbulb
  256. use binoculars
  257. use magnifying glass
  258. use microscope
  259. vacuum car
  260. vacuum living room
  261. vacuum or dust window blinds
  262. vacuum under the couch cushions and keep any change found
  263. walk in the rain
  264. wash bicycles
  265. wash car
  266. wash your face
  267. watch the clouds
  268. water the plants
  269. summer boredom buster 281whittle
  270. whittle bars of soap
  271. work a puzzle
  272. work with clay
  273. write a letter to a relative, friend or pen pal
  274. write a play
  275. write a science-fiction story
  276. write in your journal
  277. write letters
  278. write newspaper articles for a pretend newspaper
  279. write reviews of movies or plays or TV shows or concerts you see during the summer
  280. write stories
  281. write these ideas on pieces of paper and pick out one or two to do

 What did I miss?  What’s your favorite summer boredom busting strategy?



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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. Oh my gosh, your kids will never be bored! Personally I like clean your room, clean your bathroom, clean the garage! Hahahaha Can you tell I need some cleaning help around here?? In all seriousness though, this is a great list! Lots of fun stuff on it too! I remember when my kids used to build forts. It was a lot of fun!
    Michelle recently posted..A Letter to My Readers (&#038; Giveaway)My Profile

    • I seriously doubt they actually clean something out of boredom. It normally works like this:
      them: i’m bored
      me: take out the trash
      them: never mind, i’m gonna go read a book.

      Amazing how much more appealing a book seems when faced with cleaning chores.
      Susan Baker recently posted..281 ideas to beat summer boredomMy Profile

  2. Like Michelle, I am totally stealing the cleaning ones! My house is a disaster! 😉 I love these ideas and am saving this post for the first time the words “I’m bored” are uttered around here!-Ashley

  3. This list is epic! I love how you alphabetized it. I was just getting my kids to brainstorm things like this. I think they will get a kick out of your list.
    Sarah recently posted..Why Teaching Your Kids to Do Chores is Like Paying Your MortgageMy Profile

  4. I could barely read this list it was so boring!!!! Yikes.

  5. Brynlie Crabtree says:

    loved all the ideas! definitely will be doing tons of these!

  6. This will be a tiring summer! lol


  7. I love this! Thanks so much for sharing it all. I\\\’m looking forward to a great summer.

    • Have a great summer. I’ll share some other ideas for a funner summer… be sure to check back. 🙂
      Susan Baker recently posted..My kids make me laugh: Cats and DogsMy Profile

      • I will be around… I’m a new subscriber! 🙂 It is so easy sometimes to just let the kids (We have 5 boys) watch TV or play on the iPad. I’m praying that God will help me be better at doing things with the boys this year.

        • I struggle with the same thing. I think every mom does at some level. My husband asked me to make sure they get at least an hour of activity time and an hour of additional non-screen time each day. Now I have even more reasons to keep the screens under control!

  8. Nice ideas, but I wanted share this with a friend who has no computer, so i tried to paste these ideas on email, and your blog does not allow it. Would you please send me a copy? thanks.

  9. By having a pet, you\’re having a full time preoccupation any summer. 🙂

  10. Harpreet Kaur says:

    Fantastic list.. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Really need a break to fresh up the mind and body. Your Stuff really help me out. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I had no idea their could be so much stuff to do… I have my 14 year old cousion for the summer, your post just saved my summer and his thanks. http://dogcakerecipes.info/

  13. thanks so much for the awesome summer ideas. I had no idea their was much things i could be doing. true eye openeer
    matt recently posted..Carob: The Healthiest Dog Cake Recipes IngredientMy Profile

  14. Thanks for sharing this fantastic list.. Really Mam I love all the ideas to beat summer boredom

  15. Summer is just around the corner. I should save this! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  16. Great list – more than enough to keep anyone occupied during the summer months.

  17. Have a great summer. I’ll share some other ideas for a funner summer… be sure to check back.thanks for sharing with us

  18. Thank you for useful information for me. And I will try to study the benefits that I received it.
    I would say that your web site is very useful.

  19. nr. 15 pretend you are a cat

    WHAT??! 😛

    I’m gonna try! 😀

    • Hey, why not? Pretending to be a cat requires lots of laying around and being perfectly still while you nap. I’d LOVE my kids to try that by about 2 on a summer afternoon.

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