“Mom, I’m bored,” my six-year-old states after a full morning of summer camp, swimming and playing x-box. In my head, I exclaim, “really?!?!” Out loud, I say, “look around honey, there are many things to do.” And then I proceed to list the seemingly endless amount of things she might do to occupy herself. Next, I regale her with tails of the olden days (the 80’s, LOL), when I was her age and boredom was the norm. The days before iPads, endless TV channels and the need to be captivated every minute with fast-paced entertainment. I tell her that it’s actually healthy to be bored sometimes. She doesn’t flinch; my efforts are not registering with her Gen Alpha mind. I’m not gonna lie – sometimes I give in and let her do what she really wants, which is to watch the iPad (I do believe media time is fine in moderation, whatever that means these days). When I’m busy with housework, I tell her that she can help me clean, just be okay with being bored, or find something to do. Other times, I set up an enticing activity like a fort or Legos or something that I know will likely catch her attention.
I know that downtime is important and I want my kids to know that being bored is okay. But I’d also like them to get in the habit of finding creative ways to engage themselves instead of saying, “I’m bored.” So what else do I do but turn to Google to solve my problem. Google tells me to make a boredom jar, so that’s just what I did.
Luckily, my ten-year-old is obsessed with reading, so this is her go-to activity during downtime. She has gotten very good at keeping herself busy for the most part (well, aside from when I’m trying to work at home, ha!). So, she sat this project out, and her little sis and I got to work.
We made a very simple jar using materials we already had: a mason jar, popsicle sticks, and markers. Pinterest also has many elaborate boredom jar ideas if you want to get fancy! I asked my daughter to think of activities she could do at home aside from watching TV and the iPad. She thought of many ideas and I gave her a few ideas as well. This project was great for practicing writing skills!
Here’s what she decided to include:
- Play with Luna (our dog)
- Practice gymnastics
- Arts and crafts
- Play dress up
- Clean up
- Play with clay/model magic
- Play Magnatiles
After we finished, she was excited to pick out an activity. She chose x-box and had a blast playing. Next time I see that look of boredom on her face, I will place the jar near her. Maybe one day, she’ll start using it on her own or maybe she’ll just keep saying, “mom, I’m bored.” Lol!