No, not another boring blog post!
Are you weary of reading about stuff you already know or topics that don’t interest you? Well at least we’re on the same page because that is the definition of boredom – a lack of interest in your current activity.
In late Summer and early Fall, everything old can be new again with a few simple changes. Some of you have been home with children for months and others are facing unpredictable school days ahead. We’d like to help you be ready for either scenario, so the lists below have ideas for home or school environments.
Within the four walls of your house, have you played with every toy, allowed extra screen time, made up scavenger hunts, and done every art project known to man by now? Are you facing a school year with less materials accessible and more restrictions in place? We hope this post will help you bring the best out of yourself, your children at home, or your students at school for the long days ahead!
Change It Up
Provide the brain with novelty, and it will respond in new and innovative ways.
- Bring an outdoor toy inside, or an indoor toy outside. Suddenly, a puzzle, doll, or set of blocks has new life when it’s on your porch or sidewalk. Try bringing a small bike inside and setting up a bike repair shop.
- Tired of sidewalk chalk and rainy days washing away your creations? Bring it inside and set out some construction paper or cut open a brown paper bag to create chalk art.
- Move the (non-messy) craft supplies out of the kitchen and into the comfiest room in the house. And who says you can’t do puzzles in the hallway?
In the Classroom
- Bring play dough outside and press pebbles, small sticks, flowers, or leaves into it-this can lead to new vocabulary and discussion points about art and nature!
- Take props from your Dramatic Play area and put them in the library corner. Props can stir up imaginative play just like books and help children become great storytellers.
- Take puzzles or table toys that aren't chosen frequently and place in different areas of the classroom. I’ve been brazen enough to move the art easel into the block area to see if it would stimulate some architectural drawings! You may be surprised to see which children are drawn to these seemingly new activities and tasks.
Add Some Flair
Dress-Up and do...ANYTHING! Costumes add some pizzazz to your regular routines.
- Taking out the paper and crayons for the millionth time? Add a cape (or a bath towel clipped to the back of a shirt) and you can use your MEGA crayons and SUPER markers to color and save the world!
- Who can wear the silliest hat to the breakfast table?
- Put on an apron during clean up time or to do some yard work.
- Grown-ups join in on the act. By doing your own version of dress-up, you’ll become more playful and engaged.
In the Classroom
You are the facilitator; let the children do the heavy lifting with their imaginations.
- Put some dress-ups in an unexpected place like the Block Area.
- How about some funny glasses for snack time?
Breathe New Life into Everyday Objects
What can you do with...
- A roll of painter's tape?
- Scraps of wrapping paper?
- A box of mismatched buttons?
You don't have to know the answers or even have an idea. That's the beauty part of allowing for creativity. You provide some materials (don't forget safety considerations that are age and child specific) and allow your children to do the rest.
In the Classroom
- Place a bin or two in your classroom for a few days. Invite students to toss paper scraps or pieces from crafts or other projects in the bin for a few days. Build in a bit of wonder (add some fun elements when no one is looking). Towards the end of the week, hold an open crafting session with those bits and pieces of yarn, construction paper, wiggle eyes, gems, or whatever else they might find in there. Be sure to screen contents for appropriateness and safety.
- Put away the blocks and challenge children to build with other classroom supplies. Consider some of the manipulatives in your math area or natural items in your science center. Building with loose parts fosters creativity and problem solving in a unique way. If you feel a little nervous about leaving it completely open-ended, ask for some suggestions during circle time and provide some of the materials based on a class discussion ahead of time.
A little novelty goes a long way in energizing the play and keeping boredom and anxieties at bay. When we engage our brains in new ways, it helps keep the focus on the here and now and tames the random thoughts that sometimes create nervous energy and unfocused play. Share any additional ideas that work for you – we’d love to hear them! Feel free to tag us on Facebook or Instagram!
Since graduating from Juniata College in 2008, Leah has worked as a Learning Support Teacher, Life Skills Support Teacher, Instructional Coach, and is currently teaching 6th Grade ELA and Social Studies at Shippensburg Area Middle School. When not busy teaching or scouring Pinterest for teaching ideas, Leah enjoys reading, baking healthy treats, and practicing yoga. She currently resides in Greencastle, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter.
The opinions, representations, and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and not of Becker’s School Supplies as a whole. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.