Weekend Wrinkle: Some Summer Boredom Survival Tips

“I’m bored!

It seems like five minutes after school ends for the summer, we hear this unceasing chorus.

Adults wonder how kids, with a seemingly endless supply of activities before them, can even think this let alone constantly declare it.

We scour our brains trying to figure out what to do to keep our kids occupied. If we’re clever, we can sneak in some learning when they’re not looking. How can we encourage budding writers without making it seem like torture?

I’ve always been a big reader and fondly remember trips to the library as the highlight of my summer. Of course, today’s kids are much less likely to read. However, libraries offer all kinds of activities that we can tap into. Most of them are free or really inexpensive.

Turning off the TV and reading some books together is an option although maybe not totally workable. I recently read the Percy Jackson series so I could have something to talk about with a younger generation. Unfortunately, no young person I know has read them. But we could have a discussion about how the books differ from the movies.

The big buzz in training these days is “gamification,” but savvy parents have had this figured out for years. Games make learning fun.

How does this apply to building writing skills? Well, a game like “20 Questions” can spark curiosity and analytical skills. Encouraging kids to think of as many words as they can to describe an object or a picture in a set amount of time can increase descriptive skills and vocabulary.

There’s always the ever popular and creativity sparking revolving story where one person starts a story and others in the group pick up and continue the plot line. (This is really effective when sitting around a campfire and the subject is something creepy.)

“Tell me about Frozen. What was it about and why did you like it?”

A question like this, and follow up questions, can help children build organizational and critical thinking skills – things essential to good writing. But, parents, you really need to listen patiently and give children a chance to organize out loud.

These things aren’t going to completely solve the “I’m bored” problem, but they can help build better writing skills in children without them ever realizing what’s happening.