We get it. You’re bored. There’s nothing on Netflix you haven’t already seen. You already spent all your allowance. You have no idea what to do when you’re bored. Whether you’re broke or on break, here’s a massive list of ideas for things to kill time. You might even learn something new. Nearly all of them are free, and the rest are cheap. Don’t waste your spare time rewatching Riverdale on Netflix all day, again; get moving!
Things to Do: Get Fit
1. Go for a walk.
Not only will it lift your mood and improve your physical fitness, it might even give you a chance to remember something you already have on your plate and forgot about. For bonus points, take the family dog or a younger sibling with you.
2. Do a YouTube workout.
There are hundreds of workouts on YouTube, with some videos that take less than 10 minutes. If you don’t know what to do when you’re bored, get some exercise. And if you’re thinking of trying out for cheer or a sport next semester, it’s never too early to get in shape.
Here’s a quickie eight-minute workout video for both guys and girls that takes no equipment at all:
If you’re looking to get more flexible, try this beginner yoga video:
Here’s a quick stretching routine you can use every day:
3. Throw a dance party.
Grab some friends or a couple of siblings and dance it out!
4. Have a water balloon fight.
This is for outdoors only, please. If the weather outside permits, dig through the party supply box and find some leftover balloons. You can also grab some at the local dollar store. And if that’s not an option, you can also build a rubber band slingshot and soak some washcloths. Remember to clean up afterwards.
Things to Do: Clean Up
Your mom will probably suggest chores if you ask her what to do when you’re bored. She’s probably looking for some help around the house, and you can volunteer. But cleaning up your room can make your own life so much better, too. Organizing your school work, clothes, and electronics will make it that much easier when you’re not bored.
5. Do your laundry
If you’ve got tons of time to kill, do your laundry and do it right when you don’t know what to do when you’re bored. Take the time to presoak any stains, find orphaned socks, or replace buttons. Got a stuck zipper? Put a little soap on the tracks. It’s a good habit to get into, anyway, and will save you time when you’re getting ready for school or a date.
And no… don’t eat the pods.
6. Organize your hobby space.
If you’re into building models, scrapbooking, or making comic books, this might be a good time to get all that stuff under control. Just because you’re not feeling it right now, you want to make sure your tools and supplies are ready to go when you get your next great idea. This is also a good chance to make a checklist of supplies, so you can stay stocked up when inspiration finally hits.
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7. Create a household punch list.
Are you handy? Do you like working with tools or interior design? Create a “punch list” of projects around your room or throughout the house. Even teens can do some household repairs. It’s a good time to learn a skill you’ll need later in life and help around the house. First, walk around the house and check for small repairs you can do yourself. After you have a list, consult with a parent for supplies, tools, and advice. You may even be able to talk them into some extra spending cash for your efforts.
Common things to look for that you can do:
- Change the furnace filter: If your parents don’t have a log for this, start one and change the filter every 30 days.
- Change fire alarm batteries: This should be done twice a year, and it’s easy.
- Patch small holes in plaster walls: Especially if you made them. Check behind doors for dings from doorknobs.
- Unblock gutters: If you’re good with the ladder, this helps prevent leaks caused by damage to the roof.
- Touch up paint: Family life can result in nicks and pings on the walls.
- Check the plumbing: Make sure the toilets don’t run and none of the pipes under counters leak.
- Change light bulbs: Check and replace light bulbs inside and outside the home.
- Check windows and doors: Feel around doors and windows for air leaks. This can raise utility bills and increase your family’s carbon footprint. Have a parent show you how to seal them up with weather stripping or look for a how-to video on YouTube.
8. Update all your devices.
If you’re one of those people that ignores system updates, take some time to clean up your files, run scans, update operating systems, and get rid of duplicate music and image files. If you don’t know what to do when you’re bored, prep for when you won’t be. Set up a charging and organization system in your room so you can keep all your devices charged and all your accessories handy.
9. Organize your clothes into outfits.
If you’re always struggling to find something to wear to school in the morning, dig through your closet and drawers and organize everything into ten separate outfits for school and four for weekends. That way, you’ll spend less time getting ready, and won’t end up wearing the same thing over and over.
Things to Do: Get Out and About
10. Hit the mall and get some retail therapy.
They’re not as popular as they used to be, but it doesn’t cost anything to walk around and see what’s new in the shops. If you can’t figure out what to do when you’re bored, hop a bus or have someone drive you to the nearest mall. You can check out the latest tech and clothing trends while you’re there. See what weird food items are at the food court. Stop by Gamestop and trade in a game or see if they’re hiring.
