Mom I’m Bored Activity Cards: Free Download

It doesn’t take long for my children to tell me they’re bored, especially during the summer.

85 Activities to keep the kids from saying "Mom I'm bored" this summer. Boredom busters.

When I’m involved in a project I often fall back on letting the kids play a computer game or watch a movie. While an occasional movie or computer game isn’t a bad thing, it can quickly become the default activity in our home and I’d rather my kids do something else.

Recently I was inspired by Marcia Sommerville’s idea of an activity jar to help cure the boredom blues.

With the help of my kids, I came up with 85 fun kid friendly activities. These activity cards can be printed on business card sheets (Avery 5371) or you can print them on card stock and cut them out yourself.

The activity cards are easy to use. Just cut out the cards and place them in a jar, basket or box. When your kids are bored ask them to pick a card from the jar.

The card they pick is their activity for the next 30 minutes!

I’m sharing my activity cards with you. When you download the activity card file you’ll get 85 activity cards along with 15 blank cards so you can create cards specific to your family. There are indoor and outdoor activities so it might be helpful to use two jars or color code the cards so your kids don’t pick an outdoor activity on a rainy day.

See all of The Happy Housewife’s Free Homeschool Printables here.

Right click on this summer activity cards link to save and download the cards directly to your computer. Click directly on the link if you want to open the file in a new window.



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  1. Heather says:

    I am a little afraid to ask, but what is “cornhole”?

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      It is the game where you toss bean bags (filled with corn) into a board with a hole in the middle. 🙂 You play it outside.

      • I was going to ask the same thing. 🙂

        • Can’t believe you haven’t heard of cornhole. I have been told it’s an Indiana game. It is quite addicting as well as an excellent project for kids to sew the bags and use power tools (with supervision of course) to make the boards. Not to mention getting to decorate the boards into whatever theme your family likes. My church even has a set.

    • A corn hole does sound pretty weird! But it is a game were you have a piece of wood with a hole in it and you toss a bean bag into the hole.

    • Heather says:

      aka bean bag toss

    • Here in central Illinois we call it “bags”. Very addicting, nice game to play when bored! =)

    • Sarah D. says:

      Love the cornhole question! I grew up in VT with my parents being from upstate NY and northwest OH. Never heard of cornhole ’til I met my southeastern IN husband and moved down here. You need at least one (most people have two to throw back and forth into, like playing horseshoes) inclined board with a hole in it and dried corn filled bean bags. Just toss the bags at the board and try to get it in the hole! Kids love it. =)

      Thanks for the “I’m bored” cards to download! =)

  2. Kathy H says:

    The card I like best says, “Call Grandma.”

  3. I chuckled when I read the above comment because when I first moved to NC I had never heard of it either and was a little unsure of what it might be…thinking the worst. lol. CA doesn’t do the cornhole thing much but, now living here I have grown very fond of it!! THis is the greatest idea ever to offer this to families! Thank you!

    • Hi all – I am from South Africa.
      I have downloaded these cards and am looking forward to trying this out with the kids.
      I know the game Cornhole – although that is not the name we use – it is very fun.
      My kids are going to be so chuffed with me 🙂

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  5. Are those their bored faces up there? You have bored princess? That picture is too funny! Thanks Toni! I’m going to give this a go.

  6. Heather says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your printable list with us! This is my first time visiting your blog. I will definitely add you to my reader. Enjoy your summer!

  7. Great idea, I’m saving for later!!!

  8. Awesome! I love this! I did something similiar a couple of years back with rewards. But this is PERFECT for the summer. Thanks so much!

  9. I love this!!! Thank you so much for sharing this! What a fun idea.

  10. Thanks for sharing your cards! I created a bored bucket for my kids and this helps with more ideas!

  11. I am super glad one of my friends shared this link on Facebook. I am totally going to try this with my kids! Thanks!!

  12. I love this!!! Thanks for sharing! We’ll be making one tomorrow! My son is always “born” LOL 🙂

  13. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much! I just made mine in less than 10 minutes! Awesomeness!

  14. I LOVE love LOVE this idea! I was wondering if you minded me bookmarking it on my website. I am trying to come up with a database full of awesome ideas that parents and teachers can use to educate children. While this is not necessarily related to education, I imagine it could be (in some cases). Let me know if it is alright to include a bookmark. Also, if you become a member, and contribute (this bookmark would count), you can earn guaranteed free membership to our site. If and when I get enough traffic, you would also earn Google Ad revenue. Thanks for the idea. I’ll at least be using it at home with my kiddos : ).

  15. MoneySavingMom sent me here…thanks so much for these cards! My kids have only been out of school for 3 days and already the “I’m bored”” whining has started. I was thinking of making a jar but didn’t have time to think up and print out cards myself…thanks again!

  16. Natasha says:

    I love this idea. The only thing I will be changing is about half of my cards will be chores. If the kids say they are bored, they will have to gamble and maybe decide they aren’t really bored after all 😉

    • Haha! Exactly. My kids know that the “b” word is practically a swear word around here. They often repeat my refrain, “Bored people are boring”, and they know if they complain of boredom they’ll get a chore assignment. I’m mean 🙂

      • Sharalyn says:

        Yep–When my son complains of being “bored”, I give him a choice of cleaning up the playroom (which is perpetually a mess), cleaning his room (there’s usually *something* to pick up in there), or not telling me he’s bored. 😉 9/10 times, he suddenly can find all kinds of things to do!

