4 Ways to inspire your child to play independently at home


We are both strong believers that it is OKAY for our kids to be bored. Out of boredom comes creative thinking and we are all about that! In this post, we share 4 ideas to inspire your kids to entertain themselves.

4 ideas to inspire your kids to be creative

However, that doesn’t mean that we strive to force our kids into boredom. It just means that if they say, “I’m bored,” we don’t rush over to them. We don't automatically play a game or create some engaging experience just because they're "bored." Sometimes kids need to figure it out on their own. This is a form of problem-solving!

In fact, I usually get a little annoyed when my son says he's bored. I am thinking, “Then why do we have all these toys?”

We have discovered that having too many toys actually leads to “toy overwhelm.” When kids have too many choices their young brains get overwhelmed. They don't know what to do. Most of the time, boredom isn’t the problem, it is too many choices.

via GIPHY

We have found a few ideas to help your kids beat “toy overwhelm.” They save you money and keep your kids entertained:

Rotate toys

Basically, the idea is only to have a limited amount of toys out in your house at a time. At the end of each week (or month - let’s be honest, I don’t do it every week), box up all the toys, and bring out a new box of toys. Ideally, you would have 5-6 different boxes of toys that you could rotate through.

I was inspired to do this when my daughter was a baby and my son was in preschool. We pulled out all my son’s old baby toys for our daughter to play with. However, when we pulled out the toys, my son (who was 4 at the time) was enthralled with all the toys and he played with them a ton! They were baby toys and he was all about them.

We discovered, it is not necessarily the toy, but the fact that it was a “new” toy (at least he didn’t remember playing with it before).

We started doing this with birthday and Christmas presents, we would put a few away in the shed and bring them out when we would go on a trip so he thought he was getting a “new” toy.

I’m not going to lie. It takes a lot of work initially. You have to buy the boxes (I grabbed 5 at Target - or Costco has them, too). And go through the playroom and box up a lot of toys. However, you can recruit your child to help! Tell them what you are doing and let them get involved!

Even better - fewer toys out and about means less clutter around the house!

Crafting

Have a crafting/art area (a designated area set up with markers, crayons, stickers, scissors, glue sticks, paper, colored paper, etc.).

Table with paper and art supplies

If you don’t want it out and cluttering your house, have it in an area that is easy for kids to access. Switch out supplies regularly. Kids like to change. They might be bored of the Paw Patrol Coloring Book today, but wait a bit. If you put it away for a couple of weeks and then bring it out again, there will be a new spark of interest.

Also, why not through in some educational activities?

I always have a few handwriting papers or workbooks available (just in case).

Boredom Board

I talked about the Boredom Board in a previous post and it is our best idea for helping our son manage his own activities and boredom. He is responsible for coming up with ideas for his boredom board.

If he ever feels “bored” he can look to the board for inspiration. We change it up every few weeks to help him get re-inspired. This is a good way to help him be self-sufficient with finding his own solutions to his boredom problem.

Here's a sample boredom board I created with my son.

And actually, now that we have been using it for a few months, my son doesn’t mention being bored very much anymore. It is like we have trained him to problem solve BEFORE he complains about being bored! #ParentingWin!

Change scenery

Have your kids been playing inside a bunch? Then head outside. Have they been playing in the front yard? Head to the back. Sometimes a simple change of scenery can inspire new creative play ideas.

Kids playing outside in dirt

Do you have your own suggestions for helping your child play independently? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!!

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