Unbored – the guide to serious fun

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They’re words that every parent detests hearing – “I’m bored!” My own mum used to counter with the response, “Do you want a job? There’s lots to do – you could help me with the vacuuming or….” I never actually heard the end of her sentence because I skedaddled and quickly found a way to be ‘unbored’.

So next time kids claim to be bored, offer them half an hour with the vacuum and if that fails, hand them a copy of Unbored – The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen.

This book is a veritable treasure trove of cool stuff. Activities are interspersed with information, trivia, quizzes and lists, all presented in edgy prose and illustrated with modern graphics, photographs and lavish fonts.

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The activities are fun, manageable and are designed to get kids engaged with the wider world. There’s everything from craft, cooking in your toaster and code-cracking to knot tricks, making seed grenades and repairing skateboards. For example, a chapter on the home includes a brief history of dwellings, a guide to architectural styles, ideas for creating a home day spa and tips for taking family portraits.

For music lovers, there’s a chapter with a guide to ‘band basics’ (in other words, what’s cool), a fun quiz titled “What Instrument Are You?” and activity guides for making a cigar box guitar and an icy-pole stick harmonica. The chapter also includes a list of ‘best ever musical movies’ because there was life before High School Musical (although I must admit that I felt quite old when I saw Spiceworld on the list – apparently it’s already vintage!).

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I’m astounded by the number of canny inclusions in this book that act as subliminal prompts. For example, one page has an excerpt from Anne of Green Gables and is accompanied by the title ‘Double-Dare Yourself’ – some kids will follow Anne Shirley’s example of ‘goofing off’. Others will follow Anne’s example and, interest piqued, will also seek out the wonderful Anne of Green Gables for themselves.

I’ve mentioned a few examples – a fraction of what’s in this three-hundred-and-fifty page book. To get an idea of the breadth of activities included, check out Unbored online.

Unbored is suitable for children aged eight years and over. Find it online at Book Depository which ships internationally free-of-charge.

Unbored-joshua-glenn-elizabeth-foy-larsen-8, how to short sheet a bed

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Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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