No school? No worries.

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That time of year, when the kids are out of school for almost anything, has rolled around again. Whether it’s a day off to recover from a seasonal illness, a school-planned break or a snow day, you find yourself faced with the same dilemma.

What do you DO?

When declarations of “I’m bored” start to surface and you’ve said your final, “Read a book,” it may be time to find more creative alternatives. If you’re anything like me, though, you are ill-prepared for such moments.

Last week, when our daughter was out of school, she helped me come up with a things-to-do list. Here were some of her suggestions, each with a bit of commentary from me.

  • Read a book. (We already covered this one. It only works for so long before it’s time to accept defeat and move on to something else.)
  • Bake. A cake. Cookies. Whatever. Do it from scratch – you know, with real flour and sugar and stuff. (A word to the wise, if you’re looking for something to take up some time, cookies take the longest.)
  • Play a card or board game. Dig out the Uno deck. Dust off Clue or Monopoly or Life. Check under the couch cushions for the missing Jenga pieces. Then, let the battle(s) begin!

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  • Coloring (arts and crafts). It’s not just for kids anymore. Check out Crayola.com for coloring pages that will please all ages. It won’t take long to get past the “this is for babies” grumbles and soon everyone will be creating their next masterpiece.
  • Science experiments. Some of these may require the assistance of the great outdoors, unless, of course, you don’t mind two liters of soda exploding all over your kitchen when the Mentos is dropped into the bottle.
  • Train your dog to _______. You’ll have to fill in the blank here. Just make sure you have plenty of treats available – for both the dog and the trainer(s).

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  • Give your dog a bath. Depending on the new trick that the dog just learned, this may actually be necessary. And, like the aforementioned science experiments, may require the assistance of the great outdoors.
  • Rake all the leaves in your yard into one big pile and then jump in them. Or move them to the fire pit for a late-night bonfire. Either way, you’ll have some fun AND stay productive.
  • Go for a nature hike. (I’ve got nothin’ for this one.)
  • Write a short story. You know, about how one day you were so bored your mom told you to write a short story. So, you did.
  • Make a snowman. He doesn’t have to be constructed of snow. There are plenty of ways to make snowmen with not a flake of snow on the ground. Plastic cups, paper, marshmallows … the trick here is how creative you can be without snow.

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  • Create a list of all the things you can do when the kids are out of school. Hey, it worked for me and we had fun brainstorming together.