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What do your kids do when there's nothing 'to do'?

(14 Posts)
PlinkertyPlonk Sun 18-Sep-11 11:20:12

The title says it all really.

Looking for suggestions for 3 x pre-teens.

Shopping and friends aren't an option as we're miles from both. They won't do arts/crafts, drawing, play games, build stuff, read or any of the things I remember doing when I was their age. And there are only so many chocolate cakes that can be made in an afternoon!

Is this normal? What do your kids do keep themselves occupied?

Earlybird Sun 18-Sep-11 12:42:36

choreograph a dance to a favourite pop song, and then find 'costumes' for a performance
do a jigsaw puzzle
play board games
wii - just dance 1 or 2, or wii fit
make up a song on the piano
draw geometric patterns on graph paper with gel pens. Can make bookmarks etc if laminated.
sew blankets/clothes/hats for dolls
make paperdoll clothes out of scraps of wrapping paper
ride bicycle/skateboard/scooter
play football/badminton/croquet
chalk drawings on drive/walk
make a harry potter wand and practise spells (google and print out a list from internet)
And if all else fails - help Mum organise closets/drawers, or sort out playroom for a clearout! grin

Final note: for some reason, find some/all of the above activities are more enjoyable if they have music on in the background.

PlinkertyPlonk Sun 18-Sep-11 13:28:43

Good tip about the music in the background, it makes perfect sense!

How do you encourage them to do the activity stuff though? They just aren't interested. Games/jigsaws etc get opened once, thrown into the corner of the room and forgotten about before being trampled on or hurled around the garden.

Iggly Sun 18-Sep-11 13:31:17

I'd leave them to it and they'll soon learn. Me and my brother used to spend hours making up games!

Earlybird Sun 18-Sep-11 13:37:24

I just lay out the groundrules - which in our house are: 'find something to do which isn't telly or computer.' (note: I'm not against telly or computer, but don't tolerate it for hours on end.)

If they can't come up with something to do, I say that I will 'find' them something to do - which mostly entails chores (hoovering, dusting, etc). That benign 'threat' usually works!

PlinkertyPlonk Sun 18-Sep-11 13:40:34

That's the thing though, they don't seem to learn.

I used to be making dens, setting up shops with the contents of mums larder (drove her mad!), drawing fashion parades... but they just don't do any of these things. They play outside without any problem (on the swings, cycling around the garden), but once inside they just default to watching TV given half a chance.

They never complain of being bored, but they are - they start picking fights with each other, tearing around the house beating each other up. They are a really close-knit unit, so if one decides that an activity is boring, they all decide they won't do it.

wordsonapage Sun 18-Sep-11 13:40:43


PlinkertyPlonk Sun 18-Sep-11 17:18:24

Fortunately they are really good about doing their homework. Suggesting chores gets them off my back, but doesn't stop the fighting or the following me and DP around the house like a shadow.

So that's the thing - how to get them to do an activity that doesn't involve fighting and why don't they like doing things that other children enjoy? I'd love to do all the things on earlybird's list with them but I'd be left doing them on my own!

MCos Sun 18-Sep-11 18:00:59

OP - boys or girls and what ages?

My girls (7 & 9) are getting great fun from their Harry Potter Lego. They have lots of the characters from the different legos, and some lego people bought from lego shop, and are getting hours of fun from it. Mostly the structures remain up once built, and they use them as props in their games.
They have a few of the Harry Potter soundtrack CDs, and they also play these in the background.
I notice most games they play now have some sort of music going in the background.

I also give them a deadline to find something to do, or else they need to help me with housework. Usually works, because they know I'll follow thru.

PlinkertyPlonk Sun 18-Sep-11 20:13:32

Deadlines! Yes, that could work. They like a challenge smile

Boy 7, girls 9 and 12 (going on 16). Actually, thinking about it, it's the eldest that's causing the problem here. She won't do anything unless it involves TV, shopping or texting her friends; then the middle one clings to her as she flounces off, leaving the youngest one really, really cross.

But I think you've hit on something with the deadline - the eldest likes to hold court and would quite happily boss the other 2 into action.

I'll look at Lego for the youngest; he didn't get on with Knex (he couldn't understand the instructions), but Lego is (or used to be!) more straight forward.

I don't think they do any of these activities when they are at their mums, so maybe they just aren't used to it?

Theas18 Mon 19-Sep-11 11:48:26

If they can't find anything to do then I can easily find them jobs to keep them gainfully employed..... stripping/making beds/hoovering/chopping veg etc

They "wont" do arts and crafts/read /build stuff- their choice I guess but have you asked them why?? My guess is they haven't the stickability to do it, and I'd be really interested in building that up - crafts are only good when you have practised after all. Stickability is an amazing life skill.

My 15 and 12 yr old spend large chunks of the summer on a 1000 piece LOTR jigsaw. Brilliant work........sadly it turned out to be a 999 piece jigsaw and the yell of frustration was untrue!

Agree "find some thing that isn't a screen till tea time" is often said.

PlinkertyPlonk Mon 19-Sep-11 15:55:00

That's it! You've hit the nail on the head. They are definitely lacking 'stickability'. When I ask them why they don't want to do xyz, all I get back is 'it's boring' or 'it's stupid', before they run off and the mayhem begins.

Don't you just hate it when the last piece of jigsaw is missing!

ripstheirthroatoutliveupstairs Thu 22-Sep-11 08:54:30

My DD is easily bored but loves reading. TBH, she gets so tired at school that I don't mind her watching age appropriate television when she gets in from school.
Since she lost mislaid her mobile, she can't text her friends. She does sometimes help me to cook the tea.

GraduallyGoingInsane Thu 22-Sep-11 19:49:57

I have 4 DDs.

DD1 (15) tends to amuse herself, or just go out. If she's in, she will do homework (especially art....I have a feeling art coursework is going to become a permanent feature of the house!), read, listen to music, text or call friends..

DD2 (13) is an obsessive dancer, so she will spend hours practicing, stretching, practicing some more...she also likes listening to music, and is surgically attached to her Blackberry.

DD3 (11) also likes art, so will often draw. She likes to read and to bake too.

DD4 (8) usually follows one of the older ones around, and will join in with what they're doing (i.e. if DD1 is doing art, DD4 will sit and draw.) She also loves reading.

Oh, and there's the favourite sport of winding each other up.

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