It’s hard to believe that the rain is coming with all these warm days we’ve been having. But by the end of next week, the clouds are rolling in and opening up. Basically, that means you are about to be cooped up with a house full of kids with nothing to do.
Mom, it’s going to take some planning to bust those boredom blues that will have your kids whining and you pulling out your hair. Here are a few fun ideas to make every family look forward to a rainy day!
Create a living room fort
I don’t know any kid who doesn’t find this one of the most fun and exciting things to do on a rainy day. Of course it’s going to take some looking away on your part. Your living room is about to be trashed with blankets, pillows, and everything else your munchkin needs to make his fort even cooler. But there’s some sort of magic involved when blankets are secured by the entertainment center and the couch, and there’s just enough space for a small child to nestle into and hide away from everyone else. So I say, encourage it. Bring out more blankets. Offer to help him bring down his whole collection of action figures to secure the entrance. And watch as your child creates a whole kingdom out of a space covered in cotton.
Bring on the games!
Rainy days are perfect for some family time of acting silly and having fun together. And one of the best ways to do this is through games. Create a list of things around the house that are both easy and hard to find, and let your kids go on a scavenger hunt. Play a game of hide & seek and giggle at your kids’ excitement of finding you, or being found by you. Hide an object in the house and give them clues on how to find it. Play a game of charades, and see just how silly your toddler can be as they act out their clue. Play a game of “How many things can you remember to do?” by naming 5 things for them to do and seeing what they remember – then repeat. Teach them a new card game. Set the timer and pick up as many things before the buzzer rings in a quick clean-up game. You can even bring out the board games from the back of the closet and rediscover the fun in Chutes & Ladders or Memory.
Make it a craft day
A great way to keep the little ones from being bored is to keep them busy. One lifesaver I’ve come up with is keeping a cabinet dedicated to art supplies. On days when the kids are cooped up, the cabinet is opened and all sort of projects are started.
Rain stick: Let your kids decorate an empty paper towel or toilet paper roll. Poke holes in the roll and let them stick toothpicks in at different angels. You will need to cut off ends so that their not protruding, and then glue the ends so that they stay put. When it’s dry, cover one end with wax paper, secured by a rubberband. Fill the roll with rice, and then secure the other end. Your child will love the sound to the “rain” coming down inside the house as the rain falls outside!
Homemade playdough: Sure, you can buy playdough at the store. But why, when it’s so easy to make? Your older kids will love helping you to cook the playdough, and kids of all ages (adults too!) will totally enjoy making numerous creations with the extremely pliable, colorful dough. I’ve shared a favorite recipe of mine over at SantaRosaMom.com that uses Kool-Aid as the coloring agent, and that creates a yummy smell for your kids while they are playing with it.
Macaroni art: You know that elbow pasta that you’ve been keeping in the back of your pantry, promising yourself that you will use it one of these days instead of making another blue and yellow box of the storebought dinner? It’s perfect for gluing all over paper plates or construction paper. It’s also a great way to teach your young’n about keeping in the lines. With white glue, create a picture on the surface they will be decorating (paper plate, paper, etc). Then instruct them to place macaroni on those lines so that the glue is completely covered by macaroni. The result is a picture they created “all by themselves”!
Create a mural: Bring out the inner artist in your child by having them create a mural for your wall. No, I’m not asking you to sacrifice your wall in the name of busting rainy day boredom. Murals can be created on butcher paper, like the kind at local art stores (for example, Riley Street Art Supplies at 103 Maxwell Ct in Santa Rosa sells 36-inch wide butcher paper for 25 cents a foot in length). Tape the paper to the floor, and let each child take over a part of the mural area. They can either create a project that tells one big story, or create multiple stories on one piece of paper. Don’t have butcher paper on hand? Cut a slit in a paper grocery bag and unfold it to create one large piece of paper.
Learn to do something new
Teach your child to knit. See how long they can stand on their head. Find out how to say “Thank you” in as many different languages as possible. Learn origami, how to fold a paper airplane, or have them teach your dog or cat a new trick. Teach them to tie their shoes or how to blow a bubble. Let them help you bake, filling your house with extremely yummy smells. Have them make up a game and all of its rules.
More rainy day ideas
Have a dance party. Watch a movie. Read a book. Put together a puzzle. Create a family “newspaper”. Float boats in a shallow soapy bathtub (with supervision!). Have a tea party. Play dress-up. Create early Christmas presents.
Any more ideas?