Welcome once again to Mr. Danny’s Camp for Bored Youngsters. You’ve been sent here because summer is still new, but you’ve already complained to your parents that there’s nothing to do.
We had our first camp for bored youngsters a couple of summers ago, and you can read about it here: http://theadvocate.com/columnists/9343383-55/danny-heitmans-at-random-mr.
I know, maybe better than you think, what it’s like to feel that things are dull. Many summers ago, when I was a child, there were only four TV channels, with almost nothing for kids to watch on summer afternoons. The TV played programs called soap operas from lunchtime until dinner every day. They had stories about grown-ups who hung around hospitals, said ugly stuff to each other, and sometimes kissed people they weren’t supposed to. Yuck!
One summer, when I was 9, there was another kind of soap opera on every afternoon that was even yuckier. It was about a bunch of guys sitting at a table, asking other guys about what they knew, and when they knew it. The show was called Watergate, and it didn’t make any sense, and you wouldn’t believe how boring it was for a kid.
Nobody had computers in their houses back then, or the Internet, or phones you could carry around. To keep us away from TV and Watergate and bugging them too much, our moms and dads sent us outside.
But we found some things to do out there when we were bored, and maybe you can do them, too.
Get a plastic pail and see how many bugs you can collect. If you walk on the lawn on all fours, like your dog or cat, you’d be surprised at the little crawlies you can find.
Ask a grown-up for a garden trowel. It’s like a little shovel you can use with one hand. Find a place outside where it’s OK to dig, and see what you find as you make a hole. Sometimes, you’ll see a big earthworm, which is fun to look at. It won’t hurt you.
Get a bedsheet or a blanket from inside — ask someone first if it’s OK to borrow it — then bring it outside, throw it across some lawn chairs and make your own tent. It can be a place just for you, and you can bring stuff underneath it, like flashlights, water pistols or a book. Let a friend or brother or sister share the space with you if you like.
If it’s raining, you can make a tent like this inside with a couple of kitchen or dining room chairs. Pretend that you are hiding. Your parents probably won’t mind you hiding there for a good, long while.
Don’t be afraid to be bored every now and then. Sometimes, it can be good to feel that a summer day is empty, with nowhere to go and nothing to do.
It’s hard to understand this now, but when you are older, you will sometimes miss those summer afternoons when you had nothing to do.
Follow Danny Heitman on Twitter, @Danny_Heitman.