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Why boredom can be good for you

Today, Explained to Kids ventures off-island to sail the Emotion Ocean.

A student in a face mask sitting at a school desk with her head propped on her fist, Durban, South Africa, June 9, 2020. Darren Stewart/Gallo Images via Getty Images

It’s been a long summer on the Island of Explained, and we haven’t been able to do a lot of our usual go-to summer activities. The pools are closed, Camp Chrysalis shut down, and we’re getting very, very tired of talking to our friends over screens. So while we’ve been doing our best to fight off the blahs, we’ve got to admit that we’re pretty darn bored.

That’s why, in the third of four summer episodes of Today, Explained to Kids, Vox’s explainer podcast series for kids, we decided to fight boredom by actually learning about it. In this episode, we chart a course for the Emotion Ocean, where we find waves of boredom can actually conjure some pretty scary stuff. Lucky for us, we meet Dr. Erin Westgate, a psychologist who actually studies boredom. She explains why being bored isn’t such a bad thing and helps us understand what we can do to entertain ourselves again.

Listen to the episode with the young people in your life — or just because — and then come back here to download our episode discussion guide and some laugh-out-loud activities that build on what we learned in the episode.

Thanks to early childhood education specialists Rachel Giannini and Saleem Hue Penny for developing our learning materials!

Listen to more Today, Explained to Kids episodes:


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