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YOUR KIDS Beating Boredom How to put the happy in your kids’ holidays.


and art supplies. Van’t Hul recom- mends starting with some basic art supplies — paint, markers and paper — and adding some fun items like googly eyes and feathers. “It doesn’t have to be expensive at all,” she says. “There is lots of art that can be done with things you have around the house.” Among her favorites: home- made play dough, which uses simple ingredients like flour and salt. Just be sure to research recipes ahead of time. Glenn, meanwhile, recommends


“curating” your kids’ closets and shelves. Before the holidays hit, go through their books, games and toys, putting away things they’re tired of and pulling out things that might interest them now. “It’s kind of like being a librarian,” he says. “You want to set out a very attractive array of things and have the kids find their way to them, instead of forcing them on the kids.”


AS NOVEMBER SLIDES into December, a raft of religious and cultural celebrations await, including Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the International Day of Boredom. OK, boredom doesn’t have its own holiday, but maybe it should. After all, it’s the rare kid who doesn’t complain about being bored during long breaks from school. So what should you do when


you hear “I’m bored”? To find out, Scouting talked with two experts: Josh Glenn, co-author of Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun (Bloomsbury USA, 2012) and Jean Van’t Hul, author of The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity (Roost Books, 2013) and host of the Artful Parent blog (artfulparent.com).


18 S COUTING ¿ NOVEMBER•DECEMBER 2014


A Little Boredom Is OK Van’t Hul and Glenn come at the boredom problem from slightly dif- ferent perspectives — she’s artsy; he’s eclectic — but they agree on one thing: Boredom is not all bad. “If you just let kids be bored for a little bit, they will soon find their own groove and may be more likely to use their imagination and get creative,” Van’t Hul says. In fact, Glenn says, “Boredom is the seed ground for awesome, imaginative, creative play. It’s OK as long as you’re also helping build the resources so they can unbore themselves.”


Preparation Is Essential Providing resources means planning ahead. Instead of waiting for boredom to strike, stock up on ideas, activities


The Journey Is the Reward While some boredom-busters can be educational, pure fun is OK, too. Even when his two sons were approaching their teen years, Glenn held on to games and picture books they’d enjoyed years earlier. “No matter how old you get, you still like to look at the things you enjoyed when you were younger,” he says. (He did balance those little-kid attractions with books and games that would cause his boys to stretch a bit.) With art projects, Van’t Hul rec-


ommends focusing on the process, not the product. In other words, don’t


FIND MORE parenting articles at scoutingmagazine.org/yourkids.


MICHAEL BYERS


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