Summer Vacation Boredom Busters


I know lots of you mommas are looking forward to summer break. Sleeping late, no homework, and lazy days by the pool.

However, as a momma to littles, summer is none of those things to me.

My kids get up when the sun is up, they can’t read so I’m doing all of the reading out loud, and they are too little to leave by open water.

To me, summer is a lot of heat and hours to fill. It doesn’t help that I have a son who has lots of energy and basically requires me to be his social calendar!

To keep the whining and the “I’m bored” at bay, I’ve come up with some fun boredom busters to keep everyone occupied this summer.

boredom busters

Here are 50 summer vacation boredom busters:

  1. Create an ecosystem for {insert} animal. So if it’s a jungle animal, gather leaves, sticks, rocks, and make a nice little home. Or if it’s a sea creature, get a bucket add some water and use weeds as faux seaweed. 
  2. Gather all your kids’ cars, trucks, etc. and make a car wash. You can provide water, some soap, and a bucket and let the kids have fun “washing” their cars. 
  3. Or have a real car wash and get your littles involved cleaning up your messy mom-van!
  4. Encourage your kids to build the tallest tower possible using random household objects. 
  5. Dance party! And to really extend the dance party, make your kids dress up in costumes or fancy dress!
  6. Create slime or goo. To see some easy slime recipes, search the hashtag “slimetutorial” for some fun mix-in ideas.
  7. Park hop. Make a list of all the parks you want to visit at the beginning of the summer and slowly check them off. Some of our favorites include Jester Park, Waterworks Park, and Miracle Park in Ankeny.
  8. Kids yoga. Do a search for “cosmic kids yoga” on YouTube for some really fun workouts.
  9. Stage a tea party or a birthday party if you have a son who doesn’t do “girl” things. Invite ALL of the stuffed animals in your house, but also tell your kids they need to plan the food, entertainment, and games. That alone should take at least an hour!
  10. With all of those clean matchbox cars, you can create a race course using masking tape that spans your entire house. Make it go under tables, in different rooms and down the stairs. Fun!
  11. Create a giant ice cube excavation sensory activity
  12. Play with water beads! I love the giant ones especially! 
  13. Road trip to the library to pick out new books or to catch a storytime.
  14. Let your kids create the meal plan for the week, but they need to create a custom menu (complete with illustrations of course!)
  15. Make homemade ice cream. 
  16. Pick strawberries and make freezer jam. We love the to visit the strawberry fields just outside of Granger that are run by Iowa Orchard.
  17. Visit a greenhouse on a cloudy or rainy day. Let them pick out a flower and have them decorate a flowerpot for someone special.
  18. Dress up in last year’s Halloween costumes.
  19. Create a diorama based on a favorite story.
  20. Make your kids run laps around your house and time them to see how fast they can go or break their own personal best. Alternatively, count the number of jumping jacks they can accomplish in a minute. 
  21. Have your kids make a picture using things from nature – leaves, sticks, pebbles, flower petals, seeds.
  22. Plan a picnic lunch outdoors. Clean-up is a cinch!
  23. Practice sight words, shapes, letters, or numbers using sidewalk chalk. Or if you need a creative twist, you can put together soap foam sidewalk paint like Angela does at Teaching Mama.
  24. Plank offs!
  25. Put on your swimming suits and have a water fight. Equip with water balloons, water guns, and buckets.
  26. Vacation Bible School. Last year we attended four. Yes, FOUR. I am not above learning about Jesus multiple times and in a fun way. 
  27. Make a fort.
  28. Have a daytime slumber party. Get out sleeping bags, pillows, stuffed animals, and put on jammies. Then force everyone to take a nap. #momwin
  29. Create a nature photo hunt and look for birds, bugs, butterflies, cool leaves, etc.
  30. Reenact a scene from a book or movie. Or a variation is to make a recipe from a story – we’ve made bread from the story “The Little Red Hen” before. 
  31. Have your kiddo build your house out of Legos or Magnatiles. Or you could have them build one of the houses from the “Three Little Pigs”.
  32. Blow bubbles or better yet, get a bubble machine!
  33. While my busiest kiddo is my son, I think many little girls have fun putting on fashion shows. I have a hard enough time convincing my son that wearing pants is a must when we leave the house. 
  34. Go camping in your living room. We aren’t a camping family, so this is as close as it gets 🙂
  35. Hit one of the summer discount movies at the local theaters. 
  36. Build houses and other structures out of marshmallows and toothpicks. Finish with hot chocolate and eating your marshmallow creations.
  37. Create a bug jar and go catch bugs.
  38. Give your family pet a bath. Everyone can laugh, everyone but your pet.
  39. Write a letter to someone special.
  40. Check out a local farmer’s market. Buy a fruit or vegetable and then pick out a recipe featuring that ingredient.
  41. Make a super long domino chain.
  42. Bake cookies and bring them to a neighbor.
  43. Go on a family bike ride. Bonus points if you go some place cool, like the High Trestle Trail Bridge in Madrid.
  44. Have your kids shuck your sweet corn. Word of advice: have them do it outdoors. It’s a good time occupier, but a mess is sure to be involved.
  45. Play stuffed animal hide and seek. Hide their favorite stuffed animal and let them find it. Bonus points for hiding it in an obscure place like in a tree
  46. Make sock puppets out of those orphan socks that the dryer ate.
  47. Throw a Christmas in July celebration. Decorate a tree, make cookies and Christmas cards. The sky’s the limit!
  48. Plant a tree/bush/vegetable/flower.
  49. Make things out of popsicle sticks. Picture frames, houses, etc.
  50. Send them outside with popsicles and hide in your closet (my personal favorite). 

These are some of the ways I’m planning on keeping everyone busy this summer. Boredom isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but hearing about it multiple times a day will surely drive me crazy. Stop boredom in its tracks with some of these boredom busters! 

What are your favorite kids boredom busters?

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Kara Knaack
Kara originally hails from northwest Iowa where she met her husband, Lance, through a 4-H fashion show. After a decade of living in central Iowa, Kara is still figuring out which way is north. Wearing the hat of “wife, mommy, employee, chef, ribbon tie-er and family calendar organizer,” Kara knows a bit about juggling life and work. Kara became a boy-mom in June of 2011 to Lucan and a girl-mom to Gracelyn in December of 2014. Most days you can find her mixing up metaphors and oversharing life’s moments via social media. Kara enjoys yoga, reading, gardening, cooking, sewing in straight lines and singing along to musicals. A spender by nature, but thrifty by necessity, Kara is always in hunt of a bargain. She’s an active member of Northpoint Church and a resident of Grimes. Her vision for life includes “doing the best we can with what God gives us.”


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