The Ultimate Summer Boredom Busters Jar

Several years ago, when I just had one school-age kiddo, I wrote a bunch of summer activity ideas on popsicle sticks and placed them in a Bored Jar. I can’t recall who or what gave me the idea for this Summer Boredom Busters Jar, but I remember that it ended up being a really annoying thing. LOL! All too often as we used it, my oldest, Attalie, would pull out a popsicle stick, and then I’d be kicking myself for including that idea. It must have seemed like a good one when I wrote it, but now I didn’t feel like helping her do it, or loading the kids up and driving there or whatever the case may be.

So be sure to pin that image below because I’m rounding up all the best summer activity ideas from around the web; plus I’m sharing my super-tips for creating a better bored jar, filled with Supermom-approved summer activities ideas that will truly be your secret weapon for fighting Summer Boredom!

The SMARTER Way to do a Summer Boredom Busters Jar from a Mom of 4 via @PagingSupermom

I’ve wised up since then, and now I color code my sticks using colorful masking tape.

I’ve wised up since then, and now I color code my popsicle sticks using colorful Scotch Expressions masking tape (man I just love this stuff… I seriously use it for everything). Also use the tape to create a category key. You could do this on the side of the bored jar, but I prefer to keep my key on the top of the fridge since I don’t necessarily want to deal with the kids knowing which summer boredom busters I’m including/excluding; more on that in a minute.

A lot of people suggest using a permanent marker like a Sharpie, to write the activity ideas on the popsicle sticks, but the wood causes the marker to bleed so bad. I find that a regular pen works best for making the Pick-An-Activity Sticks.

Parent-Free Summer Activity Ideas to beat summer boredom via @PagingSupermom

You could divide up your summer activity ideas sticks any number of ways, depending on your circumstances and whatever is most important/annoying to you. Here are the categories I’m using for my Bored Jar:


MINT = outside activities involving water
LIME = activities requiring no parent
PURPLE = activities involving food
ORANGE = family outings

Other possible categories: educational, messy, easy, long, short, free, paid, going out, staying in.

You’ll then use the categories to limit which activities they can choose from. For example, if I don’t feel like going anywhere, then I’ll tell the kids they can pick any color but ORANGE. Or let’s say the kids are driving me crazy, and I want a few minutes of quiet, I’ll have them pick a MINT stick and send them outdoors!

I don’t discuss what each of the colors means with the kids. As far as they know I’m just picking the colors at random, which is why I was suggesting above that the tape color key goes where only I’ll see it. (See how jaded clever I’ve become now that I’ve got four kiddos running around? LOL!)

The SMARTER Way to do a Summer Bored Jar from a Mom of 4 via @PagingSupermom


Below are a bunch of Summer Boredom Buster ideas to include. I’ve read about a million lists all around the web, and I know some have like 101 ideas, but too many of the suggestions made me roll my eyes. Here’s the cream of the crop.

Most of these activities don’t require parent involvement for my family — I realize that depends greatly on child’s ages and is subjective for each parent. So I’ve listed them more generally, but there should be a lot of ideas on here that will give you a break ;)


Run in Sprinklers/Hose
Hose Wall Murals
Have a Water Fight
Wash the Car
Squirt Gun Battle (use these targets)
Golf/Croquet with balls and cups
Make a Mini Zipline for Dolls
Jump Rope (if it’s hot, combine with sprinklers)


Make Cookies
Watch Movie and Make Popcorn
Make Oven/Microwave S’mores
Do a Taste Test
Bubble Gum Blowing Contest (templates)
Play Board Games
Make Donuts (here’s the easiest recipe)
Build a Blanket Fort
Pool Noodle Battle (or make boats)
String Beads or Buttons into Jewelry
Learn Origami
Make a Backyard/Closet Time Capsule (here’s time capsule ideas)
Play Hide & Seek (or Sardines)
Make a Movie, Time-lapse or Slo-mo Video (with your phone)
Make Necklaces or Bracelets out of old T-shirts
Write a Letter (even better, get a pen pal)
Play Charades (here’s animal charade cards)
Spell Words by Shaping Things in the Pantry (beans, cereal, noodles, rice)
Create Funny Ransom Notes (with cut-up magazines)
Practice Sewing a Button & Make these Bracelets
Make a Sun Dial (template)
Model a Skeleton with popsicle sticks or noodles
Do Make Up or Face Paint
Build with Legos


Visit the Library
Play at the Park or Mall Kids Area
Go Window Shopping and Pick out Crazy Outfits
Go Geocaching
Do a Photo Scavenger Hunt
Go on a Picnic
Visit a Plant Nursery & Learn Plant Names


Summer Movie Deals
Get Slushies or Ice Cream Cones
Factory Tours (we love Cerreta’s Candy Factory in Glendale, AZ)
Cabela’s to see the Aquarium, Taxidermy and play in the Western Arcade
Get Donuts
Go Roller Skating
Visit a Bead Shop & Make Bracelets or Necklaces

Check out this post from last year that had some clever summer boredom busters for older kids. If you have any other summer activity ideas, I’d love for you to share them in the comments below.

You might also want to check out our Books Alive Summer Reading series with fun activities to go along with 50+ favorite children’s books. Also download my free Summer Reading Rewards chart.

Free Printable Summer Reading Rewards Chart from @PagingSupermom

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Founder at Paging Supermom
Bettijo is the founder and designer of Paging Supermom where she shares what she's dreamed up for family fun. Known for practical and kid-friendly activities, free printables and simple ideas for holidays. She is a single mom of three girls and one boy. Bettijo was a guest on the Martha Stewart Show and has frequently appeared on local television. Her work has also been featured in national magazines including Real Simple, O, Redbook, Parents, Family Circle, and Health. During quieter moments, she enjoys art, retro-modern design, photography and making new things. Bettijo lives with her four kiddos in Phoenix, Arizona.

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