MU Extension column: I'm bored

By Jessica Trussell

The school year is starting to wind down and that means that children are looking ahead to the carefree and joyous days of summer. However, it does not seem like it takes very long for kids to start the summer refrain of “I’m bored, I’m sooo bored!” As the temperature continues to rise and playing outside leaves children hot, tired, and cranky, we often find them wandering through the house looking for something to get into. When you hear the “I’m bored” refrain, there is a simple acronym that you can use to prompt your children into finding a new activity. It is BORED:

Been outside?

Outside play?

Read a book?

Exercised 10 minutes?

Done something helpful?

Feel free to make this into a sign and post it on your fridge, or search the internet for a printable one, but refer your children to it when they are wanting something to do. When they have done something from all five areas, then they can come to you for suggestions. Otherwise, this list is a great way to direct some of their summer energy. Here are some examples of some of the things kids can do in each area.

Been outside? This opens the door to lots of exciting and engaging activities. You can go with your children on a nature walk or paint the inside of an egg carton with different colors and then try to find matching colors around your home (inside or out). Have your children set up a lemonade stand and sell refreshing drinks to your neighbors. Or, set up a scavenger hunt, but just be sure to set parameters for the hunt and that children stay safe.

Outside play? Kids love to get wet, let your kids spray each other with a water hose or set up a sprinkler for them to run through. Water guns and water balloons can also be fun for older kids. Bubbles and chalk are fun outdoor activities for kids. Change your driveway into a canvas and let your little Picasso decorate the driveway and then hose it off so they can start all over again. There

are also indoor activities like reading, writing, puzzles, and dressing up that can be fun to do outside.

Read a book? This is great for school-age children to keep their minds sharp and their reading skills engaged. If there are younger children in the home, have big brothers and sisters read to the little ones so that everyone stays involved. Reading is a great way to take a vacation without ever having to leave your home.

Exercised for 10 minutes? Play basketball or baseball or soccer, jump on a trampoline, ride a bike, or have the children create an obstacle course in your backyard and have the neighborhood kids challenge each other. There are other outside games that are also are good forms of exercise such as capture the flag or kickball.

Done something helpful? This is a great one for parents and kids alike. They can help out a neighbor, church member, or a family member. These helpful things could be inside or outside and open the door for limitless possibilities. Picking up sticks for a neighbor, helping to wash a car with a neighbor, or cooking with a family member are just a few examples. Just the act of offering to help can open up interesting possibilities.

Now if your children have done something in all five of the BORED areas, you may have to help them come up with something to do. But rest assured, by using this same strategy, you are bound to come up with something!

Jessica Trussell is a Human Development & Family Studies Specialist for the University of Missouri Extension.