Mom! I'm Bored!

There Is Nothing To Do Mom!

The summer holidays in our neck of the woods are past the half-way mark and the main comment from the kiddies seems to be "Mom! We're bored, there is nothing to do". Have I forgotten? I just do not remember ever being bored as a kid.

I don't want this to sound like the typical " my days we walked to ??? uphill both ways, in a snow blizzard, sharing our fathers one pair of shoes".

But really growing up in the '50 -'60s I had toys and games, unplugged ones--no batteries needed--pollution free ones. I got a new toy and game every Birthday, and Christmas.

Summer Holidays!

Summer, when I was growing up meant fun, fun and more outdoor fun. If my friends (with their little brothers and sisters in tow) and I weren't at the mud-pond collecting tadpoles or chasing around with our home made butterfly nets, we were on the side walk skipping rope or perfecting our hopscotch toss. We each had our marble sacs and worked hard at building up our "stock" by playing "Keepsies" (I remember winning the most awesome royal blue one... my friends favorite... he went home crying... what a woos...) My Dad brought me a bunch of perfect sized ball bearings from work, man-o-man were those ever great at knocking the lowly glass marbles out of the circle. (I could never beat my Dad though, he was just too good). Capture the flag, Jacks, Kick the can, Charades all were our favorites... Reading this I guess you can tell that I was not the frilly fussy girly type. My poor mother despaired and wondered if I would ever be clean for more then half an hour after my bath. I never understood why she refused to empty my pockets, after a while she made me do it everyday... it really was the cutest little mouse.

Bike Race Anyone?

Once we got a bit older, we went for long bike rides (we managed with just ordinary ones). Then the day came I felt so superior, the leader of the pack, because I was the first kid on our block to get a brand new full size three speed bike. For the first few week, I think I polished half the chrome layer off.

Once my Dad was sure that I knew how to control my new big bike, I was allowed to go fishing with the rest of the "gang" over at the Dam. (I was not a great fisher-person but I was the best bait-finder...I dug for bait while the gang fished and we usually all went home with a couple of trout, bass or pickerel). I turned that talent into my first entrepreneurship my eleventh summer, Norbert (the woos) and I were going to be millionaires by mid to end of August... we dug and dug for bait worms and sold them to our Dads, their friends and the neighborhood 1 Belgium Franc/6 juicy dew-worms or 12 large cutworms (50 Bfrancs=about 1 Usdollar in those days) I don't know, even then my money didn't add up to what it was suppose to... inflation?

Challenge Your Children!!!!

Moms and Dads!

Declare an Unplugged Day/Week!

Make it a game and say to your off-springs " we're going to have fun in a different way, we're going to pretend that there is no Hydro, the battery factory is closed for the summer and the laptop power-pack is gone to visit his mama, the satellite dish". I guarantee you there will be mutinous reactions but stick to your guns. You know deep down all of you will have more fun in this one day then you did all summer.

Can Toss!

Here is a list of items to have prepared for "THE DAY":

---Collect all your empty cans from your recycle bin (rinse them out well, you don't want left over spaghetti sauce splatters in your ears on top of the "ooh-yuk-that's-so-gross"). To go along with this game you will need a few tennis balls, a shelf or table against the backyard fence. If your gang likes to keep score give each can a number with a permanent marker... Everyone get three throws and the added-up number of the cans will be the persons score. You can make it more challenging by stacking the cans higher, 10 bonus points for taking down only the top one or one row at a time etc...

tons of fun for all, Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa too.

Waterbaloon Basketball, Baseball, Rugby?

---3-4 or more packs of Water balloons, these are available really cheap at a the dollar store. Half the fun is in filling up the balloons already... if your neighborhood store ran out of these, regular balloons will do too just don't overfill them. I recommend uniforms of bathing suits or shorts and tank tops for any of these serious sporting events. Fun for all, even toddlers.

For basketball two buckets or laundry baskets one at each end of the yard will do fabulously.

For baseball well it remains to be seen who gets splattered, the one hitting or the one catching (giggle fits will make this a dangerous sporting event).

For rugby just how long, do you wager, will the balloon last on the bottom of the pile-up?

Pretend We're At The Beach!

---3-4 big bags of play sand at 2-3 bucks/25 lbs bag dumped into a small plastic kiddy pool, a very low investment for something that will give many hours of fun. Super on a balcony to so you can pretend to be at the beach. If in the back yard do not forget to cover the kiddie pool tightly at night, you don't want to invite the neighborhood kitty cats to a nightly poop-fest into your yard (the surprise packages will not be appreciated).