11. Find a free museum.
Many cities have museums that offer free entry either every day or on certain days, especially to students. Check the list from National Geographic of museums in the U.S. that are free every day.
12. Go thrifting.
Even if you don’t have much money, find a flea market and have a good rummage. Thrift stores and second-hand shops are always a blast for finding fun items for your room. If you don’t know what to do when you’re bored on a Saturday morning, hit the neighbor yard sales. You may even be able to find that missing piece for your Monopoly game or an extra controller for your PlayStation.
13. Hold a scavenger hunt.
This one takes some friends and some organization, but putting together a scavenger hunt can fill an entire day. Make sure you keep the ages of the people participating in mind and how far they’ll be able to travel. You can set it up so that it’s just in your house, yard, or neighborhood.
14. Create an obstacle course.
Got a restless dog or little brother? Or both? Set up an obstacle course in the backyard. Or create one big enough for you and your friends. Run races and time everyone. Time the dog and the little brother, and award a prize cookie to the winner. And give yourself one, too!
Backyard fun with a weighted hula hoop and 2×4. New goal: Make it across, turn around while staying on the board, and return to the start. And then do it backwards. And then do it with my eyes closed. Because I'm basically just an overgrown kid. And also, this is good stuff for your core and balance! #hulahoop #funwith2x4s #balance #backyardobstaclecourse #backyardfitness #creativefitness #fitmom #naturalmovement #movnatwomen #theworldismyplayground #obstaclecourse #balancebeam
15. Find a free concert.
If you don’t know what to do when you’re bored, check out your local news station website or newspaper listings and find a free concert to enjoy. Cities across the country hold free concerts for music lovers of every type. Take advantage of it. You’ll find great local bands and have a blast.
Things to Do: Self Care
16. Give yourself a mani-pedi.
This one’s for guys and girls both. Chill out, relax, and treat yourself to a mani-pedi. It doesn’t just feel nice; it’s also a good way to prevent painful hangnails and calluses. Taking care of your feet with a pedicure is also important if you’re into sports. You can keep an eye out for fungal infections and prevent corns and calluses from wearing damp cleats and sneakers. Take a chance and give it a shot. Your mom or sister probably has everything you need for a basic manicure.
Find your chill with all the free guided meditation sources on YouTube. If you’ve ever wondered what all the hype about meditation was about, here’s your chance. You can find free meditation videos on YouTube. Become more relaxed or more inspired at the click of a button. Or, you can find them as apps for your favorite device.
18. Play some brain training games.
Keep your brain fit during winter break and summer vacation with some fun brain training games you can find online. They’re fun and free.
19. Create your own bath and beauty products.
Believe it or not, this one is also for guys and girls alike. Since you’re making them yourself, you can use any scent you like —no scent at all. You can find hundreds of home remedies and recipes for treating acne, cracked lips, and other problems. Make your own soap or bath soaks. Bath soaks with Epsom salts and baking soda are great for tired muscles from sports. You can find a lot of ingredients around the house, particularly in the kitchen. Whether you want smoother locks or to soak away the aches from soccer practice, there’s a homemade bath product for you. They also make great gifts.
Things to Do: Get Creative
20. Rearrange your room.
Find your inner balance by creating harmony in your room. Change things up a little and try something different with your room layout. Not only is it a good workout, but it can also put you in a fresh state of mind. You can even find a free room planner online to help you decide where everything should go before you move it.
21. Make a movie.
Create your own movie on your smartphone and use a free editing tool to put it all together. Grab friends, family members, some old clothes, and put together your masterpiece. You can even upload it to YouTube and share it with friends and family members far away.
22. Plan your next Halloween.
Everyone knows that Halloween is all about the costume. It’s never too early to start planning, especially if you want to kill in the contests. Whether you like gory horror costumes or cute anime cosplays, start putting your plan together. This will give you time to experiment and sew a really epic costume, with all the finishing touches. If you’re planning a party, you can also start working on props for your haunted house.
23. Upcycle your old clothes.
After you’ve cleaned out your closet and organized your outfits, you may have some clothes that don’t fit anymore. Grab the family sewing kit and turn them into something else entirely. If you don’t know what to do with those old school spirit tees from middle school but can’t bear to throw them away, turn into throw pillows for your room. Old jeans make cute tote bags and backpacks.
24. Make a vision board.
Put some life into your dreams and create a vision board to hang in your room. Having visual reminders of what you want to experience and accomplish will help remind you what you’re working toward and keep you on track. It’s easy to do and lots of fun. Grab some old magazines and cut out images of things that inspire you. Use colors that uplift you for decoration. Take a picture of it and add it to your desktop on your phone and laptop to keep inspiration on hand.
