July 20, 2014

BOREDOM BUSTERS: Books and Activities for July's Anti-Boredom Month

It's the middle of summer.  

You've been swimming, off to camp, and you've successfully tortured your siblings (and your poor little pets.)  

You've played mini-golf, been on vacation, done the family reunion, been to the city attractions, and you're just plain sick of the kids in the neighborhood daring to show up with the same faces every day.

  You've played with every single toy and video game in your house (so you think) and you've even broken a couple just to switch things up.


Well, here are a few ideas, complete with, TA-DA, books.

1. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster


Milo is a bored kid (sound familiar?) who finds no pleasure anywhere or in anything until one day he gets a special delivery - a tollbooth that magically transports him to a new world full of curious creatures and epic adventures.

Activity Ideas:
~Write your own fantasy story where a magical object arrives at your door and transports you to a new place.  It can be a land of strange natural phenomenon like quicksand that takes you to an underground network of mole people and tornadoes made of chocolate.  It can be a land full of new creatures like alligators that act like monkeys or vacuum cleaners that follow you around like puppies.  It's up to you!

~ Take a leftover cardboard box and design your own tollbooth or magical transportation object.  Paint it, use crayons, cut windows in it (if you're allowed to use scissors) and decorate it with pillows and blankets for a comfortable journey.

2. Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen by Cari Best


Sally loves her bike.  She has named her bike Flash and she rides it everywhere.  But when she outgrows her bike her parents can't afford to get a new one.  So Sally starts working in a junk shop and collecting old bicycle parts so she can make a new bike- and fixing Flash to give to a friend.

Activity Ideas:

~ Look around at your house.  Are there any toys you've outgrown that you could give to a younger sibling or friend?  Maybe it is a bike you've grown too tall for, like Sally, or maybe it is a book that is too easy to read now or a Baby Einstein Bendy Ball.  If you don't know anyone that could use the toys you've outgrown, you can donate them to a church or preschool, or hold a yard sale and take the money you earn to buy you something you can use now.

~ Have you ever broken something you loved by accident?  Or maybe, just maybe, you broke a toy on purpose (cause it was your sister's and she was just being so bothery).  If you still have the broken item, ask a parent, friend, or neighbor if they can help you learn how to fix it.  

3. I am an Artist by Pat Lowery Collins


Are you an artist?  Do you notice colors and patterns and shapes that others miss?  This book shows you how you can be inspired to create art simply by observing the world around you!

Activity Ideas:

~ Look out your bedroom window.  What do you notice?  Do you see a tree, it's delicate leaves playing in the wind?  Do you see its strong body reaching up into the sky?  Do you notice your mailbox, the sloping curves, the rough edges, the hard metal color?  Draw something you notice out your window.

~ There are so many colors in the world.  Many more colors than are even in a huge box of crayons!  What unique colors have you seen lately?  Have you noticed not all red flowers are the same shade of red?  Some are lighter, some are darker, some seem more intense.  What about the colors of a seashell, like in the book?  What about the various blues in the ocean, the different greens of vegetables, the array of yellows and oranges of the sun?  Play with various colors and see how different a picture can look by just a change in shade.

4. Try out these books that feature kids like you who use their imaginations to beat the boredom blues!  After you read them, I bet you can come up with even more activities!

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