the bored jar

Ever since Nakiah learned what the word bored meant last year, she has been saying she’s bored quite a bit. At first I think it was because it was a new word that described how she was feeling. She would often say I don’t know what to do. So I asked her if she was bored. She was happy to know there was a word for how she felt. She is a kid who constantly likes to be on the go. I like to be on the go as well, but we can’t be out and about all the time. She also moves from one activity to the next quickly when we’re at home. It’s been that way since she was around two years old.

I’ve gotten pretty good at looking for clues as to when she’s feeling bored. She’ll wander around, go back to the same thing several times, or stand in one spot and look around the room. Soon Ava picked up on bored and now all of a sudden she’s bored all the time.They seem to say no to everything I suggest, so I came up with the bored jar.

We sat down and came up with a list of things we can do when we feel bored. I need a jar with a wider mouth, but this old applesauce jar works fine for now(see we do recycle!)
I wrote down all of our ideas while the girls folded the paper and dropped each piece into the jar, meanwhile rattling off more ideas to me.

This is how it works, if anyone is feeling bored, or I can tell they are bored, someone picks a piece of paper out of the jar. You don’t have to do what the paper says. You can keep drawing until you find something that you would like to do.

Here is our list of activities so far. I’m sure we’ll add to the jar as we come up with new ideas.

sensory activities
science experiments
water play(could also go under the previous two options)
play outside
make playdoh
card games
read a book
tell a story
the hokey pokey
simon says
red light/green light
play barbies
play with Samuel
say or do something silly
play on the computer
play dress up
spin in circles
clap our hands
string beads
count pennies
play store
watch new videos
I think that’s a pretty good list to start with. We’ve already used the jar, and it looks like it will be a success. We had a good time coming up with ideas for our jar. Kiah said mommy this was a good idea.  
I’m so glad she liked it.
Now to work on possibly making a prettier bored jar. This one looks rather….boring.
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20 thoughts on “the bored jar

  1. I love it! And I like the "boring" jar. Perfect. We have made some lists like these and the "I don't know what to do" is slowly decreasing as the older kids find their way to doing something creative on their own. I look forward to putting them in a jar (the ideas – not the kids)! 🙂

  2. I love it! And I like the "boring" jar. Perfect. We have made some lists like these and the "I don't know what to do" is slowly decreasing as the older kids find their way to doing something creative on their own. I look forward to putting them in a jar (the ideas – not the kids)! 🙂

  3. This is a fantastic idea!! My (almost 4 year old) daughter has just discovered the concept herself. I've only heard it once or twice, but now I feel prepared to turn it into something productive, creative, fun and empowering for her.Thank you for sharing this.And I can't wait to see the prettier jar!

  4. For some reason several comments didn't show up until now. Adrienne, I love that idea! I was thinking of making something with ribbon and jewels on it.I also like your ideas. It's been a while since we built a fort.Kelly, you'll have to let me know how your bored jar goes over with the kids. I bet you all will have fun coming up with ideas.

  5. Thanks ArtsyGirl and Sarah!Teresha, I never thought about the problem solving skills. Momma Jorje, I will add decorate the bored jar as an activity.This is as much for me as it is them. Like you said, I have trouble sometimes coming up with something to do off the top of my head.

  6. You should add 'decorate Bored Jar' to the list of things they could do when bored. ;)This is a really good idea. My oldest is one for whom boredom is physically painful – which makes it painful for the rest of us in the family. 🙂

  7. Darcel, this is a FABULOUS idea! I'm adapting it TODAY when I get home. My kids often get the "I'm boreds" around here too, and we don't do TV (okay except for videos when I am at the end of my patience & creativity), so having a list of what they CAN do is a great thing to have. I really like the randomness about it too – picking from the jar makes it seem like a treat!

  8. I made the same thing for my girls last year. i made a little drawstring bag with some scrap fabric and ribbon. Then I wrote the activities on circles of colored paper and "laminated" them with clear packing tape. We don't use it much, as we are on the go A LOT! But some of the activities we have are: build a fort, make a movie, put on a puppet show, take a bubble bath, make a snack, write a poem, write a letter, draw a self portrait…it really does work when we actually use it.

  9. My first thought when I read "bored jar" was jobs that needed doing. heh I have often told those around me that if they didn't have anything to do, I would FIND them something to do!As much as we have available (for fun) to do in our home, you know you can never think of them all when a child is bored, so this jar is a GREAT idea! As for the boring look of the jar, at least the paper inside is colorful! Maybe you could add an activity "decorate bored jar." 😀

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