Winter Boredom Busters for Kids

by Deborah Taylor-Hough / http://www.SimpleMom.com


Since we try not to use the phrase “I’m bored!” in our home, I usually don’t hear my kids complaining about being bored during those long days at home during the winter. But I have to admit that we’re still an incredibly normal family. Even without the “b-word” in their vocabulary, there have still been those times when my three children just seemed to be at a total loss for something constructive to do.

A number of years ago I brainstormed with my kids and some of our assorted friends and we came up with a list of 200+ ideas for summertime activities. I decided to narrow the list down to just those things that can be done indoors and aren’t weather-dependent for those cold snowy days home from school or during winter vacation times.

You can put each item on this list onto individual pieces of paper, place the papers into a container, and when the children need inspiration for an activity, they can draw out two or three papers and then decide which idea they want to do, either as a group or individually. This method is usually more helpful than giving the kids a huge list of possibilities. By narrowing the choices down to just two or three, it’s easier for the kids to pick out the one that sounds the best to them.

143 INDOOR WINTER BOREDOM BUSTERS for Kids

  • make paper snowflakes
  • clean out the toy box
  • send virtual greeting cards
  • choose photos for a family calendar
  • have an indoor picnic
  • bake and decorate cut-out cookies
  • go camping in the livingroom
  • clear out your email inbox
  • make a mobile out of found objects (acorns, rocks, branches)
  • write up some New Year’s Resolutions
  • create a simple Family Tree
  • make sandwiches and cut them out with large cookie cutters
  • play basketball with a wadded up piece of paper and a wastebasket
  • play board games
  • make a tent out of blankets
  • read books
  • make homemade play dough
  • play with play dough
  • write a letter to a relative, friend or pen pal
  • clean bedroom
  • vacuum living room
  • clean bathroom
  • make a craft
  • draw
  • color
  • paint
  • watch a movie
  • write stories
  • use magnifying glass
  • write a play
  • act out a play
  • invent indoor circus acts
  • perform an indoor circus
  • play card games
  • dust the house
  • brush the pet
  • write letters
  • read a magazine
  • play dress-up
  • play Cowboys
  • build a fort in your rooms
  • do a jigsaw puzzle
  • play on the Geosafari
  • play on the computer
  • listen to a story or book on tape
  • do extra schoolwork to get ahead
  • do brain teasers (ie: crosswords, word searches, hidden pictures, mazes, etc.)
  • cook
  • prepare lunch
  • surprise a neighbor with a good deed
  • play store
  • prepare a “restaurant” lunch with menus
  • hold a tea party
  • have a Teddy bear picnic on the floor in the livingroom
  • play with toy cars
  • play dolls
  • play house
  • learn magic tricks
  • put on a magic show
  • make sock puppets
  • put on a puppet show
  • crochet or knit
  • make doll clothes
  • sew buttons in designs on old shirts
  • make bookmarks
  • take a quiet rest time
  • take a shower or bath
  • organize a dresser drawer
  • clean under the bed
  • empty dishwasher
  • vacuum under the couch cushions and keep any change found
  • write these ideas on pieces of paper and pick out one or two to do
  • practice musical instruments
  • perform a family concert
  • teach yourself to play musical instrument (recorder, harmonica, guitar)
  • fold laundry
  • sweep kitchen or bathroom floors
  • vacuum or dust window blinds
  • clean bathroom mirrors
  • clean sliding glass doors
  • copy your favorite book illustration
  • design your own game
  • build with blocks or Legos
  • create a design box (copper wire, string, odds-and-ends of things destined for the
  • garbage, pom-poms, thread, yarn, etc.)
  • have a marble tournament on the livingroom carpet
  • make dessert
  • make dinner
  • give your pet a party
  • have a read-a-thon with a friend or sibling
  • check out a science book and try some experiments
  • make up a story
  • arrange photo albums
  • play hide-and-seek
  • create a symphony with bottles and pans and rubber bands
  • read a story to a younger child
  • string dry noodles or O-shaped cereals into a necklace
  • glue noodles into a design on paper
  • play jacks
  • make up a song
  • make an indoor teepee out of blankets
  • write in your journal
  • play charades
  • make up a story by drawing pictures
  • draw a cartoon strip
  • make a map of your bedroom, house or neighborhood
  • call a friend
  • cut pictures from old magazines and write a story
  • make a collage using pictures cut from old magazines
  • do a secret service for a neighbor
  • plan a treasure hunt
  • make a treasure map
  • make up a “Bored List” of things to do
  • plan a special activity for your family
  • search your house for items made in other countries and then learn about those
  • countries from the encyclopedia or online
  • plan an imaginary trip to the moon
  • plan an imaginary trip around the world, where would you want to go
  • write a science-fiction story
  • find a new pen pal
  • make up a play using old clothes as costumes
  • make up a game for practicing math facts
  • have a Spelling Bee
  • make up a game for practicing spelling
  • write newspaper articles for a pretend newspaper
  • put together a family newsletter
  • write reviews of movies or plays or TV shows or concerts you see during the break from school
  • bake a cake
  • bake a batch of cookies
  • decorate a shoe box
  • make a hideout or clubhouse
  • make paper airplanes
  • have paper airplane races
  • learn origami
  • make friendship bracelets for your friends
  • make a wind chime out of things headed for the garbage
  • paint your face
  • braid hair
  • play tag
  • make food sculptures (from pretzels, gumdrops, string licorice, raisins, cream cheese, peanuts, peanut butter, etc.) and then eat it
  • produce a talent show
  • memorize a poem
  • recite a memorized poem for your family

