Fun Activities for Bored Kids

Girl kicking kickball in game
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If you want to head off the inevitable complaints from your kids that they are bored in the summer, you can turn that word into a prompt to help them think of things to do.

When you're child says that they're bored, ask them if they have:

  • Been creative?
  • Outside play?
  • Read a book?
  • Exercised 20 minutes?
  • Done something helpful?

A Formula for Thinking of Fun Activities for Kids

If your kids need help finding activities that fit each line item, inspire them with these ideas for each category.

B Is for "Been Creative"

Break out those coloring books, craft kits, and rubber-band looms. To add physical activity to arts and crafts, try these creative projects that incorporate large-motor skills:

  • Get crafty with giant art projects. Making a mural, big college, or found-object sculpture project will get your kids using their arms and legs as well as their fine motor skills.
  • Make your own toys. What can your child turn into a toy? A cardboard box has numerous possibilities. Empty plastic jugs or bottles can become hand weights, ball scoops, or bowling pins. You may have to coach your kids a little, but then they can get engaged with playing with the toys they made themselves.
  • Try sidewalk chalk activities. From fun doodles to games, your child can make these temporary art projects that will get them moving and designing.

O Is for "Outside Play"

Options for outdoor play are active, energetic, and almost endless, but your kids are likely to need suggestions beyond, "Go outside and play!"

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

R Is for "Read a Book"

Help your kids make a wish list of books that they want to read over the summer. To keep them well-supplied, get them a library card or ensure they have easy access to electronic books. 

If your child prefers to kick the ball around the yard to spending the day inside reading, encourage them with sports-themed books or books that showcase sportsmanship.

Some kids may prefer more active styles of reading. Help them find books that are full of crosswords or word games, math brain teasers, puzzles, and riddles.

E Is for "Exercise"

The list suggests 20 minutes, but more is even better. Any active play that gets muscles moving counts, such as taking a brisk walk or bike ride. You can also encourage specific exercise routines for kids that would benefit from a more structured workout.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical exercise each day.

D Is for "Done Something Helpful"

Having kids help around the house or neighborhood is always a good use of time and energy. Develop a list of age-appropriate chores and rewards.

Ask around in your community to find out if there are opportunities for kids to assist neighbors who are elderly or have limited mobility, such as taking their dog for a walk. You can also look for outdoor volunteering opportunities that your family can do together.

The key is for the tasks to be interesting and fun rather than making them seem like a penalty for being bored.

A Word From Verywell

If your child has done all of the above and is still begging for screen time, keep in mind that a little television or computer time could inspire active play. Challenge your child to be a producer instead of a consumer. With the technology available today, your child can write, produce, and play within the content they make themselves, stimulating creativity and fun.

4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Zeng N, Ayyub M, Sun H, Wen X, Xiang P, Gao Z. Effects of Physical Activity on Motor Skills and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: A Systematic Review. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:2760716. doi:10.1155/2017/2760716

  2. Gao Z, Chen S, Sun H, Wen X, Xiang P. Physical Activity in Children's Health and Cognition. Biomed Res Int. 2018;2018:8542403. doi:10.1155/2018/8542403

  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. Energy Out: Daily Physical Activity Recommendations.

  4. Screen time and young children: Promoting health and development in a digital world. Paediatr Child Health. 2017;22(8):461-477. doi:10.1093/pch/pxx123

By Catherine Holecko
Catherine Holecko is an experienced freelance writer and editor who specializes in pregnancy, parenting, health and fitness.