My 5 year old has been driving me BONKERS lately with the “I’m bored” whine. Is there any worse phrase that a parent can hear from their kid? I had to find a way to fix it FAST without resorting to TV and video games. Thank goodness mom has now found 50 activities for her bored kids – and your kids too! Call them rainy day activities (or snow day activities for Colorado families) or whatever you like, this bored list has plenty of ideas to keep kids of all ages busy.
50 Activities for Bored Kids: The I’m Bored List.
Between brainstorming and Pinterest, I compiled a list of things that my 5 year old son could do mostly independently.
Some activities are ones we can do together, but there are times when I’m working or cooking or whatever and I just need him to entertain himself for a while. I included a good mix of both so we have lots to choose from on those dull days. While some include electronics, most don’t involve screen time at all.
After I created this list I thought there may be some other moms who could benefit from some boredom buster ideas as well. So…here you go!!
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Pretty self-explanatory. We love borrowing books from the library – new titles for free!
If you have lots of books and want to help the boredom factor a little more, keep half packed away and half on the shelves. Then after 6 months, switch out the books so the ones from storage seem “new” again!
Check out ParentingNest.com for lots of great book ideas for kids of all ages!
2. Do chores for mom or dad (with or without pay).
It’s up to you if you decide to pay your kids for extra chores (you can read how we do chores and allowance here). But it’s amazing how a chore can sometimes seem fun – depending on what it is and how you approach the task.
One of our fun favorites – spraying a little water or diluted cleaner on the floor and sliding or skating with rags under our feet. Turn on the music for some tunes while the floor gets clean!
3. Go outside and catch bugs.
Just don’t forget to release them!
4. Write an email or letter to a family member.
Let your child pick a family member, living far away or close, and have them write a letter or note. No family members to write? Make a generic card to drop at a local nursing home to brighten someone’s day!
I keep blank greeting cards that are perfect for this. You can also use colored paper to make it more fun. Let them draw a picture, use a colored pen, or add stickers for some extra pizazz.
5. Use craft items to create a project.
Dig into your box of holiday “stuff” (you do have a box like that, right?) or your collection of craft supplies. Give guidance if you like, or just let their imagination run wild.
Prepare for messes, and for the love of all things – HIDE THE GLITTER FIRST. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
6. Draw a picture.
This can be with pencil, pens, colored pencils, markers, crayons, chalk – whatever you have. Draw on paper, on a brown paper bag, on the back of wrapping paper for a mural, or on the side of a cardboard box.
7. Color in a coloring book.
I keep a stack of coloring books in the cabinet for quick grabbing while I’m cooking dinner. You can also find lots of printable coloring sheets online. My 5 year old loves random color-by-number and dot-to-dot sheets I’ve printed.
Don’t have a printer? Find a coloring app on your phone or tablet and hand it over. The five minutes of quiet is worth it.
8. Paint a picture, the side of a box, or your body.
Make sure the paint is safe and protect your house – then let them have fun!
9. Play with your pet.
Here’s a different rainy day activity – my toddler likes to walk the dog… inside the house. It works and the dog tolerates it!
They can also play fetch, encourage some gentle chase if your house has room, or give the dog a bath with supervision.
10. “Cook” a new recipe
No bake cookies are perfect for little chefs! Another easy one is apple nachos (apple slices topped with warm nut butter drizzle), and fruit salad is a hit. My kids also love chocolate energy bites – and I enjoy them too!
11. Play in a bucket or baby pool of water
This one requires supervision, but can be fun. A little water in a baby pool is great for summertime or if the weather is warm. They can either be in or out of the water and just play with pouring containers.
No pool? Use a bucket. Clean out a mop bucket or other container, add water, toss some measuring cups and spoons their way and kick back!
12. Practice soccer or football.
It’s up to you if this happens inside or outside. But I am not responsible for broken lamps.
Kids tend to get excited when parents relax the “no balls in the house” rule though, just saying.
13. Call a friend.
I know this means you have to give up your phone for a little while, but it’s pretty cute when kids talk on the phone.
14. Play board games, card games, or dice games.
My son LOVES to play board games. Is it a coincidence that it sounds like “bored games?” I think not. We keep a closet full of games, and Sorry is our favorite.
Twister is great if you want to add in some movement. Go Fish is perfect for elementary age kids, but Solitaire is great for playing solo!
Find our newest game recommendation and other boredom busters for the kids here!
15. Write a story.
They can have free reign here, or you can give them a prompt. They can write a story using a favorite character if they like. Give them lots of paper and staple it into a book when they finish.
16. Play with NERF guns.
Of all my 50 activities for bored kids, having a NERF battle is my son’s favorite. He can play alone or with a friend or parent.
He can even play with the dog if you have this NERF tennis ball blaster!
