By Shannon Smith
We’ve gathered 15 of our favorite ideas for rainy day play that will brighten up even the gloomiest, wet and windy winter days! With a little imagina-tion you’ll replace, “I’m bored” with smiles, giggles and hours of fun without ever leaving your warm and toasty home!
Box Please. Do you have any large cardboard boxes leftover from the holidays? With a box cutter (parent supervision needed here), paint, tape, markers or anything else you can find around the house, the kids can create just about anything! A cat house, a box car, a sled, a washing machine (a little plastic laundry basket can catch their laundry), a store, beds for their stuffed animals, instruments…the possibilities are endless! The fun continues after the build as they play with their cardboard creations.
Fort Sure. Who doesn’t love hanging out in a fort? Let the kids transform a whole room into a special space to read, play games, start a club, etc. Some blankets, pillows, string or tape, and furniture to drape and “build” off of should do the trick.
House Hunters. Send them off on an indoor scavenger hunt! A simple google search will generate many ideas (some you can just print off). Once you create or print your list, send them on their hunt with a bag to collect items. My list would include things like: a blue crayon, a picture of their grandparents, a hair bow, something red, their favorite toy or stuffed animal, something from the 90s, and so on. Have the kids put all their items back once they are done gathering them. (If you want to keep things in place, they can take pictures of the items and show them to you instead).
I’m With the Band. If you’re not afraid of a little noise—well, may-be a lot of noise—let the kids start their own band. If you don’t have actual musical instruments; pots and pans, cups, wooden spoons, plastic bowls or buckets work great! (You can even fill empty water bottles halfway with uncooked rice or beans to make maracas.)
Bakers Gonna Bake. Do you have the next Kids Baking Champion? Set up a baking challenge. Whether it’s cupcakes, cookies or maybe even a no bake, super sandwich creation—it will be made with love. They can also get creative with their plate display and decorations. If you’re feeling daring, you can be a tasting “judge”.
Playing Is A Chore. This may not sound super fun. It may even sound like a chore, but once the kids get going they will surely rediscover a forgotten toy and sneak in a little playtime, too. Challenge your child to donate some of their toys they no longer play with, or see if they want to scale back their stuffed animal collection.
Favorite Things. Have the kids put together their own collage or vision board. Give them some old magazines and let them cut and paste away making a display of their favorite places, foods, animals, characters and colors onto a piece of paper, cardstock or poster board if you have it.
Let’s Dance. Help the kids make their own playlists, choosing five of their favorite songs. As they listen to their cool beats challenge them to come up with their own signature dance move. (You may want to get this on tape, I still love watching the clip of my daughter doing her move, the “Wake ‘er Up…Yo”.) You can also turn it into a freeze dance party by randomly pausing the music and having the kids freeze in their pose until the music starts up again.
Send Snail Mail. Gather up your miscellaneous art supplies and let the kids go wild making homemade cards for family and friends. Show the kids how to address a letter and send it off as a special treat for a loved one. Grandparents especially love to get personal letters and cards in the mail.
Double Feature. Read a book that has been made into a movie and then watch the movie together and compare. Which version was better and why? If you’re looking for some book ideas that were made into movies, check out this month’s book nook column on page 14 for several family-friendly options.
LEGO Build. Simply put, just bust out the container of LEGOs and let them build their most imaginative custom creations. Our Pinterest board has plenty of build ideas. You can keep them on display afterward, too.
Gone Campin’. Clear out some space, set up your tent and let them camp. They’ll love setting up their camping spot. Once they’re all set up, let them play cards, tell stories, have a picnic lunch, make shadow shapes with flashlights and even sleep in their campsite overnight if they want.
Little Ninja Warriors. Create an indoor obstacle course. Stretch string, streamers, yarn or tape through the hallway so they can navigate through, over and under. Have them zig zag through cones, hop from placemat to placemat, etc. Set a timer and see if they can break their fastest record. Once they have mastered the course you can make it even more challenging by having them navigate the course while balancing a book on their head or walking backwards. (You might want to set up pillows to cushion any falls.)
Old-School Play-Dough. Slime was all the rage, but what about bringing back good-old-fashioned play-dough? Again, head over to our Pinterest board for several recipes (bake and no bake). I personally like the Kool-Aid recipe. This mold-able, colorful, non-toxic dough will delight their senses.
Open For Business. Let the kiddos open shop. With some items to stock their “shelves,” a checkout table, a notebook for receipts, a toy cash register or makeshift cash box and some shopping bags they will be ready for customers. Maybe they want to be a librarian, manage a restaurant, check out customers at a grocery store, or open up a toy store. Have them make and hang their own signs, too.
To see more ideas and tutorials on rainy day activities, check out our Rainy Day Play Pinterest board at www.Pinterest.com/sacparent.