10 Frugal Tips To Keep Kids From Feeling Bored

Submitted by Dan Gilbert on behalf of Primrose Schools. For over 25 years, Primrose has helped students achieve higher levels of success by providing them with an AdvancED® preschool education and early child care services. Through an accelerated Balanced Learning® curriculum, Primrose Schools preschool students are exposed to a widely diverse range of subject matter giving them a much greater opportunity to develop mentally, physically and socially.

Every parent has heard that dreaded phrase: “I’m bored.” Usually those words are uttered by a child over and over. Keeping children of all ages entertained is one of the biggest challenges parents face. Some parents make the mistake of spending great amounts of money, breaking the family budget, in order to try to keep a child entertained. This does not have to be the case; often the entertainment value of an activity is not linked to its price tag. There are numerous wallet-friendly-ways to not only keep children from being bored, but to engage their minds while doing so.

As easy as it is for parents to let their children sit in front of the TV, computer or other electronic device for hours on end because they don’t know what else to do with them, it is not healthy or productive. It is actually detrimental to a child’s mind. Children can lose up to 60% of what they learn in school if they are not exposed to stimulating activity outside the schools walls, says Primrose Schools vice president of education, Dr. Mary Zurn. “It’s important to keep children’s minds active, but it doesn’t take an expensive activity or big vacation to capture their attention,” said Dr. Mary Zurn. “After all, imagination is free.”

Below are ten economical, creative ways to keep children entertained all year.

1. Beat the Boredom Jar
At the start of every month, brainstorm together a list of things to do that people enjoy. These activities can be done alone or together as a family. Make sure to include everyone in this process, so that there are activities everyone likes. Write all of these ideas down on strips of paper and place the ones everyone likes in a jar, which has been decorated as the “Boredom Buster Jar.” Throughout the month, anyone can pull a slip of paper out of it. The activity written on it will help alleviate the boredom blues.

2. Stories Alive
One of the simplest and most beneficial ideas, which sadly people often neglect, is reading together. Reading is a vital part of stimulating the brain in both children and adults. Read a book together. This is especially helpful for boring rides in the car or on a plane.

3. Art Treasure Chest
Designate a specific box as the “Art Treasure Chest.” In this box, place some basic art supplies: child-safe scissors, washable markers, glue, scotch tape and construction paper. In addition to these conventional supplies, add some different, recycled ones, such as paper towel rolls, old magazines and scrap aluminum foil. When a child is feeling bored, this chest is a great place to go and find some tools to create a piece of art. This is a great way to stimulate a child’s creative process. In order to keep the box exciting, add special items, like chalk, stamps or stickers, occasionally.

4. Family Performances
Dig up any old costumes or clothes that are handy, and use them to create characters. Have the children direct, produce and act the play out. For an added flair, use pots and pans as instruments.

5. Fort Building
Building a fort is an activity that every child enjoys. During the nicer months, this can be done outside. Even during snowy winters, though, a snow fort can be made with a couple of shovels. The most robust ones are usually tree forts, but not all forts must be a large project. Making a fort can be as simple as stacking up cushions on the couch inside after dinner. Whatever the style of fort, it is sure to be fun.

6. Cooking Together
Making a recipe together can be a blast. Allow children to choose what they would like to make, but make sure an experienced cook chooses the actual recipe. This way, the children are involved in selecting it, but ultimately cannot choose an impossible recipe to make. After making the dish together, enjoy sharing it with others.

7. Old Pictures
Dig up some old family photographs. Those film pictures that are not on the computer are the best ones. Going through these as a family can be a great way to introduce children to distant relatives and older generations. Seeing mom or dad in a funny outfit or with weird hair always produces laughs.

8. Listening Game
This is similar to looking at clouds together. Lie down somewhere, anywhere. This can be in a bedroom or on a lawn; it can be inside or outside. Then, remain quiet and listen. What is there to hear? Does everyone hear the same sound? What is it? Can someone imitate that noise?

9. Picnic
Take the family on a picnic. During the nice weather, go to a park and enjoy sandwiches near the water or on a mountain. Yet, picnics do not need to be limited to the summer. Bringing a picnic lunch to a lodge when skiing or as a meal on museum steps can be an affordable, filling lunch.

10. Board Game
Rediscover the joys of board games. These can be anything from lengthy, complicated games of Risk or Monopoly, to simple ones like Chutes and Ladders or Connect Four. There is a board game for everyone. To make sure everyone has a good time, focus on the fellowship and take turns picking the game.

This list only contains ten affordable ways to keep the family entertained. With some creativity, there are many activities that are both affordable and fun for everyone. Enjoying these together helps alleviate the boredom and helps keep the family together. With these and other ideas, people can beat boredom all year.

Special thanks to Dan Gilbert for this guest post!



Duncan Faber said…
We have 5 kids, and we always keep them occupied with audiobooks for the ipods. There's a ton of sites where you can download them, but we use this one a lot because the stories are free and original. This is the link, if anyone is intereted. http://www.twirlygirlshop.com/short-stories-for-kids

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