Make an "Idea Box" for times when your child says "I'm bored!" Start with a tissue or shoe box and let your child decorate it. When you come across an idea that strikes your fancy, write it on a slip of paper and place it in the box. Send them running to the idea box when they say they are bored. You can start by using some of the ideas listed below:
2. Hide a kitchen timer and have your child search for it by listening for its ticking sound.
3. Make a fishing pole with a stick and string. Tie a magnet on the end and fish for paper clips.
4. Use sidewalk chalk to draw a city complete with roads. Use toy cars and trucks on the roads.
5. Play hopscotch.
6. Make a sponge garden. Soak a sponge in water and place it in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with alfalfa or rye grass seeds. Keep it moist and watch it grow.
7. Make frozen fruit juice cubes in an ice tray.
8. Spray paint two-liter bottles and use for bowling pins. Put a little water in the bottom of each one to weigh it down.
9. Make a bird feeder by rolling a pinecone in peanut butter, then in bird seed. Hang from a tree with string.
10. Have your children create books about themselves. They might want to include their birth date, handprints and footprints, drawings of themselves and their families and a story about themselves. These are wonderful keepsakes.
11. Read and act out one of your child's favorite stories.
12. Make a mystery bag by placing familiar objects in a pillow case. Ask your child to close his or her eyes, feel the objects in the bag and pick out the item you name.
13. Hide a small toy in a room. While the children look for it, give them clues such as, "You are hot" when they are close, and "You are cold" when they move away.
14. Put a sheet or blanket over a table and make a tent, doll house or secret hiding place. It's also a great place to take a nap or have a picnic lunch.
15. Soak a stalk of cut celery in a glass of food coloring and a little water. Watch what happens the next day. (You can also use Daisies for this experiment.)
16. Write crazy commercials and perform them for each other.
17. Make a volcano. Mound dirt six to ten inches high and then clear a hole down the middle of it. Put 2 teaspoons of baking soda in the hole. Pour in some vinegar and watch your "eruption."
18. Save pennies in a jar. When the jar is full, use the money for a family outing to the ice cream parlor.
19. Lie on a blanket in the backyard at night and look at the stars.
20. Dress up and serve dinner by candlelight once a month.
21. Have a sock fight. Roll socks into balls and throw at each other.
22. Have a smile contest. See who has the biggest smile; measure them with a ruler.
23. Have a family car wash. Wear bathing suits and be ready for sponge fights and water squirt wars.
24. Go on a long bike ride. Map your route before you leave, choosing new and interesting destinations each week.
25. Plan a special bake day and discuss what you will bake.
26. Look at Me! Have your child observe you for a minute. Leave the room. Return to the room, having changed a small detail in your appearance. Can they guess?
28. Let your toddler use a dustpan for a snow shovel - right size, right height.
29. Fill a spray bottle with water and food coloring and "paint" the snow.
30. Let your child finger paint with shortening on cookie sheets.
31. Play the "message game" at bedtime: draw letters on your child's back and have him or her try to decipher them.
32. What's Missing? Place a group of common objects on a paper plate and give your child a few moments to study the collection. Ask the child to turn around and then remove one of the objects. Ask "What's missing?"
33. Find a quiet moment and call a family pow wow to talk about what happened that day. Who has a funny story to tell or something new to share. A pow wow is also a good time to give someone a compliment or to tell what's bugging you on a day when things don't seem to go right.
34. Take your child(ren) on a "mystery ride". Don't tell them where you are going or when the mystery ride will occur. Go to the beach for a picnic. Visit a children's museum. Go to the mall or a toy store and give each child $5 to spend any way they choose. Visit a grandparent or cousin. Bring them to a movie they've wanted to see. Head to a lake or park. Just make when and where a big surprise!
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