independent play challenge day 1

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Boredom is good for kids. I’m a strong believer that it helps them become more creative and come up with awesome ideas on their own.

I also strongly believe that it’s not our job as parents to constantly entertain our kids.

Playing with the kids is a wonderful way to connect with them, and brings tons of benefits for their development, but independent play also helps them build many helpful skills.

This is why I always tried to find a balance between the time I spend playing with my kids and the moments when they play on their own.

My oldest son can now play for a long time on his own if he does something he enjoys, and I’m always surprised to see how creative and inventive he is!

Independent play not only helps him improve his focus and creativity, but it also helps me find some much needed quiet time during the day!

But the totally unusual situation we are facing right now because of the quarantine made things more difficult. We are spending so much time at home that finding fun things to do is not always easy!

I noticed that he finds himself getting bored a lot more often, and this is normal in these new circumstances!

So besides the activities we do together throughout the day, I started to also offer him a few ideas to try when he’s bored. And it helped so much!

He was happy to try the ideas, and many times my super simple ideas sparked his imagination and turned into hours of fun!

I wanted to keep this going, so I tried to find a way to offer him easy and fun ideas anytime he needs inspiration.

Then I remembered something we tried a few years ago when I wanted to encourage him to play more on his own: a Bored Jar with easy and fun things to do.

This is how our Play Jar was created!

Play Jar - fun things to do when bored for kids

It was one of the most helpful things for us during the quarantine, and I’m so glad that we created it!

If you are looking for easy ways to keep kids entertained at home, the Play Jar can be a great idea to try!

Play Jar - fun things to do when bored for kids

How to create a Play Jar with easy and fun activity ideas

Creating your Play Jar is super easy!

You can create it from scratch using the instructions below, or use the printable activity ideas at the end of the article to get inspiration.

Here is how to do it:

  • Invite the whole family to participate in creating the Play Jar. Everybody will come up with ideas to include in the jar. You will also find some fun ideas in the printable file at the bottom of the page.
Play Jar - fun things to do when bored for kids
  • Write each activity idea on a piece of paper and add it in the jar. (or print the activity ideas at the bottom of the page, and cut them out)
  • Use two color-coded categories for the activities: one color for activities that kids can do on their own (or with adult supervision for young kids) and one color for activities that require someone else’s involvement (e.g, games that need at least 2 players, so a parent or sibling needs to be involved as well).
  • Fill the jar with activity ideas, add a label on it, and place it in the living room. Anytime you’ll need an idea to either keep your kids busy or do something fun with them, all you’ll need to do is pick an activity from the jar!
Play Jar - fun things to do when bored for kids
  • After filling in the jar, test it out by picking one activity to do with the kids. Then, invite them to pick out an idea from the jar and put it into practice on their own (with your supervision if needed). This is the perfect way to get started with using the jar!

How to create a Play Jar using the printable activity ideas

  • Step 1 – Print the activity ideas at the bottom of this post and cut them out.
  • Step 2 – Decide what activities to include in your jar.
  • Step 3 – Fold each note like this: First fold right after the black line with the symbol on top. Then fold the long part into half with the writing on the inside. (See the pictures below for more details.)
  • Step 4 – Put all the ideas in the jar, start using it with your kids, and keep them busy and happy for hours!

Additional tip: Get your kids involved in creating the jar. This will make all the cutting and folding easier for you, and get them even more excited about using the ideas in the jar!

Download the printable activity ideas

The activity ideas are a good fit for 3-8 year olds, but you can also adapt them for different ages.

⭐Here are two options to choose from:

I hope you and your kids will enjoy creating your Play Jar and putting the ideas into practice!

Keep your kids entertained (and happy) at home without wasting time looking for activity ideas!

No more “Mom, I’m bored!” or “What can I play now?” - Your kids will have plenty of ideas to choose from!

All you need is a jar (or a box) and these lovely printable activity ideas for kids.

-- Indoor activities for kids | Bored jar ideas

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