Looking for things to do with the kids this summer? In the UK you have to have a range of options that cover all weather eventualities, as the past weekend showed.
It’s all too easy to rely on tv and computer games, but a website called Unbored.net provides creative ideas for everything your children could ever want to do and is suitable for all ages and all types of personality.
It span out of the book Unbored: the essential field guide to serious fun by Joshua Glenn, co-founder of several websites, designer Tony Leone and writer and editor Elizabeth Foy Larsen. That book covered everything from farting games to how to interview and how to turn your home into a spa to how to make blogs or computer games and how to disguise yourself. There was stuff for the kitchen, for the garden and for camping and adventure.
Here’s a selection of some of the ideas:
– create your own games. This includes video games using free or cheap online tools like YoYo Games’ GamesMaker or more complex ones which require the kids to learn Java or ActionScript. But the section also covers board games. The book talks through all the steps, with the planning stages being key, and suggests places to go to find a game-making community, such as ludumdare.com.
– writing with invisible ink using lemon juice and a cotton bud, and disguising every aspect of yourself, including your walk, voice and handwriting.
– making iced solar tea using no electricity, just the power of the sun.
– training your grown-up to ‘save the planet’
– making foodie face masks using fruit, oats and honey, flannels, a hairband and a towel
– making a no-sew stuffed animal using a sock, hairband, uncooked rice, glue and sellotape.
– building an obstacle course in the garden.
– doing garden science and making seed grenades for use in guerrilla gardening
There’s an emphasis on creativity and the follow-up book UNBORED Games, released at the end of 2014, continues in a similar vein. It focuses on the activities children do for pure fun and includes more than seventy games, plus many more recommendations and they cover the full range of games, from old-fashioned favourites like jump rope, to today’s high-tech games. The games include: intricate clapping games, bike rodeo, Google Earth challenges, coin hockey, croquet golf, capture the flag and the best apps to play with grandparents. It also includes interviews with game designers and encourages children to make up their own games or adapt them in accordance with their own interests.
Later in the year, there will be another book, UNBORED Adventure, whose aim is to encourage children to break out of their “techno-passivity” and explore the world around them. It will cover everything from camouflage techniques, survival skills and cloudspotting advice to instructions on how to build an upcycled kite or raft to using apps to navigate and explore. The authors want to help children become more independent and resilient, to solve problems and ask questions and to engage with both their community and natural environment.
The website includes a selection of some of the activities from the books for free. There are kitchen experiments, suggestions for travel with kids and tips on how to build and video an obstacle course. Try them out here.