75 Things to Do When Bored

Turn ho-hum moments into opportunities to learn a new skill, have fun with friends, head out on an adventure or check something off your bucket list. Keep this list at the ready when you have a few hours or a day open on your calendar. Many of these ideas are perfect for families to make the most of their downtime together.

Cross off the items you have tried and note the details so you'll remember what you learned for next time!

  1. Indoor Garden - Plant fresh mint, basil, dill and thyme in recycled to-go cups or colorful pots. Meals will be extra special with a dash of flavor from your own mini garden. 
  2. Cook Ahead Meals - Prepare for busy days ahead and spend the afternoon baking and freezing family favorites like lasagna and chicken noodle soup. 
  3. Book Swap - Go through old or well-loved books and trade them with friends and neighbors. 
  4. Produce a Play - Put on a full production complete with scripts, costumes and lighting. Find inspiration from a favorite story or come up with your own plot.
  5. Take a Nature Walk - Head outside and make a list of all the creatures that call your neighborhood home. 
  6. New Board Game - It's your turn to make the rules! Design the pieces, spread out the game board and teach everyone how to play. 
  7. Twister - Get your family members together and bend, stretch and reach your way to victory.
  8. Obstacle Course - Test your speed and agility with an indoor or outdoor obstacle course. Use items around the house like pool noodles, wood beams and chalk to make a fun and challenging course.
  9. Write Notes - Spend a leisurely afternoon writing words of encouragement to friends and family and let them know you've been thinking about them.
  10. Lemonade Stand - Keep the neighborhood hydrated and happy with cups of cold lemony goodness. 
  11. Take a Hike - Fill a backpack with water, snacks and bug spray and hit the trail. Head to a nearby nature preserve or explore wooded areas close to home. 
  12. Learn A New Skill - Challenge yourself to learn something new by the end of the day. Teach yourself to juggle, say "hello" in 10 languages or tie a nautical knot.
  13. Compile a Photo Album - Print pictures from your phone or computer and put them together in a decorative album.
  14. Mixtape - Kick it old school and jam to all your favorite tunes. Use an app to create the ultimate playlists and share them with friends and family.
  15. Set Goals - Spend an afternoon writing a list of long- and short-term goals. Hang them in a prominent place to remind you and save them in your phone.
  16. Create a Crossword - Make a personalized crossword puzzle using paper and pencil or an app.
  17. Bird Buddies - Hang bird feeders outside your home and welcome winged friends all year long. Take pictures of the colorful visitors and learn more about them. 
  18. Volunteer - Donate your extra time to help your community. Do some research on local organizations that may need help on short notice and give them a call if you find yourself with a few hours to spare.
  19. Jigsaw Puzzle - Clear off the dining room table and start a puzzle. Set the timer and see how long it takes to put it together. 
  20. Finance Matters - Use downtime to learn how to balance a checkbook or make a budget. Ask someone knowledgeable for help or find online resources and embrace getting smart about money. 
  21. Family Movie Night - Let everyone choose a movie then draw names to see who goes first. Ask everyone for a snack idea and serve a selection of favorites. 
  22. Water Balloon Fight - Bust boredom and beat the heat with a water balloon fight. Surprise someone with a pop of cool or divide into teams and ready, aim…throw. 
  23. Clean Your Closet - Clear out no longer used clothes, shoes and accessories and make room for next season. Sell items online for extra cash or donate to a family in need or charitable organization. 
  24. Art Show - Create works of art using mediums like paint, colored pencils, clay, construction paper, etc. Design your masterpiece then host an art show. 
  25. Alternate Ending - Take a favorite book, poem or movie and rewrite the ending. 
  26. Sidewalk Chalk - Draw colorful pictures and words of encouragement on driveways or sidewalks.
  27. Photo Collage - Print your favorite photos and make a collage. Once you get the hang of it, design one for each member of your family. 
  28. Scavenger Hunt - Divide into teams and list items the opposing team must find in your neighborhood, office park or wherever you decide to plan your hunt. The first team to bring back the loot or photographic proof wins. 
  29. Paper Airplanes- Keep folding until you have designed the ultimate paper airplane. Perfect for rainy or cold days!
  30. Clouds Watching - Take a blanket outdoors and watch the clouds go by. See how many shapes you can find in the sky.
  31. Recipe Challenge - Grab a cookbook and quickly turn to a page without looking. Whatever recipe you see is what you are having for dinner. Good luck!
  32. Origami - Learn the art of making happy shapes out of paper. Gift them to friends or start a collection.
  33. Neighborhood Parks - Take off to a park and become a kid again. Swing, climb, run and laugh until your heart's content. 
  34. Make a Movie - All you need for your film debut is a smartphone and time. Script a story or make a documentary about your life.
  35. Pet Tricks - Teach your four-pawed BFF how to put toys away, retrieve something from the refrigerator or bring clothes to the laundry basket.
  36. Podcast - Get inspired by an educational or inspirational topic. Ask friends for recommendations if you aren't sure where to start. 
  37. Gourmet Meal - Treat the family to a delicious meal made from scratch. Check out cooking shows for inspiration!
  38. Flower Arrangement - Pick beautiful buds from your garden or purchase a few different varieties of flowers from the store. Arrange a bouquet to bring beauty to your house or give away.
