5 Pandemic Boredom Busters – Creative Family Fun!
by Joan Green of Green Art Labs
The pandemic has been going on for months now, and with Covid numbers going up, we’re staying closer to home and boredom is setting in. While parents might be afraid of bored kids…that’s actually when kids tap into their creativity. So turn off the screens and let the kids have fun with these creative ideas that will keep them using their imaginations for hours and days! When we exercise our imaginations we build confidence, creativity and problem solving – which are all important skills for healthy development.
1. Today’s Your Birthday! – Pretend Birthday Party
Kids wait all year for their birthday…and they spend months planning it, thinking of who they’ll invite, deciding on a theme. So playing birthday party is fun for all ages. Get the whole family involved.
Preschoolers – Set up a pretend party with stuffed animals as guests. Make paper party hats and decorations. Sing songs, pretend to blow out candles, and eat pretend cake.
Elementary – Make a list of all your friends to invite. Write out pretend invitations. Make a real cake with candles for dessert one night. Wrap up things from around the house as your gifts.
Teens – Plan out the party of your dreams for your next “live” birthday party. Have a dance party with friends on Facetime. Get your pj’s on and watch a Netflix party with friends and have a pretend sleepover.
2. Make Art with Reusable Materials
We all have a lot of recyclables around. Collect these clean, safe reusable materials – like cardboard, tubes, fabric, colorful plastics, packaging, corks, etc. and get creative. Add some masking tape, markers and scissors – and the possibilities are endless! Keep a box of these materials around for open-ended creating!
Preschoolers – Make instruments. Boxes and rubber bands make stringed instruments. Make a shaker by adding smaller items into a bottle, tin or box. Make a drum from coffee cans and sticks. Decorate these with tape and markers or paint.
Elementary – Work together as a family to make your own board game. Design the board with a piece of cardboard and markers or paint. Make game pieces with colorful plastics or corks. Write out the rules and objective of your game. Make cards with recycled scrap paper and markers.
Teens – Make your own model world – from your imagination. Sketch or write out any ideas you have and then get creative with the reusable materials. Boxes can turn into homes, businesses, spaceships or places you invent. Small plastics, paper and foil can be formed into the characters or creatures in your new world. Fabric and tubes can be black holes, hideouts, and decorations. You’re the artist. Make it your own and have fun creating from your heart!
3. Make A Fort
If you haven’t done this in a while – making a fort is the BEST! Kids of all ages – and adults – can get really into the design, creativity and problem solving of making a fort. You’ll need blankets, clothes pins, tables, chairs, rope and pillows. Add flashlights, LED lights or solar lights to make it magical inside.
Preschoolers – Cover a large table with blankets, making sure that one side is left open until kids feel comfortable, as they like to know they can get in and out of the fort when they want. Give everyone a flashlight to feel safe. Read books inside or even take a nap here.
Elementary – Add onto the table fort mentioned above, adding blankets draped over backs to make a multi-roomed fort. Tell ghost stories inside and give everyone a light to make scary faces and shadows.
Teens – Turn your whole room into a fort. Can you do it? String blankets and LED lights around to make a full sized hideout in your room. Add pillows in certain areas to make comfy spots. Different areas can become different functions of your room – a music studio, a fashion runway, a gaming center. Make a video and show your friends.
4. Make Nature Art
Go on a trail hike or neighborhood walk and collect leaves, stones, sticks and pods for making nature art. You can create outside or inside. Please use items that are no longer living – don’t pick flowers or leaves since the plants and insects still need them.
Preschool – Talk about the shape, color and texture of the nature items. Notice the smell and feel of the items. Do they make any sounds when you press them together? Put the nature items together on the ground or glue onto a paper to make a larger shape.
Elementary – Make a fairy house with the nature items. Find a hollowed-out log or stone for the house. Make furniture for the fairies using stones, pods or flowers. Tell stories of the fairies you hope to attract to the garden.
Teens – Learn more about the nature artist, Andy Goldsworthy, who has spent his life creating in nature. Make your own nature art inspired by his artwork.
5. Read a Book – Act It Out
When children act out stories or memories they are embodying these lessons and ideas and experience them in a deeper, more meaningful way.
Preschool – Read a favorite book and ask your children to act it out. This may look like dancing like the characters or singing the words they know. They may want to be many different characters at the same time. They may change their facial expressions, voice or their body language to be in character. Just have fun with it.
Elementary – As kids get older they can be more organized about their play. Assign characters and write up scripts. They will have fun practicing their lines. They may even want to make theater tickets to sell to family members, as well as setting up a stage and chairs for the audience.
Teens – Get out the makeup, costumes and flair! Teens will have fun dressing up as their character and doing their hair and makeup. They can find music to go with each scene. And even write their own lines to go with a story they act out. They may have fun video taping their performance and editing it to post to Youtube. They can also add other features such as claymation or stop motion to enhance their story.