Have fun!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Deborah Taylor-Hough is the mother of three, a full-time college student, a displaced homemaker trying to make ends meet on a limited budget, and the author of several older (but still in print) books including the popular Frozen Assets cookbook series. You can visit Debi online at: http://www.SimpleMom.com

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43 Responses

  1. It’s summer here in Australia, but it is really helpful to have such a list for long hot days trying to entertain my daughter.

  2. Love love LOVE it! I plan to copy and paste this list onto a pretty piece of paper, then have my kids decorate it (that’s activity #1 when they say, “I’m bored…”). Activity #2 is picking something from the list. And so on and so on!

    Thanks so much. Happy New Year to you! 🙂

  3. Perfect list of great ideas! Thanks!

  4. I am always for cleaning under neglected areas or organizing closets. Great tips!

  5. My children have done 142 of these in the last week. We’re now down to the nitty-gritty: It’s math skills today!

  6. How about I just send the kids to your house until winter break is over?

  7. These are some really good ideas! I’m tempted to do some of them myself. 😉

  8. Haha, this is a great idea. 🙂

  9. You must have extraordinary kids. Mine would never choose activities like “vacuum living room” or “clean bathroom”! 😉 But some of the other ideas really sound fine – we’ll give them a try.

  10. These are great ideas and very timely for me since I’m running out of things to do for my 3-year-old. Thanks!

  11. when my kids saw “do extra school work to get ahead” they said “A teacher wrote this…right?”
    Thanks for the great list!

  12. I can say from the first go that my paper snowflake making skills don’t really exist.
    Most of the rest are things that I do. I actually have a sister, and it’s fun doing things with her when I’m not on the MacBook or VAIO designing someone’s site. It’s pretty neat. Keeps her occupied and keeps me occupied as well.
    Ashley

  13. Fun tips, thanks. J

  14. What an amazing list! And I LOVE that it came from brainstorming With your kids. I love it. I’m going to put some of those suggestions on nice paper and my own kids and I can draw for activities. Thanks!

  15. This is a great list. I have a mayonaise jar that is about empty of mayonaise but – once cleaned – will be filled with this instead. Thanks you for sharing and being freshly pressed.

  16. wow that’s a lot! Great list – some of those things I probably wouldn’t have ever thought of. Congrats on FP!

    -Tia

    http://www.tiallarising.wordpress.com

  17. Fantastic list!! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  18. What a thorough list! I especially like the indoor picnic idea. I’m 25, and I’ve done that several times! I even throw on a DVD which has a fake “fireplace” on a constant loop…even with sound effects!