  39. Go On a Picnic- A picnic complete with your favorite foods is perfect for a sunny day outside or rainy afternoon indoors. 
  40. FamilyHistory - Ask your grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles about what life was like growing up, what they liked to do as kids and advice for the next generation. Record the interview or take notes. You'll be glad you did!
  41. Spa Day - Party of one or an afternoon with your besties - plan a day dedicated to self-pampering with facials, nail care and hair treatments. 
  42. Go Camping - Find the tent, pack marshmallows and head out on an adventure. Surprise everyone with a quick overnight trip to a nearby campground or stay close to home with a backyard campout.
  43. Family Dance - Get the crew together and make up a dance routine. You'll be a hit at the next family event. One, two, three, four….everybody get on the floor. 
  44. Happy Unbirthday - Birthdays come around once a year, which leaves 364 days to throw an unbirthday party. Bake a cake, make handmade gifts and play games to celebrate.
  45. Write a Letter - Put pen to paper and send a note to a relative or friend telling them what you've been up to and ask about their latest news. Include a recent family photo or drawing from the kids. 
  46. Take a Nap - Set up a hammock under the trees or curl up on the couch for some much-needed shut eye. 
  47. Blow Bubbles - Who doesn't love bubbles? Make your own with dish soap or stop by the discount store and spend the afternoon blowing round, soapy happiness. 
  48. Write a Song - Put creativity to the test and write your very own song. Find a friend who plays an instrument and put it to music. 
  49. Holiday Shopping - Gift giving season will be here before you know it! Get a jump on your list and visit locally owned shops or browse online to find the perfect gift.
  50. Support the Arts - Explore a local museum, go to the ballet, see a musical matinee or try the opera!
  51. Stargaze - Whittle away the hours watching the stars. Use a book or an app to identify all the constellations you see. 
  52. Tea Party - Turn a blah afternoon into something special with a proper tea party. Bake sweet treats, boil up some tea and put on a fancy outfit.
  53. Time Capsule - Ask each family member to find an item to donate to the capsule then bury it in the backyard or place it in a storage area. Include a letter introducing the family and share the latest headlines.
  54. Indoor Bowling - If you've got a floor, you have all you need for indoor bowling. Line up cups, soda cans or paper towel rolls and take aim with a ball or bag of frozen veggies.
  55. Fashion Show - Have fun putting together new outfits then strut your stuff down the runway. 
  56. Dance Off - Need a quick cure for the blahs? Turn up the music and challenge your friends to a dance off.
  57. Flashlight Tag - Make the night your playground with a round of flashlight tag. You're it!
  58. Dominos- Set up an elaborate maze of dominos then knock it down. Find inspiration online and see what you can do!
  59. Squirt Guns - Pass out the squirt guns for the ultimate way to stay cool and have fun on a hot afternoon.
  60. Paint Rocks - Clean and dry rocks then paint them with bright colors or inspirational messages. Leave the rocks around the neighborhood for people to enjoy. 
  61. Puppet Show - Tell a favorite story or make up a new one using well-loved socks that have transformed into favorite characters.
  62. Ride a Bike - Put the pedal to the metal and take off in search of an adventure. Challenge yourself to use only two-wheel transportation for an entire day. 
  63. Clean a Stream - Collect trash along streams and riverbanks and help your hometown stay beautiful. 
  64. Beauty Shop - Gather ribbons, barrettes and hair ties and see what new styles you can create. Watch instructional videos to get you started. 
  65. Bracelets - Head to your local craft store and pick up some beads, string and letters. Put together messages of love and inspiration to give to friends and family.
  66. Play Mad Lib - Fill in the blanks and cue the laughter. Find games online or make your own for the ultimate side-splitting afternoon. 
  67. Greeting Cards - Be prepared for the next birthday, graduation or holiday and design beautiful homemade greeting cards to have ready to go. 
  68. Scrapbooking - Find a home for all your pictures, ticket stubs, maps and other treasures in a series of scrapbooks. 
  69. Break a World Record - Dig into the world record books and see if there are any you would like to try to break.
  70. Take a Personality Quiz - Explore personality quizzes online - you might find out what famous person you were in a previous life or which dog breed best describes you!
  71. Visit the Library - Your local library is filled with boredom fighters! Find a new book, check out a magazine, join story time or see what programs are offered. 
  72. Geocaching - All you need is a phone, geocaching app and a few hours to get hooked on this popular game you can play almost anywhere. 
  73. Create a Vision Board - Pin pictures to a board to illustrate where you would like to travel, experiences you want to have and career goals you hope to achieve.
  74. Plan a Road Trip - Even if you aren't going anywhere right now, it doesn't hurt to plot your next big adventure. Research where you want to go and what you will do once you get there.
  75. Rearrange a Room - You don't need new furniture for a room refresh! Take furniture out of one room then start putting it back in a new way. This is also a great time to declutter and do some deep cleaning.
Transform boring afternoons into great memories with these ideas and your own. These suggestions are just the start!

Courtney McLaughlin is a freelance writer in Charlotte, N.C. She gratefully shares her life, home and heart with her daughter and their dog.