Sunday, May 3, 2009

BOREDOM BUSTERS - Frugal Fun for All Ages

Are your kids driving you crazy, because of the "I'm borrred" Syndrome? Try some of my favorite economical, creative and quick to do boredom busters!

Next rainy spring day, or middle of the summer bored whining starts - scroll through this list, and bust those bordeom blues without busting the bank!

Each activity has a my reccommended age category – and these are based just as much on enjoyment and ‘holding’ factor as abilities
  • Little Hands: Ages 2-6 “LH”
  • I’m a Big Kid: Ages 6-11 “BK”
  • Pre-Teen & Tween: Ages 11-13 “Tween”
  • Full out Teen: Ages 13 + “TEEN” *

*Until your teen is still willing to "play" with you.


Materials: Non-gel shaving cream, Food Coloring Directions:
  1. Combine non-gel shaving cream with a few drops of food coloring.

TIPS: Works on construction paper, a sliding glass door, a section of foil, cookie baking pans or plop them in the tub with bathing suites on. Promises to provide lots of finger-foam fun! Reccomend allowing "decorating” easy to clean household surfaces. Clean by rinsing with water.


Materials: Non-gel shaving cream, Glue and Food Coloring


  1. Use equal parts glue and shaving cream.
  2. Add a couple of drops of food coloring or tempera paint for color.
  3. Paint with brush onto construction paper.


Materials: 1/4 cup of cornstarch, 1/2 cup water and food coloring.


  1. Combine cornstarch and water.
  2. Using a small container, mix until smooth.
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring.

TIPS: You can make a few batches of different colors. Kids can use paintbrushes, foam paint-rollers or sponges to paint the sidewalk.


Materials: Liquid dish soap, washable liquid paint or powdered tempera.


  1. Mix together equal parts dishwashing liquid and washable liquid paint or powdered tempera.
  2. Mix until it's a creamy consistency.
  3. se paintbrushes.

TIPS: Window paint is easy to clean from windows with a moist paper towel. Sliding Glass doors work great – bigger workspaces are easier for little hands.

FLUBBER LH, BK, TW This makes oozing, gooey, cold and wet play goop.

Materials: 2-1/3 cups warm waterfood coloring, optional2 cups Elmer's school glue3 tablespoons borax


  1. In one container, mix 2 cups warm water, food coloring and glue.
  2. Stir until glue has dissolved.
  3. In a separate container, combine 1/3 cup warm water and borax.
  4. Stir until borax has dissolved.
  5. Add borax solution to glue mixture, and mix with hands for about 5 minutes.
  6. Pour out extra water.
  7. Let sit for a few minutes on a tray before playing.

TIPS: Store in airtight container. Don’t play with flubber on upholstered furniture. If “bounced” off walls, can leave a mark (especially walls with “flat” paint).

Marble Painting LH

Materials: Marbles, Poster Paint or Tempera Paint, Box with low sides (a canned-soda case works well), Construction paper or printer paper, small disposable dish (or re-cycled lean cuisine type dish)


  1. Place paper in Box
  2. Squeeze small amount of paint into disposable
  3. Roll marble in paint
  4. Put marble in box, hold box and tilt different directions
  5. Change colors as desired – creates cool abstract designs!

SHAKE 'EM UP ICE CREAM! LH, BK, TW TEEN This recipe makes a yummy in your tummy fun!

Materials: 1 gallon-size zipper-type bagcrushed ice6 tablespoons rock salt1 cup liquid half-and-half1/2 teaspoon vanilla2 tablespoons sugar1 pint-size plastic zipper-type bag


  1. Fill the large bag halfway with crushed ice.
  2. Add rock salt.
  3. In the small bag, add half-and-half, vanilla and sugar. Seal bag.
  4. Place the small bag in the large bag. Seal it.
  5. Shake for up to 7 minutes until it is ice cream.

Play Dough LH, BK

Materials 2 tablespoons cream of tartar, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 cup flour, 2 teaspoons food coloring, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup salt


  1. Cook on stovetop over medium heat for 4 minutes. Stirring periodically

TIP: Store in Airtight bag, Clean pot before it dries! Use cookie cutters and rolling pins to play with the playdough.

