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The Benefits of Boredom

July 10, 2013

I made a bold move at the start of this summer, which was NOT to fill the entire summer with daily camps and activities for Sophie. I was going to take a chance (on both our sanity) and see what would happen without every minute being scheduled.

I was talking with some fellow moms recently about summer plans. One mom stated that she does not allow her kids to be bored; it was simply not an option. In reality, no parent wants to hear their child constantly say, “Mom, I’m bored.”

But in watching Sophie and other kids more, I truly believe that it’s okay for children to be bored. In fact, amazing things unfold when kids are – gasp – left to use their imagination and think on their own. In fact, Sophie has created several things she may not have had she not been bored. They include …

A fort made with blankets and chairs. The fort was originally built around a couch …

fort1

But she got too warm and rebuilt the fort closer to an electrical outlet for a fan. She then sat inside the “air conditioned” fort, read a stack of books and ate ice cream. 

fort3

fort2

Spontaneous backyard art …

rock paint

Channelling her inner Jackson Pollock …

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A completely homemade puppet show theater and finger puppets, which Sophie later used to give Bryan and me a show.

puppet theater

Self painting …

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Making a “museum” out of playroom toys. This particular exhibit item is 2,000 years old! 

exhibit

I love her little details, like apple crusher tops inside the “door.”

exhibit2

 Creating decorations from  craft supplies.

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Outside mud kitchen play …

mud play

I’m not saying Sophie and I haven’t been enjoying the park, movies, outtings, craft projects, a few weeks of camp, and the activities on our summer list. But this summer has been so relaxing and I’ve really enjoyed watching Sophie’s imagination and thought-process unfold. Yes, boredom does have its benefits!

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. July 10, 2013 1:23 am

    Kids just need the gift of time. Keep your thoughts coming!

  2. July 10, 2013 2:41 am

    completely agree that boredom breeds creativity! My Mom’s saying used to be, “Oh, you’re bored? Ok, come with me to the garden … ” she had a HUGE garden with at least 25 rows of plants and each row seemed like it was a 1/2 a mile long. Pulling weeds there was not a 5 min job!

    Just loved this post and the creative way you are inspiring Sophie to use her mind and grow!

    MJ

  3. July 10, 2013 3:58 am

    Sounds perfect! She’s lucky to have you to inspire her. Love the self-painting.

  4. July 10, 2013 6:34 am

    Such a great post and it seems like Sophie gets more and more creative. I think this could work for adults too! Love the pictures.

  5. July 10, 2013 7:01 am

    Lovely! While I do appreciate the distraction of a well-planned activity, I love giving kids the opportunity to use their imagination. We’re in the middle of moving, and most of our toys are already at the new house. I was a little concerned that my kids would be bored, but, no! They’ve been using their imaginations more! Yippee!

    The pictures of your adorable daughter area adorable, btw.

  6. July 10, 2013 8:08 am

    Good for you! I am a huge advocate of letting summers be fairly I scheduled for kids. Maybe that’s because that was the way I grew up and I loved it. There is no reason in the world parents should feel their job is to keep their children entertained. Kids will find ways to entertain themselves, if you give them half a chance. And just spending time with them at the beach or the park, flying kites, making mid pies together—priceless!

  7. July 10, 2013 8:53 am

    Your post reminds me so much of the stories my dad shares (and my reaction to them). He was poor growing up, so he and his little buddies had to INVENT games, toys, etc. to stave off boredom. And it always struck me how much more creative children were then – and inventive – and what a shame it is that so many kids today (and even my generation) have only the thoughtless games/toys/videos that require absolutely NO imagination in front of them … things that don’t challenge the mind in a creative or problem-solving way. I think Sophie will also remember these days!

  8. July 10, 2013 11:25 am

    Love it. That pic of her covered in paint is hilarious. Max begged to not go to camp this year. We didn’t have all the tech distractions as kids, and we did fine!

  9. July 10, 2013 12:07 pm

    What a great idea! Be bored – be creative!

  10. July 10, 2013 12:28 pm

    Boredom is totally healthy.

  11. July 12, 2013 6:27 pm

    Sophie is so cute! I find with mine if we can just push past the initial whiney “I’m bored” they find lots of wonderful things to do. I have to stop myself from rushing in to fix it for them. And yes, often I meet their complaints with “I’m not here to entertain you.” Because I’m mean.

  12. July 16, 2013 4:44 am

    Great ideas and Sophie is adorable. I love those spaces in between. They sometimes have the best memories. xo

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