Is it okay for your kids to be bored? This is a great question. Especially during the summer!
There are two pieces to it. (pros/cons):
1) Pro: When kids are bored; they (often) become creative.
So it can be a good thing. If there is no TV to watch, nothing planned to do, they might invent a new game, make a creative project/craft, etc. Kids should have some "down time" to make some creative choices.
If your child has a really hard time with "down time" and just wanders aimlessly about or whines- give them a few choices and allow them to be creative within those choices. This way they learn how to solve the boredom problem themselves. For example make a large poster with a list of activities they could do, or suggest a few and leave it up to them.
Here are some of my suggestions to post on the list:
-Play with toy animals like dinosaurs, stuffed animals, little plastic farm /zoo animals, etc...
-Play with dolls/action figures/etc (girls and boys should both be encouraged to use their imagination with this type of play)
-play with blocks (large wooden blocks, legos, megablocks, etc) - build a tower, fort, castle, etc. Knock it down, build it large enough to go inside of it, invite the dolls/animals inside, etc...
-Computer- not just computer games, but design or build or draw, etc or write something, play with fonts/graphics/etc
-Board games/card games/ etc
-Read a book!
-Write a book! Write a story/journal/etc
-Make a movie (with most of today's cameras and even cell phones this is pretty easy to do)
-Make a fort/house/boat/etc out of couch cushions, pillows, blankets, tables/chairs, etc.
-Dress up! Make believe/ etc
-Go outside- play pretend "house", run around, play outdoor games, ride bikes/scooters/etc
Places to go: (free or cheap)
-Take a walk
-Mall (to walk/look around, not necessarily to shop)
-Library (get books, also alot of Free programs/activities especially in the summer)
-Museums, Zoo, Aquarium, amusement parks, etc (Look for Coupons, Groupon/Living Social deals online. Also buy a family membership and go multiple times in a year for the best money savings!)
-Local Events like outdoor fairs/festivals, etc.
2.) Con: If they are TOO bored, they will often get into trouble/do something you DON'T want them to do. (especially kids with behavior problems)
So like I mentioned above- give them some choices (make a list like above), also you can make a loose framework of the days like suggest different activities every few hours, or have an outing a few days /week in the summer, and some weekends. Kids don't need to be Constantly on the go- they will get exhausted and never learn how to stimulate themselves when bored, but they do need some things to do. Find the balance that works great for your child and try to help them find something constructive to do, as well as learn how to solve the boredom problem for themselves. (As a parent/teacher- don't always tell your child what he/she can do; but make a few suggestions or point to a list if you have one- and let them choose so they learn to solve their own situations, instead of expecting parents to solve it all for them, creating dependent children who aren't learning independent life skills).
Make a Bored List! (Downloadable Sample List)
Downloadable printable list of local activities (Chester County and surrounding areas).