The “Mommy I’m Bored” Box

By , April 15, 2008 1:07 pm

So your usually wired children are bugging you during TV-Turnoff Week: “Mommy, I’m bored!” The dreaded words. If the obvious response of “go outside and play” doesn’t work, or you live in a big city apartment and “go to your room and play” doesn’t work, why not break out the magic “Mommy I’m Bored” Box?

Find a shoe box, paper bag, jar or coffee can and fill it with slips of paper listing ideas of things to do. Here’s how it works: Your child pulls out a slip of paper and does that activity quietly and happily for the rest of the day. (Is Mom Unplugged hallucinating?)

Well, if your child is just not that cooperative, why not let the little darling choose three slips of paper…the alternative to selecting one of the three proposed activities being “clean your room.” When issued this ultimatum, I bet he or she will suddenly find one of the three choices to be quite fascinating. If not, then at least they’ll have a clean room, right?

Of course the ideas that you put in there should be appropriate to the age, abilities, and interests of your child, but here are some that come to my mind -

Of course there is the Obvious:

-Read a book

-Ride your bike

-Play outside on the swing set

-Write a letter to grandma

The purely Academic:

-Read a book

-Do your homework

- Draw a diagram of the solar system

The purely Creative:

- Create a collage of magazine pictures depicting your favorite color

- Draw a picture of a new food that you have just invented

- Write a song or poem about broccoli

More interesting variations on the Obvious or the Academic:

- How many swings on the swing set can you do between the passing of one car and the next?

- Set the kitchen timer for 5 minutes: how many pages of your book can you read?

- Roll a dice 10 times. Keep track of how many times you come up with each number. Now roll it 20 times, how many times did you get each number? Is it what you expected? Graph this result.

The Old-Fashioned:

Hint – What did you like to play or do as a child? (not that I am saying that you are “old fashioned!!)

- Jumprope

- Hopscotch

- String-figures (Cat’s Cradle, for example)

But how about adding odd things:

- Write a list of every object in the living room that begins with “T”

- Make a sculpture of the dog out of Playdough

- Go outside and bring back five objects that are red

- Put your hand down on a random spot on the lawn. Study it very closely (with magnifying glass if possible). Draw what you find underneath your hand. (Grass? Rocks? Sticks? Bugs? Anthills?)

You get the idea. The “Mommy I’m Bored” Box could almost become a scavenger hunt type activity if you want it to. Or at least an exciting source of random fun activities. The possibilities are limitless, plus it could even be entertaining for you to create it!

If you try this during TV-Turnoff Week (or any other time), please report your findings: How old are your children and what ideas did you put in the box? What did your kids like and dislike about the concept? What ideas went over really well? Which were a flop?

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12 Responses to “The “Mommy I’m Bored” Box”

  1. nicole says:

    ooh fun. i am going to make one tonight after the kids go to bed.

    [Reply]

  2. Kim says:

    great ideas you have here! I’ll have to add them to my list.

    as far as the ‘i’m bored,’ thats a no, no here in our home. if one of our kids says that, they get an extra chore — baseboards, clean the silk plants, etc. :))

    [Reply]

  3. Cassie says:

    These are all great ideas! For those of us who are old enough there’s always some terrific board (TrivialPursuit for one) and card games. Well…I got vetoed on turning the TV off for the whole week. I think had the writers’ strike still been going on I would have had more support. DH can’t give up NCIS and both of us are so hooked on Lost…we did put limits on, though

    [Reply]

  4. Arwen says:

    Great idea. We just bought, “The Daring Book for Girls” and “The Dangerous Book for Boys,” which I plan to use when my kids are older and bored. They have so many different activities and bits of interesting information. I think they could keep boredom at bay for a very long time.

    [Reply]

  5. Andrée says:

    I’m so looking forward to Wingnut returning this summer. So I’m going to do a variation of this, or actually do this. It’s a great idea. He needs to learn how to entertain himself. He’s so urban that he can be left alone with a TV or video game and he would never move.

    For various reasons, Mom, I’ve stopped education/math blogging and am just obsessed with my camera. It satisfies something in me the past few months and comforts me. I keep an eye on the Unplugged Project, but at my age I just don’t have much in common with the other moms. And nobody likes math anyhow (except you).

    So I’m here, dropping in now and then! Your blog is better and better on word press.

    [Reply]

  6. Michie says:

    To show my thanks for this week’s Unplugged Theme, I’ve “tagged” you over at my blog. I thought it’d be interesting to see what you have to say. :)

    [Reply]

  7. I’m SO into this! I’m going to sit down with Will, my 5 year old, and ask for his input. Then we’ll also have some time together to make the box (and use scissors! If I remember correctly that’s this week’s unplugged project… if not, well it’s an UPP I haven’t done yet and need to!)

    Anyway, thanks again for another great idea!

    [Reply]

  8. [...] to go a week without the boobtube and saw this great post at Unplug Your Kids. It’s on making a “Mommy, I’m bored…” box. One you can pull out when the kids start [...]

  9. Ann says:

    What a great idea!! I remember so many times as a kid telling my mom that I was bored and her always suggesting the same things! This is so clever!

    [Reply]

  10. [...] The “Mommy I’m Bored” Box [...]

  11. [...] Unplugged tells us how to make a Mommy-I’m-Bored Box as an alternative to babysitting kids with your [...]

  12. [...] Make this an activity for your “Mommy I’m Bored Box!” [...]

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