5 Minutes for Books: 201 Things to Do When Children Say I’M BORED!

Jennifer is in the Dominican Republic representing 5 Minutes for Mom with Compassion Bloggers. Make sure you check back all this week to read her daily posts.

While she is away, I am filling in for this week’s 5 Minutes for Books column.

201 Things to Do…

When Jackson says, “I’m bored!” I am often just as lost for something creative and fun to do as he is.

I might suggest, “Why don’t you play with some toys?” or “How about you draw me a picture or do some pages in one of your workbooks?” But he inevitably flops on the couch with a pathetic sigh, “No – that is all boring!”

What I know he really wants is for me to play with him – to engage with him and discover excitement together.

But in those moments when the rain is pouring down or the day is inching along far too slowly, I draw a blank. I know there must be a ton of things I could do to transform that boring day into a memory that he will treasure – but at that moment, I don’t have a foggy clue what they are.

I need HELP!

What I need is a list – a detailed book that has all the ideas and instructions I need to become that brilliant parent who whips together an afternoon worthy of remembering.

Enter Jodie Randisi, author of 201 Things to Do When Children Say I’M BORED! – The Checklist and Journal for Busy Families.

This fantastic resource of Jodie’s imaginative ideas can save us when our kids are bored and needing some creative direction.

201 Things to Do When Children Say I’M BORED! is even more than just a checklist of stuff to do – it is an inspiration for us to engage and experience the world WITH our children.

I know with my busy schedule, I am often guilty of not spending enough time getting “dirty” with my kids in their world of imagination and play. I need to make our family life special and memorable. I need to show them that they are valuable by investing time and energy playing with them.

201 Things to Do… equips me with ideas and instructions so I can create priceless family times that not only beat away boredom, but ensure I have fun with my children.

It is also a journal, where I can record notes about all of the activities we did together. It then becomes a legacy of memories. A book that we can flip through in years to come, to recall the fun times we shared together.

The book is divided by ages with ideas for children 3-6 years, 6-11 years, and 6-16 years old. Some of the ideas in 201 Things to Do… require little prep time and can be done on the spur of the moment:

  • #14 Search The Magazine – Set out a pile of magazines. Ask your child to flip through the magazine page by page to search for certain types of items; for examples, food, drinks, pets, shoes, cars, trucks, etc. Have some simple stickers to mark the found item.
    Set the kitchen timer for 5-10 minutes. When the buzzer sounds, count the stickers. (for ages 3-6)
  • #62 Take a Mystery Walk – Put on comfortable shoes and start walking. Flip a coin at every intersection. HEADS go right. TAILS go left.
    SUGGESTION: Ask the children to guess where the final destination might be and give a prize for the closest guess. (ages 6-11)
  • #65 Family Trivia Game – Make up your own Family Trivia games. Write questions on index cards and the answers on the back of the card. Play Jeopardy style, or any way you like… it’s your game. (for ages 6-11 – but I think all ages would work great for this!)
    Sample Questions:
    Where did Mom go to college?
    Where did Dad take Mom on their first date?
    What was Bobbie’s first work?
    Who came up with Stella’s nickname?

Other ideas take some planning, but the extra effort will show your kids how much you care about them:

  • #1 Backyard Zoo – Create a backyard (or sunroom, porch or garage) zoo. Have children arrange stuffed animals in specific habitats. Add props to make it REAL – twigs, leaves, rocks, etc.
    Give your zoo a name. Make signs, invitations and tickets. Invite people to visit. Encourage children to give mini-lectures. Doing a little research is part of the fun! (ages 3-6)
  • #57 Make a Tee Shirt Quilt – Make a tee shirt quilt. For a smaller project, make a quilted cover for a body pillow. Use your child’s tee shirts, or buy a set of new tee shirts from your vacation spot. If you want to use the actual shirts, check local garage sales and thrift stores for soft cotton tee shirts.
    TIP: For complete instructions, read The COWCATCHER’S Guide to How to Make a Tee Shrit Quilt – Even If You Can’t Sew. (ages 6-11)
  • #53 Family Picture Bingo – Collect Family photos and makes copies of small pictures of everyone in the family. Cut them out and paste a set of pictures on bingo templates – a simple 5 by 5 column box graph will do. Choose something fun to use as markers such as pennies, uncooked macaroni, or buttons. Call out categories such as “anyone the same age as you” or “anyone whose name had the letter “h” in it.” (ages 6-11)
  • #186 Begin a family diary. Take turns writing in it. Let the younger children tell of the experiences, thoughts and feelings while someone older records the entry. (ages 6-16)

With 201 Things to Do…, my kids will feel loved and cherished when, instead of brushing off their pleas for attention, I reach for my 201 Things to Do checklist and we delve into the world of play together.

