Friday, October 14, 2011

Guest Post: Wallet-Friendly Boredom Busters

Here's a terrific guest post, jam-packed with ideas to bust boredom without breaking the bank!

Submitted on behalf of Primrose Schools: The best and most trusted child care services by Emily Patterson (@epatt1062)

Childhood obesity is on the rise. In days gone by, if we were not in school, we were playing outside. We made go-carts without breaks, climbed trees, visited our friend’s houses without calling first and we explored. We made walkie-talkie’s out of old tin cans and string. And we had chores to do. We weren’t allowed back inside until it turned dark. It is certainly a different world today. It is too easy to just ignore the children (husbands included) planted in front of the TV, computer or video game. Here are ten wallet friendly idea’s to stimulate your entire family when free time is available throughout the year. Ten ideas designed to encourage physical activity, stimulate the mind and come together as a family.

1) Plant a garden. It doesn’t have to be a big area, and it doesn’t have to be outside. Preparing soil, weeding, watering and picking can happen on a vacant lot, in your own yard or in used milk containers inside. Alternate responsibilities fairly and teach everyone the value of team work.

2) Visit the humane society regularly. Every humane society has an animal petting program. Particularly if the family has been clamoring for a pet, this activity can dissuade the issue when everyone gets to spend time with different animals regularly.

3) Adopt a road. Spending two hours a month walking along a stretch of road that the family has claimed as their project, collecting litter provides a community service, solidarity and provides physical exercise. It could be your own street and when other families see your effort, you may get volunteers.

4) Volunteer to mentor a special needs child. Whether developmentally delayed, indigent, or just plain lonely, inviting a child with a need helps them, but provides a sense of accomplishment, responsibility and worthiness to each family member.

5) Bake for a good cause. Make a batch of cookies and donate to a church for Sunday school or a nursing home. Get everyone involved in measuring, mixing and decorating. Let one member choose a recipe and another decides who will receive the gift. Of course you don’t have to give them all away.

6) Create a family history. Get an inexpensive photo album from the dollar store and have the family contribute whatever they think is important to remember this time in their lives. It could be pictures, drawings, baseball cards or love letters. You may be surprised to see what everyone thinks is important and you will have something to reflect upon when their all grown up.

7) Create a wall. Find washable paints, pick a wall that you can ignore and let the family express themselves. When it is covered, you can paint over it and start again. You may discover a budding Picasso or talent you didn’t know you posses. This is particularly good for rainy days.

8) Have a family play. Collect a bunch of eclectic clothing from good will. Pull it out when there’s time and give the family a theme. Work together to assign characters and everyone makes a costume. The play can be impromptu with everyone playing a role. It will be interesting what comes out of their mouths when they have to come up with a line. It should be revealing as well. This is a good exercise to role play, get everyone to express themselves and resolve hidden issues.

9) Water gun fights. Everyone gets a water gun and access to the hose. Rules are you have to stay on the property and everyone is fair game. I don’t recommend this in cold weather but consider a family snowball fight.

10) Family book day. Start by a trip to the library. Each family member selects the book of their choice and reads it out loud later at home. If there are more than six children, make it a family book weekend.

Spending time together as a family does not have to be expensive or labor intensive. Use this list of suggestions as a spring board to come up with unique ideas. That could be idea #11. Have a family meeting to create an activity list thateveryone would enjoy and participate. Write them down, seal them in plain envelopes and put in a shoebox. When a rainy day comes along, or a vacation day, the first time you hear “I’m bored!” bring out the box and someone picks. Set time limits on computer and video games. Encourage activities that keep the mind and body healthy. They may complain a little now, but the habits you teach them today will stay with them forever.

1 comment:

  1. It's great to help others while bonding with the family. My favorite is #5, hands down. We don't even need to bake cookies, just going to adult day care centers is more than enough. Sometimes a little company is just what people need.