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Tis the season to bust summer boredom!
July is Anti-Boredom Month
Read on for some boredom-busting ideas


Boredom
By Lynda Schab

"Mom, I'm booored!"

How many times will I hear that this summer? I'm rolling my eyes just thinking about it. Mostly because I just can't understand how on earth children today can even get bored!

These days, kids have enough stuff to keep them busy for two summer's straight. But, I suppose in the same way we became physically exhausted way back when from playing Kick the Can outside in the hot summer sun, kids today experience mental exhaustion. Between video games, computer games, I-pods, and DVD's, it's no wonder they're saying, "I'm bored!" They need a vacation from their over-stimulated brains.

In honor of National Anti-Boredom Month, here is a way to combat your child's boredom when they announce that their new Game Cube just isn't satisfying their quest for fun.

Kids love options but can't make decisions to save their lives. So the first time your kids say, "I'm bored," have them decorate a "Boredom Buster Box." A shoe box or any other small box with a lid will do. Use markers, construction paper, stickers…you get the idea. Once the box is complete, cut a hole or slit big enough for your child's hand to fit through.

Next, cut about twenty squares of construction paper on which to write your boredom buster ideas. You will put these ideas inside the box and every time your child says, "I'm bored," you have them reach inside and choose an option. Of course, most of the time they will need to choose three squares before they find something they actually want to do. Options that your child can do independently work best but if you want to throw a couple more complex ideas, or options you will need to participate in, you must drop everything and do it when your child plucks it out of the box. Even if you're in the middle of something you love to do, like laundry.

Here are a few ideas to get you going:

Let the competition begin! A little competition is actually healthy! So, say "yes" to some heavy-duty chewing gum (the dental appointments aren't scheduled until later in the year anyway!) and see who can blow the biggest bubble. Obviously, your children need to be able to actually blow bubbles. If they don't, pop some gum in your own mouth and teach them! Another healthy competition idea is to bite into a juicy slice of watermelon and have a seed-spitting contest. Or then there's my favorite competition – see who can sweep the largest pile of dirt out of the garage! The winner gets a big hug from mom!

Put on a show for your family, friends, and/or neighbors. Round up all of your terribly bored children and assign roles for them to play in classic plays, such as Cinderella, Snow White, or The Three Little Pigs. Have them practice and practice and help them make tickets to hand out for a special live presentation in your backyard at a designated time.

Water Fight! On a particularly hot summer day, bring out the water balloons, squirt guns and hoses, slip into your bathing suit and get soaked!

Make Monthly Greeting Cards. Make a list of all family and friends celebrating a birthday or anniversary that month. Also add those who are sick or having a baby soon. Take an afternoon and design special greeting cards from the heart. Use markers, stickers, words and pictures from magazines, and other card-making tools and accessories. Your kids and the card recipient will feel special - and your pocketbook will feel lighter. Greeting cards are expensive!

I Scream for ice cream! You will need to drop the laundry, grab a few dollars and load up the kids. Make this a special option they can use on three or four different occasions throughout the summer.

Summer Homework! So maybe they'll cringe at first but you really can make homework fun! Have the kids try to write pre-written sentences backwards, including each letter. It's not as easy as it sounds! Memorize poems and Bible verses. Dig out the word search books. These are all subtle and entertaining ways to keep their brains from getting lazy along with those summer days.

Read, read, read. Your child's teacher probably ended the school year encouraging the children to read during these summer months. Keep the teacher happy! Have your kids grab a book and head to the nearest shade tree. Lay out a blanket and set the timer for thirty minutes. Or, if you have time, take a drive to your local library and check out a couple of books your kids haven't read before. After all, they may "be bored" of their own.

Board Games. Wanna beat boredom? Bring out the game boards! Have each child choose one game. Set the timer for twenty or thirty minutes. When the timer goes off, they switch to the next game. Or, if they are feeling especially creative, have them make up their own games using the boards provided. It's interesting to see what they come up with!

Make Popsicles. Whip up a batch of Kool-Aid and fill up mini paper cups. Place a popsicle stick in each one and freeze for a couple of hours until set. Slide off the cup for a yummy (and inexpensive) frozen treat your kids will love!

Picnic in the Park! Dig out that picnic basket and blanket. Have kids make their own lunches (with supervision, of course). Bring along a Frisbee or a kite for some after-lunch fun.

These are only a few suggestions to get you going. Others may include watch a video, build a fort, roller blade, or play charades. Come up with ten or fifteen more to give your kids lots of options to choose from. Each time a boredom buster is completed, take it out of the box. Except I Scream for Ice Cream, which they'll want to utilize as many times as possible.

Your kids getting bored this summer may be inevitable, but staying bored doesn't have to be.

Have fun!
Lynda Schab lives in Michigan with her husband and two children, who have yet to be bored this summer since their aunt just purchased a home with a pool, the ultimate boredom buster. You can contact Lynda via the letters page of this magazine.
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