Why Your Response to “I’m Bored” Doesn’t Have to Be a List of Fun Activities

“I’m bored” “I don’t know what to do.” “What can I do, Mama?” The sounds of summer for some, the sounds of just about every day all year round for others. Kids get bored.

Does it stress you out?

This may not be a popular opinion, but you don’t have to create a boredom plan for every moment of your child’s life. Or maybe this opinion would be more popular if it were more acceptable to follow this advice. Relax, don’t let a bored child get to you. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, it may be the beginning of something good!

Do you ever feel like you need to entertain your children every moment of the day, all day? Perhaps it’s due to an overdose on Pinterest scrolling or the fact that a lot of people you know have enrolled their children in more activities than you can count on one hand. Whatever it is, there is definitely pressure to keep your kids busy with the right activities to help them in their development. Maybe you’re scared that if you DON’T keep your kids busy, you’re not providing them with what they need to succeed.

Rest assured that this is certainly not the case. You can actually help your child by allowing a bit of boredom in their life. Why? There’s a long list of benefits to letting your child figure out how to use their time on their own. What are some of them?

Why Your Response to -I'm Bored- Doesn't Have to Be a List of Fun Activities

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Benefits of Boredom

If your child is allowed to be bored at times, it’s likely they’ll develop the following skills:

  • Independence – Your child will independently find a solution, meaning that they feel more in charge of themselves. Rather than being dependent (the opposite of independent) on an adult to direct them, children find something to do.
  • Creativity – When your child is bored, they are more likely to work hard to come up with something interesting to entertain themself. If you’re riding in the car or in a waiting room, your child might begin imagining a story in their head, searching for certain kinds of cars out the window or similar. However, if your child watches a video or plays a game on your phone instead, this opportunity is lost.
  • Problem-solving skills – The problem? Boredom. The solution? It could be anything really. That’s the beauty of being bored. Your child has the chance to work through this real-life problem and explore their possible responses and reactions. Sometimes your child might whine or get angry. Sometimes they might wander around the house or wherever you are to seek ideas for what to do. You can help your child cultivate healthy coping mechanisms for boredom. More on these later.
  • Boosts self-motivation  Ever used an exciting opening to get your child to try a new activity? You might use an enthusiastic tone of voice, or explain what the benefits of the activity will be. When your child is bored and allowed to struggle through it until they pick an activity on their own, they have to be their own motivator. With no outside voice telling them how much fun it will be to build a Lego replica of the empire state building, they’ll have to discover the motivation to undertake such an activity on their own.

If you’re curious to learn what psychologists are saying about the importance of children experiencing boredom, check out this article.

What did Montessori say?

Montessori believed that children needed to build skills to become independent. That’s one of the reasons why she emphasized practical life so strongly, especially for the youngest students. In addition, in any Montessori classroom, children are in charge of picking meaningful activities to engage in. Although guidance is provided from teachers, children are largely responsible for picking their own work.

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GIVEAWAY of My Book: Montessori at Home Guide: A Short Practical Model to Gently Guide your 2-6 Year Old through Learning Self-Care

Ever wondered how to get your little one to be a bit more independent? Part of the answer is by teaching self-care. By intentionally teaching your child to eat on their own, perform tasks related to hygiene (brush their teeth, comb hair, etc.), dress themselves, and more, you encourage your child’s autonomy. This, in turn, boosts their self-confidence and helps your little one develop fine motor skills (the added bonus? It frees up YOUR time). I talk about all of this in my book, Montessori at Home Guide: A Short Practical Model to Gently Guide your 2-6 Year Old through Learning Self-Care.

If you’re not sure where to start with self-care, or don’t even know what lessons you should teach, this is the book for you. The lessons are explained in detail, including how they relate to the Montessori philosophy. Any parent of a child between ages 2-6 can benefit from reading this book, especially if you’re interested in the Montessori method. You can learn more about this self-care book here.

My publisher, Sterling Productions, has recently released the audio version of the book. To spread the word about this new audiobook, they’re offering a giveaway of the audio version!

You can find all the details about the giveaway below. It’s very simple, you just need to join Sterling Productions’ mailing list, join the Volcano Mama mailing list (see the top right-hand corner of the page) or like the Montessori at Home Guide Facebook page. If you already like the Facebook page or have signed up for one of the mailing lists, that’s no problem, simply use the same email address when you enter the giveaway contest.

Stay tuned to the Montessori at Home Guides Facebook page where Sterling Productions also does physical book giveaways.

The contest runs until June 24. So make sure you enter before then. Feel free to share this post and give your friends a chance to win too!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you a traditionalist who needs to physically hold a book while flipping through the pages? I understand. You can also find the book on Amazon. There, you can also browse through the rest of the Montessori at Home Guide books. Happy reading and happy parenting!

How (and Why!) to Keep A Nature Journal With Preschoolers and Kindergarteners

Peanut and I have been keeping a nature journal. He’s 4 now, so right around the preschool/kindergarten age. I think it’s been a wonderful experience for us. I keep it very low-key, but the benefits are many!

What you Need

I suggest you start with a blank notebook. Write “Nature Journal” on the front. And that’s it! You can have your child decorate it if you’d like. Here’s ours :Nature Journal Cover

What you Do

We have a very laid back approach to our nature journalling. In preschool and kindergarten, experiences are important. All of the fine motor skills and the ability to read and write about things will come later. I focus on having Peanut observe nature and document it however we can, while keeping things enjoyable and interesting for him.

What kind of activities do we do?

