Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Idea: Boredom Jar

Boredom Jar on Shelf For Easy Access
"I'm bored."
The dreaded words.

Why is it that that kids always seem to find a stage in their lives where they can not think of things to do?! And, unfortunately, never really leave this stage? Where did their innate creativity go? Or am I stereotyping children too generally?

Even though I comprehend that boredom is just an opportunity to use one's imagination, try and explain AND convince your child of that!

I figured my highly imaginative boy would have avoided this stage, but, sadly, did not. Where did his creativity go? Well, truth be told, I figure that half the time he is bored only because he wants to do something specific that can not be done in that moment. For example, I'm in the middle of something on the computer and he now wants a turn, NOW.

There are a ton of books out there with creative boredom blasters, but what if you have none in the house? How about make a boredom jar?!

I finally sat down with my son and, together, we came up with a massive list of ideas which we wrote out on coloured strips of paper and put into a jar. This jar rests on our book shelves always available at the drop of a hat.

Our Growing Pile of Ideas
Originally, so tired of the 'I'm bored' phrase, we agreed to some ground rules, lol. If my son was bored he could go to the boredom jar, pick out a slip of paper and decide if he wanted to do it; he could keep on choosing slips till he found something he felt like doing. On the other hand, if he said the dreaded phrase, he would *have to* complete which ever task he picked out first. This included the chore like items I threw in for my own diabolical enjoyment: sweep floors, clean up toys, etc!

Colourful is Definitely the Way to Go!
Did it work? In short... yes and no and yes. For the first couple of weeks my son would utter the "I'm bored" statement on purpose just to have fun with this novelty. And he *did* sweep the floors ;-)
Then things died down and it sat on the shelves. Every once in a while he would go to it and pick through the ideas.

Just recently my son, after a very long time of neglect, opened the boredom jar and did three things from it: searched his bookshelves for a book to give away, wrote in the family gratitude binder, and conducted a science experiment (actually it was a quick science activity, but close enough).

I admit the boredom jar is not active daily, but it is very useful to have around. And it was lots of fun coming up with ideas for it. I suppose we should throw in some new ideas that are more seasonal and use a new colour of paper specific to the season. We can easily remove it later if it is colour coded! Or leave it in for laughs: "oh sure Mom, let's go build a snow fort during summer time... hahaha!"

And those dreaded words... they are few and far between.

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