Jodie Randisi – aka The COWCATCHER – is self publishing this updated and revised edition of her book, 201 Things to Do When Children Say I’M BORED! – The Checklist and Journal for Busy Families and it is available as an e-book or as soft cover spiral bound version. (A hardcover deluxe version with premium acid-free pages for keepsake quality will be available soon as well.) All purchases come with 100% money back guarantee.

If you want to order a copy, visit her website, www.201ThingstoDo.com.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays coming, 201 Things to Do will be great to have on hand for entertaining your kids while they are home from school.

We have three soft cover spiral bound copies to giveaway. If you want to win a copy, just leave a comment at this post.

Last week’s three winners of the set of two books that will help you Understand Your Children are:

#114 Sarah Hanson
#99 Faeryland Mom
#74 Amy


  1. ~Lana B~ says

    My fried brain is often at a loss on how to educationally entertain my 3yr old! This sounds like it would fill a void! Thanks so much,
    ~Lana b~

  2. says

    This book seems full of fantastic ideas to alleviate boredom. If my oldest son says, “I’m bored”, I tell him that that is his choice and that it’s not my problem. Take responsibility for your time, young man! This book might help offer suggestions for me to give to him when he comes by the sink, tugging on my pant leg. Thanks!

  3. says

    Oh wow…I think every mom can relate to this! Mine is only 3 but already seems to have mastered the “I’m bored” flop on the couch. Thanks so much!

  4. Sierra martin says

    I really should read this book, when I have my nephews over.. and they get bored of video games, movies etc.. I just start watching something and making them count how many bears there are in a show, or scolding them for being bored when there are books and movies and video games to play (while feeling bad thinking they that they are really bored of me. :( )

  5. Dianne F. says

    My just-turned grandson has learned the meaning and effectiveness of the whine, “I’m Bored!!!” Sometimes his Mom and Step Mom are at a complete loss to find an interesting activity that also includes his little sisters. This may be just what we/they are looking for.

  6. Maureen says

    I so need to win this (or buy it) as I have two 3-yr old boys so I’m sure I could get some really fun ideas of things to do with them.

    Maureen (jnomaxx at hotmail dot com)

  7. Marlena U. says

    What a great idea! I’d love to win this as it appears to have so many great ideas that get parents and children involved…TOGETHER!! m_huston(at)hotmail(dot)com

  8. Deanne S says

    I love this! If I don’t win, I’m buying it! This looks like a great resource and I work with kids as well and am always looking for cool activities.

  9. Melissa Shough says

    My son would love this! With his ADHD, I have to keep him pretty busy. This would certainly do the trick!

  10. says

    I must be the world’s meanest mom. When my kids say they are bored (granted, they are 14, 13, 9, and 7) I direct them to their usually unfinished chore chart. I hand them the hand-vac. I open the full dryer and request help folding. I send them to the sink – there’s always a dirty dish or two there. Or I send them off to (gasp!) read a book.

    PLEASE, don’t enter me in the drawing for this – with 5 kids, I need their boredom to help me keep ahead of the laundry and dishes :)

  11. says

    I NEED this book really bad! I feel so bad when I hear my kids utter those words, “I’m Bored Mommy.” I’ve run out of new and fun ideas that they would “approve” of. :)

  12. Jenn S. says

    Sounds like a great book. My daughter just started using the phrase “I’m bored.” That phrase drives me nuts.

  13. says

    What a fantastic looking book. I, too, suffer from brain fog when my children give me the inevitable “I’m bored!” It’s tough, too, with children of different ages. But, this book looks like it offers some great suggestions for a variety of ages and interests. I’d love to get my hands on a copy!

