105 Low-Spend Bored Jar Ideas for Kids (+ Free Printables)

I’m bored!:” a dreaded phrase for many parents. 

Between summertime and social distancing, it’s easy for kids to start feeling bored or like they’re running out ways to occupy their time. That’s where a bored jar comes in. As the name suggests, a bored jar is a place children can go to find inspiration for at-home games, puzzles, and crafts. 

Bored jars are a low-cost way to provide hours of entertainment for your kids — all you really need is a jar or box, paper or popsicle sticks to write activities on, and a list of activities. The activities themselves are usually easy, traditional games for children, at-home craft projects, or even household chores!

Read on for our guide to creating your own bored jar and activity ideas to put inside.

How to Make Your Own Bored Jar

A bored jar is a relatively easy craft that can provide kids with hours of entertainment. All it takes to get started is a jar and some inspiration. Follow these steps below to give your kids an all-encompassing solution to the dreaded boredom blues.

1. Create the Jar

jar-mockup-yellow

Creating the jar can be a fun boredom-buster in and of itself. The “jar” can be an actual glass jar, or a shoebox, coffee bean tin, or anything else that can hold the activities inside. You can write the child’s name on the jar, or use the printable label below to let them know the jar is all theirs. Consider also decorating it with stickers, paint,  googly eyes, or any other fun decorations!

2. Fill the Jar With Fun Activities

After the jar itself is made, it’s time to come up with the activities! Write activities on a slip of paper or popsicle stick and stick into the jar for your child to pull out. We’ve come up with some ideas to help get you started: 

Fun Activities

These traditional, self-explanatory, and fun activities are tried and true ways to have fun on a summer day.

    • 30 minutes of TV time
    • Make a pillow fort
    • Play dress up
    • Call a friend
    • Tic-Tac-Toe tournament
    • Do a word search
    • Have a picnic
    • Call a relative
    • Make a puppet show with dolls or socks
    • 30 minutes of computer time
    • Play a board game
    • Take a bubble bath
    • 1 hour of video games
    • Bake cookies
    • Have a thumb wrestling battle
    • Rent a movie
    • Mail someone a letter
    • Write a comedy act to perform for parents
    • Sing a song
    • Pillow fight
    • Play charades

Healthy Activities

Get your kid’s heart rate up and help them be healthy with these fun, fit activities.

    • Play hide-and-seek
    • Play tag
    • Jump rope
    • Do 50 jumping jacks
    • Do 50 sit-ups
    • Eat a piece of fruit
    • Do a handstand
    • Run outside for 15 minutes
    • Drink a glass of water
    • Have a crab walk race
    • Climb a tree
    • Have a dance party
    • Go swimming
    • Ride your bike for 1 hour
    • Make an obstacle course
    • Hold a plank for 1 minute
    • List of every fruit you can
    • Play hopscotch
    • Play basketball
    • Play soccer
    • Play kickball

Crafty Activities

Help your kid’s flex their creative muscles by including crafty activities in the jar for rainy days.

    • Draw a picture
    • Create your own board game
    • Make paper airplanes
    • Collect rocks and paint them 
    • Finger painting
    • Draw a map of the neighborhood
    • Draw a family portrait
    • Build-a-bear out of paper
    • Make masks out of paper plates
    • Draw your favorite animal
    • Design a logo for our family
    • Make your own playing cards
    • Draw with your left hand
    • Make a collage from magazines
    • Do a puzzle
    • Make a musical instrument
    • Draw a comic book
    • Make your own clay
    • Draw with sidewalk chalk
    • Make a scrapbook
    • Create a time capsule

Educational Activities

Having fun can also be educational! Help your kid learn various subjects while enjoying their summer day.

    • Read for 1 hour
    • Watch an educational movie
    • Make slime
    • Learn the alphabet backwards
    • Count to 500
    • Recreate a classic art piece
    • Go bird watching
    • Identify different types of trees
    • Write a short story
    • Write a movie script
    • Write a poem
    • Draw a constellation
    • Draw the solar system 
    • Learn about a historical figure 
    • Watch a documentary
    • Make our family tree
    • Plant a seedling
    • Research the year you were born
    • Memorize a famous monologue
    • Learn the alphabet in a different language
    • Count to 10 in a different language

Productive Activities

Bored jars can also benefit the house and family. Consider incentivizing these activities by rewarding completed activities. 

    • Wash the car
    • Sweep the kitchen
    • Clean the windows
    • Do the dishes
    • Do the laundry
    • Vacuum the floors
    • Water the plants
    • Clean the bathroom
    • Clean your bedroom
    • Pull weeds in the garden
    • Walk the dog
    • Organize the book shelf
    • Set aside toys and clothes to donate
    • Sweep the hallway
    • Help cook dinner
    • Organize your bedroom
    • Dust the surfaces in the living room
    • Pick up trash in the yard
    • Clean your closet
    • Check the mailbox
    • Make your bed

3. Pick Activities From the Jar

Children can pick activities from the jar to complete when they feel bored. We’ve created a few printable activities that can help assist you and your little one in your activity creation.

Plant Seedlings and Start a Garden

seedling-mock-tomatoes

Starting a garden can teach kids about health and nutrition, science, and math. But beyond that, it can also help kids develop patience and appreciation for the outdoors and the food they may take for granted. Planting herbs or veggies is a great, low-cost way to keep your kids entertained and productive. 

Put on a Puppet Show

puppet-mock

A puppet show is a great way for your kid to get creative and let their imagination run wild. All they need to get started on their own puppet show are the puppets themselves, pen and paper to write a script, and a table to perform on. 

Make a Time Capsule

time-capsule-mock

A time capsule is a fun way to capture the present moment and create a fun activity for later in life. All you really need to get started is a shoe box or other tin that can withstand the pressure of being underground, some fun items to put inside, and a printable letter like the one below to document the present.

You can also create bored jar activities that specifically align with your kids interests to make it more personal for them. There is a world of possibilities for your bored jar, and you can even take out and replace activities every few months to keep it fresh and exciting! 

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