This free printable boredom buster Bingo game is a fun way to encourage independent play during daily quiet time or while parents work from home.
Note: This post contains affiliate links to products that I have used and loved. See my disclosure to learn more.
I love my kids. To the moon and back, really. But sometimes I also need a little “social distance” from them. You know what I mean?
Ever since my kids stopped napping, I have been a firm believer in having daily quiet time. I have three very high-energy boys, and I need some downtime each day for my own sanity. Having an hour or two in the afternoon gives me a chance to breathe, read, work on my business, and sneak to the pantry for chocolate (truth, people).
But it’s not just about me. My kids need the break from each other as well. In fact, quiet time has many benefits for kids, from increasing attention to promoting creativity.
Quiet time has been part of our routine for the past three years. I wrote all about the logistics of how quiet time works in our family here.
However, with everyone being home ALL THE TIME right now, it has become especially essential to our family’s well-being. And yet, a couple of weeks ago my oldest son, who is extremely social, was starting to resist quiet time.
He wasn’t really opposed to having some downtime (he actually liked having a break from his little brothers), but he didn’t know what to do.
So, we brainstormed together and came up with a list of ideas for him. And because he loves games, I decided it would be fun to put all the ideas into a Bingo grid for him. (For some reason, Bingo is magic with my kids. See the bottom of this post for more Bingo activities we love!)
Now, when it’s quiet time, he just looks at his “Boredom Buster Bingo” sheet and picks an activity to do.
So, if you’re a parent who is juggling work and kids all at home right now, or if you’re a stay-at-home parent who just needs a moment to yourself, give this boredom buster Bingo a try.
Note: This download includes one version with the 24 ideas listed below, as well as a blank template that you can fill in yourself. If you prefer, you can customize it to activities that will appeal to your child’s specific interests.
Most of these activities are simple, screen free, and require few materials. They don’t need a lot of explanation; however, I’m including the complete list of activities below with helpful links in case you need a little nudge in the right direction.
Boredom Buster Bingo Activities
- Listen to an audiobook or podcast. We love Circle Round and Story Pirates.
- Learn to draw something new by watching a video online. Mo Willems, Raising Wonder, and Art Hub for Kids all have free lessons.
- Write a story about what it would be like to visit another planet. For more wacky prompts, try out Scholastic’s online story starter.
- Make an obstacle course and time yourself. This can be done outdoors or indoors. Encourage kids to do the obstacle course more than once to see if they can beat their personal record!
- Have an outdoor toy “car” wash. Put small cars in a plastic bin with sudsy water, and let your child have a ball. Or, supersize the activity by giving them a bucket and sponge to wash all their ride-on toys. They play, and they clean their toys. Win win!
- Make your own board game and play it. Encourage your child to think about the different games they love, and then design one themselves! If they’re struggling to start, here’s a blank template to get the creative juices flowing. My son once even made a great one from Legos!
- Lego Challenge: Make the tallest tower you can. If your kids love Legos as much as mine do, they’ll love this one. Want more? Here’s list with lots more Lego challenges.
- Do a jigsaw puzzle. To add an extra challenge to puzzles they’ve already done, have them time themselves to see how fast they can put it together.
- Learn how to fold origami. Start with a basic creation, like a paper cup or a fish, and then work your way up to making a jumping frog or the quintessential paper crane. There are almost infinite tutorials on YouTube. You can buy official origami paper, or just use blank computer paper cut in a square shape.
- Make up a secret code and write someone a letter. Here’s an example of a decoder wheel, and here’s a blank decoder wheel for your child to make his own.
- Make playdough “food” for a pretend restaurant. Here’s our favorite homemade playdough recipe.
- Make a sock puppet. Pinterest has approximately a bazillion sock puppet ideas to inspire your child. Just find an old sock, give them random supplies (googly eyes, pipe cleaners, pom poms, etc.) and leave the rest to their imaginations.
- Draw a treasure map, and then see if someone else can follow your map to find a hidden prize. After your child is done, burn the edges to make it look really authentic.
- Build a fort and read or play inside it.
- Make a car out of a cardboard box and have a “drive-in” movie. …here are some instructions, but really, I say just let the kids go to town. The less you micromanage, the better for everyone.
- Run, walk, or ride around the block…or just around your house if your kids are young. Last week, my seven-year-old timed himself to see how fast he could scooter around our little neighborhood block five times (27 minutes…in case you’re wondering).
- Make a card and mail it to someone…a great way to brighten someone’s day, especially grandparents.
- Make paper airplanes and test their flying ability. Again, YouTube tutorials are your friend. We’ve had a lot of fun trying out new designs.
- Lego challenge: Build a bridge & test its strength. I told you we like Legos…here’s another set of Lego challenge cards to print and use.
- Make a stop-motion movie. There are many stop-motion apps out there to help.
- Read a book with a flashlight in the dark.
- Paint rocks and decorate your yard with them. Need ideas?
- Make a zentangle…it’s remarkably soothing. Learn how here.
- Draw a self-portrait using sidewalk chalk.
There you have it! 24 ideas to give your kids hours of creativity. I hope this helps you catch up on some work (or just catch a break to read and relax for a few minutes).
Do your kids love Bingo as much as mine? Try these other fun Bingo games:
Need more ideas to keep kids busy at home? I’ve got you covered:
- How to encourage creative learning at home + our favorite online resources
- Scavenger hunts for kids: 5 ways to play
- Sidewalk chalk games for creative learning
- More awesome building toys for kids who love Legos