May 28, 2009

Kitchen Table Crafts: Summer Boredom Bag

One of the fun things about being an art eduction student was scrounging around for interesting and free things to use for art making. Sometimes I'd find things online, like worksheets and origami patterns, and in dumpsters--I kid you not! I actually have taken art supplies like wood, and once, an unused 18'x24" drawing pad, from a trash bin. It helps living in a college town filled with art students who have no respect for the environment.

All these goodies need a home, and frankly, I'd be embarrassed if you saw my attic. There are so many items up there, branded with the "possible art project" tag. Mr. Geek doesn't go up there much, since he prefers being in a happy mood. By the way, does anyone need a box of cast-off spools of embroidery thread from a defunct t-shirt embroidery company?
Or better yet, an idea for how to use them?

As usual, I'm off topic. What I want to share are some ideas for making a boredom bag or box for your kids to use this summer. It's essentially a go-to resource for worksheets and self-guided arts/crafts projects. It can save your sanity!

I created one back in college to be used as an art teacher resource to have on hand for those kids who always finish their projects early and are looking for something to do. I took a scrapbook paper organizer bag
and devoted each pocket to some sort of art theme, like puppetmaking, animation, drawing, etc.Then I stocked this baby full of coloring pages and worksheets. This would be a great item to tote along to places like the doctor's office (am I being naive here?), long car trips and soccer games to occupy sideline siblings. I keep some scissors, tape, a glue stick, and markers/crayons in the boredom bag, along with other items, as detailed below:1. Paper dolls, puppets, cut outs.
Many of the items in this area were taken from museums and nature preserves, which often have free worksheets for kids. I save them and include them in the bag, since you'd rather visit the exhibits at those places instead of sitting around coloring.
2. Paper bags, for impromptu puppet-making, blank cardstock for impromptu card-making.
3. Postcards which I save from mailings or collect when out and about and you stumble upon a place with free ones. They're great for cutting up for collage or playing sorting games (people, places, things).
4. Coloring pages of famous paintings
5. Mad Libs books! So fun!
6. More art worksheets found online. and The Incredible Art Department have some good ones. I also have a few of the Anti-Coloring books, which I love.

They have a partial drawing that your kids can complete. The porthole sheet in the photo below is from one of those books. You fill it in by drawing the fish that might be in there.
I also love this sheet below, where you can design a floor plan for a house.
I was, and still am, dorky about these things. I love designing rooms, both on paper and in real life. You can also have some big sheets of paper to have kids draw treasure maps or fantasy maps. And of course, a stack of origami paper fits wonderfully into the bag.

There are so many more things to add to a boredom bag or box. Dollar Store Crafts has an cute and cheap idea for a Boredom Buster Art Box one that you can set up for summer. Create and enjoy!


  1. What a cute idea! I have a ton of knick knacks that have been saved with the label of potential craft project! Someday I will use them all:)!

  2. Roo is totally wishing you were her mom right now...

  3. Hello, I,ve got an award for you on my blog, won't you come on over and pick it up ? Thanks

  4. love this idea!!! I have a ton of worksheets left from when I homeschooled my daughter, would be a great way to put the together and pull out as needed!

  5. What a great idea! You should put these together and market them on Etsy, have giveaways etc. Very cool!

    You go girl!

  6. That's such a great idea! I can see Rose enjoying something like that!

  7. How funny - I posted a boredom-buster bag on my blog this morning too! Must be that time of year! I also make out like a bandit at the end of the school year. It never ceases to shock me how much perfectly useful stuff gets thrown away. I bet any crafty moms out there would be welcome to lurk around their kid's school on the last day teachers are in, just to collect a pirate's booty in reusable crap. (-;

  8. You have the most creative ideas!

  9. Thanks so much for the link to colouring pages of famous paintings! Through that link I found "Hugo l'Escargot", which is a FANTASTIC French site with thousands of colouring pages on almost every subject imaginable.

    My favourites are

    Countries of the world


    Children of the world

    You might like the Faces section, which lets kids draw their own faces on people, which reminds me of the anti-colouring book:

  10. Wow that's a lot of thread! Maybe it could be put to good use making friendship bracelets or something. I dunno. :)

    I'm the same way though, I'll collect junk that I think might make a great art project some day.

  11. Love the boredom bag idea.

    Thanks for sharing!


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