Summer Smorgas-Bored

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Already bored this summer? Have you run out of energy or ideas with what to do with yourself or your family in between summer camps, summer school or family trips? Introducing the summer smorgas-bored! A top 10 list of completely random things to do when you don’t want to learn a musical instrument, go to the library, go swimming again or go see local tourist attractions (because…you live there…and you hate tourists)!

So here it is. All ideas certified by me to come completely off the top of my head without any research, planning or higher purposes.

Bored? Check out these ridiculous ways to pass the time!

10) Look up a famous actor, actress or director on IMDb and watch the first major project that person was involved with, if you can find it.

IMDb (Internet Movie Database) is 19 years old. In the summer of 1996, it was an amazing discovery that my college roommate and I found and we spent hours watching movies we wouldn’t have normally known existed. We were inspired by Kevin Bacon. Who wasn’t? My roomie devoured IMDb while I got bored after 1-2 days of this and moved on. Still, if you don’t know that Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey got their first major movie break in the same movie, you should find out and watch it. It’s a classic.

9) Count the number of peanuts there are in the peanut jar.

This is arguably a boring task but it can also be incredibly versatile. If it’s just a time waster, it’s still one that doesn’t involve a screen, a thumb or a controller, so that something. If you have 5-6 year olds, you can practice counting AND safety with small objects all at the same time! If your kids are a little older, you can make it a guessing game and the closest guesser can win a prize, like ice cream – which is also an excuse for everyone to go get ice cream!

8) Make an old board game new again

Sick of playing the same game over and over again? Make up 5 rules off the top of your head. Play the game with the new rules. For bonus points, make up a completely new game with scrap paper and poster board. Need help coming up with rules? It may not work the first couple of times you try it. There are some rules that are common and necessary to all games to make sure they go smoothly (how to start a turn, end a turn, etc) If you’re not feeling creative and need a couple of examples:

  • Compliment the player to your right before every turn
  • If you roll doubles, sing a song lyric

7) Event a catchphrase and use it for a weekend: could be awesome, could annoy your kids – it’s a no-lose situation!

The good news about this one is that you don’t have to be creative to come up with a catchphrase. It doesn’t have to be contextual, It doesn’t have to make sense and it doesn’t have to be words. Random sounds can do the trick, especially if combined with high-fives. You’re kids will either adopt the catchphrase or try to disown you – either way can be highly satisfying. Triple bonus: public catchphrase + high fives to random strangers. Upload to youtube.

6) Send a text message to 5 people in your contact list that you don’t normally chat with that says “OMG, did you see the last episode of Rizzoli and Isles”?

Okay, so my Mother-In-Law is in town and I’m currently watching reruns of R&I on TNT. In fact, the only time I watch R&I is when she is visiting. It may or may not be a good show. Apparently it was the most watched show on cable television last week (shows in 2nd-4th place were 3 episodes of WWE Wrestling) so there is a shot that your shout out to your long lost contact may result in a meaningful dialogue. If not, just claim that your text was meant for someone else and move on.

5) Write down all of the things that need to be picked up around the house. Then play a scavenger hunt with your kids using the list.

This may be my favorite one, because It is equally tidy and sneaky. The optimist in me thinks that this could become a go to way to clean up the house without it feeling like such a chore. The downside of this one is that it might only work once or you may have to continually up the ante on the reward for the winner. Plus – high degree of colluding could occur if you have multiple older children who like to team up against their parents.

4) Have everyone find anything in the house they can use for a drum. Have a family drum circle.

We’ve done this several times and it is fun every time. It’s loud, obnoxious but also sweet and hilarious – depending on your family’s ability to keep rhythm or make up songs if you don’t know enough tunes together to cover. If it’s too noisy for you indoors, take it out to the deck or back-yard, then go on vacation to avoid your neighbors for awhile unless you invited them over for the drum circle. Bonus points: Front-yard in the evening — encourage passers by and neighbors to join in.

3) Make a 3-minute movie

Don’t over-think this. Go with the first ideas that pop in your head. Don’t perfect it. Actually, aim to make 3-4 movies and host a film festival in your living room! Bonus points: Submit to Sundance!

Example for movies:

  • Miniature car chase around the living room furniture
  • Dump all your trash on the ground and shoot a dystopian eco-humanitarian tear-jerker using action figures, Lego figurines or tongue depressor people.

2) Choose 5 ingredients in your kitchen that you would be willing to eat together. Have a cooking contest with the 5 ingredients.

This is less about teaching chemistry or cooking and more about finding your limits on what you will willingly consume from the concoctions that your kids (or other family or friends) make. Cooking is by its nature creative and affirming – just ask about the mixture of vanilla, chocolate syrup, milk, sugar, etc that I found sitting in my freezer from when my oldest son decided to make a frozen dessert for us one night.

1) Create a world from the moles and freckles on your belly: Connect the dots in the form of a new nation-state!

Give yourself a capital city and a benevolent dictator or problematic bicameral legislature. Draw some terrain or some industrial centers. Expand out to border nations or maybe Frecklandia is an island? Give your kids a civics lesson. Stay away from import/export discussions or ports of call. You could quite literally get into sensitive territory there.

The End, but not the Ending

Hopefully you are no longer bored and you found something in my top 10 list that was enticing or motivating. But, you see, it’s not really about the specific list. It’s about everyone’s ability to think of completely random things to do, doing them and then surprising yourselves with how much fun these random acts can be! Not everything has to be the best thing ever and most things won’t be. But if you’re looking for something memorable, think back to your childhood and try to remember the silly, spontaneous and inane things you use to do. Then, try to remember the time you tried to teach yourself the piano. Now, go enjoy yourself and your family this summer!!

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  1. Alyssa says:

    I love this list…it’s so fun and unexpected! And as a matter of fact, I have a jar of peanuts I was just about to throw out because they’re stale. :) I am home all week with the kids and NO planned activities, so I need all the help I can get!!

  2. I really love this list! The catch phrases to annoy the kids is beyond perfect. I love the actor/imdb is really perfect, nights in or a crappy day will help with those!

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