The Advantages of Kids Being Bored

Once upon a time… in a faraway land, you sailed the seas, exploring islands where buried treasures lurked, and fought swashbuckling swordsmen and fire-breathing dragons. In that time, you met countless heroes, went on adventures, and had daring escapades. DANGER was your middle name!

Of course, this land that stretched thousands of miles was all contained in your garden, your bedroom, or the lounge. That’s because your imagination took you places behind the walls of your home, it took you on a journey through time and space.

Today, kids just don’t get the same experiences. They’ve grown up with technology as an intimate part of their lives. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Technology has improved the lives of millions, from life-saving medical surgery done by computers assisting surgeons to simple apps to get you an inexpensive ride from the airport.

But some things have been threatened with being lost. Like the Neverland you used to visit as a child. Not many children go there anymore. Screen time with computers, gaming consoles, tablet PCs, and smart TVs has taken up much of their childhood. And parents are right to be concerned. Because too much screen time can be a bad thing.

It soon envelopes your children’s world. Limiting screen time on tablet PCs, laptops, consoles like PlayStation™, and phones presents a problem. What to do with your kids? They’re going to be, like, soooo booooored. Well, they’ll be forced to come up with their own fun. Just like you did when you were a kid. But additionally, we have some suggestions for you.

For the younger ones, have them write a book before they’ve learned to read

It might sound impossible, right? How do you get a (currently) illiterate child to write a book? Well, it’s actually straightforward. You simply give them a small stack of office paper. Then you bend it in half and staple it. Viola! You now have a (very blank) book.

Now you suggest that they come up with a story. You can actually help them with this, but we’ll give you some ideas further down the post. Once there’s an idea, ask them to get creative with some crayons, and in certain spaces on the booklet, they draw out their narrative. You want them to leave space for the text later on.

But still, the problem of them not knowing how to write yet… so, how are these illiterate little ones going to make a book? We’ll tell you how: you just volunteered to be their secretary. They’ll dictate the story to you, and you will write it down. It’s more fun than you might think. It’s a great bonding experience.

By getting them excited about doing something they may have thought wasn’t possible (because now you have a workaround: you), they’ll suddenly have an untapped avenue for their creativity. And that creativity will flow. There will be excitement at the prospect of them having “written” their very own book.

Oh, the topics are endless. Especially with the imaginations that children have. Here is one of the structures of a story-base you can use: there is a villain plotting something, heroes of some kind need to stop them, there is a battle, and the heroes are on the losing end. They regroup and make a final stand against the villain, defeating them once and for all.

OR: the main character dreams of being a star, maybe in the movies, maybe as a singer, maybe even as a content creator on YouTube. They face adversity like, for instance, they aren’t making it in the music scene until a talent agent spots them and they release their first single. It becomes the YouTube most-watched music video of the year. The character reaches instant stardom and now lives in a fancy mansion and is very kind to fans, always giving autographs and taking selfies with them.

OR: the protagonist is super-smart, and comes up with all kinds of wacky inventions, an example of which is a time machine. They, and their colorful cast of friends, go on adventures using these inventions. In the case of the time machine, they go back to the time of the dinosaurs and must save a baby dinosaur who has been separated from his mommy — and help him find his way back to her… as they have many exciting escapades along the way.

OR: The main character is an ordinary child until one day they stumble on an enchanted ring (or some plot convenience device) and develop superpowers. Now they must use their powers to bring justice to their city and help defeat a giant robot army from outer space.

You get the idea. There are so many possible story ideas a kid can run wild with. If it’s anything a child is good at, it’s diving deep into their imaginative worlds and coming up with the most fascinating stories. They just need that little push to get started: no screen time for the day and boredom to make them play. It encourages their creativity.

The best part of their own cute, strange, child-like book? You can put them in a safe place and enjoy reading them one day when they’re adults, as mementos of the sweetness of their childhood. You can even read those stories to their children one day. It’s super cute.

And if you want to be especially fancy, you can also use a book template from a Word processor program, do the book that way, and scan and add their drawings. Who knows? Maybe by disseminating it, you’ll find you’re the parent of a famous child author.

Explore New Worlds Together

Ever considered getting a telescope? They used to be super expensive, but now you can get reasonable ones at reasonable prices. We’re not here to sell you telescopes, just to suggest that having one in your life can be a source of great bonding with your kid.

