10 Things to Say When Your Kid Says “I’m Bored!”

Oct 16, 2017

They have rooms full of toys, craft supplies, and games, shelves lined with books, and yet they still gripe: “I’m borrrrrred.” It seems impossible to be bored when there are bins and toy bags brimming with “stuff,” but sometimes, kids get unimaginative with what’s at hand. That’s where you come in.

Here are 10 responses when your child says, “I’m bored.”

“Let’s do a science experiment.”

Kids love science. Younger children as well as older ones always get a kick out of a great experiment. For little kids, it can be as simple as mixing baking soda and vinegar (simply mix it n a jar or make a playdough volcano). Bigger kids might enjoy using lemon juice as invisible ink, dropping Mentos candies into soda bottles (do this one outside), or making a potato light bulb.

Try: Salt + Glue Watercolour Art Experiment

A child dropping watercolours onto salt-covered globs of glue.

“Let’s do something nice for someone else.”

There’s always someone you can do a nice deed for, whether it’s baking cookies for the older neighbour next door, going through toys and clothes for donations, or even making up a few cards to drop off at a local nursing home.

Try: Spreading Love with Painted Window Hearts

Beautiful painted hearts.

“Let’s explore somewhere in the world we’ve never been to.”

Get out a world map or globe and choose… any country in the world! Then research it together. Look through books and on the internet, watch videos of people and cities there, and maybe even plan the evening’s dinner around cuisine that is native to that particular place. It could become a fun monthly ritual!

“Let’s see what we can make out of nothing.”

There’s always cool empty containers and boxes in the recycling bin that could be turned into any number of things, from play places for toys (castles, car garages, dollhouses) to neat objects like animals, robots, monsters and aliens. You could do the same in the kitchen: pull out a few odds and ends from the fridge and pantry, and see what your little chefs can come up with.

Try: Recycled Robots

A child with a recycled robot mask.

You'll Also Love: Why You Should Just Put a Bunch of Stuff Outside and Let Your Kids Play with It

“Let’s create a new space.”

Sometimes, boredom can be reversed with a change of scenery. Maybe it’s time to move around some of the furniture and play stations in your child’s room. You could also create a cool nook somewhere for reading and playing, like a closet hideout or a secret getaway under the stairs. Make a fort. Transform an empty oversized box into a magical hidey-hole. Use an oversized tablecloth to make a dining room table become your child’s own little sanctuary.

Try: Make the Perfect Reading Nook

Two kids reading in a cozy corner.


“Let’s go outside and do a scavenger hunt.”

Fresh air can always reinvigorate your kids, and with a simple challenge at-hand, they’re sure to stay occupied for a decent stretch of time. You can go the simple route and give them a list of items to find outdoors (red leaf, fire hydrant, acorn, etc.), or you can make a more detailed map where they’ll have to find hidden objects (such as marbles planted along different “paths” throughout the yard).

Try: Printable Fall Sensory Scavenger Hunt

“Let’s do a book marathon.”

Everyone in the family collects a pile of books as well as a pile of pillows, and plants it in a common area of the house together, like the living room. And then, the reading begins! Take turns reading different books to each other, or read them together and each take on a different character’s voice. Do a round-robin-style book marathon by setting a timer for each book (say, five minutes or so), and then passing your book to the left with each sound of the alarm.

You'll Also Love: What's a STEAM Cart, and Why Will Your Kids Love One?

“Let’s get something organized.”

There are always projects around the house that get pushed to the wayside, so if your child is complaining that he/she is bored, then maybe it’s time to tackle one of those chores. Clean out a closet or a dresser, get the kitchen pantry in order, or tidy up homework stations. If it’s fall, take advantage of that crisp, cool air and get ahead on raking and other home maintenance jobs, and in summer, there’s always weeding and watering to do.

“Let’s make an obstacle course.”

Let’s burn off some steam! If the weather permits, do a course outdoors with lawn furniture, hula hoops, plastic cones, sports balls, and jump ropes. Otherwise, it’s time to make use of those long indoor hallways and spacious basements. Make sure to include things where participants have to climb over and under, jump, balance, and more.

Try: 10 Games to Play Indoors That Get Kids Moving

A child jumping over cardboard boxes

Article Author Jennifer Cox
Jennifer Cox

Read more Jennifer here.

Jennifer Cox is the mama behind the Whoa Mama! YouTube channel, where she shares her craft and DIY projects at home. She is also the mama of a three-year old. She is a self-proclaimed addict of kid’s books (she reviews them for in their Little Readers section), and she admits to spending way too much time after her son goes to bed scouring Pinterest. She's also written for Today's Parent, Parents Canada, SweetMama, Babygaga, Today's Bride and more.

Add New Comment

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.