17+ Activities to Try this Summer When your Kids Say, "I'm Bored"

After spending many months and hours of distance learning due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, I am sure you are wondering "how I can continue at this pace?" I am sure it still is and was a difficult situation especially since many of us are working from home as well.

After months of making sure our kids are social distancing, trying to explain why our children weren't able to play with their friends, visit grandparents, keeping kids focused before, during and after learning sessions at home, were challenging for us all.

Our dedicated teachers, who would much rather be in their classrooms with our children, found themselves teaching through video, send home packets as well as using distance learning resources.

One silver lining among many others in “Slow the Spread” and schools closed, is that many parents, who are not teachers, have a new reality of what teaching is really like…now mind you, parents are not teaching entire classes of students, but I bet they would pay teachers much more now that first-hand experience comes into play! 

So looks like we are in this together for a bit longer with camps, sports and even some pools not opening until July or even later!

At least that's the prediction in my state!  So let’s be proactive and just maybe you might be able to use some of these ideas to turn a "boring" day into a happier day and save your sanity! Whether working from home, needing a break or just wanting your  kiddos to do something productive. If this sounds like YOU, then this post is for YOU!

So Here are 17+ Activities to Try this Summer When your Kids Say,"I'm Bored!

Get your online shopping on

Mary Poppins' Bag or Basket:

I know many of us can’t browse around aisles of local stores, but...WE CAN shop 
online and find some puzzles, workbooks, design coloring books or just plain old coloring books, crafts, craft supplies to bring out those inner crafters. 

Children need to occupy themselves on days that you need to get to work. 
If you can’t go out and if you are like me, you already have many items at home you can use:  pennies, books, games, tic-tac-toe sheets or boards, paper or plastic cups, etc. 

Scoop up these items and grab an old purse, beach bag or basket to transform into your “Super Stash Bag/Basket.” 

Hide or leave this in your special secret spot and when you need it, simply whip it out and, voila; you have something new and easy for your kids to do. 

I always had a tote like this ready to go when I cared for my grandchildren. It was always stashed away in my car and if I heard the phrase “I’m bored,” it appeared like magic! 

Play Hide and Go Seek: 

I know you are probably wondering what planet I came from just thinking about this idea, but playing hide and seek with favorite puzzles, Legos, learning worksheets, sight words, fluency sentences, math flashcards or whatever you can think of that
will encourage your kiddos to explore or want to find is perfect!  this "game" might just keep your child occupied for a fairly long time. 

How to Play this Hide and Seek Game:

Hide parts of a puzzle in places that might be a little difficult to find but not so challenging that you hear, “Mom, I can only find 3 pieces of the puzzle or I need your help!” This should to be fun and engaging...hiding places should be hard enough so it takes time for your child to find all the pieces, but easy so he or she does not reach a frustration level looking for them. After all the pieces are found, your child can reassemble the puzzle, construct with Legos or play the game. If you work from home, you might take this time to add a break into your schedule and give a little TLC and do the puzzle together. 

You can also do this with math facts, sight words, vocabulary words or letters or any types or learning activities your child may need to reinforce through the summer.  This can also be done outside especially if you are not working from home or you can do it outside just to be outside.

Remember to keep it simple and fun! 

The Mini Office: 

This idea is one of my all time favorites. I have used this many times with my own children and grandchildren when I had work to finish and it is a super activity for parents who work from home. (this little guy is just pretending to "work" but the older ones are who I am referring to with this idea.
Set up an area in your office or near your workspace with supplies a child might need to “work” alongside you. 
Perhaps a telephone, computer, adding machine, stickers, paper, crayons, pencils, sale slips, appointment slips, sticky notes, pens, erasers...whatever you can think of that your child might love to “work” with while you are focusing on your work and all these activities listed below integrate learning!

You can even assign “work” by asking your child questions; such as:

  • “Can you make a list of all the places I can take my client for dinner next week?” or “ Mr. Jones is coming for lunch on Thursday. What should we serve? Write ideas for me.” Your child can draw a picture of all the places to go or make a list of all the food you might serve
  • Make a list of all the words you can spell or all the math facts you can solve.
  • Make a menu of what we can have for dinner tomorrow. 
My little ones love this and the last time I saw my granddaughter, she asked, “Mimi, can we work together again?” We had so much fun whistling and singing while we worked! (Ummm you don't want me to add an audio of our singing, but just trust me that we did sing,"Whistle While You Work"...

