We've all had those long and dreary days, filled with miserable
rain outside and miserable and whining kids, inside. "What's
there to do?" they ask every five minutes. "Why can't we go
outside?" "Will this rain ever stop?" Well, rainy days may
ruin some cheerful plans of outside activities, but it doesn't
have to be dull, boring, or frustrating inside. With a few
careful preparations ahead of time, you can plan on the next
rainy day being a day the kids will remember. In fact, they
may be wishing for more days of rain.
you have the chance, stock up on board games, toys, old clothing,
craft supplies, scissors, glue, paper, pencils, markers, crayons,
puzzles, decks of cards, and an assortment of other items
you think the kids might have use of.
the next rainy day, try some of these ideas for a day full
Color in new coloring books, only used when confined indoors
due to bad weather outside.
Put together puzzles, or let the kids try to solve puzzles
from puzzle books.
Play some of the board games you've collected.
Pull out your craft supplies and let the kids get creative.
Maybe they can paint, draw, make mosaics, or try their hands
at weaving or some other craft. If you have the space and
equipment, let them create things from ceramics. Whatever
you can imagine, and that might be within their age-appropriate
range, let them try it.
might tell old ghost stories you heard when you were growing
up. Or, you might make up some really fascinating stories
just for the kids. Let them all have a turn at making up stories
of their own, or perhaps, you could go around and let everyone
add a piece of the story.
Build a fort.
you ever build a fort when you were a kid, or maybe you've
built forts for your own children? Plan out where you want
your fort, then arrange some chairs and other solid objects
around, strategically placed to serve as supports for your
tent-like forts. Then, use blankets, sheets, or any other
large pieces of material you have on hand, and fasten them
in place over and around your solid structure. Use whatever
works. You might even want to pull out a stash of safety pins
and use them. This helps your fort stay in place when the
kids start moving around, and in and out.
Play dress up.
old clothing and let the kids dress up in imaginative ways.
They might want to look like Dad or Mum, but they might also
want to look like some fictional character they have in mind.
Help them combine all of the right elements to allow the kids
to get into character and make believe their own story and
life, even if only for that day. They might even get into
character and play in their newly made forts.
Have a circus.
the kids' stuffed animals and maybe a toy wagon. Put the animals
on parade and let the kids be lion tamers, clowns or other
circus performers. Build them a safe and low "high wire" on
which they can perform. Let them come up with interesting
characters to be. You might even want to make popcorn and
serve soft drinks.
Make sock puppets and have a puppet show.
you need are old socks, markers and maybe a button or two
for eyes and nose. You might even use some yarn for the hair.
Then, you're ready to plan out your show. Let the kids play
the part of the puppets they created, and let them ad-lib
the script wherever they want to. You don't have to be a perfectionist
and insist that a script be developed and memorized. Let the
kids improvise. They will get such a kick out of entertaining
Play in the kitchen.
the kids help you cook a pizza or maybe some cookies. Give
them a chance to help you in the kitchen and make something
delicious they can devour afterwards. Just make sure they
remember that part of cooking is cleaning up. Who knows, you
may find yourself with lots more help in clearing the table
and washing dishes later on.
some books and fun activities that the kids might enjoy in
their own version of "play" school. Let them be the teachers
and you be the student. Make it realistic or make it a total
fantasy, just let the kids loose with their imaginations and
enjoy the time.
Have a talent show.
all members of the family participate. Maybe the kids would
like to sing a song, dance, or do some other special talent
for everyone. Let them show their talents and shine for you.
You might even want to award some special prizes you collected
in advance, and make sure that every child gets a prize of
Build a cardboard city.
all sorts of large and small discarded cardboard boxes. Let
the kids help design their new city, then you can cut out
the necessary holes. Then the kids can help place everything
and color on whatever designs they want. The rest is easy.
You sit back and relax, while the kids roam in and out of
their new box city.
Make a home movie.
the kids use the family video recorder and make a movie just
like the professionals in Hollywood do. Well, almost. Anyway,
the point is to let them be creative and imaginative, planning
out some plot with characters and twists. Let them dress up
and use whatever resources you have on hand to set the scenes
and help them make their movie. Of course, you may prefer
to be the camera person, and let the kids do all of the acting.
But you'll end up with a treasure of a movie, sure to be enjoyed
for many years to follow.
Write a story together.
the kids get really imaginative and come up with a story of
their own. They might want to write stories individually,
and read them aloud to the group. Or, they might want to get
together and write a story together. Who knows, they might
never realize what a learning experience they are having,
all in the name of having fun.
Play "Let's Pretend" games.
the kids pretend to be teachers, doctors, nurses, policemen
or firemen. Let them dress up in whatever you may have on
hand. Then let them play the roles. You might even volunteer
to be the patient or bad guy that has to be arrested and taken
off to jail.
Have a picnic or camp out on the living room floor.
the kids gather blankets and pillows, and whatever they think
makes the perfect event. If you have a fireplace, it would
be perfect for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. Be creative
and be a little flexible. Sure there will be a mess, but it
can be cleaned up. This is the time to let go and let everyone
have some fun.
Have a scavenger hunt or clue hunt.
a list of items the kids must find, or, write up and hide
a bunch of clues they must solve in order to find the next
clue. Let the kids scamper off in search of these otherwise
ordinary household items. For that day, the items are much
sought after treasures they are collecting. Make it fun, and
leave a few rewards for them to find along the way.
Plan a cultural feast.
you have a handy kitchen nature, and you're knowledgeable
about different cultural foods, prepare a cuisine that the
kids will love. Let them help. Then, while you are preparing
and eating the foods, you can help the kids learn more about
these different cultures.
Have a party.
the kids pick out some music, then pull out the chips or make
some popcorn. Let them dance around the room. Then, let them
fall all over themselves with laughter, when you show them
how it was done when you were a kid.
Create simple science projects.
might even have everyday items around the house that you can
use. But this is one project you must prepare ahead of time.
You need to research the different projects, and make sure
you not only have the items you will need, but also make sure
it is perfectly safe for the kids.
Have a fashion show.
is a take-off of the dress-up, but the kids get to try on
many different clothes. Let them pick out their own unique
and imaginative styles and combos, then model them for you
to admire. Let them strut their stuff, and watch them beam
with pride as you "oooh" and "ahhh" over their new styles.
Tell old family stories.
kids always seem to love hearing about the "good old days."
Tell them what you did on rainy days when you were a kid.
Share the stories your parents used to tell you, and let the
kids get to know their ancestors a little better.
the kids build homemade ships and try out their sailing skills
in the bathroom. You
might even want to let the kids go "swimming" in the tub,
while they're at it. After all, you can be sure all of you
will end up at least a little wet, by the time all of the
ships have been tried and tested on the waters.
an assortment of items from around the house and let the kids
get creative, trying to build some new and ingenious sculpture
or object from the different things. If they will be using
tape, glue, or other permanent adhesives, you might want to
use only those items that you don't mind the kids keeping
A Summer Treat.
if the weather is only wet, but no thunder or lightning threatens,
let the kids take a walk out in the rain. Either take an umbrella,
or just let all of you go out, barefooted, and enjoy traipsing
through the falling rain and jumping in all of the puddles
you encounter. Kids are so used to parents telling them to
come in out of the rain, they are sure to love and appreciate
a rare opportunity to go out and play in it.
you do, if you make some advance preparations, the next rainy
day at your house is sure to be something more than just another
dull and dreary day for the kids - and for you. Let them be
themselves, and learn how, where and when you can be flexible.
Make the day a special one, and the kids may not ever dread
another rainy day again.