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The Ice Cream Man has begun his rounds and my preschooler came home with her Graduation announcement today.  Summer is looming and I’ve got to admit I’m beginning to feel a little hot under the collar; but not because the thermometer hit 97° this afternoon.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and make the wild assumption that I’m not the only mom unraveling at the seams a mere three days into summer break. If I had a nickel for every time a sweaty faced, antsy little pumpkin whined “I’m BORED!!! There’s nothing to dooooooo!” I’d have enough dough to turn my house into a three ring circus for their enjoyment and fly myself to a remote beach and sip fruity rum drinks with cocktail umbrellas all summer.

Here’s the thing: In school, our sweet little loveys are exposed to a plethora of well orchestrated activities from a professionally trained teacher whose sole objective for the day is to provide fun learning opportunities to our children. God love ’em! The bad news: These kids seem to expect the same level of service and entertainment at home!

Let’s get real. Even though I wish I could conjure up my inner Mary Poppins and have tea parties on the ceiling all day long while the toys march themselves back into place it simply isn’t going to happen!  Even us SAHM’s have work to do! (As side note, I tried the SAHM title on for size, and I’ve gotta say I prefer the acronym BMFFFM or ‘Bust My Fanny For Free Mom’; it’s just a better fit.) In my house the laundry doesn’t wash, fold and put itself away. Dust bunnies don’t just hop off when I wiggle my nose and contrary to popular belief, dogs aren’t the super awesome vacuums that I heard they were.  Bottom line, there’s still work to be done each day and I want my kiddos to be engaged in something other than TV that will give me the time I need to knock out my list.  I’ve scoured the internet for fun summer activities and there are virtually zillions of Martha Stewart-esque games, crafts and fun family todos. But when I’m up to my elbows in soap suds, changing the diaper of a toddler in motion and simultaneously scheduling doctor’s appointments with an annoyed receptionist, it’s a little bit of a challenge to Paper Mache a duck.  What I need is a litany of ideas to throw at my kids that’ll bust the boredom right out of them, and to be honest, these brilliant ideas aren’t just swirling around in my head to be plucked and put into motion at a moments notice.  My typical response to the “What can I do?” question (which includes a dose of sarcasm and a little bit of ‘tude) is  “why don’t you play with one of your hundreds of toys or go clean that messy room?”  Ugh! Even I don’t want to follow those lame suggestions!

So last summer my kids and I created a list of fun activities that can be separated into two categories:

1)Things that can be done alone

2) Things that can be done with a sibling or friend.

I typed up the list and we cut up each idea, folded it and stuffed it into a mason jar (if you want to keep the two categories separate, print them on two different colors of paper). The key is, these are all things that can be done WITHOUT mom’s help! Making s ‘mores in the backyard fire pit while fun, does not have a place on this particular list! But before we dig in, there are a couple of rules to hash out:

1. Children may only pull 3 ideas from the Fun Jar before having to decide on something, even if it’s not one of the three ideas chosen. I quickly learned that there are some kids (I won’t mention any names Emerson Lou Lowery) who  will pull idea after idea and say ‘I don’t want to do that,’ ‘I did that yesterday,’ ‘That’s not even fun’… You’ve gotta nip those in the bud!

2. If your child chooses not to use the Boredom Busters  or just can’t seem to decide on one of their three options and whine that there is nothing to do, Mom (or Dad) will promptly find a chore to help occupy their time. Fortunately there is never a shortage of chores to do, and I’ve also got a great list of those on hand!

3. You can ALWAYS add ideas to the Fun Jar!  That can be a great Boredom Buster in itself!

Without further ado, here is the list of Boredom Busters created with my own 4 kids in mind who range from 2-12 years old. You may need to edit this list to fit your own kids ages and/or interests but this should offer a good jumping off point:

Things To Do With A Friend

Things To Do Alone


This post was submitted by Meg Lowery.


Meg Lowery is a WMFFFM (Work My Fanny For Free Mom) of four lovely children and a part time Volunteer Director for a large endurance sports corporation. Meg is interested in almost everything, has time for almost nothing, but is blissfully happy in her almost perfect little world.  She currently resides in Henderson, NV by way of Colorado, and will always be a mountain girl at heart.