It’s school holidays in our house and a big break from school invariably results in periodic cries of, “I’m bored!” from our tween, Miss 10.
It’s not that I am not a fan of cultivating boredom – in fact, I wholeheartedly agree that having downtime to be bored is important for kids and that it is when they are bored that kids are most creative – but I also think that having a list of open-ended activity prompts can be helpful in helping kids work out what they would like to do next.
Having a list of activity ideas to direct your tween to puts them in the driver’s seat, deciding how they will spend their time which is an important skill in itself, and as tweens are developing a greater sense of responsibility they generally respond well to more space for self-direction (find out more about tween quirks and behaviours in our parenting tweens series.)
While many of these are activities that your kids can get busy with independently, there are a few ideas for family fun too.
An A to Z of Boredom Busting Activities for Tweens
Create a work of ART
There are so many great ideas to inspire tweens to get arty – click here to see 32 of our favourites.
BAKE cookies or a cake
Whether it be a recipe passed down through the generations or a recipe that you’ve always wanted to try, baking (and cooking) is a great life skill to have. Why not try these sweetheart jam drops, lemonade scones or a lemon and mango yoghurt cake?
CAMP out in the backyard or living room
Because camping is just plain fun.
DECORATE your bedroom
Decorate or re-decorate, move things around and make it your own. Create an artwork for it
EARN some money
Doing odd jobs for family, neighbours or friends might just prove more lucrative than you think.
Hold a paper plane FLYING challenge
Check out this collection of awesome paper plane ideas and challenge friends or family to a paper plane duel or two.
Get outdoors and try GEOCACHING
If you’ve not joined this global treasure hunt yet, now’s the time. Here’s an easy how-to guide to get you started.
Head off on a HIKE
Not sure if hiking is your thing? Here are some ideas for family hike.
Make ICE CREAM sundaes or floats
Just yum any time of the day!
Get creative with JEWELRY making
Make jewelry for yourself or as a gift. Here are 28 jewelry craft ideas to get you started.
Teach yourself to knit with fingers (here’s a tutorial) or needles (here’s a tutorial).
Build with LEGO
There are so many great Lego challenges to be found on the internet. Of course, our favourites are our printable Lego mosaics.
Edit your own hobby MAGAZINE
Last year my daughter and her best friend created their own fashion magazine and it was such an awesome project for them to work on together. Choose a hobby or topic of interest and create your own, or create one with a friend who shares your interest.
Make a target for a NERF GUN, water balloon or sock battle
Nerf guns are so much fun but sock battles (with rolled up socks) are also great for a laugh. This is a great list of 20 Nerf gun games to play that can be easily adapted.
OFFER to help someone
Spend time helping someone you care about – whether it be a friend or family member.
Get creative with PHOTOGRAPHY
We love this fun photography challenge from Playtivities.
Host a family QUIZ NIGHT
Take control of organising a quiz night (or game night) for your family.
READ something new or something you love
Take time to read or re-read a book, magazine, comic…your choice!
SCOOTER or SKATE
Scooter, skateboard, roller skates, ice skates – you choose!
Play TAG or Hide N Seek or Murder in the Dark
Fun with friends or siblings, play one or try all three!
Challenge someone to a UNO championship
Can you ever really stop at just one game of Uno??! Have fun finding out who the ultimate Uno champion is in your house with a Uno challenge.
VISIT a museum, art gallery or library
Learn something new with a visit to a museum, art gallery or library in your area.
WASH the car or the dog
A surefire way to get on the parents’ nice list!
Conduct a science eXPERIMENT
Stretch your brain with some fun science. We have 40+ backyard experiments to get you started.
Stretch your body with YOGA
Yoga is fabulous for your body and mind. Not sure where to start, try our yoga for kids routines.
ZONE out and relax
Make sure to make time to just relax, listen to music, draw, write or just daydream.
To make it super simple for you, I’ve made a poster from the list that you can print out and hang on your fridge ready to direct your tween to next time they declare that they are bored!
(Scroll down to print a copy of the list so you always have ideas at the ready)
To download and print: Click here to download the poster as a PDF. Download or save the PDF to your own computer. Open and print. When printing, select “Fit to printable area” (or similar) to ensure the page fits with your printer type and local paper size (these have been created at A4 size). For durability, print onto matte photo paper or lightweight cardstock and laminate. Personal, non commercial use only.
And if you are still looking for even more ideas, check out this list of 23 activities for tweens or our collection of 32 tween art and craft projects or our list of books for tweens.
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