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posted: 2/22/2013 7:37 AM

'Unbored': What to do when you have nothing to do

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  • "Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun" by Joshua Glenn & Elizabeth Foy Larsen (Bloomsbury 2012), $25, 352 pages.

    "Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun" by Joshua Glenn & Elizabeth Foy Larsen (Bloomsbury 2012), $25, 352 pages.

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

You are about to make your mother crazy.

That's because you've mastered every video game in the house, watched every movie she rented for you, and clicked through cable several dozen times. You've managed to tease your sister, torment your brother, and Mom is next in line.

You're about to say you're bored, which means you're about to get into big trouble. But before you do that, why not find "Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun" by Joshua Glenn & Elizabeth Foy Larsen. It might single-handedly save your whole family from complete craziness.

So you've got a few days off from school. It's a holiday, a weekend, or just some sort of break and you're glad for the time but you don't exactly know what to do with it. That's where this book comes in, because it's filled with pages of excellent ideas.

Let's say, for instance, that you'd like to get rid of your boredom by exploding things. "Unbored" can help, with instructions on safe ways to make a big mess. You'll need a grown-up around, so find one who likes to get dirty.

There are a lot of games in this book, including ones that don't require a board or dice. Learn, for instance, some farting games. Find out how to play different kinds of games with jacks. Learn how to get freaky fit with friends. Or learn parkour (moving around or over obstacles), which can be done in your own back yard -- even in the snow!

If music is your favorite thing in the world, learn how to rock out with help from "Unbored." Find out what you'll need to build a band, take a quiz to help figure out which instrument is best for you, and watch a few good movies about music.

Speaking of movies, this book has all kinds of great suggestions for films and books you'll definitely want to check out.

Find out how to turn your bathroom into a spa. Redecorate your bedroom, then organize it. Find some new crafts. Learn how to cook, read a food label and conserve water. Read up on trivia. Take good care of your pets. Tell a politician what you think (they really do care!). Eliminate bullies. Train the grown-ups in your house. Save the planet.

If you're like most parents, the "B" word makes you channel your father by telling your kids you'll give them something to do. Instead, give them "Unbored."

With all kinds of activities for both indoors and out, authors Joshua Glenn & Elizabeth Foy Larsen keep children busy with information, ideas, get-outside movement, and downtime that doesn't involve anything electronic. There are pages for quieter readers here, and kids who aren't able for action. Then there are pages for kids with a streak of renegade in their blood and restlessness in their feet.

The nicest part about this book is that it's great for sharing; in fact, you'll almost want your kids to do that. Add what's here to a little downtime, and 9- to 15-year-olds will find "Unbored" to be crazy fun.

• Terri Schlichenmeyer, aka The Bookworm, has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.

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