Unplugged Play: 50 “I’m Bored” Activities

At 11:15 this morning, I set the baby in the pack-and-play and started to prep lunch. I asked my five year old to find something fun to do while waiting for lunch. Apparently, this was no small feat —  the whining ensued almost immediately.

Independent play is definitely a learned skill, and takes time to hone. I realized (quickly once the whining began) that my daughter just needed a few ideas to jump-start her own amazing imagination.

I grabbed butcher paper and made a giant list of 50 things to do on her own while mommy is busy.  Before I was even finished scribbling #25, she was asking me for her own butcher paper and crayons!


Today’s post is all about getting creative and coming up with your own “I’m bored” list. When I was little, our “boredom list” was 100 items long and hung inside the pantry door. I have fond memories of looking through that list and carefully selecting the one that seemed most fun in the moment. (Thanks, Mom!) I’m hoping my own kids will adopt this same attitude!

This list is comprised entirely of screen-free kid activities. Not all of them are suitable for very little ones, and some require just a bit of adult help/supervision. But all of them are guaranteed to jump start your own – and yours kids’! – ideas. Hopefully you’ll find a few you love and be inspired to add them to a list of your own.

Here’s to unplugged, independent play and killing boredom!



50 Unplugged “I’m Bored” Activities

  1. color a picture
  2. blow bubbles
  3. do a puzzle
  4. play with play dough
  5. have a tea party
  6. trace letters with dry erase markers
  7. play farm
  8. grow a fairy garden
  9. dress up
  10. play hair salon
  11. build with blocks
  12. play dog kennel or vet with pretend animals
  13. get out a board game
  14. build a blanket-fort
  15. pick flowers and arrange a bouquet
  16. make mud pies or mud cookies
  17. ride your bike
  18. practice soccer skills
  19. build an obstacle course
  20. make up a song and sing it for others
  21. read (or look at) a book
  22. listen to cassette tapes or audio books
  23. play an instrument
  24. play with dolls
  25. make a toy car parade
  26. have a picnic
  27. fold laundry
  28. jump on trampoline
  29. use the drawing projector
  30. have a stuffed animal party
  31. build an invention out of recycled things
  32. make your own magazine
  33. write a weather report
  34. jump rope
  35. practice tumbling skills with mats or towels
  36. do a nature scavenger hunt
  37. draw with chalk
  38. read or play in the play house
  39. dress up the Barbies
  40. make your own snack mix recipe
  41. organize seashells
  42. make a beaded necklace
  43. use lacing toys
  44. make a paper chain countdown for something fun
  45. act out a story
  46. bounce a basketball
  47. read an I-spy book or play I-spy
  48. make an animal out of pipe cleaners
  49. swing or go down the slide as many times as you can
  50. create an Easter egg hunt


Our list is actually growing to upwards of 70 items now! I’m thinking I need to get it to 100, just to relive the famous “I’m Bored” list of my past!


What are your favorite springtime boredom busters? 🙂


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