I’m Bored

It is now midway through the school holidays.   Being so busy in my exciting PULSE role and commuting into Central London most days, my children have been left to their own devices a little more than usual (hmmm…. I realise the word devices might have a more literal meaning in 2018!). They are now at the age when I can trust them to entertain themselves, let them discover a greater degree of independence and create their own memories with and without their friends. That said, I’m beginning to lose count now of the ‘I’m bored ….’ mantra that seems to beset most kids once they have some spare time on their hands.

I’m sure my parents had to suffer a similar ear-bashing during the long six-week summer break when I was a kid … but, funnily enough, looking back I never remember actually being bored as a child.   Unusually, I grew up without a TV, and it goes without saying that my childhood was also in the era of no mobiles, hand-held devices or other electronic gizmos. I’m sure this contributed to my ability to entertain myself; be it my life-long love of books, drawing, painting, handicrafts, lego (yes I still love it) or the big outdoors … to name but a few of the many hobbies I never seem to have quite enough time for now.

What lucky, lucky childhoods we have.

making memories.pngWe have just returned from our summer vacation, adventuring in our campervan in a remote part of West Wales.  There was no wifi and no mobile signal (bliss, for me at least!).  We had lots of outdoor fun together making happy memories – canoeing, coasteering, blackberry picking, walking and surfing to name a few of the things we did.  Robert even finished a book … but, there were quite a few device withdrawal moments!  One drizzly afternoon, before there was a whimper of ‘I’m bor….’, we decided to play a family game together. Could we name the 100 best toys of our collective childhoods?   We tried to avoid the mass-produced, over-commercialised toys that come and go in a few months (not that we didn’t like them), but rather focussed on the simpler, enduring toys that are more universal symbols of childhood, fun and adventure (yes, Save the Children and ‘100’ were never too far from my mind!).

Here’s what we came up with;

100 toys
Our Top 100 enduring toys!

I then asked my two to name their top 3 from our big list … here’s what they picked;

  • Maria     1. Teddies  2. Play food  3. Dressing up
  • Robert   1. Teddies  2. Football  3.  Trampoline

Teddies were emphatically top of their lists (we do have rather a lot of them in the house!) and the special ones are still always there in times of happiness, tiredness and sadness.   Incidentally, my top 3 choices were pencils, lego and dolls and Dave’s were bike, football and cards (although, I’m fairly sure if you’d asked us at the same age our cuddly toys might also have taken the top spot!).

child friendly space in Syria

Save the Children create child-friendly places for children to play at a tented settlement for Syrian refugees in Lebanon (read more about what we do here Picture credit STC)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every single child in the world had just one special toy they played with during their childhood, and through it would recall a childhood filled with fun, laughter and comfort.   And where the most challenging memory was a vague recollection of saying ‘I’m bored ….’, but really just being safe, happy, carefree and having the luxury of a bit ‘too much’ time to play.

What was your favourite childhood toy and why?

#endthewaronchildren #protectchildreninconflict #savethechildren #childhoodmemories #takeatoy #100yearsofSTC #PULSE10 #ivolunteer #bethechangeforkids


  1. Hello, Kathryn! Your post reminded me of my childhood and my playmates too. We may have enjoyed more playing our traditional Filipino games like “pityaw” and “agawan base” (You might want to google them. He..he..he..) but I have to pick kite, paper planes and marbles as my top 3 from your big list.

    And yes, kids deserve to be just kids and they shouldn’t be deprived of it.

  2. Hi Kathryn! First off – I too go through the same ‘I’m bored’ situations with my 6 & 4 year olds (all the time!) really I wish they could figure out what to do with their free time by themselves, but I understand it’s hard for them as they are fed with entertainment & schedules – day & night ..right?! Second, I love your blog & question about my fav toys – I would pick – playing with my brother (we had one monopoly set that we shared or we played outside a lot, but we found something to do together), hop- scotch , playing in the mud or rain 🙂

  3. Great blog 🙂 My favourite toy was not really a toy but simply playing outdoors in the woods behind my house, second favourite were books, still my favourite passtime 50 years later.

  4. I love this really simple exercise to keep kids entertained, how ingenious! Great to learn that Teddies came top of your list of toys for your kids – mine would probably have been Dolls, wendy house and Jacks – ahhh, the memories!

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