What happened when I let the children be bored...

"I'm bored!" Two words that every parent dreads. Upon hearing those two little words, it can be tempting to hand over the tablet or switch on the TV, but what would happen if you just let your children work through their boredom? If you gave them the space to find their own solutions instead of stepping in? Well, that's exactly what I did for the Let Them Be Bored Challenge as part of the #PetitsFilousPlayFree project!

The #PetitsFilousPlayFree project is about embracing free unstructured play, encouraging creative thinking and tapping into children's imaginations. Free play is critical for children's development, they can learn so much about the world around them when they are free to play and explore. Every area of a child's development can be enhanced when they engage in pretend play or make-believe, so free play is something that every parent should make a priority, plus it's great fun! 

Children nowadays lead such structured lives, with school, clubs, groups, activities, classes, homework to cram into their weeks, there doesn't seem to be a lot of time left to simply be children and play. Not like when I was a child! Back in the eighties and nineties my siblings, cousins, friends and I were always playing, coming up with new games and adventures without any input from the grown-ups. We just followed our instincts and let our imaginations run free! 

We've had a run of winter bugs in the family recently, so we ended up spending a lot of our time indoors during the Petits Filous Play Free challenge. Being cooped up in the house with snotty, bored children doesn't sound like fun at all, does it? But once the boys realised that I wasn't going to hand over their devices, nor was the TV going to turn on, they really did start to have fun together!

I have to admit that I had to tell a white lie to encourage the boys to use their imaginations. They are so tech-savvy that even if I say "no TV today", they can turn it on themselves, log in to Netflix and find something to watch! So, I pulled out the plug and told them that the electricity wasn't working! There was a bit of grumbling, but soon they found ways to occupy themselves.

Noah spent a lot of time drawing pictures and telling me the most wildly creative stories to go with them. Stories about different planets and moons and aliens, far away lands and spaceships. Jude pulled all the cushions off the sofas and scattered them on the floor, declaring that the carpet beneath was lava as he navigated his way across his cushion stepping stones.

It surprised me that, even though we have a lot of toys, they didn't actually want to play with them that much. Instead they played with other things, things that are not toys, like the cushions, the bakeware from the kitchen, the chairs from the dining table. Chairs and cake tins became racing cars and steering wheels, cushions and blankets became fortresses. 

Another lovely surprise was how nicely the boys played together, and this is something that I mentioned to prestigious parenting expert Anita Cleare during a Skype chat we had to discuss the experience. Anita is co-founder of The Positive Parenting Project and was able to offer insights on what the children had been learning whilst playing, guidance on how to encourage free play and even advice on how to help the children solve their own conflicts. I was curious to know how I could expand on what we had already been doing without getting too involved and taking over; Anita suggested putting together a box of random objects from around the house and seeing what the boys made of it. Such a simple idea, but it led to hours of imaginative play!

My children have always enjoyed Petits Filous right from babyhood. The little pots are a great snack after a busy day of playing, while the pouches are perfect for our days out, especially as they can be kept out of the fridge for five hours and don't need a spoon. Petits Filous provides children with both calcium and vitamin D, something that is essential for strong and healthy bone development; in fact Petits Filous provides 50% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D and a recent Change4Life campaign launched by Public Health England recommends Petits Filous as a healthy snack for kids.* You can learn more about the nutritional benefits of Petits Filous at petitsfilous.co.uk.

It's been really fun and inspiring taking part in this challenge with Petits Filous, and I encourage you to give it a go with your children too. See what happens when you let them get bored and just play free! 

I’m working with Petits Filous and BritMums promoting the #PetitsFilousPlayFree campaign
about the importance of free play.

*on specific variants: Petits Filous Strawberry & Raspberry Fromage Frais 6 x 47g, Petits Filous Strawberry & Apricot Fromage Frais 6 x 47g, Petits Filous Strawberry & Banana Fromage Frais 6 x 47g, Petits Filous Strawberry Fromage Frais 6 x47g,Petits Filous Strawberry & Raspberry Fromage Frais 4 x 85g, Petits Filous Strawberry &Apricot Fromage Frais 4 x 85g,My First Petits Filous 6 x 47g, Petits Filous Magic Squares Strawberry & Vanilla 4 x 80g, Petits Filous Magic Squares Raspberry & Vanilla 4 x 80g, Petits Filous Strawberry Pouch 1 x 70g, Petits Filous Raspberry Pouch 1 x 70g,Petits Filous Strawberry & Raspberry Yoghurt 4 x 100g


  1. Free play is so important, this is such a great challenge.

  2. I love the box idea. I've found that mine have been getting on so much better since I started the challenge, too. It's made half term so much more manageable!

  3. Mine are far more interested in household objects than toys too, it makes me wonder why we buy so many!

  4. Ha - my kids have also been known on several occasions to pop a DVD on when I've said no screens and taken kindles away! I love the idea of a box of random objects - will have to give that a try.

  5. Definitely words I dread, we really try to embrace slow days now, I don’t think we appreciated them as much until now when my eldest is at school. The electricity white lie is amazing!

  6. Rose spent LOADS of time drawing and colouring in too. I've noticed that she is a real creative since taking part in this challenge. Your images are wonderful and the boys look like they're having such a good time (bugs and all!) What a fantastic campaign to be part of - loved it!

  7. Being bored is not an illness, and free play often leads to so much creativity and imaginative role play. That's how we grew up :) Love it x


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