Everybody say’s it’s good for kids to be bored. It’s the beginning of creativity. I totally agree but it’s easier said than done! Especially when they are just 2 and 4 years old. So what exactly “letting them get bored” means? Should you ignore their complains and send them away to be creative?!
If I start a game with them or any activity and play with them a few minutes, they will much likely play by themselves for the next couple hours. Well, OK!… at least 1 hour.
You know they are bored when they say “Muuum, I’m hungry!” after they just ate 30 min ago, or, “Pleeeease, pleeeeease, can we watch something now?” I noticed that if I send them back to play they will keep coming back and will give me a hard time for the next several hours. I will get NOTHING done and plus I will be mentally exhausted and frustrated.
So these are a few activities I start with them and they play alone afterwards.
Can you print this one for me, mommy?!!!
This one is Sofia’s almost daily activity and she loves it! She and Anna would pick which coloring pages generated by google search they want me to print for them. Each gets to choose three or fours different pages. They especially like princesses and unicorns. Then they get into the coloring mode and could entertain them for about 30 or 40 minutes. Sofia is 4 now and she likes to write her name on every single drawing or page. She would then add a few more flowers and butterflies and turn the coloring page into a greeting card 😃.
I would spend about 40 minutes to do this BUT it would gain me another hour for myself afterwards. We would build the doll houses from Mega Blocks, one for each. Well…, it’s not exactly a doll house since they play with these little animals which aren’t dolls but it’s really the same thing and it can sometimes be hours of fun! I LOVE LOVE LOVE to see them pretend playing with each other. Their imagination is not limited to reality. Everything is possible in their world.
Water activities on the kitchen floor
Just yesterday I tried this with them. I placed a large towel on the kitchen floor and let them fill their toy bottles and cups, and doll bath tubs with water from the sink and play as they liked on the towel. As long as they didn’t take the water outside of the kitchen floor which is all tiles. So they could get as wet as they wanted. They played quite a bit without bothering me at all.
Every once in a while we build these huge trucks for Minnie Dolls which is so entertaining. They fill their trunks with cloth changes for their Minnies and take them on vacations and trips around the living room and other fun spaces they find. I bought each of them two Minnie dolls so they can play together but also individually if they choose to.
Creative sticky foam cutting!
Anna just discovered how fun cutting anything can be while Sofia takes the project very seriously! I give them each a pair of scissors, a stack of peel and stick foam and a black cardboard to glue on and LET THE FUN BEGIN!!! It’s a wonderful activity but it usually requires more of my attention since they would need help cutting certain shapes. Not with Anna though. She is perfectly fine to just cut anything and stick it to the black cardboard. Just for a cutting activity, I also use old photographs that I need to through away. I let her cut as much as she wants to.
Bring toy sets together!
My FAVOURITE thing to do with the girls is using pieces from different toy sets and play with them together. They learn to use they toys in many different ways instead of playing with one set at a time. Brain flakes turn into cookies on a plate or lake for the crocodile. Roominate chairs are used for benches in the zoo for visitors to rest on.
Rearrange furniture and toys!
Every time I move their beds in a different position or corner it makes their room more attractive. Suddenly they want to play only there. Because it’s different. Or when they wake up in the morning to find their favourite toys out of the box and interestingly organized in a visible place. It’s definitely more attractive to start playing than if they were in the box. It actually doesn’t take that much time. In fact you only gain time for yourself once they are intrigued to play.
Pack and go!
It started from a toothbrush. I gave them each a toothbrush that they can pack and take on vacation and GUESS WHAT? They each got a bag, a favorite toy, packed pretend food and snacks along with toothbrush, bottle, a book and medicine and went to “pretend school”. So fun to watch. Soon they went on vacation, on a short trip and so on. Played happily at least one hour.
Tailoring doll cloths!
It’s not as difficult as it sounds. You don’t need special skills or sewing machine. Just a bit of fabric, an elastic, needle and thread.
I just make one or two skirts, dress the dolls up together and WOW! That gets them started. Even if I just make a pair of cloth shoes for each of the girls they will get so creative and will play for a long time. And I can easily withdraw and get my work done for the next couple of hours. For shoes I search Pinterest for a doll shoe print pattern, scale it down to the size of their doll and print. Easy!
Buttons in ice-cream cups!
I have this box of buttons that I let them play with sometimes. They just love to pretend it’s icecream or candy for their dolls.
I used to make jewelry when I was pregnant with my first child but later I never had time for it. Instead I now let the girls have all the fun the want with all those beautiful pieces. Sometimes they make bracelets for their dolls and other times they sort them into different cups and ice-cream cones pretending it’s real food.
I don’t know of any other creature in this world that can vary so much in size, colors, and shape. You can draw so many variations and kids love to see what the next one will look like :-). I drew a bunch and let the kids color them. When finished coloring, they will draw their own butterflies. They like to copy us. A few days later Sofia was painting (not even drawing anymore) butterflies for her sister. I thought that was cute!