100+ Boredom-Busting Activities for Kids

If you have kids (or ever were one) you know that boredom can be a huge struggle. But it can also be a chance to get creative and find new things to do! When boredom hits in our house or when I have to occupy the kids while I work, I rely on some of the activities on this list.

I’ve tried to choose activities that will not only keep kids entertained, but also active and feeling purposeful. There’s plenty of ideas here that kids can do independently (an important value in our house).

To that end, most of the activities in this list require minimal parental involvement. I’ve noted the ones that call for a little more of a hands-on approach. We tend to save more involved or messy projects and games for family time when my husband and I can help out and be involved.

And if you have any tips for sanity-saving, low mess activities for kids of all ages, please share with other moms by commenting on this post!

Outdoor Activities for Kids

I always try to prioritize outdoor activities first, both for myself and the kids. There are plenty of proven health benefits to getting outside, such as:

  • Fresh air (indoor air is much more contaminated)
  • Exposure to sunlight (helps body wake up, keeps natural circadian rhythm in balance, increases vitamin D)
  • Space to be active — climb, run, jump, etc.
  • Invites imaginative play good for cognitive and social development
  • Immune system stimulation from contact with healthy microbes in the soil, etc.
  • Ecotherapy (time in nature has been shown to reduce stress)

Not to mention it keeps the mess from said activities out of the house!

Usually it isn’t hard to convince the kids to head outdoors (especially since we upgraded the backyard equipment), but when needed we simply require that they start their day outside.

Things Kids Can Do Outside

Many of these are fun for the whole family but can also be done independently by older kids. We also sometimes use our adventure points system to reward positive use of outdoor time:

  • Family/sibling Nerf wars
  • Water balloons – we use sponges, not balloons, to avoid choking hazards and plastic waste
  • Build a fairy garden
  • Build a gnome house (a small scale log cabin for example)
  • Stargaze (look for constellations)
  • Practice survival skills – Like fishing, starting a fire, building a shelter, etc. (needs more parental involvement)
  • Take nature walks/hikes
  • Challenge older kids to set up an outdoor scavenger hunt or obstacle course (Kids get especially motivated if Mom/Dad have to take the challenge they created after work is done!)
  • Create a sidewalk chalk masterpiece
  • Blow bubbles (make your own with this recipe)
  • Climb trees
  • Make a slip and slide
  • Build a raft (and see if it will float)
  • Fly a kite
  • Set up a nature station with some binoculars and guide books – our kids love this one
  • Have a campfire and cook a meal over it (requires adult supervision)
  • Hopscotch
  • Help in the garden
  • Create a mini-golf course
  • Nature photography (let the kids use a digital camera or old phone to take pictures)
  • Nature journaling (and sketching) – this self-guided activity book helps kids see their backyard through new eyes
  • Jump on trampoline
  • Hold a cartwheel contest (who can do the most)
  • Rollerblading or biking
  • Let toddlers make mud pies (and who are we kidding, older kids love this too)
  • Build a treehouse (may need adult supervision)
  • Build a rope swing (may need adult supervision)
  • Make rock formations
  • Make dams in the creek
  • Set up a travel hammock in the backyard for rest and reading
  • Jumprope
  • Play badminton or spikeball
  • Play Capture the Flag
  • Paint an outdoor mural (we let our kids do this on the side of a storage shed)
  • Show kids how to hammer nails into an old log or scrap wood (use safety glasses) – building a skill while entertaining them for hours!

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