Did I mention there is one drawback? You might have a mess, but if you can get something done, the clean up is worth it! 

Kinetic Sand: 

Kinetic Sand can create hours of fun for any age. I have to confess...I get fascinated playing with it myself! Give your kids a bin or 9X13 cake pan, plastic cutting board or cookie sheet, cookie cutters, puzzle pieces, plastic utensils, buttons or anything you have around the house and let them create. I am sure they will come up with zillions of creative sculptures and ideas that will occupy them for hours. 

You can find some great activities for sculpting with Kinetic Sand in Dyan Robson’s book Awesome Kinetic Sand Activities for Kids. 

Dyan also mentions on her blog, “Next Comes L,” that “all the activities are low preparation, which means you can set them up within seconds” and contain “three full color photos per activity.” The set up of this book encourages working independently, which is great for work at home parents. 

Scavenger Hunt:  

This idea is the old-fashioned scavenger hunt game with a twist. You can have pre-made cards or simply make them up as you go. 

Visualize this scenario: You are sitting in your office. You can hear footsteps coming and that little rascal calling out that infamous phrase, “I’m bored.” You’re in the middle of a report that was due “yesterday.” Panic sets in. Then you remember the game from this post...you quickly give your child 3-4 clues about an object to find in your house.  if this is not you...maybe you are trying to get something important completed...dinner...an idea for next year's class...whatever your "MUST DO" is.

You might say, “ I am thinking of an object that is pink stripped and I wear it at night. Can you guess what I am thinking and find it?” Your child scurries out the door to find the object you described. 

When the object is found, your child receives a point. You continue giving clues until you have exhausted all the non-breakable items in your house. 

Award a prize after a certain number of points are scored and your kiddos will want to play over and over again. Who doesn’t work for an incentive or a reward over time? Oh and the end result...your "Must do" gets completed by the deadline or at least close to it! 

Here are Some Fun Activities Online

I was so excited when I found these. I was thinking of how much my own grandchildren would love to have these options this summer!  All of our summer camps are closed where we live so these would definitely be something to put in your summer toolbox!

Virtual Summer Camp: 

Be sure to check out this fantastic Virtual Summer Camp for Grades PreK-Grade 5
They give you a weekly program to follow that includes Virtual field Trips, Reading, Writing and Science Ideas. Weekly tips for Families and a "Stay Sharp" area, which takes you to other sites for more learning ideas.  I am thinking it is a great idea for summer especially if you are working from home or NOT!

"Madlibs" Online:

I have a 7 year old granddaughter that LOVES "Madlibs", but these have a twist in that you fill in the parts of speech by typing them into a frame provided online. You know the topic or theme or the story but have no idea of any of the sentences so as you add you nouns, verbs, adjective, colors etc.  you only know the words you added! After you submit the creators add them into the writing piece and then you can read the silly story you created!  Squigly's Playhouse: I even had fun doing this.
Here is one we wrote:

Today I went to beach with my teacher. While we were there, we came across the cutest teal balloon animal monkey. His name was Flubber and we instantly became best friends because we both love slippery chairs and jumping. While talking about computers, we both even said 'I just wanna dance' at the same time. Jinx!

I am thinking this could be a family affair!

Readers' Theater:  

As a child, I remember putting on plays with the kids in my neighborhood! We would dress up and present our plays on a handmade stage and invite the neighborhood, which were maybe 10 people, but we though the theater was packed full.  We even make tickets and refreshments (AHHH! the good ole' days) 

Just think of how much learning takes place when doing a Readers' Theater, Readers' Theater ideas. I bet you will find more than a few that will interest your child/ren
remember with a Reader's Theater, you done have to memorize the parts, but rather, read your part with inflection, clarity and fluency! Performing these "plays" is supporting learning to read with expression, accuray and rate...i always tell my students it is like reading on TV or making a video, which would be another great idea...videotape it!!  Click here for a ton of 

Looking for Free Crafts and Activities?

Okay I can't even contain myself. I am so excited that I came across this site. It is jammed packed with tons of free ideas for you, as a parent or teacher can use with your Kids!  I called my daughter, who is a Kindergarten teacher and my oldest daughter who has 2 children and teaches music to check out this site for summer ideas and if needed, ideas for the fall.  This the "BOMB" you can find tons of ideas on Free Crafts and Activities for Parents and Teachers. There is a paid portion, you can opt into, but there is so much free, I doubt you will need it!

