Regardless of how many toys you keep out for your children, or how well they play together, or how creative they are, sometimes they will get ‘bored’. This week the boys and I made an Idea Jar. Some people call it a Boredom Jar. I’ve heard this idea before but saw it again last month on the LivingWellSpendingLess.com blog. I printed out the free printable they provided and cut out the ones we thought we would do and we wrote some of our own. It took me a couple weeks to print them, order the tongue depressors and find a day to cut them out, but we did a ‘no screens’ day and my boys helped me cut and glue, and then picked a stick as soon as they were dry enough to put in the jar. They still rejected a few ideas and then did a scavenger hunt.
While we were working on it, they asked me questions and I explained things like a time capsule, which I think is an awesome idea, and no-bake cookies – they were intrigued by the idea of cookies they could make without my help.
This was one those times that I had to intentionally let go of the goal of making the sticks perfect and instead let the boys help. It was more important for them to feel ownership and share the excitement of the idea. And that is so important. I need for them to internalize these ideas and embrace the process with me. They’ve been great, I think they’re at a good age for it. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that they haven’t minded me getting rid of some toys. I said it meant we’d spend less time cleaning, and they are in favor of anything that makes me less stressed and gives me more time with them.
So far I’ve noticed the jar is more in demand when screens are off-limit, because screen time has become their go-to when they tire of whatever activity they were doing together. I’m planning to slowly increase the amount of time that is ‘no screens’ and I’m hopeful that we’ll see new levels of creativity as we use resources like the Idea Jar to help us move toward a less cluttered, more creative, less screens, more intentional life.