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10 Picture Books About Being Bored For When Kids Say There's Nothing To Do

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On the long list of parents’ most hated phrases, “I’m bored” has got to be in the top ten. Usually uttered with a heavy sigh and serious side-eye, there's just nothing more irksome than hearing those words come out of your kid's mouth as they face plant into the couch like a wilted piece of lettuce. But how can you deal with it? Reading your kid picture books about being bored can help to give them a different perspective on having nothing to do (plus, they won't be bored while you're reading to them).

The clever thing about these books is that the authors and illustrators have taken the concept of boredom and upended it so that kids can see the irony and self-fulfilling prophecy of the statement. For instance, in comedian Michael Ian Black’s “I’m Bored,” a little girl is bored until she comes a cross a potato who flips the narrative on her and declares “kids are boring” (forcing her to prove that kids are, in fact, fun). These not-at-all-boring books should put a cork in your kid’s boring mantra, which you're probably getting pretty bored of hearing yourself. So check out the list below, then click over to some of the coolest independent bookstores online (because shopping at the same old places all the time really is boring).

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1. I'm Bored

Leave it to a potato to change a child's perspective on boredom. As explained above, in this picture book by author and comedian Michael Ian Black, a bored little girl finds herself in the position of needing to convince a potato that children are anything but boring (she'll end up convincing your kid in the process, too).

2. The Boring Book

A New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2019, "The Boring Book" continues to get rave reviews for truly exploring boredom through a child's eyes with activities and humor.

3. Solomon & Mortimer

Crocodiles Solomon and his buddy Mortimer are bored. So what do they do? They decide to sneak up on a hippo but get a surprise themselves in return.

4. Bored! Bored! Bored!

You know what happens when you think everything is boring? You get left out. That's what Claude discovers in this picture book by Jill Newton.

5. King of Boredom

Everything in Ben's life bores him — Santa Claus, snorkeling, super fun parties, all of it BORING. He's such a champion bored kid he dubs himself Supreme King of Boredom... until the king's subjects show up and shake things up.

6. The Bored Book

Going to the grandparents' house may sound like a drag, but when two siblings discover a magical map in the attic, all thoughts of boredom disappear.

7. There's Nothing To Do

Poor frog. He's so bored! There's absolutely nothing to do. Well, except for all of the ideas his friends have.

8. Barnacle Is Bored

Poor Barnacle. He's stuck under a pier and life is so boring, just watching the tide roll in and out each day... until he meets another fish who helps him learn that excitement isn't always everything it's cracked up to be.

9. Yong Breaks Out of The Boredom Box

Yong is convinced nothing exciting ever happens to him. Leave it to a box to make him think outside his boxed-in life.

10. On a Magical, Do-Nothing Day

A New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year, this exquisite book invites children to escape the screens for adventures of their imagination.