Building the sandcastles with moat, to keep the 'evil-prince-not-so-charming' away from the damsel in the tower is just part of the fun, after it's built it can challenge the imagination and bring out great storytelling talents in young and old.

Marbles Anyone?

---A sac of marbles for each member of the family: again these are a cheap game to get from the dollar store. Most kids today don't even realize how a proper game of marble is played (They all seem to know WII though) Moms and Dads, most likely, even your generation hasn't really appreciated a good game of marbles. (Hope I'm not offending anyone)

Here is how: Cat's Eyes, are your common clear glass with colored swirls inside marbles. Your Shooters or Alley -(usually bigger) is the one you don't want to lose to an opponent. So to save an argument you might want to make up the rule at the beginning of the game that your alleys are not up for grabs.

The game I used to play was cleverly called the ring game because it's played within a drawn ring.

To start draw a 3-4 foot circle on the ground or sand and a starting point. Each player throws an equal number of marbles into the ring. The objective of the game is to ping or shoot the marbles out of the ring with your Alley. In most cases depending on the rules you have set at the beginning of the game the marbles you pinged out of the ring are yours to keep.

How to shoot an Alley: Curl your fingers into a fist and rest your shooter on the crook of your index finger. Place the knuckle of your index finger on the ground right by the starting line or point and use your thumb to flick the marble out of the crook of your finger. The more practice you get the more control you'll have of where the marble is going to land.

Warning Only children over the age of five or six should be allowed to play with marbles. That age group should still be supervised though.

Here is a link that shows a few different games in detail

Paper Magic?

---A how-to-make-paper-boats-and airplanes-book. Start folding yesterdays newspapers into boats while it's raining cats and poodles out there... the puddles will be ready soon for the boat races. While waiting for the rain to stop the "whose-paper-airplane-glides-farthest-challenge" will also be enjoyed by Dad and Granddad who undoubtedly will remember some of their old tricks.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Great Fun!

Some of my favorite rainy unplugged day activities (also great while camping).

~Build a card house championship, each person gets a gummi bear for each card standing.

~Lego, the best of best toys ever. The objective is to use up each and every brick to create a village or town which then can be used for many pretend games.

~Micado or pick-up sticks a favorite of my Dads. We played this game many Sunday afternoons for hours and hours. (I wanted to beat him, but never did)

~Jig-saw puzzles can be a lot of fun but very annoying if the 1000 piece puzzle only has 999.

~Box art or games will use imagination galore. An x-large narrow box can become a car, bus or boat... (with the help of Mom or Dad) The box needs leg and arm holes, and an open top. 4 painted or drawn on wheels, doors and windows. Kids can step into the car, pick it up and and take their stuffies for a ride. (no batteries needed, just kid power) Here again the making is just the beginning of the fun. We made two of these last month, one for each of my granddaughters, while we were camping. They played in them and went "shopping", "sightseeing" even went to a "drive-through" for their lunch one day (I was the McDonald's cooker according to the three year old) Hours and hours of fun stories and games followed the construction.

Tons Of More Games!

I hope some of these unplugged games and toys have given you ideas of the tons more you and your children can create.

Pictures from stock.xchng

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Comments 32 comments

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Maria I bet if you go onto the internet you will find quite a few listings for '30 toys.

regards Zsuzsy

Maria Johnson 7 years ago

Can anyone give me some names of olden day toys form the 1930s

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

ASHWINSPGA! I still like building card houses with my granddaughters. Thanks for coming by.

regards Zsuzsy

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Isabella! ToysRUs and Dollar stores around here still sell jacks. But you being in Europe probably don't have any of those in your neck of the woods. It was a short and busy summer another week and school restarts for the fall.

take care Zsuzsy

ASHWINSPGA profile image

ASHWINSPGA 8 years ago from Lion City ( Singapore)

Building a card house... yes that brings back fond memories...

Isabella Snow profile image

Isabella Snow 8 years ago

I'm good, thanks! Wondering if i can find some jacks, actually! Happy summer to you!

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Isabella! Long time no talk, are you having a busy summer? Any special holidays? Thanks for taking a look and for commenting. Jacks and jumprope are another two I forgot to mention.

kindest regards Zsuzsy

Isabella Snow profile image

Isabella Snow 8 years ago

Waterballoons were cool! I used to play jacks and also chinese jump rope. That was fun, too! Great hub!

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

C.S.! Glad you came for a visit. I was always a better bait procurer then fisher person... I had no patience to sit still and wait for the fish to bite when there was so much other stuff to investigate...

