There are certainly times when you need a boredom busting idea for your kiddo while you’re working or getting things done at home. Here are 50 free boredom busting kids activities to do both indoors and outdoors to keep them (and sometimes the entire family) entertained.
- Get your body moving – Teaching the importance of exercise and physical wellness is not only important for their growing bodies, but is also essential to mental wellness. Stretch, dance, walk, play hide and seek – the opportunities to get their bodies moving are endless! Check out these phys ed activities that can be done indoors or outdoors.
- Turn on a favorite song and clean while it’s playing – If tidying up their room isn’t your child’s strength, maybe this will help. Make it a challenge. It’s amazing how much cleaning can be done during the time it takes for a song to play! Nothing beats busting boredom like diving into chores and getting them done together as a team.
- Listen to an audiobook – Your child will get so caught up in the storytelling they won’t realize they’re honing listening and focus skills. Your local library most likely has an audible list of books to check out. Audible, Simply Audiobooks and Learning Ally are other great sources.
- Read – Making reading a part of your child’s daily schedule is so important. Here are a few tips. A) Get them hooked on a series. If your child isn’t particularly interested, read the first book to them to get them engaged with the characters. B) Create a reading challenge. Have them track their books and reward them with something special when they reach their reading goal. These free printable reading logs may help. C) Find a book that’s been turned into a movie. Once they’re finished with the book, have a family movie night.
Printable and activities done on paper are simple to set up.
- Printable activity – Especially when you’re stuck inside on a rainy or cold day, activity pages can be life saving boredom busters. We have dedicated 12 years to creating engaging, educational and creative activities to keep your child entertained for hours. From coloring pages to games and arts and crafts, we’ve got you covered. You’ll find puzzles of all kinds – word searches, cryptograms, crosswords, logic and MORE!
- Create a comic strip – This is a great way to captivate your child’s attention and channel their creativity while practicing their writing skills. Here are printable comic book pages to spark your child’s imagination. These blank pages will help your child develop their own stories with characters, dialogues and a storyline that is unique to their own fantasy world.
- Write a story – Need help getting them started? Here is a vast collection of story starters to get your young author’s creative juices flowing.
- Tangram puzzles – These shape shifting puzzles are great brain game puzzles for kids ages 6 and up. Print the puzzle pieces, cut them out and rearrange the seven shapes to fit into the puzzle template. Here is a great set of free printable tangram animal puzzles. Turn this into a race by printing multiples of the same puzzle and competing to see who can finish first.
- Write a letter to a friend or family member – Receiving a heart-felt letter, drawing or card in their mailbox will make your loved one’s week!
- Draw something – Sometimes all it takes is paper and pencil to entertain our littles. Drawing is an effective method of storytelling and communicating. Need some inspiration? Here are step-by-step drawing tutorials of some darling ocean animals to draw.
- Create a vision board – If you haven’t already, now is a great time to start talking with your child about dreams and goals. Give them magazines, photos, construction (or scrap) paper, markers, scissors and glue. And watch them create a collage of their dreams. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out this article on creating an inspiration board.
50 Free Boredom Busting Kids Activities
Print this list of activities to keep on hand, or better yet post somewhere easily accessible for your kiddos to see.
Learning through play is a confidence builder.
- Practice math skills – Outside of classroom learning, there are so many opportunities to integrate math into your day. Play games, teach with candy or treats or get outside to count and sort. We have fun and free printable math resources galore, including flashcards, puzzles and worksheets to help get your child excited about learning math.
- Conduct a science experiment – Exploration via science is fascinating for kids. Here are 6 simple physics science experiments for kids using mostly everything you already have on hand at home.
- Do a STEAM activity – Combining art and STEM is such a fun way for your child to explore their creativity. And it can be so simple! Check out these easy STEAM activities for Kids from Little Bins Little Hands.
- Make a smoothie – It’s a healthy snack and a yummy treat all in one! Plus learning to make a treat like this is another step toward independence. Here’s a super simple smoothie recipe that can even be turned into popsicles for a later treat.
- Paint – Whether it’s with fingerpaints, watercolors or primary paints, creating a masterpiece will occupy your youngster while cultivating their creativity. We have many paint projects and tutorials to choose from for kids of all ages. Check out our collection of fun painting ideas HERE.
- Craft using recycled items – Learning to make things from recycled items and play with them nurtures their creativity and teaches them to be resourceful. Here are 12 awesome recycled crafts for kids.
- Build something with legos – There are no limitations beyond the imagination during lego play. Bust out those building blocks and set the timer for your little one to create a masterpiece. If you want to go above and beyond, you can create this paper tube race car as an engaging accessory for your youngster’s engineering project.
- Create a collage – Put your child’s imagination and creativity to the test making a collage from anything around the house or even from collected items from nature. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here’s a tissue-paper collage inspired by Eric Carle.
- Sew something – Even if you don’t sew yourself, teaching your child to sew is simple. Check out these fun sewing projects for kids that offer great foundational lessons. You’ll find simple tutorials, gift idea patterns and fun felt craft projects.
And create some more!!!
- Make masks – Kids love dressing up and playing in costume. Masks are a simple way to inspire creativity and stimulate imagination. Use paper, cardboard or paper plates and adorned with paint, feathers, jewels and glitter. Check out this collection of printable animal masks.
- Make edible jewelry – This fun activity can be a preschool lesson in counting and sorting yummy edible treats. Make this cereal necklace to observe a special day such as the 100th day of school or a special birthday.
- Paint rocks – This is such a fun easy craft for any time of year. Make a pet rock to leave on the doorstep of a friend or neighbor. Or create a painted rock cactus garden to enjoy year-round without needing water or sunshine. Most of us easily have the art supplies on hand or can adapt to what we do have at home.
- Make cloud dough – Digging into this fun stuff not only provides hours of entertainment, the sensory activity is quite therapeutic as well. This easy cloud dough recipe calls for two ingredients: cornstarch and hair conditioner…both ingredients you probably have on hand. Your little one will LOVE playing with this (and it smells delicious too)!
- Do a random act of kindness – Encourage your child to come up with a list of kind things to do for others. Check out these random acts of kindness printable notes that can easily be printed and given to a teacher, friend or neighbor.
Collaborate! Teamwork boredom busting activities are sure to entertain!
- Interview a family member – Time flies by and our parents and grandparents have many valuable stories to tell. Have your child ask a family member to conduct a one-on-one interview. Put together a list of questions to ask. I recommend recording the interview so as not to miss something while transcribing. The recording may become another sentimental family keepsake.
- Color together – Not only are you fostering your child’s creativity, you are nurturing both of your souls during this 1:1 time together. I can’t count how many deep, meaningful conversations I’ve had with my girls over the years as we’ve sat together coloring. Here is a wonderful collection of adult coloring pages to spark your creativity and encourage you to take some time for you and your little indulging in “thoughtful talk” and time together.
- Build a fort – Let your child’s imagination soar with this activity. Use old cardboard boxes, blankets, furniture, pillows, stuffed animals…you name it, you’re child will find a useful solution to construct a fun place to play, read, relax and escape.
Lights, Camera, Action!
- Put on a talent show, play or skit – This is such a great way to integrate language arts, story telling, talent, music and/or humor and into your families’ day. Performing promotes collaboration and teamwork while boosting confidence and self belief. Explore your child’s dramatic talents with these free play scripts for kids from A2Z Homeschooling.
- Make puppets and put on a puppet show – There are many benefits of dramatic play, and puppets are a great way to encourage communication, creativity and confidence. Hand puppets, sock puppets, paper bag puppets, finger puppets…there are endless ideas for this category. Here are some fun puppet patterns and ideas to get your little’s imagination soaring.
- Have a lip sync competition – Bust out your favorite tunes and burst into a singing competition. This is a fabulous family activity too! Make it a night of karaoke, dancing, glow sticks, disco ball and flashlights. It’s a memory making event that your kids will ask for at least once a month!
- Blindfold taste test – Siblings will possibly torment each other with this one, but as long as boundaries are set as to what types of edible food items are allowed, it’s good, clean, hilarious fun.
Engaging lessons in hospitality are a WIN-WIN!
- Bake together – Time spent together in the kitchen is a wonderful way to make lasting memories with your family. Baking is a great way to get some science and math into your day while building patience and creative skills. Check out our collection of easy recipes for young chefs. From breakfast foods to cupcakes and cookies, you’re sure to find a new family favorite here.
- Have a tea party – Any time can call for a tea time celebration. Your child will love hosting a tea party for their stuffed animal friends. Put together a plate of sweet treats, brew up some of your favorite (decaf) tea, set a lovely tablescape or blanket and relish in an afternoon delight.
- Make and enjoy a picnic together – Some of my favorite memories with my kids are indoor picnics or those in our backyard. Make a simple sandwich, cut up some fruits and veggies, throw a picnic blanket down, kick off your shoes and enjoy some one-one time together.
- Plan and prepare a meal together – Your child will love being a part of planning mealtime. Keep it simple to alleviate kitchen chaos and stress.
- Play a board game – Have your child pick a favorite. If they’re needing some extra one-on-one time with you, you can use this time as a reward. Check out this fun DIY checkers game made from paper and buttons.
- Create a boredom jar – This is a favorite in our home. All you need is a jar, popsicle sticks and a marker. Decorate your jar. Write all your activity options on one end of the stick. Mix up the activities to include educational, artistic, toys, screen time, and even chores. Place your sticks in the jar (activity side down). And you have to do what you pick out! Here’s a list of 20 activity ideas for these easy popsicle stick boredom busters.
- Play “What’s in the Box” – This game is insta-sensory fun! All you need is a shoe box (or some other kind of container) and some random objects to place in it (pipe cleaners, marshmallows, legos, macaroni, buttons, etc). Note, give them construction paper and stickers to decorate the box if you’re needing some extra independent play time. Blindfolds are optional, but are fun and add to the challenge, especially for older kids.
- Play tic tac toe – All this one takes is paper, pencil, two players! Here are more old school printable games, which are some of the best and most traditional boredom busters of all time.
- Play mad libs – Need a stress reliever and a good laugh? These fun fill-in-the-story games always create wholesome fun for the entire family! Here is a compilation of mad libs certain to entertain for hours.
- Play charades – This traditional game will provide a great time of silly entertainment and laughs. BonBon Break has a super fun collection of charade ideas and topics for kids.
Take Play Outdoors!
- Get outside – Fresh air is one of the best boredom busters! Whether it’s a nature walk, a scavenger hunt or simply observing the cloud formations, being outside is wonderful for our bodies and brains. Here are 101+ outdoor activities, crafts, games and ideas for all four seasons of the year.
- Go on a nature walk – With all of the technology that we’re engaged in daily, we can easily forget how much there is to learn in nature. Encourage your child to observe and enjoy nature. Collect outdoor items to create a fun nature observation basket. Or collect flowers from your yard to make this flower pounding art project.
- Fly a kite – (Makes me want to burst into Mary Poppins song!) There’s magic in flying a kite. Don’t have one at home? Here’s a tutorial on how to make a kite out of recycled mailers from Babble Dabble Do.
- Go on a scavenger hunt – Indoors or outdoors, this activity can be done independently or with a group. Here are some scavenger hunt ideas and printable lists to make it simple.
- Blow bubbles – This one is loads of fun for EVERYONE! If you have a toddler who doesn’t know how to blow bubbles yet, start by giving them a straw to blow bubbles in a glass of water. Check out this DIY bubble station with homemade bubbles.
- Go for a bike ride – Here’s another opportunity to get outdoors and explore the sights. Bicycle adventures host great conversations!
- Visit the library – You may even want to print this library scavenger hunt list to accompany your trip for an even more engaging adventure.
- Sidewalk art – Being outdoors while turning on the creativity can be so therapeutic. Here’s an environmentally friendly sidewalk chalk paint recipe that calls for water, cornstarch and food coloring.
Keep it simple for you and they’ll have fun!
Immersing your child in thoughtful screen-free activities will nurture their creativity, curiosity, imagination and independence. Empowering them to make choices during their free time helps cultivate their own identities. And what a joy it will be to witness them in action!