Book Review: Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun

From time to time, I review books that I think you might enjoy as well. This particular post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something via the link I share, I earn a small percentage of the sale. 

One of my favorite things to do in the library is to peruse the new book shelves, both in the adult and children’s sections. I never know what I might find, or what will spark my interest. I almost always choose the library over purchasing books, because 1) I’m cheap and 2) I need to know if I really love a book before I buy it.

Unbored book review

The other day, I spotted Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun and I knew we had to take it home. After having it around for a few days, I can tell you it’s a huge hit. Not only will I be purchasing it for our personal library, it’s going to be my go-to gift for kids ages 10 and up.

Unbored is a cool mash-up of tutorials, activities, stories, lists and comics. The authors, Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen, wrote the book to “encourage a hands-on approach to creating a personally meaningful life.” What does that mean for kids? It means Unbored is a tool to unlock your own passions and creativity, and to find ways to create instead of consume. And, of course, to answer the eternal question of , “I’m bored. What should I do?”

The book is divided into four sections: You, Home, Society, and Adventure. I couldn’t possibly list all the awesome ideas and projects in the book we want to tackle, but here are a few of our favorites:

  • farting games
  • circus tricks
  • clapping games
  • how to short-sheet a bed
  • experimenting in the kitchen
  • yarn bombing
  • game hacking
  • bike and skateboard maintenance
  • knot tying
  • make a secret book safe

At the end of each section, there is a HUGE listing of resources so kids can delve even further into the things that interest them the most. Kids will love this book because it’s so different from anything else out there. It might look similar to the Daring/Dangerous books for girls and boys, but where those books seem to reflect on older pastimes, Unbored is planted in the now with an eye to the future.

I also think kids will appreciate the tone. It’s never condescending. On the contrary, it encourages kids not to fear mistakes and that ignorance is no excuse for not trying something. It’s the exact opposite of the “Danger! Don’t try this at home!” mindset. Naturally, it’s a perfect fit for our household!

Summer is approaching, and I know I’m always looking for ideas and resources to keep the tween active and engaged. You can bet that by the end of the summer, our personal copy of Unbored will be dog-eared and well-loved.

Have you read Unbored? What did you think? If you have any books you think The Risky Kids should review, let us know in the comments!


Say Yes To Outdoor Play On a Rainy Day

rainy day play

Perhaps it’s because we’re finally coming out on the other side of the coldest, snowiest, and longest winter I can remember, but the kids have been itching to get outside more than ever. They want to go outside on nice days, of course, but they also want to go outside on chilly and drizzly days.

Somewhere along the way, we lose our desire to want to play outside in the rain. But just because we’d rather curl up with a blanket and a good book, that doesn’t mean we have to keep the kids inside.

One of the most magical things about childhood is seeing everyday things transformed by the weather and the elements. Warm spring rains are the perfect backdrop for kids to explore how things change when rain begins to fall.

Where are the best puddles? Why do puddles form here but not there? What happens when I jump in a puddle? What if I bounce this ball in a puddle?

puddle play

In addition to water play, there are worms to examine, mud to poke around in, and umbrellas to twirl. We had a really heavy rainfall a couple of weeks ago and the kids were mesmerized by how quickly our backyard turned into a temporary pond.

play in the rain

Set aside a set of old play clothes, invest in a pair of rain boots and some cheap umbrellas, and you have everything you need. Next time the kids ask if it’s okay to play outside on a rainy day, say yes! You can either join them, or enjoy the peace and quiet with that blanket and book.


Risky Reads: The Laundry Basket Edition

For about a week last month, Eli became mildly obsessed with the laundry basket. Sadly, it had nothing to do with folding the clothing in the laundry basket. But he did drag it around with him through the house, using it as a boat, a jail for his LEGOs, and a cozy, blanket and pillow-filled […]

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Pop-Up Adventure Play: Adventures in Cardboard

Have you ever heard of child-directed play? You may not have heard of it, but chances are you’ve probably engaged in it with your own kids. It’s spending time playing with a child, but letting the child decide what to play and how to play it. The adult can observe, take directions from the child, […]

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Growing Up, Still Playing

I can credit three things for inspiring me to start The Risky Kids a little over 2 years ago. The first was my discovery of Gever Tulley’s book, 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do). I knew I couldn’t sustain an entire blog solely on one book, but I sensed it could be […]

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Connecting With Nature: Explore a Pond

Explore a pond via The Risky Kids

Oftentimes as parents we feel like in order to make nature a part of our children’s lives we must make time for some grand expedition. We feel we must pack up the car and the gear, travel to the park or the nature preserve or the trails, and make an entire day of it. And […]

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Messy Play Saves the Day!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the importance of messy play – why kids need it and how to incorporate it into your play repertoire using simple kitchen tools and ingredients. I also shared a few tricks to help minimize the mess. After all, there’s a fine line between messy play and creating […]

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Good Question: How to Handle the Critics

One of the trickiest parts about parenting is handling the comments, questions, and judgements that come as a result of your choices. Whatever philosophical parenting path you choose (or don’t), there is bound to be someone you’ll come across who disagrees with you. The choice to free-range parent definitely brings up issues that will, at […]

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The Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights

Our Spring Break begins today, and as I look at the 10-day forecast it seems as if our break will have at least a few days of the wonderful spring weather we’ve been dreaming of. As the kids and I brainstormed and made a list of things we’d like to do over the break, I […]

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Sponsor Spotlight: eFamily


As grateful as I am for my readers, I’m also very grateful for my sponsors. They help me keep the lights on here at The Risky Kids and keep us supplied in batteries to lick.  At the same time it gives you a chance to meet some really great people, products and companies. This month’s […]

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