What to Do When You’re Bored: Connect!
25. Get in touch with old friends.
Send messages to 10 people you haven’t touched base with in a long time. Got a friend from middle school on your friends list that you haven’t seen for a while? Send them a message online and tell them you’re thinking about them. Haven’t seen your cousin in years? Text them and ask how they’re doing.
26. Hold a swap party with friends.
Now that your closet is cleaned out, why not set up a clothes swap party with your friends. Grab some snacks and drinks and set up a swap party. The more, the merrier. If you have clothes that are still in good shape but don’t fit or you’re tired of, invite over friends for a swap meet. You can also swap out accessories, jewelry, and other wearables. It saves money, reduces landfill, and it’s a lot of fun to share styles.
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Things to Do: Lean In
27. Update your resume.
You may not have much to add, but if you’re headed for college or a summer job soon, it’s a good idea to keep an updated resume. Add academic awards, part-time jobs, even special projects or volunteer work. If you’ve held any leadership positions at school, church, scouts, or youth groups, you’ll want to add those, too. Take some time to ask adults from these classes and groups for a recommendation letter while you’re at it.
28. Volunteer for a non-profit.
Find a cause you care about and volunteer to help a worthy charity or non-profit. Whether it’s the animal shelter or for the environment, there’s something you can do today to help the cause. Not only will you be making the world a better place, you’ll be learning valuable skills for adult life. And in some cases, volunteer hours are a requirement for many college scholarships. It’s never too early to get prepared for application time. And if you’re looking for a job and don’t have any work experience, many employers will take volunteer experience into account. Several organizations and blogs list volunteer opportunities that are just right for teenagers:
29. Find a side gig to make money.
If your allowance isn’t cutting it and you can’t find a part-time job that works around your school hours, you can become a teen entrepreneur. You can offer a service in your community or even start your own business. Just a few ideas:
Lawn Service: If you like to get outside and get your hands dirty, offer to do your neighbor’s lawns, too. Seniors are often great customers for lawn work. If your parents have already sent you outside with the mower, why not make a little money on the side.
Tutoring: Teens with good grades with some AP classes under their belt can often get tutoring jobs in their best subjects.
Social Media Marketer: Teens are usually much better at getting the word out on social media. Offer your services to local businesses to help them set up profiles and posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Blogger: Have a hobby or a passion? Set up a blog online where you can share your ideas and expertise. Many online stores pay a small percentage when you refer your readers to buy at their store. Write about your favorite books, beauty products, or sports teams, and earn money when you send a reader to Amazon to buy swag and products.
YouTube Reviewer: Just like a blog, you can talk about your favorite movies, books, or teams and earn advertising revenue from YouTube.
Sell Your Crafts and Creations: If you’ve got a talent for creating jewelry, accessories, or other cool knick-knacks, you can sell them on Etsy.
Caregiver: Baby-sit, walk dogs, pet-sit, or take care of the elderly. Teens can make money taking the load off of adults by filling in. Start a babysitting service or a dog-walking business. Offer to help out tending seniors that need supervision. You can find jobs and list your services on Care.com. (You can also offer your tutoring services for younger kids there, too.)
30. Take an online college course.
If you’re wondering how you’ll hack it at university, try a free online college class from some of the best universities in the country. Challenge your brain and get a step ahead in high school classes by going to EDX.org and taking free classes from Harvard and MIT. Get a jump on science, biology, the humanities, business, and even engineering.
EDX also has a special program for high school students to help them pass AP classes and CLEP exams. They also offer introductory college-level classes. Best of all, you can earn verified certificates that will help you when you apply for colleges and jobs.
What to do When You’re Bored: Learn In
31. Hook up to your library Overdrive.
Check your county library system to see if they subscribe to Overdrive. You’ll be able to read free books from the library on your phone or tablet using your library card. Go to the Overdrive directory and see if your library system has access.
32. Catch up on current events.
Current events can be overwhelming for teenagers. It seems like you have no political or economic power. But you will, one day, so if you’re bored, why not see what’s happening around the world.
For Younger Teens
For Older Teens
33. Learn sign language.
You may not become proficient if you’re just killing time for a day, but why not start learning sign language. Start with simple words and phrases. You never know when it might come in handy. Becoming good at ASL will also open job and volunteer opportunities as well.
You can watch an entire playlist of lessons on YouTube.
This list should keep you busy for a while. Organize your life, learn a new skill, or make some extra cash. Hopefully, you’ll find a new hobby, project, or passion that means you’ll never have to think about what to do when you’re bored ever again.
Featured Image: CC by 0, by ivxintong via Pixabay