Finger Paint LH

Materials: 4 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 2 cups cold waterfood coloring, containers for finger paint Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch together
  2. Add water
  3. Heat over medium heat for 8 minutes or until the mixture thickens
  4. Will thicken more as it cools
  5. Divide into containers such as muffin pan, and add desired food coloring to each container

TIPS: Works on Construction Paper or Printer Paper, if you have paper with a gloss, the paint will slide easily. Muffin pans work well while creating projects, harder to “tip” and spill. Baby food jars or small re usable with air tight lids works well for storing left over paint. Shelf life of homemade paint is limited always check before you use again.


Let them take over your rec room with blankets, books to anchor them, pillows etc., If you have any recent appliance type boxes, all the better!


Get that box of clothes you and your husband had set aside for Goodwill; kids love to dress up like their parents. Pull out your heels and some of your older, “good fakes” jewelry and some of dad’s ties and hats.

Make Capes out of the slightly stained tablecloths you keep forgetting to throw away.

Keep out the poster paint from earlier activities and face paint. Pull out the tried and true past Halloween costumes.

Makeovers TW, TEEN (girls)

Pull out your creams, facials, scrubs, manicure sets, hair products, and accessories. Don’t forget your hair-styling tools, make up, make up mirror with lights, everything you can think of. Treat your daughter to a day at the spa – ‘at home.’

TIPS: Say “yes” when she wants to “do” you. Don’t force your opinion on her, now isn’t the time to lecture, just to have fun and be spontaneous.

Battle of the Generations BK, TW, TEEN

Already own a Wii, Playstation, Nintendo – any of those type game systems? Challenge your kids to an all-out battle of the ages. Have a Wii Tennis Round robin, show them your previous athletic skill with Madden Football, or any of the other sports themed games.

Collages BK, TW, TEENS


Scissors, Papercutters, Glue, double sided tape and/or monoadhesive, Magazines – all sorts, Poster Board, Markers or stickers Tips: Pull out your huge pile of magazines waiting to be re-cycled. With enough of the right magazines, you would be surprised how many boys get in to this too.

Don’t think they’ll completely get into it? Try suggesting just making a collage for their notebook cover.

Many of the notebooks today have a clear plastic cover with room to insert pictures or a collage, etc.,

Talk, cut, tape, talk, cut create – their finished product will tell you a lot about your kids!

Door Art TW, TEEN Be Brave Mom….it’s not as bad as you think.

Materials Poster paint, wall paints, drop cloth, pencil, painters tape, paint brushes all sizes.


  1. Tell your kid to have at it! Create a mural of whatever they want (within boundries) on the back of their room door.
  2. Draw it out in pencil first – get moms okay.
  3. Help them (if needed) tape off the frame, or just outside the frame if the frame is being painted too.
  4. Help make sure drop cloth is secure and covers all carpeting close to the project.
  5. Make sure painting space is well lit.
  6. Help with ladders if needed.
  7. Let them have at it, and express who they are.

TIPS – let them go for it! They will enjoy their art when in their room yet no one else will have to look at it if they don’t want to. This removal of boundaries on “home d├ęcor” will really let them know you trust them, and that you can appreciate their style.


Take the 15/16 pre-permit, new permit driver out for driving practice, parking lot maneuvers, etc.,

TIPS: Brooms with flags stuck into cones (if you have them from your soccer days) can be very helpful. Empty plastic garbage cans are great pretend “cars” when practicing parking – if they wobble, kid fails!

WIFFLE Ball (one of our family faves!) BK, TW,TEEN

All you need is the plastic bat and ball, no gloves necessary and heavy duty paperplates work for bases.

No backyard, go to the local park, or school field.

Soccer-Golf - made up by my oldest when he was about 12- BK, TW, TEEN

All you need is a ball and some outdoor space.

Each player takes turns creating the “hole,” for example: “From here to the mailbox, go around mailbox, then to the basketball hoop and back. Whoever can do it in the least amount of touches (kicks) wins that hole.

We’ve gone around our block playing this one, I usually don’t win.

You don’t need a pile of money for boredom busters, just think out of the box and be creative with what you have!

From my perspective, boredom is usually directly linked to too much "free" time. Some gently guided fun or creative play-time can be just the thing to busting boredom.

TIP: Mom and Dad, don't structure to the point of stifling good, imaginative, fun!


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