The Bored Jar – Tip for Moms

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The Bored Jar for Moms
Wellness Mama » Blog » Motherhood » The Bored Jar – Tip for Moms

At our house, boredom is not allowed and is never an excuse to watch TV or complain. My children know all too well that complaining “Mom, I’m bored,” is a fast way to get assigned an extra chore or two.

Recently, while visiting a friend, I saw an intriguing system she used to help encourage imagination, cleaning skills and healthy habits in her children. She called it “The Bored Jar” and I asked her if I could borrow her system and share it because it works so well.

The Bored Jar

The basic idea of a “Bored Jar” is a jar, box or bucket of some kind filled with ideas of chores & activities that children can do if they complain of boredom.

At my friend’s suggestion, I created this as something to send my children to if they got bored, but they ended up loving it. In fact, they call it “the fun jar” and even ask on occasion if they can pick out something to do.

I filled our jar with wooden tokens that I had written activities, exercises and chores on. I made sure to have a good mixture of things that they enjoy doing and chores that they don’t enjoy as much so they’d be willing to pick something. I also found that the younger kids typically want to tag along with the older kids’ jobs so it has been a good way to foster teamwork.

The chores in the jar are either above and beyond their normal chores or chores that can be done more than once per day (like sweeping the kitchen floor- at least at our house!)

Bored Jar Activity Ideas

The activities will vary by your family’s needs, but here are some ideas from our jar:

  • Clean the hall bathroom
  • Wipe down all downstairs door frames with a microfiber
  • Do 50 jumping jacks
  • Write a note to a friend
  • Do 30 squats
  • Rearrange and re-fold a dresser drawer
  • Do 10 handstands
  • Draw a picture
  • Water the plants
  • Read for 10 minutes (or more)
  • 35 wall balls
  • Make a treasure hunt for a sibling
  • Write a story
  • Run around the yard 5 times
  • Build a blanket fort
  • Make a list of something in the house/yard that starts with each letter of the alphabet
  • Vacuum upstairs
  • Vacuum downstairs
  • Sweep the kitchen (5 of these in the jar)
  • Mop the kitchen
  • Collect broken crayons to re-melt in silicon molds
  • Jump on the rebounder for 10 minutes
  • 10 minute dance party!
  • Do a puzzle
  • 25 cartwheels
  • Play a board game
  • Climb the inside rope
  • Wash a load of laundry
  • Fold a load of laundry
  • Clean upstairs bathroom
  • Invent a new game
  • Paint
  • Play music
  • Clean all the mirrors in the house
  • Dust house
  • Have a picnic
  • Draw a picture of your family
  • Load dishwasher
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Do 40 Pushups
  • Climb the rope 4 times
  • Write a note to an extended family member
  • Watch an educational movie (the one they always hope to get)
  • Make paper airplanes
  • Find a new recipe to cook in a cookbook
  • Alphabetize books
  • Sweep garage
  • 10 pull-ups
  • Play hide and seek (inside or outside)
  • Nerf gun war!
  • Run up and down the stairs 5 times

How to Make a Bored Jar

Really any kind of container could be used for a bored jar and even something as simple as paper strips could be used inside.

I know how rough my kids are on things, so I opted for these wooden disks and a heavy duty glass jar that I picked up at a thrift store. My friend used popsicle sticks in a metal bucket.

I just wrote the activities on the wooden coins and put them in the jar. The Bored Jar now sits on a shelf in our living room and gets used daily.

What do your children do when they are bored? What activities would you add to the jar?

The Bored Jar is a fun way to give your children activities and chores when they get bored. Made with a jar or bucket and activities written on items inside.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


45 responses to “The Bored Jar – Tip for Moms”

  1. Mary Avatar

    Just found this and I’m going to do it with my kids. My little ones and teenagers have days when they are bored or don’t know what too do. This will give them lots of choices and maybe my house can be cleaner. Thanks for the great idea.

  2. Tee Bone Avatar
    Tee Bone

    What are wall balls? Totally sharing this with my friends that have kids! 🙂

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      It is basically where you hold a basketball or larger ball (or often a weighted medicine ball), and squat down about 6 inches from a wall. As you stand from the squat, you throw the ball up and bounce it off the wall. As the ball falls, you catch it and go into another squat, etc

  3. Mariana Avatar

    I am totally gonna save this for when my daughter is older. She’s 18 months now, but there will be days, I know!

  4. TIFFANY Avatar


  5. Anita Avatar

    I Love this idea.
    Can I share and translate the idea on my blog into German?
    Kind regards

  6. Isabelle Avatar

    This is awesome! My kids are still too young for this, but I will keep it in mind… or simply use it on my BIG kid of 36!!!

  7. Helen Avatar

    i love this idea; my son is 7 and has recently started the ‘I’m bored’ mantra, personally I believe that it’s because he has too much he can do but doesn’t know what to do (he always had this problem at pre-school and in reception at school) so this jar would be a great idea.
    I’m going to go and work one out now. Thank you to you and your friend for the idea.

  8. Irene Avatar

    Lol! This reminds me of how when I was a kid and when I would tell my mother I was bored she would always say that she had plenty of work for me to do

  9. Cathy Avatar

    This is also a great system for a “Bicker Box”, as I have been meaning to start here for quite some time. In fact, I think I’ll finally sit down and do that right now! Thanks!

  10. jen Avatar

    this is a great idea. i’m going to do this (for myself, 48 years old, no kids). there are so many big and little things on my ever-growing to-do list. usually i can’t face it and wind up not doing anything. this breaks the list down into manageable chunks. baby steps make a difference.


  11. Claire Berg Avatar
    Claire Berg

    Great idea, but I might use it a bit differently. When I was a kid and spent every single second that I could reading (there is no boredom when one is inside and amazing story),, I could have used this a “finish one of these random tasks before you can go read for an hour.

    I can see this could work for me now too!

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