If you’re a parent, there are few phrases you fear more from your child’s mouth. It’s not the phrase itself that terrifies you, but what comes after it. Boredom often leads children to improvise, and in most cases this improvisation leads to choices better left not pursued.
But you’re a savvy parent, and you know enough to realize that when a child says they are bored, it’s best to cut the problem off at the pass before they are allowed to make those questionable improvisations. And so you set plans in place “to give them something to do,” which invariably involves leaving the house and spending money.
But it doesn’t have to.
Yes, it is possible to quell your children’s boredom, stay home, save money and enjoy some quality family time all in one fell swoop — you just have to be a little creative. With that in mind, here are five ways your family can have a blast this weekend at home.
1. Scavenger hunt
Easter is over, but what child doesn’t like a good scavenger hunt? Allot your kids a little television time while you devise clues and strategically place them around the home. The end result could be a present, or you could use the hunt as a segue into the next planned activity. Scavenger hunts are a great activity because they are customizable. You can add more clues to make for a longer hunt or make the clues more difficult to keep older children engaged; either way, you’ll draw as much enjoyment from watching your children try to decipher the clues as they will from solving them.
2. Picnic time
You don’t need to go to the park to enjoy a picnic. In fact, planning an impromptu picnic in your backyard can be a great way to add a little surprise to the day. Plan the traditional picnic foods or get a little creative with the kitchen close by; whatever you decide, encourage your kids to help you plan the event and make it a family affair. And if it’s cold outside or raining, there’s nothing stopping you from taking the event indoors. Spread blankets across the living room floor and bring the food in a traditional basket. You’ll have the same picnic feeling regardless of the setting.
3. Tackle chores
This one will be a harder sell to your kids, so make it fun. Assign everyone specific tasks and promise a fun treat at the end. Build a chart so everyone can see how much progress you’ve made or set a theme around something your family is passionate about. For example, if your family is a big fan of sports, have a chore draft where the first pick gets first choice of chore and so on, and encourage trading of those picks. Then, make sure you plan your chore day at an optimal time. Free electricity weekends from Direct Energy, for example, start at 6 p.m. on Friday night and end at midnight on Sunday, making them the perfect time to tackle your chore load while decreasing your energy bill.
4. High fashion
You don’t need to travel to Paris or Milan to see the latest fashions; they can come alive right in your living room. Mark a runway with flashlights or flameless candles and raid your kids’ dress-up closet for some fun fashion ideas. You can also open up your own wardrobe for offerings your kids will be naturally drawn to. Whether your event produces the next great fashion trend or serves as a preemptive audition for Halloween, there are sure to be some photo-worthy moments.
5. Ultimate Family Warrior
Sure, it won’t be as dramatic as its televised ninja equivalent, but your family’s obstacle course can still be fun, and a lot less perilous. This is another activity that can be customized to the age of your children. Make a tunnel from a blanket draped over chairs, lay out a mat they have to roll across and set up a racing station where they have to drop one item off before retrieving the next. You can also set tighter time limits to challenge older children. Finally, give them a bell to hit at the end.
To learn more about free energy weekends from Direct Energy, visit www.directenergy.com/freeweekends.