  14. Kelly F says

    This book is such a great idea. I consider myself pretty creative, but even I run out of things to do every once in awhile. The kids would love this.

  15. Margaret Smith says

    Thank you so much for this giveaway. We could really use this. Our youngest son was driving me crazy just yesterday with “I’m bored.” Thanks you for offering this.

  16. Rebecca says

    This book sounds great! It’s always good to have some backup ideas on hand when you just run out of things to do.

  17. says

    I think if anyone uttered those words around my house I’d die of shock on the spot. That said I think it would make a lovely gift for several families that I know.
    Best wishes

  18. charline s says

    I hear this from my child at least 15 to 20 times a day. “I bored”! It is frustrating to me as a parent sometimes trying to find things the kids want to do.

  19. Anne says

    I have a daughter who has a daughter who now knows what its like to be a mother; hope that made sense!

    I’d love to win this book for her!


  20. Nikki Barger says

    WOW! This is absolutely perfect for my son and I’s daily adventures! He’s a very curious boy, who’d rather pick my brain than watch TV – which, I’m not complaining about at all, mind you – but it’d be nice not to run out of new and fun things to do!

  21. Helen says

    Jodie has done a great job at catching children and adults alike, to engage in fun and action packed activities! This book is a must for all bookshelves of fammilies, young and old alike !

  22. says

    I need this. I’m tired of hearing how “bored” my 10 year old is. (Yes, the one who has a game cube, a Wii, a TV with tons of channels and about a million DVDs in the house, plus a huge trampoline in the big backyard!)

  23. says

    The world is so different from when I was young, I can’t allow my kids to roam freely to friends homes or around the neighborhood as I did. It’s harder to keep them entertained in this digital age when TV and computers sometimes take over play and imaginations. I would love to have a great book that would help them and myself be more creative. Thanks!

  24. Christina White says

    I need this to help entertain my four kids ages 5,6,7,8. This last summer was difficult. They got bored to quickly with all the video games, computer, and yes everything they have in the backyard!

  25. says

    I love you site (and twitters, too). We have 5 kids,live in the inner-city in a crazy small house with a yard the size of our livingroom. I’m determinded to continue doing fun activities with my children and not resort to the TV as a sanity-saver!
    Being Mom (and wife, too) are my highest callings! I’d be so grateful to have a copy of this book… and would share the book with many on my blogsite and circle of friends.
    Thank you!

  26. says

    Though mine kids are probably older than this book is meant for, hopefully we will have grandchildren within a few years, and my son’s girlfriend works with children, so I might give (or loan!) it to her.

  27. says

    I’d love to win a copy. I have five kids and it would be great to have this book to explore together. I keep hearing how they’re bored and there’s nothing to do!

  28. says

    wow! you guys have great contests. This is just the thing for weekends and holidays for my kids. Saturdays afternoons can be really boring… I can’t count how often I hear “what else can I do?”

  29. Stacy says

    This sounds like a lot of fun. I have 2 little ones that will be getting to the I am bored stage much to soon. I would love this book.

  30. says

    I need this book! I babysit my 4 year old niece along with my 4 year old son every day. I’m constantly looking for new ideas to keep them entertained! This book would be awesome!

  31. J Chaborek says

    LOL, this is a great idea for a book. Seems like the kids area always bored, hope there are some new ideas in here!

  32. says

    I’ve been trying to find a book like this. Sometimes I feel like I’m a bum and not doing enough with my little one…I need help in the creativity department. GREAT giveaway! Thanks for introducing me to this book. :)


    melody at penniesinmypocket dot net

  33. Catherine copeland says

    those dreaded words “mom we’re bored” are almost over now that I’ve learned about this book. thanks for such a great blog

  34. says

    That sounds like something that’s perfect for my brood. They keep themselves entertained well enough, but I’d love to have a whole book of tricks up my sleeve. :-)

  35. Brenda says

    Sounds like a lifeline to me, when I have the grandkids for a weekend, there is not as much to do as home so I occasionally here we are bored and usually from the girls, this might be the answer not to mention spending some one on one time with them, thanks for the giveaway

  36. says

    I would just love to have this handy book! Even with 4 built-in playmates, each of my 5 kids is constantly complaining about being bored. :)

  37. Paula Bhagyam says

    I’d love a copy of the book. I am a teacher and am always looking for new and exciting books to share with students and parents.

