‘I’m bored!’ It’s the refrain every parent dreads hearing.  As the summer stretches out ahead, it’s time to put on your thinking cap and eliminate the boredom blues.

While it can be easy to ship the kids off to Monkey Mania or Skyzone for the day or send them to a school holiday camp to assuage their boredom, this type of entertainment is not in everyone’s budget. So, how can you ensure your kids have a great time this summer without busting open your piggy bank? Channel your inner child, adopt a creative mindset and go back to a time before iPads and XBox. Remember all those fun activities you and your friends used to love to do? Guess what? Today’s kids love them too. Try out these boredom-busting activities… Your kids will thank us for it.

Baking biscuits

Show me a kid that doesn’t like biscuits and I’ll show you a liar… Every kid loves fresh cookies and they love them even more when they’ve had a hand in making them. Put aside a morning or afternoon or even a day to bake with your kids. Let them get messy in the kitchen, cracking the eggs, sifting the flour, creaming the butter and sugar. Don’t have cookie cutters? Don’t worry, a glass works just as well or nimble little fingers can roll out interesting shapes. And don’t forget to let them decorate the finished product with icing or a dusting of sugar… Then…bon appetite!

Grow your own food

Okay, this one also takes some patience, but it’s a wonderful way for your kids to get a better understanding of where their food comes from and the effort it takes to cultivate it. If you’re a bit of a handy person and you really want to turn this into a project, you can pull apart some old wooden pallets to make a planter box. Then get your kids to help you fill it with potting mix and plant the seedlings of your/their choice (strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, herbs are all quick and easy to grow). Give the children the task of watering and fertilising and watch as they become entranced seeing their plants burst into life. Best of all most kids get a great satisfaction out of eating the food they’ve grown, so it’s also a great way to introduce more fruit and veg into their diet.

Camp out at home

Who says you have to go to the bush to camp out? Set up your tent in the back yard and enjoy the joys of camping whilst in close proximity to your own home. This is an ideal option if you have little kids who have never been camping before, while bigger kids love it too.  Don’t forget to tell your best ghost story!

Movie night

Stage a movie night at home. Grab the cushions off the sofa and the doonas off your bed and set up camp in your lounge room with your favourite movies and movie snacks.

Make a pillow fort

Don’t have enough room in your place for a cubby house? Grab a sheet and drape it over your washing line or over your table and you have an instant fort. Better yet, use an old refrigerator or washing machine box to assemble a cardboard house, decorate it with textas and cut out doors and windows. Instant hideout!

Ahoy me hearties

Stage a treasure hunt.  Hide some things around the house or your back yard. Then write a list of clues for the kids to solve in order to find the ‘treasure’.

Unleash the artist within

Break out the paints and paper and let your kids’ imagination go wild. Let them paint a picture, sketch a drawing, pen a comic. Make a collage: go through your drawers for scrap materials and see what you can create from them. Stage a puppet show with paper dolls or make sock puppets with odd socks and buttons.