- Family and Parenting
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 "...in 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, 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 "...today 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.
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.
---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 www.landofmarbles.com/marbles-play.html
---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.
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