Beating Kids’ Summer Doldrums

Boredom is not an option.


No sooner than my kids make their first splash in the pool and order up their first bomb pop from the ice cream man do I hear the two little words that are sure to have me rolling my eyes and stomping my feet (my own brand of mom temper tantrum): I’m bored. This year, I’ve done my research…well, I surfed Pinterest. And I found no shortage of things to do that are NOT been there, done that. At all. I organized them into a handful of categories that will help tackle the what-to-dos before they are through their first episode of Phinneas and Ferb.

Eat your words.

A bowl of pretzels? Bor-ring. It just takes a little inspiration to make snacking a big deal. Here are a few ideas that caught my eye and will catch my kids’ appetites.

  • Magic potion: Kool-aid ice cubes + Sprite = just plain cool
  • Illustrate the phases of the moon with Oreos: that’s a lot of creamy centers you can scrape with your teeth (not complaining)
  • Very Hungry Caterpillar kabobs: First came the book, then came the snack: fun with fruit – and sticks!
  • Fossil cookies: Plastic insects are imprinted on sugar cookie dough, taking about 12 minutes, not 12 million years
  • Tie-dyed toast: Peace, love, food coloring and milk

Take it outside.

Hit your favorite dollar store and add to your summer craft arsenal ASAP!

  • Swim noodles: Craft jousting sticks, obstacles, targets, light sabers, a goal post – even a sprinkler
  • Flash lights: For tag after dark, because no one wants to go to bed early
  • Straws & pipe cleaners: Make crazy-cool bubble wands
  • Balloons: Inflate with helium, Sharpie ninja masks on them and grab a Nerf gun
  • Water balloons: No explanation needed

Or let nature chart your course. Take a quick stroll through the park and grab grass, leaves, feathers and found objects and build a fairy house.



Pre-made toys are overrated. Let your kids try their hands at doing these themselves:

  • Marshmallow shooters: From PVC pipe to plastic cups where there’s a will, and a target—there’s a way.
  • Hot car crayons: Melt wrapper-free nubs in a muffin tin on the car – much more purposeful than the old egg-on-the-sidewalk heat experiment
  • Parachutes: MacGyver this from a plastic bag, string, paperclip and a rubber band. Really.
  • Cardboard Construction Set: Cut grooves in flattened boxes for groovy building pieces; think house of cards, only bigger and better

Art alfresco.

Sidewalk chalk is your best friend, and your cheapest date. From the simplicity of hopscotch to the classic body outline-turned-self-portrait to the challenge of a numbers game, there are more ideas than colors of the rainbow. Get to Googling and have your kids try their hand at:

  • Chalk constellations
  • Obstacle course
  • Human board games
  • Race tracks
  • Chalk paint (surprise! Just add water)
  • My favorite? Creating a scene or cityscape that’s Mary Poppins-esque that kids can just jump into. Like this

When in doubt.

Have the kids contribute to an “I’m Sooooo Bored” jar. Everyone [even parents] can scribble ideas of things to do on scraps of paper. When the mood strikes, these little ideas will carry your summer a long way!


About the author: Heidi Alger

Heidi Alger is the mother of two low-maintenance, high-energy kids under the age of 10. She offers financial guidance, budget tips and lifestyle advice keeping the challenges of modern military families in line, writing alongside an award-winning team at Pioneer Services. Her grandfather, a CW04, served in the Army Security and National Security Agencies during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Follow Heidi on Google+.

Contact: Heidi Alger


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