It’s going out somewhere for a drive with your child away from the light pollution, setting up the thing, and peering at the stars. You’ll especially appreciate it during the odd astronomical events that happen. If you go far enough away from the city, you’ll surely see shooting stars. And the full moon against a darkened sky is quite something to behold when you’re magnified by 30x.

Imagine: you see the Milky Way, our galaxy, and you let your child see through the lens, and tell them that that’s what we’re part of… a galaxy of stars amongst hundreds of millions of galaxies in the universe, ours spinning around a center where a supermassive black hole exerts enough gravitational force that all our stars, including our sun, spiral around it in a beautiful cosmic ballet.

You also get to show them, in closer detail, the stars closest to us, like Alpha Centauri, and point out interesting facts. Like how the speed of light is the maximum speed in the universe… (which is why when lightning is some distance away, we only hear the thunder a couple of seconds later). And that the closest star is four light-years away; in other words, the distance light covers in a single Earth year. This means what we see in the sky is not the star as it is now but how it was four years ago.

That’s the kind of fun, educational, and exciting adventure you can go on with your kid with a simple telescope, some science facts, and the heavens above us. Think about how your child’s eyes will light up like a supernova on learning that the stars he or she sees above them might not even exist anymore (Though the likelihood of seeing a dead star is remote).

We see echoes in the night sky of what was.

The universe is kind of strange, kind of funny, and kind of amazing in that way.

Arrrr me hearty, and a bottle of soda

Pirates can be a serious topic. The debate between who is cooler, Will Turner or Captain Jack Sparrow, is not to be taken lightly! But whoever’s team you’re on, you’ve got to admit, the romance of the Golden Age of Pirates is certainly fun now.

And kids love pirates, right? So, encourage them to set sail in the seven seas of their imagination, an ocean they can get lost in. And it’s not even that hard to get them to launch with the next tide, either. Simple things around the house will do—for instance, cardboard. You can outline a pirate’s sword out of some cardboard and cut it out. That’s why they call it a cutlass (probably not, but we couldn’t resist). There’s actually a neat step-by-step tutorial on making cool cardboard swords here.

Then eye patches come easily enough. Cut up an old, unused, outgrown shirt with scissors. The rest of it will make a good pirate’s bandana.

And for the Jolly Roger? Simply have the kids paint an office piece of paper black and make their best impression of a skull and crossbones in white after it’s dried. Now they have a pirate’s flag to scare the neighbors into surrendering their booty!

Speaking of booty, you can get chocolate coins in faux-gold wrapping paper at some sweet shops. If you have a small cardboard box lying around, possibly due to an splurge (we don’t judge), you’ve got the makings of a treasure chest. The kids just need to paint it gold (or bronze). Maybe they even want to use those small sandbox shovels and bury their treasure? They can mark its location on a treasure map.

Those are super easy to do!

For the map, simply encourage the kids to draw the map on standard office paper. Then, dabbing it in watered-down watercolor brown will give it the old paper look — especially after it has dried, it gets crumpled and recrumpled a good few times. This will give it the look of an authentic treasure map! Then your kids are ready to go a-pirating the seven seas of your green garden! Or, at least, around the apartment if you live in one. Sure, it’ll get noisy, but at least the kids will be having fun.

Best of all, it’ll teach the kids to be resourceful in finding ways to be entertained.

If you really want to have fun, video record the kids at play with your phone’s camera and upload it to your (new?) channel on YouTube. Just set the settings to private if you want to maintain privacy. You will still be able to share the URL with family and friends. What’s great about this is you’ll be making wonderful home videos to enjoy for decades to come!

You can even have one of the kids record it and even do some editing. Basic editing tools are available on phones, but if you ever want your kid to be a proper content creator, enroll them in this awesome online course.

So, we guess that…

Not all screen time is bad

When is this the case? When your child is actively engaged and learning something educational! For instance, if they were enrolled in an online course and participated in live classes with other children – They would both be stimulated and have fun. Learning online is a great way to acquire skills that might otherwise be very difficult to organize.

This is why we suggest taking specific online courses. For instance, kids can learn anything from coding to chess, programming robots, YouTube content creation (another activity where at least half of it involves being physically active), and animation. They’re all suitable for brain development and great for creativity. For some course ideas for your kid, have a look here.

So, as you can see, boredom can be an excellent thing. It offers the opportunity for your child to grow, whether it’s playing in their imagination; looking in wonder at the skies above; pretending to be buccaneers from another era; or, if screen time is included, learning fantastic new skills that’ll enable their future development.


Comment below