4C, 4 Momma, 4D, 4A, and 4B

4C, 4 Momma, 4D, 4A, and 4B
Most of the Four me (and you) fam

Monday, May 28, 2012

"Mommy's guide to summer survival," part 4: creating a "bored" bucket

I tried this idea last summer. I scoured the internet and found a list of cute "I'm bored" to-dos for the cherubs. Put them all inside a cute bucket. Stashed bucket on top of fridge. Kids broke into it the very first day. The first one they pulled about did me in; took me FORTY FIVE minutes to track down and set up all supplies. Thereafter, 4B pulled one after another, practically, until they were all gone. Lasted a week.

Needless to say, we learned a LOT about what this family needs out of a "bored" bucket.

This year, I scoured Pinterest and the web for lists of "bored" bucket content, ideas for making the bucket, and instructions for use. Found plenty for all but the latter. Decided to put together my own in a way that actually allows it to serve its purpose, which, so that we're all clear, is to keep them out of my hair! Together-time is something these guys and I have LOTS of; it's alone time that I'm after, frankly.

I also want it to be something that they enjoy. Summer is for fun, not chores! I don't feel the need to punish them when they're bored; I do feel the need to help them (minimally) get back on track to having their OWN fun when they need it. Your goals may be different; you'll tailor this to serve your own family's needs, of course.

So, without further ado, I give you a tutorial and printable list to create your very own BORED BUCKET!

4Family's summer "bored bucket" for 2012.

The bucket itself
The mechanics of actually making the physical bucket are fairly simple. I used a re-purposed Tupperware container I inherited from a friend, printed out this template (from HomeSpun Threads), cut and backed with scrapbooking paper, affixed with packing tape.

You can make yours as fancy or as simple as you like. The bucket itself is not really all that important. In fact, the less cute you make it, hopefully the less often they'll want to use it, right?

I needed mine to be unbreakable. The absolute LAST thing I need is broken glass with a barefoot toddler and another mess to clean up. Right? Right.

Setting guidelines for bucket usage
You'll see that I attached "rules" to the outside of our bucket. You may not want or need rules; rules, if you use them, will set the parameters for what you consider to be acceptable use of said bucket.

Our rules are as follows: "As a family, we may only use this jar two times a day for FREE! If you need to use it again that day, you will have to pay with two punches on your screen card OR a chore of mom's choice. Once you pick a paper out of the bored jar, you may not pick again for at least two hours."

Given 4B's infatuation with last year's attempt, I thought he could use some guidance. My goal for this bucket is to infuse their summer with a bit of fun and creativity, which, ideally, will springboard them into excited working-together fun!

But, you are the mom of your tribe. You are in charge. You throw down the gauntlet however works best for what you need.

Filling your bucket with meaningful to-dos

The real "meat" of the project is the CONTENT. This is where my experience last summer was so helpful. I scoured a few bored jar templates on Pinterest. Nice, super cute containers, but the content was either marginally inspired or stuff we've already tried and done. So, I created our own content list. You can download a copy here.

Here are some helpful (I hope) guidelines for creating your bucket's content.

If you use my list, you'll find little notes/hints in yellow after some entries. These notes will lead you to sites where you can create items needed for the to-do or give you a reminder of what you need to gather supplies-wise.

I learned last summer that anything I'm willing to put in that bucket for them to do better be something that they can instantly find supplies for or I'm going to be running around like a mad woman. 

We do have a craft closet full of crafting goodies (like pipe cleaners, tissue paper, sequins, pom poms, popsicle sticks, googly eyes, jingle bells, acrylic paints, fabric pens, etc.). We do have a bin full of coloring and paper supplies (crayons and markers and colored pencils, white paper and construction paper). We do have a drawer with pencils and pens and tape and other office supplies. I do have a scrapbooking stash with decorative punches and fancy papers.

But, I wanted to make sure that things were EXACTLY where I could get them fast AND I wanted to avoid running out of a "staple" supply directly before a to-do that necessitated such supply was drawn.

As such, I this summer, I put together a bored tub of my own to accompany our bored bucket. In my tub, I have stashed things above-and-beyond what my craft closet and coloring and office and scrapbooking supply stashes contain: such as, empty and dry 20 oz soda bottles with lids, empty toilet paper rolls, cotton balls and Q-tips, dry beans, bingo games already printed out, postage stamps and stationery supplies, addresses for cousins and teachers and grandparents already printed onto labels, outdoor acrylics, tacky glue, masking tape, construction paper, sponges for making sponge balls, supplies for making balloon pong, glow sticks for movie caves (I plan to do a movie cave post this week...stay tuned!), a few bags of candy for "prizes," nature scavenger hunt lists already printed out, clipboards with pencils attached via yarn, plastic lids of all sizes and varieties, graph paper. Some of these things I do have in other parts of the house but was fearful would run out or go AWOL when the time came. Other items, I kept in their usual place but just beefed up the supply.

However you work it out for yourself, I caution you STRONGLY to review each and every to-do you cut and fold and drop into that bucket to assure that they meet the following criteria: are they age appropriate for your brood? are they things you're comfortable with them doing solo? do you have the supplies where the kids can grab them when they need them? Ideally, they will use this bucket without your help; as such, do yourself a favor and do the heavy-lifting up front.

I sat down with my printable list of content and went through each item individually, assessing what supplies I needed, whether I had them on hand, and whether they warranted inclusion in the bored tub in the garage. I made a list of supplies to buy and one of supplies or items to gather around the house. Bought and gathered and dumped in bin. Printed out a list of all items I had stashed in that tub; taped that baby right onto the tub. Stashed tub where I can easily get it in garage.

After that was all done, I printed out my list, cut them down to size, folded them up, and dropped them in my bucket, with a silent prayer that they might just work as intended.

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