17. Play bean bag toss.
We used to have a cornhole set in our backyard, but now we just use beanbags inside. They are easy to make with scrap fabric, or you can find them cheap on Amazon.
18. Ride your bike or scooter.
Just remember a helmet!
19. Create a play. Act it out with stuffed animals.
Or just play with stuffed animals. It works either way.
20. Make up a dance.
With the popularity of Fortnite, the kids are doing all kinds of dances these days. Have them make up a new dance and name it.
21. Listen to music.
This can be on the radio, on a phone or tablet, or with an Echo dot. We love dace parties while Alexa plays music!
22. Sweep the porch or driveway.
Ok this mayyyy not be fun, but it might make them think twice about complaining of being bored again!
23. Play with sidewalk chalk.
Practice writing letters, numbers, or sight words. Identify or draw shapes. Draw a picture.
24. Play with LEGOs.
Even if you don’t have the instructions to make a specific design, there are always castles and spaceships to be built!
Just don’t step on a lego.
25. Make play dough and play with it.
Halfway there – here are 25 more activities for bored kids!
26. Create a treasure hunt.
Let your kid create a treasure hunt for you – complete with a treasure map and buried or hidden treasure!
27. Make a fort with pillows and sheets.
Then give them a flashlight and a book – my favorite rainy day activity when I was a kid!
28. Create your own board game.
This can get super interesting. Just make sure they don’t ask for your help every step of the way!
29. Skype or FaceTime with a relative.
As long as grandparents or aunts and uncles know how to video chat, this should be great!
30. Research and animal and create a presentation about it.
Fun facts to share over dinner.
31. Play an instrument.
Check out our favorite educational/homeschool products and activities too!
32. Water the garden or plants outside.
This one could turn your yard into a river or lake if you aren’t watching. And it definitely isn’t a rainy day activity. Or is it?
33. Have a water gun fight.
You’re going to want to be involved in this one. Trust me. Mom shows no mercy.
34. Go on a picture scavenger hunt.
Look through books for pictures of different animals, or look through the house for pictures of different family members.
35. Take silly face pictures.
Two words: Snap. Chat.
36. Jump rope or hop scotch.
These are some of the lowest technology activities for bored kids that I could think of. But hop scotch is still fun!
37. Plan a menu for the day or week.
The easiest way to get kids to NOT complain about dinner is for them to plan it themselves!
38. Play wall ball.
Throw a ball against a wall or garage door. Catch. Repeat.
39. Look through old photo albums.
I did this SO MUCH as a kid. And I still do it.
40. Write a letter to your teacher.
As a former teacher, I can promise that she will love this. Add in a picture or some stickers. And a gift card if you really like her.
41. Write a poem.
Limericks are a lot of fun! Or make a silly Dr. Seuss style poem.
42. Organize DVDs or books.
Um, what does it say about me if this was also one of my favorite activities as a bored kid?
43. Paint rocks for the garden.
Easy way to add some color to the garden – especially in the winter!
44. Do leaf/nature rubbings.
You can repurpose these as art for your house! Add them to a frame with a mat and voila – you have unique decor.
45. Sew a pillow with scraps.
Here we go again – another one of my own favorite activities for bored kids. I even made pillows with old t-shirts and stuffed them with socks that had holes.
But hey – it was fun, I kept myself busy, and I didn’t waste anything!
46. Do a jigsaw puzzle.
These can be fun for kids to do alone, or with a parent.
Here are 30+ print and play activities for kids!
47. Create your own word search with family members’ names.
There are websites online that help with this, or you can do it on paper! Turn notebook paper sideways and use a ruler to add lines, or use grid paper.
Write in the names first and then fill in extra spaces with random letters. So fun!
48. Make bubbles.
Here’s an easy recipe for bubbles – but watch out for slippery floors!
49. Play dress up or give someone a silly makeover.
You can really go wild with this one.
And the final activity for bored kids…
50. Take a bath with bathtub crayons.
Bathtub crayons and colored bath drops are awesome! Or just let the kids take a bath! A bath in the middle of the day is a fun change in routine and it keeps the kids contained in one spot.
I also have this rainy day activity list as a PDF if you want to print it. We printed ours onto cardstock and hung it on the side of the fridge. You can also cut it into strips and put the strips in a “bored jar” for kids to pull from. Then the activity is more of a surprise!
Click here to download —> I’m Bored List
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If you have any other favorite activities for bored kids, please leave your suggestions in a comment below! I’d love to be able to add more options or maybe switch out the list later for variety. 😉
Amanda is a mom of 4 living a mostly crunchy lifestyle outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 dogs, and a cat. As a former special education teacher who also has her personal training certification — Amanda really enjoys teaching others how to do things!
When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys DIY projects, exercising, photography, hiking, and long walks through Target.