By Ruhaifa Adil – Freelance journalist and staff blogger at yello.pk and perceptions.org.pk
Despite their best efforts to keep their children busy during the friendless summer months, mothers hear the dreaded yet invariable “I’m bored” whine from their children once the planned activity is finished.
To keep your sanity this summer, here are some “filler” ideas to help bide the time in a constructive and fun manner. Write these ideas down on small flash cards for the kids to pull out whenever “there is nothing to do”.
- Think of a number. Write it. Now draw a face/object from it.
- Write the names of as many teachers in your school as you can remember.
- Name as many flavours of ice-creams as you can remember.
- List all the places where you can find sand.
- Imagine you have five children. What would you name them and why?
- How many animals can you list whose names begin with vowels?
- Name twenty colours. Look them up if you don’t know as many.
- Write numbers by sixes as far as you can go.
- List five parts of the body above the neck that have three letters.
- Write a new ending to your favourite book.
- Create a portrait screen. Paint characters or animals on a tall box. Cut holes, where the faces are meant to be, for you to stick your face through. Take a fun photograph.
- Recycle! Make a doll house with whatever you can find in the house.
- Recycle! Invent a new truck or car.
- Create your own puppet theatre. Cut an opening in the front and a door in the back of a cardboard box. Hang a towel as a curtain in the front, and the show is on!
- Spray paint 1 litre plastic bottles, and fill them with water. Use as bowling pins!
- Shake salt with coloured powder in a container with a lid to colour the salt. Layer in different bottles to make lovely decoration pieces.
- Draw and colour a picture; then stick it on a piece of cardboard. Cut it into small shapes to make your own home-made jigsaw puzzle.
- Cover one wall in your room with paper, and make your own wallpaper.
- Make your own water guns from empty spray bottles, liquid dish-washing bottles, and squirt bottles.
- Make jelly in ice-cube trays to pop in your mouth when it’s hot!
- Cut up different fruits. Create a scenery or a design with them to make a fun fruit salad.
- Stir in ¼ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup milk, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, and 2 tablespoons melted butter in a mug and microwave for 1 minute for a yummy chocolate cake!
- Buy a simple sponge cake, a tub of icing, and Smarties/ chocolate chips from the store, and try your hand at cake decoration.
- Take some boneless chicken cubes, and beat with a mallet until flat. Coat with egg and salted flour. Fry your own home-made nuggets.
Search and watch videos online that are fun, teach you something, and open up your mind!
- How-to-make-your-own videos, such as how to make your own soap, toothpaste, candles, shampoo, play dough, paint, etc.
- Time-saving videos, such as how to fold a shirt in 5 seconds or easy ways to cut fruits.
- Life skills, such as how to lay a table, how to take impossible stains off, or how to stitch your own shirt.
- Language-art videos that help increase your vocabulary.
- Lectures/talks of your favourite scholars so that you can learn valuable things from them this summer.
- Brainstorm questions such as what is your favourite food, or which country you like best. Each family member fills out their own details, and guesses about the others.
- Pick a topic and, as a family, weave a story with each member telling one line of the story.
- Each family member draws a folded paper from a cup. Only one paper has an X marked it, and the person who draws it has to make any sound, while everyone has their eyes shut. The family now needs to vote, and guess who made the sound!
- Choose a word-of-the-day from the dictionary. The one who uses the word the most that day is the winner, and gets to choose the word for the next day.
- Explore your lineage, and make a detailed family tree.
- Get together as a family to read one chapter a day of a good family classics book.
- Pretend you are going for a holiday by saying “I am going on a holiday. In my suitcase, I will pack a toothpaste.” The second player will repeat the entire sentence, and add one more item, such as clothes. See how far you can get without forgetting.
- One player arranges a tray with a selection of common objects. The other players are shown the objects for only one minute. Whoever recalls the most is the winner.
- One family member rearranges 10-15 things in a room, while others wait outside. When others come in they have to spot all the things that are out of place!
- Buy a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, and see if you can finish it, before the holidays end.
- Plan a scavenger hunt. Whoever finds all the items on the list first is the winner.
- Grow a plant of your choice.
- Fly a kite! Pick a windy day, and go out for some flying fun.
- Wash the car! Grab your sponges, buckets, and dusters and give the old car a good rub and a new shine!
- Head out to your garden, and gaze at the stars. What else do you see?
- Tape a weird shape on the ground, and walk on the line without falling off. Make it tougher by using a narrower tape.
- Play “X-treme Simon Says”, which is the same as “Simon Says”, except it has multiple directions, such as “Simon says touch your nose with your right hand, and put your left hand on your knee.”
- Grab your homemade water guns for a fun water-fight. The only rule is no squirting in the eyes!
- Time how fast you can run a lap in your garden. Aim to reduce the time by the end of summer.
Find an ant, and follow it to see where it goes and what it does. See if you can learn anything from your little friends.