“I’m bored!” Those are the words that every parent has heard at one point (or several!) while raising children. I remember being bored as a child, sitting out in the sun, or up in a tree, thinking and coming up with great, adventurous ideas! I had time to think, discover, and create. Was I always so creative in my boredom? Of course not! But my boredom provided me with opportunities to tap into my creative side.
I believe there is a huge benefit to being “bored” as a child. The thought that a child has to be constantly entertained can be detrimental. If an electronic device is doing all the thinking for you, what happens to creativity? Creativity is squashed or pushed aside when a program is doing all the work for you. Everywhere I go, I see children on tablets, smart phones, and other such devices. I don’t think this is wrong, but I do think that there should be very strict limits on these devices.
Walking down the toy aisle, I am always hearing robotic voices, seeing flashing lights, and hearing computerized noises as I pass through the store. These toys can be educational and beneficial, but what is even better, are the toys that help a child figure things out and problem solve on their own!
Our favorite indoor creative toy? Legos. Hands down. Legos for the win every.single.time. My kids will play with legos for hours, coming up with all sorts of scenarios with the different robots, spaceships, or animals they have built. I love that legos encourage creativity and imagination. I also love that they can be transformed into something new every time!
Make room for your children to be bored. Set up a quiet time each day, where they must come up with something from a certain basket of materials. For example, you could provide an older child with yarn, popsicle sticks, and felt. The child could create an array of puppets for a puppet show! Furthermore, you could provide blocks and toy animals for a younger child and see what kind of adventure they discover for their animal friends.
My absolute favorite way to encourage being “bored” is to go to a park where there is no playground. Instead, there are trees, flowers, and lots of grass. I put out a big picnic blanket and let them lay in the sun, explore the nature surrounding us, and engage in new games that they invented. These are my favorite times with my children, seeing their imagination spark with creative ideas and thoughts that provide hours of enjoyment.
Nature provides an incredible outlet for children to learn and to imagine. Their eager minds are filled with questions, thoughts, and scientific thought when they engage with their surroundings. I want my children to be wild and free to experience all that the Lord has created for us to enjoy!
Start with one-two days a week of no media, and instead, get outside and be “bored”! You will have great memories and be refreshed from the your relaxed time in nature. Your children’s imagination will be ignited with the incredible world waiting to be discovered by their clever minds and curious hands.