A Foolproof (and Free!) Solution to Rainy Day Boredom

published Apr 7, 2021
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mother and daughter with umbrellas in the rain

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April means many things: spring gardening, warmer temperatures, and seemingly endless weeks of rain. After a punishing winter, I’m not going to bemoan the weather too much, but that doesn’t stop my 4-year-old from literally hanging upside down on the couch from soul-crushing ennui. (You think I’m being dramatic? Try telling that to Lady Macbeth over there.)  

After one-too-many rejected suggestions on my part, I hauled my reluctant child to the dining room table and got her working on cutting up strips of paper. The concept of a boredom jar is simple, yet incredibly effective: With their parents’ help, kids write a bunch of activities on pieces of paper, which are then folded and inserted into a jar. (Some parents opt to write activity ideas on Popsicle sticks instead of paper, which are sturdier and last longer.) In boredom emergencies, kids are allowed to pick an activity from the jar to do. 

My daughter was tickled by her little jar (which was really just an old Tupperware container). She carried it around like a pet and wanted to consult the boredom jar nearly every day, as if it were a magical oracle of fun. For 20 minutes of legwork, we sure got a lot of mileage out of that jar.

The art of the boredom jar is in picking the right mix of activities to add. We like to put together a combination of easy-to-accomplish items, as well as some more out-of-the-box activities that feel a bit more special. Below are some favorites, but the ideas are truly endless once you start brainstorming. And, you can customize your activities to your kids’ age level and interests.  

Now go forth and vanquish the boredom! 

Everyday Activities for Your Boredom Jar

  • Build a fort.
  • Write your own adventure story. Start with, “One day, I met a [insert their favorite animal here].” 
  • Bake your favorite cookies.
  • “Roast” s’mores and tell a spooky story.
  • Put together a scavenger hunt.
  • Write postcards to friends and grandparents.
  • Zoom/FaceTime with a loved one.
  • Pick out clothes and toys to donate for charity.
  • Yoga (we love Cosmic Kids on YouTube!).
  • Virtual dance class (Sam’s Cam is a kid-friendly version).
  • Make yogurt or fruit Popsicles.
  • Take a long bubble bath.
  • Make sock puppets and put on a play.
  • Color your favorite character.
  • Make a superhero mask.
  • Build a Lego or Magna-Tile castle.
  • Make friendship bracelets or bookmarks for friends.
  • Paint rocks and add googly eyes for a whole rock family.
  • Make a bird feeder.
  • Take a walk in the rain with your umbrellas.

Special-Occasion Activities for Your Boredom Jar

  • Deliver a treat to a neighbor’s porch.
  • Go to the library for a new book.
  • Go out for ice cream.
  • Make popcorn on the stove and watch a movie you haven’t seen.
  • Set up an obstacle course throughout the house; first one to finish gets a prize.
  • Make salt dough and create hanging ornaments for a tree in your yard.
  • Put together an indoor tea party with snacks and special cups, and invite all the stuffed animals.
  • Do one chore to earn money; spend the money at your store of choice (or save it!).
  • Pick up an art kit at the craft store.
  • Create a spa day (painting nails, doing hair, face masks).
  • Learn a new dance and film it to show your friends.