It has been said that boredom is the beginning of creativity. As preschoolers find themselves at home more throughout the summer, parents will certainly hear, “I’m bored.” Your preschooler may be missing their school friends or the structured activities they have at school. Parents may be tempted to keep their preschooler busy with screen time or fill their day with planned activities. Here are a few activities to help parents banish boredom this summer.
A very popular idea is a boredom jar. Parents can brainstorm ideas and use popsicle sticks or slips of paper to write out activities or ideas for when the child says, “I’m bored!” If you Google “I’m Bored Jar,” you will find hundreds of ideas!
Any activity that helps a child create something will keep them busy for quite a while. Building blocks, puzzles, a marble run, or any kind of building toy will spark creativity, work on STEM skills, and help with spatial reasoning.
Nature is fascinating. Find an old jar, can, or container. Poke holes in the lid. Then send the child to the backyard or go for a walk to find bugs to catch and leaves or sticks to put into the jar. You can even decorate the container for some added fun.
In 2001, Nancy Blakey wrote an article called “Boredom: The Cauldron of Creativity” in Mothering, and she said:
I cannot plant imagination into my children. I can, however, provide an environment where their creativity is not just another mess to clean up but welcome evidence of grappling successfully with boredom. It is possible for boredom to deliver us to our best selves, the ones that long for risk and illumination and unspeakable beauty. If we sit still long enough, we may hear the call behind boredom. With practice, we may have the imagination to rise up from the emptiness and answer.
Boredom is not a bad thing. Play is a child’s work. Being bored allows your child to imagine, create, invent, and explore. Your preschooler will certainly say, “I’m bored” at some point. Help them see boredom as an opportunity to be creative and imagine!
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