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Give the Gift of Boredom

3 Things by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids

3 Things by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids


It’s okay to let your kids be bored.

No, really, it is okay not to plan and provide activity after enriching activity. I promise.

I know, I know. It is so easy in this day and age of printable bucket lists and inspiring Pinterest boards to find a plethora of fun things for our kids to do.

One could easily find a craft, recipe, and game for just about every topic, holiday, and interest under the sun.

And, while it is tempting to answer every “I’m bored” by rattling off a long list of fun ideas (guilty as charged on far too many occasions), the thing is: our kids need to be bored. And we need to free ourselves from the burden of feeling that we have to constantly be providing entertainment.

In fact, some parenting experts argue that we do our kids a disservice by not giving them the “gift of boredom.”

From one of my favorite books, Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne:

“Boredom is often the precursor to creativity. Think of a bridge between ‘doing nothing’ and the sort of deep creative play… The bridge is almost always paved with (the frustration of) boredom. ‘I’m bored.’ Now that is when something interesting usually happens.”

(Now, as I once heard a parenting expert reveal, the step right after “I’m bored” usually tends to be pestering your sister—but once that corner is turned, or proves to have uninviting consequences, time after time my kids have blown me away by the wonderful things they come up with to do.)

Give the gift of boredom. It’s in those seemingly “empty” spaces of time that creativity and imagination have room to grow and flourish.



Have a dedicated place where kids can craft and be creative.

We’re a pretty crafty family — but up until earlier this year, our projects were mostly quick, five to ten minute crafts done at the kitchen table — only to be easily interrupted, hastily finished, and cleaned away (sometimes several times a day) so that we could use the table to eat.

Enter the never-ending crafts table. (Or easel in a corner of the kitchen, or workbench in the garage, or whatever works for your living space.)

In our case, we purchased a new table for our eat-in kitchen and the old kitchen table moved to another part of the house where it became the kids’ never-ending crafts table (which was a $20 yard sale find to begin with, so I don’t have to balk at messier projects because it isn’t too precious to us). It turns out we aren’t really formal dining room type of people, so that space in our home is now a library/crafts/homeschool room.


Bonus tip: From time to time, as often as you can, sit down to that creative space yourself. Yes, you. Even if it is just five minutes of doodling with your favorite crayon colors. It is hard not to smile when you’ve got a 64-pack of Crayolas and a stack of drawing paper, no matter how old you are.



Have you tried Birchbox yet? It is a beauty sample subscription service a friend told me about a couple of years ago.

It is a fun way to try new beauty products in sample sizes and a neat treat to receive in the mail every month — usually arriving just when I need a bit of pampering and mama time.  One of my favorite budget-friendly indulgences!


Contributor: Kara from
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Check out her homeschool blog The Dynamo Rhino.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Maria July 17, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Thanks for this post! It’s always nice to be reminded that I am not failing my kids by letting them find their own fun. My daughter obviously thrives on it too and does her most creative storytelling to herself when I am busy working on something close by and let her do her own thing.

  • Michelle Mariscal July 17, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Yes, boredom is good for our kids. My children are pretty much grown now and I am yet to be a grandma (they want to wait until they have their careers going). But the other day my nephews and nieces visited on a rare occasion as they live out of town. My backyard is full of dirt and no toys except the dogs slimy balls. Well my niece (4) found a very old piece of a ball and used it to carry dirt around. She was in heaven. They do not always need toys and the latest gadget to have fun! Thanks for sharing.

  • Rebecca Cooper July 17, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    I just ADORE this post Kara! Thank you for sharing your insights…I agree whole heartedly with your thoughts on boredom! :)

  • Priya July 18, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Hi, stumbled upon this while browsing and very pleased to read this. I agree 100%. Children need to learn to create entertainment for themselves rather than being told how to do it. I have a 2 and half years old who is usually quite happy to play by herself as long as she knows I am somewhere in the house.

  • Marnie July 20, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Love Simplicity Parenting. Great article! ~ Marnie

  • Mariah July 21, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Well said! I completely agree… I love the notion of boredom being a precursor to creativity!

  • Steph July 22, 2013 at 5:46 am

    My three year old daughter has spent a lot more time doing things on her own since the recent birth of her brother. She was creative before but it’s been amazing what she’s come up with since he’s been born. I’ve given her free access to (some of) the craft supplies and she’s gone wild.

  • Terri July 24, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Yes, let them be bored! I’ve recently had to tell myself that I should let my girls be bored; it was okay. Crafts, learning activities, etc. are great, but that shouldn’t be the only thing that fills up their days. I’m amazed at what they can come up soon after they tell me that they’re bored.

  • capturing joy with kristen duke July 30, 2013 at 7:01 am

    this summer i decided that we would have “electronic time” at the end of the day. Not until after 3 if we were home. This left those morning hours to figuring it out–that wasn’t electronic. They’ve been reading and playing games with each other without being prompted and it’s been wonderful!


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