Guest-contribution: Feathered post provided by J.Wilson Ong.
It’s the holidays, and yet the kids seem oblivious to the worth of their vast reserves of free time and boundless energy. Instead, the second that the atmosphere of hilarity abates, the characteristic cry of “I’m bored” renders the air. Inevitably, it falls to mom to pull a magic solution out of the hat, where she also happens to keep last minute homework ideas, freshly ironed shirts and an endless supply of hugs. Need help stocking up on boredom-beating activities for any occasion? Read on, do…
Sunny day boredom
If you can keep it a secret and stash it away for a sunny day, a paddling pool might just be the best surprise you’ll ever spring on the little ones. Paddling pools provide endless hours of fun, tend to be cheap and are very easy to set up. After the big reveal, you’re guaranteed a whine-free afternoon at the very least and during long, bright, summer days, it can provide infinite levels of distraction.
Image by Tammra McCauley, used under Creative Commons license.
‘I spy’ can only thrill for a limited period of time before you’ll start to question the mental capability of your offspring, so have a back-up plan. Audio-books on the car stereo are handy, require minimum effort, and might even lull your little ones into an impromptu back seat slumber. Tablets are even better, as long as you’re prepared to risk the inevitable tantrum when one little cherub wants to play games and another has their heart set on watching a movie.
Rainy day blues
When skies darken and rain threatens, it’s like a Pavlovian cue for children. They must express their immediate and acute dissatisfaction with the world, loudly, and it’s up to mom to provide entertainment on tap. For a few hours of creative play, devise a treasure hunt. Hide a couple of bags of sweets in the house, and leave a cryptic trail of cues for little ones to unravel. They’ll soon be running around in a flap trying to win. Once this idea has run its course, spend the afternoon cooking, build an indoor fort down the back of the sofa, or hold a creative writing class.
While it’s important not to let the kids get too antsy, according to studies, boredom is the best thing for nurturing creativity in your child. It has even been described as a ‘creative state,’ and learning to manage long stretches of unstructured time is an important skill to develop for later in life. Constant stimulation is not healthy, but providing your children with the materials to make their own adventures will develop more creative minds in the long term.