We’ve all been there. A long afternoon with no plans and the only seeming options for reprieve from the cries of “I’m bored!” are television, IPad, or a mall. Of course, we know there are other options, but somehow it becomes harder to get creative in that particular moment.
I have a plan to preemptively strike the boredom. I sit with my daughter before a long weekend and we come up with 5 ideas of fun things to do together. The rules are no technology, and preferably outside. We write out the ideas and stick the list on the refrigerator door and aim to do one a day. Sometimes the ideas are hits, and sometimes not, but at least we tried! So, here are five inexpensive activities for kids:
Side walk chalk – I actually keep a zip bag of coloured chalk by my front door. This is great for children of all ages and inevitably once we are down colouring, another child joins in – so it’s an instant playdate! If your child has asthma make sure they wash up the chalk dust properly when they are done.
Scavenger hunt – To create an impromptu scavenger hunt, make two teams (pair up a child younger than 5 with an older child as this can be a little challenging for younger ones). Each team comes up with simple questions or riddles whose answer you could find in your neighborhood or building (I push the buttons in the elevator. I saw miaow.) Then each team must go and find the answer to the riddle and tick it off their list. The team that finds each item on their list first is the winner.
Leaf hunt – Ok, so you need a little technology for this one, but it’s educational technology! Go out with the child and collect a few leaves. (Pro tip: Try to collect from plants or trees that you know the name of, it will help you later.) Then go home and Google the different plants and trees and learn a little about them. The child can colour a picture of the plant or tree and attach the leaves.
Colour hunt – This is a simple one. Each player needs a pencil and piece of paper and then picks a colour. Go out and walk around the neighborhood or building and each team writes down the name of an object they see of their colour (Red: post box, hat, t-shirt, button). The team with the most objects wins.
Make a fairy garden or a zoo – For this one you would need a large box and whatever action figures your child is interested in (we’ve used fairies and animals). Go to a garden or park together and collect stones of different sizes, flowers, grass, and leaves. Bring the items you gather home and then arrange them in the box along with the figures. For a fairy garden you can paint the stones with glitter glue. For a zoo you can arrange the stones to become cages for the animals. Use the leaves, flowers and grass as decoration.