    Kudos on being FP!

    http://miracleon32ndstreet.wordpress.com

  19. i just love the fact that you didnt cut off at 100, or 125…but said eff it, and did 143!
    http://dearexgirlfriend.com/

  20. I know this applies to kids, but I like to do these activities too lol

  21. Interesting article, I totally agree with other commenters, Keep writing

  22. I’m glad this post was on Freshly Pressed today! I was homeschooled, and if I ever have kids, I plan to homeschool them, so it’s nice to have found a homeschooling blog.

    Love all of the boredom buster ideas!

  23. Wow! Huge list. I think you forgot a few.
    -building a tunnel through the snow
    -making snow angels in the snow
    -snow shoeing
    -snow tubing
    -a drive to the ski resort to make music for the tourist’s
    -snowball fight
    -restaraunt crawl and toy store crawl through the fog (California residents)

    JUDGMENT DAY
    May 21, 2011
    http://www.familyradio.com

  24. what a great idea- they are all things the kids might do anyway but, putting them on paper and drawing them from a bucket is a great day to make them fresh! This HSing mom says, “GREAT idea!”

  25. I love play dress up games in winter

  26. OMG I remember Geosafari from when I was kid (and I was homeschooled myself so I guess that makes sense). Cute post 🙂
    http://www.katrichterwrites.wordpress.com

  27. This is even great for adults who lately I have seen tell me that they are bored too, I usually react by tellng them they aren’t 12 and they should have a hobby by now, but it’s a great read!

  28. Wow, what a great list! Thanks for sharing. I always loved making forts… my grandma had a card table we would always throw a blanket over and have our own cave…or a giant box… The box was fun because we could draw on the walls. Speaking of boxes a fun craft to do with left over christmas card is to make little boxes out of them. You just cut the ends fold them in and tape and BAM… you have yourself a nifty little box. I’m sure google will have better directions but it is easy and fun.
    Thanks again for the great post!
    – Minka @ http://www.thestupidme.com

  29. Wow, what a great list! Thanks for sharing. I always loved making forts… my grandma had a card table we would always throw a blanket over and have our own cave…or a giant box… The box was fun because we could draw on the walls. Speaking of boxes a fun craft to do with left over christmas card is to make little boxes out of them. You just cut the ends fold them in and tape and BAM… you have yourself a nifty little box. I’m sure google will have better directions but it is easy and fun.
    Thanks again for the great post!
    – Minka

  30. that is a lengthy list you have there and it seems like they are all good suggestions as well! thanks for the list and i will make sure to print it out and hand to my friends as well

    http://enjoibeing.wordpress.com/

  31. Unfortunately, most of us have forgotten the joys of creativity and we pass on the same values (or lack thereof) onto our children.

    Origami is a great way to pass time; I used to sit for hours at a stretch trying to finish what I started.

    Thank you for the 142 other ways we can keep our kids busy. I am not a father yet but this list will sure come in handy a few years down the line.

    Cheers!
    Yousuf

  32. 🙂 some of thme we just did when I was young..

  33. Superb…. Such a huge list… Your children are lucky to have you as a mother… Wish you a happy new year!!

  34. Such a great idea!

  35. Saving this list for future reference. Awesome!

  36. I love teh way that you have incorporated all teh “cleaning and vacuuming” into this. Now it seems like fun- like it was meant to be. Haha.

    Congratulations on being freshly pressed!

    xx

  37. This is a great list. I want to make a list for myself even though I am an adult and live alone – kids are all grown up.

    The purpose of my list would be to make sure I have some fun this winter. Memorizing a poem, put together a family newsletter, and make a treasure map are three that will make my list. 🙂

  38. Perfect list of great ideas! Thanks!

  39. The list is endless…

  40. as a father of 4 under this has been fab to read!

  41. some very good ideas
    a must have for parents and grand parents’aunts’uncles

  42. I love the way that you have incorporated all teh “cleaning and vacuuming” into this. Now it seems like fun- like it was meant to be. Haha.

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