Thanks for commenting regards Zsuzsy

C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana


This sounds so much like my own childhood play, right down to selling worms! Great job here and perfect timing. C.S.

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

William! How great of you to share 'half ball'. Growing up in Belgium we really didn't have much knowledge of baseball like games... soccer was more our weakness, which my Dad and I played a lot of...

I'm glad you had a chance to take a look and to comment

kindest regards Zsuzsy

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

A fun hub, Zsuzsy Bee. I was brought up in the city of Yonkers in the '40s and played lots of the games you mention -- and a few more. That's when a penny went a long way, but the families in my neighborhood didn't have a dime to spare. My favorite game, which I played often, was called "Half Ball." It wasn't popular, but it was as inexpensive as you could get. It was baseball, played with a broomstick, like Stickball. You'd take a simple rubber ball, or tennis ball, cut it in half on the seam, take one-half and turn it inside out (that was the ball.) The batter would stand against a wall (or garage door in my case) and the pitcher would stand 10 or 12 feet away and sail the ball like a Frisbie. There would be a chalked square box behind the batter, and if the ball hit the box it was a strike. The batter could hit the ball as hard as he liked, but it wouldn't travel very far, so it was easy to retrieve. I often played with my cousin (there were just the two of us), who was the St. Louis Cardinals, and I, of course, was the N.Y. Yankees. We whiled away many hours that way. Kids today don't know what they're missing!

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Thanks for taking a look and your kind comment.

regards Zsuzsy

guidebaba profile image

guidebaba 8 years ago from India

What a wonderful article. Nice.

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Ruthie! You know, that's true... that the kids are addicted to all that electronic stuff. I just would like to see the kids try and see how much fun they can create for themselves just using their imagination. Sadly I think those days are gone.

Glad you stoped by regards Zsuzsy

RUTHIE17 8 years ago

No matter how hard I try to "unplug" my almost 5 year old grandson, his loudest complaint is "I don't want to go outside. It's hot out there!!" Which is usually followed an hour or so later with the "I'm bored" comment when he does stay in the house.

I find it amazing that 5 year olds can be bored! When I was a kid I was up at the crack of dawn playing and didn't go down until 9:00 pm or so in the summer--had to catch those fireflys, play hide and go seek in the dark and just lay on a blanket and count the stars.

I don't think it's lack of imagination (grandson's is overflowing!). I think they have all become addicted to the electronic stuff they have and it's easier to get lost it that than set-up the make believe world needed to play without it.

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Dayzeebee! Thanks for visiting and your kind comment. regards Zsuzsy

dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

thank you for reminding us of the joy of "unplugged games". this makes me realize that most of the games mentioned here actually have potentials to become part of a training module. nothing beats direct social interaction. Gobless:)

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Dottie! Glad you were able to take a look. We did so much more with much less it seems. Mind you I probably would have a coronary if I were to see my granddaughter hang out of the trees the way I did. My poor Mom never knew what type of shenanigans I was going to come up with.

Thanks for commenting regards Zsuzsy

Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

Thank you Zsuzsy for this wonderful entertaining hub. You brought me back to so many wonderful childhood memories. I could relate to just about everything you did as a child. Did you ever play tv tag or have a jolly jump or a vacuform maker? How about playing 40 ducks arriving? I loved my marbles. They were SACRED. Oh, and how I loved swaying from the top of those 90 foot pine trees. That was the bomb!!! Loved Loved Loved this hub.

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago


I'm sure I'll recover. Actually, my best friend, Sally's Trove, wrote this hub on how to un-block writer's block, and I haven't tried it yet. You can check this out if you care to

The journaling also sounds like a good idea. Thanks!


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

JamaGenee! Thank you for taking a look. I don't remember ever having had both knees without scrapes at the same time. I never had any broken bones though till about three years ago. My Mom said I was a reincarnated monkey as the tree were my second home.

Great comment... regards Zsuzsy

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

As a kid, I don't ever remember being bored in the summer! What to do IN the house wasn't an issue because my little brother and I were rarely there. It was light out when we woke up, and still light out at bedtime, and in between, we were outside...riding our (no-gear) bikes, climbing trees, making mud pies in a flower bed (and eating them!), or playing Pirates or Cowboys and Indians with the two neighbor boys our age. Being the only girl on the block, I was the designated test driver for the soapbox racers the guys built (without brakes...grrr). IF our imagination ran dry, we'd ride over to the playground at our school which had a "day camp" of sorts (no sign-up, just show up) that had board games, regular marbles, and a game we called "Kayla" but is actually Makala and played on a special board, but we could play it at home using an egg carton and a couple of plastic cups. We scraped a few knees falling off bikes, and broke a few bones falling out of trees (or jumping off roofs!), but that's Life and we survived. On rainy days, a sheet or blanket over the dining room table became a tent or a house or whatever we wanted it to be, or a parent would take us to the library for the afternoon.

