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Welcome to the World of Home Education and Learning Without School!

We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!

Activities and Ideas for When Boredom Strikes

© Beverley Paine

Since we don't use the phrase "I'm bored!" in our home, we rarely hear our children complaining about being bored. But even without the "b-word" in their vocabulary, there are still those times when my three children seem to be at a total loss for something constructive to do.

While I don't believe it's my role as mum to entertain my children or constantly come up with ideas to occupy them, I do recognise that children learn by example. Often they can't think of something until they've come across the idea elsewhere, so it's up to me to make sure they are exposed to enough activities experiences to broaden their experience. What I found was that the few activities I suggested or generated became springboards for further activities. As the children grew they naturally took more responsibility for dreaming up ideas of their own.

On one of those "I-can't-think-of-anything-to-do" days, my friend Deborah had her children sit down and make a list of everything they could do completely on their own without parental help. After they'd brainstormed for about an hour they had come up with a list of about fifty activities. Surprisingly, they even included a few household chores like dusting and weeding! Deborah showed the list to the rest of the homeschooling group and together we came up with over 200 ideas to beat boredom, and the list just seems to keep growing!

One of the others mums came up with the idea of putting each item on the list onto individual pieces of paper which are then placed into a container, and when the children need inspiration for an activity, they draw two or three papers and then decide which idea they want to do, either as a group or individually. Much better than bombarding the children with a huge list of possibilities, which tend to overwhelm them. By narrowing the choices down to just two or three, it was easier for the children to decide on the one that sounded the best to them.

In no particular order, here's the current (but continually growing!) list of activities:

ride bikes
roller blade
basketball
play board games
make a tent out of blankets
squirt with hoses
run through the sprinkler
jump rope
read books
blow bubbles
make homemade play dough
play with play dough
press flowers
do crafts with pressed flowers
write a letter to a relative, friend or pen pal
clean bedroom
vacuum living room
clean bathroom
make a craft
draw
colour
paint
pull weeds
watch a movie
write stories
use binoculars
use magnifying glass
use microscope
bird watching
write a play
act out a play
invent circus acts
perform a circus
play card games
make art on the front walkway with sidewalk chalk
play catch
play baseball
collect rocks
collect leaves
collect feathers
play Frisbee
make Frisbee's out of old plastic lids, decorate with markers
dust the house
brush the pet
write letters
read a magazine
play dress-up
play Cowboys
pick vegetables
play outside with the pet
build a fort in your rooms
build a fort in the backyard
do a jigsaw puzzle
play on the computer
listen to a story or book on tape
do extra schoolwork to get ahead
do brain teasers (ie: crosswords, word searches, hidden pictures, mazes, etc.)
cook
prepare lunch
surprise a neighbour with a good deed
play store
prepare a "restaurant" lunch with menus
hold a tea party
have a Teddy bear picnic
play with toy cars
play dolls
play house
chase butterflies
collect caterpillars and bugs
plant a garden or a pot
collect seeds
hunt for four-leaf clovers
learn magic tricks
put on a magic show
plant a container garden
sprout seeds or beans
make sock puppets
put on a puppet show
make Christmas presents
make homemade wrapping paper
make homemade gift cards
make picture frames from twigs glued onto sturdy cardboard
crochet or knit
make doll clothes
sew buttons in designs on old shirts
run relay races
make bookmarks
take a quiet rest time
take a shower or bath
bathe a pet
feed the birds or squirrels
watch the clouds
organize a dresser drawer
clean under the bed
empty dishwasher
vacuum under the couch cushions and keep any change found
write these ideas on pieces of paper and pick out one or two to do
whittle
whittle bars of soap
practice musical instruments
perform a family concert
teach yourself to play musical instrument (recorder, harmonica, guitar)
fold laundry
produce a talent show
make food sculptures (from pretzels, gumdrops, string licorice, raisins, cream cheese, peanuts, peanut butter, etc.) and then eat it
make a terrarium
start a club
take a nap outside on your lawn

sweep kitchen or bathroom floors
sweep front walkway
sweep or spray back patio
sweep or spray driveway
wash car
vacuum car
vacuum or dust window blinds
clean bathroom mirrors
clean sliding glass doors
clean inside of car windows
wash bicycles
clean garage
play in the sandbox
build a sandcastle
work with clay
copy your favourite book illustration
design your own game
build with blocks or Lego
create a design box (copper wire, string, odds-and-ends of things destined for the garbage, pom-poms, thread, yarn, etc.)
plan a neighbourhood or family Olympics
have a marble tournament
paint a picture with lemon juice on white paper and hang it in a sunny window and see what happens in a few days
finger paint with pudding
make dessert
make dinner
give your pet a party
paint the sidewalk with water
start a journal of summer fun
start a nature diary
have a read-a-thon with a friend or sibling
have a neighbourhood bike wash
play flashlight tag
play Kick the Can
check out a science book and try some experiments
make up a story
arrange photo albums
find bugs and start a collection
do some stargazing
decorate bikes or wagons and have a neighbourhood parade
catch butterflies and then let them go
play hide-and-seek
create a symphony with bottles and pans and rubber bands
listen to the birds sing
try to imitate bird calls
read a story to a younger child
find shapes in the clouds
string dry noodles into a necklace
glue noodles into a design on paper
play hopscotch
play jacks
make up a song
make a tee pee out of blankets
write in your journal
find an ant colony and spill some food and watch what happens
play charades
make up a story by drawing pictures
draw a cartoon strip
make a map of your bedroom, house or neighbourhood
call a friend
cut pictures from old magazines and write a story
make a collage using pictures cut from old magazines
do a secret service for a neighbour
plan a treasure hunt
make a treasure map
make up a "Bored List" of things to do
plan a special activity for your family
search your house for items made in other countries and then learn about those countries from the encyclopaedia or online
plan an imaginary trip to the moon
plan an imaginary trip around the world, where would you want to go
write a science-fiction story
find a new pen pal
make up a play using old clothes as costumes
make up a game for practicing math facts
have a Spelling Bee
make up a game for practicing spelling
surprise an elderly neighbour or relative by weeding his/her garden
finger paint with shaving cream
collect sticks and mud and build a bird's nest
write newspaper articles for a pretend newspaper
put together a family newsletter
write reviews of movies or plays or TV shows or concerts you see during the summer
bake a cake
bake a batch of cookies
decorate a shoe box to hold your summer treasures
make a hideout or clubhouse
make paper airplanes
have paper airplane races
learn origami
make an obstacle course in your backyard
make friendship bracelets for your friends
make a wind chime out of things headed for the garbage
paint your face
braid hair
play tag
make a sundial
memorize a poem
recite a memorized poem for your family

Beverley Paine is a mother of three young adults and a prolific writer of homeschooling articles. More articles and essays can be found in her books, available from the Always Learning Books online bookstore.

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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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