Boredom Busters Part One: Game Time!


Get ready to have a little family fun and fight boredom with a little planning!

Welcome to Winter Break!

You know what that means! The kids will be home…all day, every day. Hooray!

But then the panic thought occurs. How will we fill their time?

I’m Bored!

If your home is like mine, (and odds are it is) you will soon hear the whines of, “I’m bored.” Or worse, the kids will turn into tecno-zombies staring at phones and screens. What’s a mom to do?

Create your own adventure

Personally, I think it is good for kids to be bored once in a while. Consider it a time for them to stretch their imagination, their sense of agency, and their creativity. Sure, they might need an encouraging prompt to get started. So, give them one.  Remember those “Create your own adventure” books? This is your opportunity to relive them!  Offering your children some either/or questions.

“Oh, you are bored. Are you?  What a wonderful opportunity for you to do whatever you want to do!” <insert eyeroll here> Let me help. Would you like to play inside or outside?”
“Ahh, inside.  Would you like to play in the living room or your bedroom?”
“The living room.  Would you like to build or draw?”
“You say build? Ok. Pillows or Legos…”

You get the idea.  Tailor it to the moment and to your kids. This might take some thinking ahead on your part so you are ready to respond, but it will be worth it.

Brainstorm your family’s boredom-busting ideas

Hate the idea of 20 questions played on repeat all winter break? Try a one-time family brainstorm.  Together, as a family, write parent-approved boredom buster ideas on slips of paper and toss them in a jar labeled “Boredom Busters.” At the first hint of a whine, simply point your child to the jar. “Don’t worry, kid, there is a jar full of ideas right there. Have at it!”

Let us help you with some ideas. Today will be the first in a two-part series of brain-exercising, boredom-busting fun.

Sneak in some math

Today’s article will help you sneak in a little math by way of board games. Some of the games on this list are new, some are classics. Some are my family’s favorites and some are award winners recommended by Oppenheimer Toy Portfolio (no relation to the movie). All of them will have your kids stretching their math skills through computation, problem-solving, logic, pattern recognition, and spatial awareness.

  • Rush Hour – Players try to create an escape for their traffic-jam-blocked car by sliding other vehicles out of the way. This one is a solo game that can come in handy when you need to get some things done. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
  • Mastermind – I used to play this game for hours with my brothers. It still does not disappoint.   Use logic to guess the hidden color pattern created by your opponent. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
  • Qwitch – An award-winning and fast-paced card game. This game has players using operation symbols to race to empty their hand of number and letter cards. This one will get everyone thinking quickly. Recommended for ages 7 and up but I can see playing it at a slower pace with younger kids.
  • Monopoly – You know this game! My family loves it. It is a classic for a reason.  It includes money, strategy, and charging exorbitant rent to one’s siblings. What could be more fun? Recommended for ages 8 and up.
  • Battleship – You know this one too! Use coordinates on a grid to locate and “sink” your opponent’s battleship. This game will help students become familiar with and comfortable with graphing.  A skill students will see in all levels of math. Recommended for ages 7 and up.
  • Prime Climb – This award-winner was designed by a pair of mathematicians. Players use a combination of addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication to race up the colorful spiral board to the number 101. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

More to Come

So, what do you say…does it all add up to a bunch of fun for your family? See what I did there? Here’s wishing you a happy holiday break and a lot of boredom busted and minds engaged. Stay tuned for quick and easy kitchen science!



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