I feel sorry for kids today who don't have a clue how to entertain themselves without a TV, computer, or video games! Or their cell phones.

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Trish! writers aweful. I had a friend, an author of quite a few published books, his cure was from early on in his carreer to journalize daily. The last thing he did every night before bed was write in a small note pad that he kept on his night table. He said sometimes if nothing else but the date and at least three things to be grateful for daily. He said it worked wonders. Try, maybe it will work for you too. zs

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

CGull! Nice of you to drop by. I have a lot of trouble with all those high-tech games. As far as I'm concerned toys should be played with not the other way around. It almost seems like the toys are taking over... regards Zsuzsy

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago

A tailor!  I had no idea.  Isn't that becoming a lost art, like so many of the things we did and remember?  so sad,,,

I don't know how one would re-invent imagination.  I think you either have it or you don't.  With so much technology out there, I guess there are some who still have it, to the detriment of ones who don't.  Leaders and followers I guess,,

I'm fine, thanks, and hope you are too.  Have been experiencing my frequent friend as of late, writer's block.  :(

Just waiting for an inspiration to hit again, other than that, trying to survive like everyone else.


cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

Great post and tips. Summer was the time we always looked for and had loads of fun. Me and my friends played a variety of games. Now I see most of them just stay indoors and go out occassionally. Too much TV and video games.

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Trish! my friend, how are you? Glad you stopped by. Thank you for adding great stuff to the hub. I really wonder what happens to a child that is being supplied with a room full of gidget and gadget toys because the money is fine today and then poof, next week no more. Will this child be able to re-invent immagination?????

Making potholders is awesome because they will need to learn knitting, crochet, weaving or sewing. Knowing those can lead into more than just childhood fun but can actually become life-skills (i.e.I have been a tailor most of my adult life)

Thanks for commenting regards Zsuzsy

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Princessa! Thank you for that reminder I did forget to ad the all important theatre & musical aspect. Making masks fits in just perfect because even after the masterpieces are finished they can bring many hours of storytelling, developing and naturally performing fun.

Thanks for taking a look and for the great comment.

regards Zsuzsy 

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago

What a wonderful hub! Brought back a lot of memories. Sometimes I feel the children of today lack imagination. No wonder with the advent of the computer and electronic games. I also fear a lot of them never see sunlight!

Growing up, my mom was the biggest kid of all. She always kept us busy and entertained. On the days/nights we couldn't be outside, we did things such as popping popcorn and picking out a movie to watch. My mom and I were big fans of Shirley Temple, Bette Davis, and of course, all the 'spooky' movies, such as The Werewolf, Frankenstein, etc. The scary ones were naiol-biter nights lol,,,

Other things I recall were baking, having a sleep-over, having a lot of art supplies and making all sorts of things, one of my favorites was paper chains made out of construction paper, which were then hung on our Christmas tree. I loved paint by number, both oils and colored pencils, coloring books, reading Nancy Drew mysteries and making potholders. Suggest some of these to a kid today and they will look at you as though you have definitely gone over the edge lol.

I also share some of the things you mention, especially the pond where we caught tadpoles, the woods where we pretended to be pirates or some such thing hunting for treasure, climbing in the canyon. Another all time favorite was the beach of course. The best part for me was bringing home the ordinary clam shells and coloring them or painting them, making them 'instant ashtrays', which I scattered all over the house when my mom would have house parties.

Gee, didn't think I had this much to say lol,,,

thanks for sharing!


Princessa profile image

Princessa 8 years ago from France

Thanks for the ideas Zsuzsy. We've just arrived from 3 weeks at the beach and my children are already "bored" from being at home!!!!

I have tried inviting their friends for "little parties" where they have to prepare everything from the decorations to easy snacks , it seems to work... at least for the afternoon!

They also enjoy doing paper masks. Usually they choose a subject like "the little red ridinghood" and make the masks accordingly. When everything is finished they shows us a little theatre display wearing their masks.

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

I'm always looking for more ways to trigger creativity in my granddaughters the fun way. So if you have any new added ideas please share them here. zs

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