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All About Volcanoes – A Kindergarten Unit {FREE PARTS OF A VOLCANO WORKSHEET}

Volcanoes! They’re so exciting. Any kindergartener will be instantly interested and motivated in studying this natural phenomenon.

I’ve begun a volcano unit with Peanut this week, so I thought I’d share what I have planned so far with you.

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First, you have to know that we live surrounded by volcanoes. There are 3 of them easily visible from our house, here in Guatemala, a country home to over 30 volcanoes. So, they are part of the landscape. Peanut enjoys watching volcanic eruptions from our house, whether they are just puffs of smoke and ash or fiery night-time displays.

So, what can you do to study volcanoes?

Make Your Own Volcano

There are a few ways to do this, and it makes a great opener to your unit. You’ll inspire your little one for sure.

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Sink or Float: A Preschool Science Experiment

Preschool science experiments are a joy. I’ve never met a child who doesn’t enjoy experiments…there’s something about moving things around and often getting a bit messy that awakens curiosity, excitement, and wonder.

Well, it’s been a few months since we did this, but Peanut really enjoyed a common preschool science experiment called “Sink or Float.” It’s about as simple as it sounds!

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Here’s what we did:

I gathered some materials that sink and float such as: a coin, a plastic medicine cup, a twig, two rocks, and a lemon. There ended up being 3 items that floated and 3 items that sank. I suggest you look for items that are made out of different materials such as wood, plastic, food items, metal and nature items. We’re lucky to live near a volcano, so one of the rocks was pumice, and so it floated!



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Montessori Math for Kindergarteners: Part 4 in a Series About How to Teach Your Child at Home

Montessori math for kindergarteners is an exciting world of impressive, well-developed manipulatives. This is a material intensive area of the curriculum and one that is often a bit intimidating for those who aren’t familiar with the materials.

We started out with very few of these materials in math, and so far are doing just fine. But, if my Peanut made this subject area his favorite, then I’d have a lot of work to do making more materials!

What did we start with?

Spindle Boxes – A Variation

The traditional Montessori math spindle boxes lay flat and use rounded sticks. But, with a lack of resources, we went ahead and made our very own set featuring toilet paper rolls and popsicle sticks! Simple, yet effective.

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Montessori Language for Kindergarteners: Part 3 in a Series About How to Teach Your Child at Home

Montessori language for kindergarteners is an addiction of mine. It’s one of my favorite things to have fun with, adding in new activities and shaking things up as much as possible. Lucky for me, Peanut loves it too! He’s been flowering, really showing interest in learning letter sounds and even starting to write them on his own.

Montessori Language for Kindergarteners

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To be honest, we started working on this months ago. You can see how we started learning the ABCs in this post here.

So, when I started homeschooling more officially, I knew Peanut would be into it. Here’s what I included to get started:

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Montessori Geography for Kindergarteners: Part 2 in a Series About How to Teach Your Child at Home

Montessori geography for kindergarteners is such fun! Kids love the hands-on approach to learning about their world. Montessori designed the primary or preschool program to help answer children’s questions about the world we live in.

Quick note – this is part 2 in a series about how to begin Montessori Homeschooling. Click here to see part 1!

Montessori Geography for Kindergarteners

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Peanut has really enjoyed our first geography lessons. What did we start with?

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How to Start Montessori Homeschooling: Part 1 in a Series About How to Teach Your Child at Home

We are in week two of Montessori Homeschooling! It’s the beginning of what will surely be an amazing journey. As I’m just getting started, all of the preparation is fresh in my mind.

I taught for several years in a primary Montessori classroom and still found it hard to put together the materials I wanted to use to start homeschooling with Peanut (age 4 – born in January)! So, I decided to put together a series about how to teach your child at home, with a focus on how to start Montessori homeschooling, in hopes to help others as they begin.

I’m a member of a few Montessori groups on facebook, and it seems common for people to worry about which materials to purchase or make, how to set up the classroom and what to start with. It makes sense. After all, these seem to be the main tools for learning. I, like many homeschoolers, started by thinking about what to use in our classroom space and it seemed like I needed all of the Primary Montessori materials at once. I wanted the pink tower, brown stair, sandpaper letters, spindle boxes, geography puzzles, zoology puzzles and much, much more!

Quickly, I realized that this wish list wouldn’t be possible financially or practically (we live in Guatemala…no online shopping here!). But, I also started to realize that it’s actually not necessary either.

Start Montessori Homeschooling by Following Your Child

Before I get into what I decided to include in our homeschooling beginnings, I want to say that as a Montessori teacher I LOVE and see value in all Montessori materials. I took a less traditional approach when putting our classroom together because I believe it’s more important to follow the philosophy than it is to provide all of the materials.

How to Start Montessori Homeschooling- Part 1 in a Series About How to Teach Your Child at Home

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DIY Stamps for Kids: Ideal for Busy Bags and Quiet Time

Kids love stamps. There’s something so satisfying about creating a perfect drawing on paper using stamps. They can be combined to create something fantastic and unique. Somehow, kids never grow bored using stamps.

It’s hard to find regular old stamps around here (in Guatemala). Most of them are made for teachers and have something like “Excelente!” written on them. So, I decided to put together some DIY stamps for kids…specifically for Peanut with some of his favorite things. I put them together for his birthday. He was thrilled!

DIY Stamps for Kids - Ideal for Busy Bags and Quiet Time (1)

These DIY stamps for kids are ideal for throwing into a busy bag for church, a meeting or long car ride. You could also break them out when you need a bit of quiet time at home. Peanut loved getting these out while his sister was napping – which was perfect timing. He was quietly busy, and his sister didn’t get in his way trying to destroy  play with them as well.

How did I do it?

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