  38. Catharine M says

    Love the title of this book, my daughter needs it and maybe suggestions other than “Mom” ones
    would be more easily accepted.

  39. Vicki B. says

    I actually made my daughter do this with her own ideas once. She only got to 17 ideas, so we could use this for some more! Thanks for the contest!

  40. flared0ne says

    Would be Nice to have a stack of variety all ready and waiting when Mom yells out “I better not hear that SAME video game one more time today!!”… ’cause you KNOW as long as the power isn’t out they’re gonna find SOMEthing repetitive (and noisy) to be doing.

  41. Mollie G. says

    My kids are good about finding (or inventing) SOME way to get into mischief when they’re bored, but this could be a lifesaver for those days when they’ve run out of obvious options and are climbing the walls…

  42. Tritty74 says

    Sounds good. We have five kids and the three older kids have our four year old saying he is bored now and that there is nothing to do

  43. says

    This sounds like a wickedly awesome book, and as a mom of two young girls I’d love to get my name in the hat. I don’t think the “I’m bored” phase has hit here too strongly yet, but my 5 year old definitely knows how to throw it out there when she wants.

    Thanks for the entry.

  44. sito says

    Sounds like a great book for when Mom is at her wit’s end for ideas. Somehow, “If you’re so bored, why don’t you clean the bathroom” just doesn’t get them very excited.

  45. bridget says

    I also draw a blank sometimes when I am faced with a long block of unplanned time so this would be a great resource.

  46. Stephanie Kinchen says

    This is exactly what we need for those cold winters here in ND when the kids are stuck inside!! Thanks!!!

  47. Jennifer Schroeder says

    Wow, we could really use this around our house. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to win!

  48. says

    I could definitely use this book. Raising six kids has fried my brain, and I feel like I don’t think of near as many fun things to do now as I did when my DH and I weren’t so out numbered.

  49. Michelle L. says

    What parent doesn’t need ideas at one time or another when kids say “I’m bored?” I would love to own a copy of this book for those moments.

  50. Julianne says

    Would love to have a copy on hand. I have kids who get bored when I turn off the TV, but they cannot be glued to it. Some of them will play with Legos, but some of them will follow me around with how bored they are. LOL!

  51. Brooke says

    That family trivia game idea is brilliant and I’m totally going to start one! If that idea is any indication, I think I could really use this book!

  52. flared0ne says

    Thank you, Jennifer (and Janice)!

    I got your message that I was selected at random as one of the winners. Interestingly, I have a “Google search” setup, watching for my ‘nom de plume’ and IT reported back almost immediately also — nice ‘quality control’ check!

    And a comment for any and all — in the course of double-checking “just what is this I’ve won” I went to the “201 things” website, and was captivated by a whole set of useful links and things, very pertinent to my older son’s educational process and progress.

    Check out the “Bonus stuff” section in particular!

    Once again, very excellent, and thank you much!

  53. says

    Very cool book of ideas!! I could really use this now with the children I nanny…and in the future with my own little ones (the first one of which is on the way)!!

  54. Jessica B. says

    This sounds like an awesome read!!! I would love this book because I’m always having a problem coming up with something to do for the kiddos.

  55. Perri Rendon says


    I am new to the forum and can’t wait to learn more about your site.

    Wow…if I don’t hear that a thousand times a day… I could use and “I’m bored” helper ….

    thanks for the chance,


    <a href=”http://www.5minutesformom.com/4734/under-the-tree-

  56. Perri Rendon says

    I didn’t realize you get extra entries for feeds and newsletter…so here is my extra entry.


    <a href=”http://www.5minutesformom.com/4739/christmas-giveaway-

  57. Perri Rendon says

    I didn’t realize you get extra entries for feeds and newsletter…so here is my extra entry.

    Here is the one for feeds,

    thank you,


    <a href=”http://www.5minutesformom.com/4739/christmas-giveaway-


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *