I’ve been in dire need of a little Quick Trick to hand Owen when he says, I’m bored. What can I do?
My usual responses:
- Oh, I’m so happy you’re bored. Many children in the world never have the pleasure of being bored because they’re working in the fields or going to work for their family. You should feel so happy, Owen, that you are able to be bored;
or. . .
- Boring people are bored. If you are a clever and creative boy, you’ll find something clever and creative to do;
or. . .
- Hi, Bored. I’m Mommy. Glad to meet you . . .
were making even me a little (ahem. . . ) bored.
So one day when the O-Man told me he was finished with his ticket and he was (again) bored, I said, Okay. Grab a chair. You are a smart boy, but I can tell that sometimes you need a little jump start when it comes to finding something to do. Let’s make a list of a million things you can do whenever you feel bored.
And so this little Quick Trick was born, and so the Fun Sticks have entered our home. And we haven’t had this much fun for ages. Or, at least Owen hasn’t.
Here’s the skinny. . .
- Fun Sticks — 150 Things for Kids to Do: For several days, when Owen was finished with his homework, he brought the stool over to the desk and we pounded out some fun ideas of things to do.
Owen puts a label on his Fun Stick.
Owen would suggest some ideas, and I’d suggest some, and Maddy and Cora would suggest some. And I’d type them right into the document. No rough drafts for this crew; we were not messing around.
We included all sorts of activities. We came up with really creative things:
- use old photos to record a memory;
- draw a new planet;
- make something from a paper roll;
- create a masterpiece out of your name.
And we came up with some really not-so-creative things:
- run around the house five times;
- color with crayons;
- look at the clouds;
- make paper airplanes;
- do puzzles.
We added some electronic activities and a whole lot of battery-free ideas. We included inside activities and outside activities, messy and mess-free activities. We added activities involving other people and activities to do solo. We thought of things to do for others and things to do for yourself.
I stuck in some cleaning activities–Swiffer the floor, clean the windows, organize the toy bins–because some days, my kids really like doing those things. Not every day. Not even close to every day. But some days.
Our Fun Sticks are FULL of fun ideas. . .
. . . and if they think cleaning the floor is fun, then I’m game.
I wanted anything and everything on our list, because I know that sometimes Owen just needs an idea–and then he’s good to go for a while. And I also know that sometimes one thing leads to another. Maybe Maddy, Owen, and Cora will start out playing restaurant, and then things will take a turn and restaurant turns into vet which turns into school which somehow morphs into ‘three kids on a desert island whose parents left them there but left them with a lot of toys’. Or something like that.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to use them, but I knew that I wanted to get every idea down in a label-template so that I could print them out and he could stick them somewhere. Obviously, it would be one super-fun thing to do–to put all of the fun ideas somewhere, right?
I printed out the list onto the only labels I had–clear ones–and we stuck them on big-sized popscicle sticks.
I didn’t pull out all 150 of them; there wasn’t enough room in our Fun Sticks jar. I figured I’d rotate them, changing sticks every few weeks.
We had to tape the labels on with packing tape as reinforcement because after a few days the labels started peeling, but that was fine. It was yet another fun thing for us to do, plus it made them look more ‘official’ according to the kids.
Owen was our first guy to try out the Fun Sticks. His very first fun activity? Swiffering the floor. Which he very happily did.
And then very soon afterward, he asked me how to spell ‘shrimp’. I asked him why and he told me: I’m making a menu for Cora’s birthday.
It was a Fun Stick idea. Love it.
Owen’s Birthday Menu for Cora
We put our ideas on big popscicle sticks because we had about a gazillion of them sitting around the house; however, I think these would be super if they were printed out on white labels and stuck on small squares of paper or put in envelopes and rotated or clipped together with a ring clasp and became an ‘idea book’ or something.
The possibilities are endless–and it’s really about what works for your kiddos!
And that’s it–just a little Quick Trick to keep in your back pocket. And I’m not necessarily talking about the 150 fun things for kids to do; I’m talking more about the idea of having a little ‘go-to’ spot for ideas for things to do. Ideas that just get kids started–if they need it–on those days they (and you) need it. Hopefully Fun Sticks may be something that will help your kids to think, move, create, and have fun!
Many thanks to my pal Allie for sharing her Amazing 74 Tv-Free Activities for Toddlers and to the creator of (still not sure who it belongs to) of the sweet Prayer Pail for its simplicity and meaning for being seeds for our Fun Sticks idea.