7 Cures for a Boring Afternoon

Summer has arrived! (I say this in spite of yesterday’s rain and 60-degree high here in the Bay area!) Kids everywhere are wrapping up school, and moms everywhere are trying to contain their excitement at having their babies home for the summer. Either that, or bracing themselves with apprehension. For the last year, Trenton has only been going to four hours a week of preschool, but I’m still nervous (borderline terrified, actually) about three months without it!

My kids love adventure, so we get out of the house a lot. But because I also manage our complex of 53 condos, we get the joy of spending a fair amount of time at home. (“Office hours” of sorts.)

How many times have you too been caught in that late afternoon, it’s-too-late-to-go-somewhere-but-too-soon-for-bed black whole? It happens to us all the time! The minutes drag by, and I find that my boys’ attitudes follow mine. (Downward spiral!) Here are some of my favorite ways to turn the afternoon around—none of which involve any special equipment or trips outside of the house. (Warning: Some of them are pretty random, and some may be more geared to boys, because I admittedly know hardly anything about little girls!)

1. Tickle! Are you a tickling mama? I think it stems from my own childhood, when my older brother would make me say “I love Corey, Corey’s the man, Corey’s the king, Corey rules” before he’d stop tickling me. Do you know how hard it is to get all of that out of your mouth while being tickled? I’m more merciful on my kids, but tickling them will always turn bad moods around. (Mine included!) I love seeing their uncontrolled laughter and hearing my littlest exclaim, “Gen!” (for “again”) over and over.

2. Set a snack or meal at the table and start telling the kids they better not eat the food because it is mud. Then react BIG TIME when they eat it. My boys think this is rolling-on-the-ground hilarious. Bonus—it gets them eating vegetables without even noticing!

3. Give them some random objects and send them to the bath! Measuring cups, ice cubes, randomly large balls, lollipops, spray bottles, kitchen utensils, etc. For us, bathtime is a fun way to pass time. It’s just a happy coincidence that they get clean at the same time!

4. Move furniture around to make a fort. Let’s just say our sectional works HARD for us.

5. Use canned goods to get building! The only thing here is that canned-food towers can be a little rough when they crash, so Mom’s involvement is advised. (They’ll like it even more that way.)

6. Have an impromptu photo shoot! What little boy doesn’t love having his mother chase him around with a camera for an hour? Okay, so maybe this one is more for Mom. 🙂 But it’s all in the pitch. If you build the drama enough and do something that catches their interest (like pushing furniture out of the way and spreading a pretty blanket on the floor of the lightest room in the house), you’d be surprised at what you can pull off.

7. Have a picnic or a tea party outside. On warm days when my husband is working late or traveling, the boys and I spread a blanket on our little patio and have a leisurely dinner outside. The break from the norm puts them on auto-pilot happy, but I’m happiest of all because I don’t have to wipe down the table!

The next time you feel like the afternoon will never end, I hope a couple of these silly ideas pop into your head. They have a 100% success rate over here!

Happy summer, ladies! Thank you so much for reading and commenting on Let Why Lead. I cannot tell you how much it means to me!


Linked up with Grace at Home. Thanks, Richella, for featuring my chalkboard quotes! 

  • Angelica
    June 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Great suggestions! More than once I’ve considered writing a book about what do to when bored (boredom happens here quite a bit, especially now that I’m on bed rest), but it’s surprisingly hard (for me) to think up things to do. Well, things that are “fun” anyway, rather than just “good for you!” Maybe you should write that book instead???

    • Erica {let why lead}
      June 5, 2012 at 3:05 pm

      Having never been on bed rest (whereas you’ve done it twice!), I believe you are more qualified! Go for it!! 🙂

  • Alana @ Domestic Bliss Diaries
    June 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Love this! So many awesome ideas! My little boy would love any of these suggestions. 😉

  • Becky K
    June 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I started chuckling as soon as I read today’s title – because I knew it was going to be good! And it was. I can relate so well to the no-school/black hole hours! Yet this list turns them into fun opportunities rather than a cause to fret. Love it! And as a mom who does know a thing or two about little girls, I can tell you all of these ideas would go over great in my house! In fact, back yard picnics and living room forts are favorites with my girls already. I am absolutely going to try the “eat mud” idea. Thanks, Erica!

    • Erica {let why lead}
      June 6, 2012 at 4:04 am

      You’ll have to tell me how they like the mud! 🙂 Thanks so much, Becky!

  • Jennie
    June 6, 2012 at 1:41 am

    In Simplicity Parenting, he talks a lot about allowing kids to be bored because that is what will allow them time and motivation to explore and create on their own. But there is a balance between boredom completely ignored by parents, and boredom instantly fixed by parents, and I think this list finds that middle ground. Many of these things could be done without you, but you can also participate and have wonderful bonding time with your children.

  • Ashley Ditto
    June 7, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Great ideas!!!

  • Richella @ Imparting Grace
    June 13, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    It’s amazing to hear the chorus of moms at the beginning of summer–I think we all have mixed emotions about it! But dealing with the “I’m bored” times are a challenge for nearly everyone. You’ve listed some great ideas to handle those times!

  • Carol
    September 25, 2012 at 3:47 am

    Ok I kind of got bored tonight and found this blog by looking up stuff for bored moms lol. Interesting stuff however, I am still seeking the cure for boredom though lol. What surprises me the most is how many other people did the same thing as me and came here on the same search terms. I really didnt think it would be this popular – but oh well. Sorry if this is a weird post.

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