If all else fails: Maybe your child may be too unmotivated to try these ideas or you may be too tired or exhausted to set these up...just use some of these good old standbys: 

  •  Sit outside with your computer and simply watch your little guys or gals play with their favorite safe outdoor activities.

  • Is it a rainy day? Put a favorite movie or video on the TV...this is a win-win situation...you get a few hours of work completed and your Child/ren are loving their favorite movie. 

  • Give your kids your phone to look through all the videos and pictures you have yet to download or if you have photo albums or scrapbooks, let them “read” through them. 
 My grandkids will do this for hours at a time every time they come to visit. 
  • If you are really courageous, print the pictures and put them in your "Mary Poppins' " bag or basket and let the older ones categorize and put into a scrapbook or photo album.
  • Provide some recorded books. These can be purchased or you can create your own. Kids love to listen to favorite books over and over again! You can even have your older children record books for your littles.   One you might want to try is: Storyline Online This site has some famous people reading all time favorites and their favorites. Here is another site that provides FREE books to download and read or the book on video for your child to read.  There are a variety of ideas on how you can use these books with your kids and if you are teacher, it is a win-win site!
  • If you work from home, make a schedule for you and your child to follow including some independent activities with scheduled breaks so you can give your child some undivided attention. 

Sidewalk Chalk is always a great stand by.

Give you kids words, numbers or sentences to write.  Have your kiddos make a bicycle path on the driveway. Create a game with words or numbers and when you land on those you can read the words or add the numbers. You can even ask,"What number comes before that number or after that number or give me a math fact for that number.  Bring out those budding artists and let them create.

Following Directions Game

My co-teacher and I came up with a fun idea that our class enjoyed so much...if my memory is correct, the kids begged to play the game. Here is how it works. You create a 1,2,3 or maybe 4 step direction to follow (depending on the age of the players). Then they have to follow the direction correctly. Now the fun part is if they are incorrect when they follow the direction, any other player can be selected to try it.  Some kiddos would ask before they started, "Can you repeat the directions?" We would only repeat it one time. This supported following directions, attention and focus as well as asking questions, if you did not hear it the first time the directions were given. 
Here are some Following Directions Activities to try.


Charades is always a good idea and a great stand-by.  This game is so much fun and kids LOVE to play it...my students even asked to play it during indoor recess!  here are some Charades Games I have created with pictures and words so your kiddos might not need support when playing them.


There are so many ways to connect learning and fun when playing hopscotch.
  • Hopscotch Addition: Toss 2 markers, jump to the numbers and add them together.
  • Hopscotch Multiplication: This is the same as above except multiply the numbers.
  • Skip Count Hopscotch: Create a hopscotch board that has counts by 5, 10, 2,3,4,5,6, etc. Draw them on the boards in random order, then jump on the board is the correct order of the counts: 2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16,18, 20.
  • Sight Word Hopscotch:  Create a board to reinforce those words your child needs to read with more accuracy and speed. 
  • Write those words on the board, toss a marker and read the words as you hope along. 
  • You can do this with letter recognition, letter sounds,vocabulary words, multisyllabic words (maybe hopping from one syllable to the next to spell the the word parts), long and short vowel pattern words, CVC words or any words or phonics skill that might need to be reinforced. 
  • You can even use images of words and when they hop to that image, clap out the syllables or give a rhyming word for the picture or word. 

Let’s face it, you don’t need a crystal ball to determine that one of your kiddos will be home saying, "I'm BORED!" You may not have all your children home at the same time like the situation we have had, but you WILL have a child or two home, with "nothing to do" at some point in the future even after we get back to a normalcy, (think child home sick or day off from school) or virtual learning for next year! (OH NO!) I am thinking you will still have to work; so be proactive and set up some of these suggestions before you even need to use them.  Then they will be ready to go on a minute’s notice.

Well…okay…we are here right now in this situation so let’s say it this way…if you are
not too exhausted after a day of working or maybe you are still teaching or teaching summer school, perhaps tuck a few of these ideas in your tool box so they are ready to go! How about tonight? Let’s hope these activities keep you calm, cool and collected now and in the future!

These activities are definitely worth a try...what have you got to lose?  if you have tried these and they are still using the "B" word, you can always purchase a small blow-up pool, grab bubbles, take a hike, ride bikes, play "I spy", have a picnic on the lawn, throw a ball, dance to your favorite tune, see how long it takes to run around the block or simply relax and read a book! 

I hope you can use some of these ideas during this "Summer to Remember!"

I would love to hear your tried and true ideas in the comment section!