        • Saartje says:

          I also think it’s best to let kids figure out what to do by themselves. I’m their mum, not a 24/7 entertainment center! When they’re bored, I tell them to help me with whatever I’m doing, or go outside.

    • Natasha, I love it! lol

    • Natasha, I love the half and half idea! I think they would take the chance a few times and then maybe decide it’s not such a good idea to be “bored”… lol

  17. Thanks for the great ideas!! I have to admit, the “I’m bored” phrase is my single most dreaded one of my days. lol. I really appreciate the thought and time that went into this. I’m going to put a post on my Canadian homeschool website to link to here for my readers – this is an important tool to share! 😀

  18. I used your idea/printables to create a To-Do Jar for my son. Here’s my post on it (giving you credit, of course!). Thanks for the great inspiration!

  19. Any chance I could talk to the author of this post about writing some curriculum materials for

  20. We’ve had a prayer jar & chore jar before but never an “I’m Bored” jar. GREAT idea!!!

  21. Thanks! this is great, I am going to make them for the kids I nanny. Seems like an easy way to keep kids entertained, even the process of picking a new activity will help shake boredom =)

  22. What a great idea! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  23. My boys made up their own box of summer activities last year to help them battle boredom. I will add some of these to their list. But you definitely need to include chores. Moms shouldn’t have to do all the work!

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      I didn’t add chores because chores are something my children do every day, not just when they are bored. 🙂 We use Motivated Moms to track chores and everyone takes daily assignments.

    • I’m with Chris! 🙂 We’ve done it w/chores before- but never with fun stuff. Great idea, Toni. Thanks!

  24. Great idea! Thanks! I needed this!!

  25. Thank you! We have 2 boys (4 & 1 1/2) so here’s a few extra ideas on how we customized it for us. 1. Make Dinner- mixing bowl, wooden spoons, felt play food, etc. 2. Water Glitter Bag- ziploc bag filled partially with water; add glitter, foam shapes, & random objects; squeeze out excess air. They can make the objects swirl around as they play with the bag. 3. Lunch Bag Puppets. 4. What is it? – put a mystery item in a lunch bag. Without looking they can use their hand to try to guess the object. 5. Balls in a Bowl- tossing game. 6. Make a Hat- paper plate, cut out circle, decorate brim. 6. Animal Train- use empty cardboard box. I used an empty strawberry container, cut lid off then used yarn to connect the cars. 7. Babygate Volleyball- put up a babygate in a hallway, give them a beach ball to toss. OR- put a babygate a foot from a bedroom door, close the door. 4yr old threw a beachball so it would bounce back, 1 1/2 yr old just placed other balls over gate & reached under to get the ball.

    • Another idea- color code your activities. Yellow can be for outside, blue for kids only, green for everybody, etc. That way if I need to get stuff done I can put only blue activities in the jar or if it’s too hot outside I can remove the yellow.

  26. This is a GREAT list!!! Thank you!

  27. I love this idea!

  28. This is a great idea! I’ve got a bunch of projects I’m working on this summer (growing a baby due in August, preparing for a move in September and all things related to such events!), so I put together “Summer School” for my kids. It all requires very little from me (so I can rest/work on projects), but will keep the kids busy all summer! I’ve set some educational goals (with incentives to keep them going), and planned simple activities and crafts to keep all six kids learning, active and having fun!

  29. Need one for teens!

  30. Tracy Richardson says:

    I may be the meanest mom to speak yet, but during the summer, we don’t completely forego the schoolwork. I am a homeschool mom, and in order to avoid the “summer brain drain”, we do an hour of schoolwork and at least a half hour of reading each day. This keeps them sharp and at least fills some of our time. Love the ideas posted on here for boredom busters, though.

  31. What a great idea! I keep thinking this is something I’ll do when the kids get a little older – but I could definitely do it now too! No need to wait 🙂 I’ll have to come up with a list suitable for their age. Come over to It’s Playtime and link this up! Definitely love these ways to play!

  32. Thank you! I can’t wait to start using the Mommy I’m Bored Jar! What a wonderful idea!

  33. I love this and we will be making it today. Thank you for the printables. I have a son who uses the “B” word so much I outlawed it so he now says “I am Plank” the curse of a smart creative kid with a good sense of humor.

  34. I love this idea. I strongly believe in creating new ideas for children to use their brain instead of playing video games or watching tv when they are bored. Although I do not have children yet I will remember this one the first time I hear my child say, “Im bored mom.”

  35. Toni,

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I’ll be sharing this with my two boys for certain this summer!

    I also loved everyone’s suggestions and comments about what else to add — especially customizing it for boys (thanks Alison!).

    Have a beautiful day!

  36. Do you ever have kids just say that they are Bored, just so that they can pick an activity?

  37. Thanks for sharing this great list! And thanks for adding the paper cutter guide lines =)

  38. Thank you for sharing your list! I’m making a bored jar right now. 🙂


  1. […] “Mother of the Year” award with that one.  However, I might win it with this idea from The Happy Housewife. There are a few blank cards included so you can make up your own ideas.  Maybe I can still […]

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