As we make our way through April, I wish for those showers that bring May flowers. So far, no such luck. Here in southern California, we’re facing a serious dry season and we’re in some serious need of hydration. I admit that in my younger days, I’d selfishly wish away the rain so that I could bask in the sun or so that my weekend plans wouldn’t be ruined. How boring it was to be secluded indoors. And I can only imagine how boring and stir-crazy it must get to be stuck indoors with kids!
Today, I correct that way of thinking. How boring it is to be secluded indoors for those who lack imagination! Rain is an important necessity for the world to go ’round and for all of its inhabitants to thrive. Nowadays I hope for it, look forward to it and welcome it with open arms. Literally. Why not? With a little imagination, there’s plenty of things to do indoors on a rainy day. You just have to get creative and make lemonade out of life’s lemons (as the saying suggests). And what a great opportunity to pass that mentality on to your children.
So for those of you who aren’t a fan of rainy days and need a little extra help with finding ways to entertain the kids and to “make that lemonade”, here’s a list of activities you can try to pass away the hours and hopefully have a little fun while doing it.
- Start your day off with a little tune in your head that may make you think of rain a little differently. Listen to “Rain is a good thing” by Luke Bryan (probably not for kids, with mention of whisky and feeling frisky).
- Make an activity bag! When I was a kid, my brother and I would get a brown paper bag and fill it with strips of paper that we jotted down ideas on of games to play. We’d take turns drawing one from the bag to decide on what game to play next. We never did decorate it, though. How cute is this idea!
- Start an art project! Bust out the paints, watercolors, pastels, markers, colored pencils, crayons, paintbrushes, aprons and get busy creating! I’ve got a few art projects for kids that I’ve created here, or grab a few of your kids’ books and pick some images to copy or get inspired by. Or listen to music for inspiration, or create something that relates to the rain or encourage free draw where they come up with whatever they want. This is an activity that can be done with almost any age. Can’t hold a crayon yet? Finger paint! Just make sure you prep your area with newspapers or butcher paper first to help you contain the mess.
- Bake something delicious together. My daughter, who is almost two, loves to help me bake (especially my Nutella filled crescent rolls or my Pesto Pastries. We pull up a step-stool to the counter and I let her (with assistance, of course) measure out the dry ingredients, pour them into the bowls and stir them with a wooden spoon. Sure, some flour might find its way onto the counters or floor, but the experience of baking together outweighs that. Expect to have a bit more to clean. Then, while the goodies are baking, allow your little to take peeks of them rising so they can see the whole process from start to finish.
- Cook a meal together. Let your littles get involved with making breakfast, lunch or dinner. Give them a specific job to do like spread the butter and/or jelly on the toast, toss away the egg shells, stir the scrambled egg mixture in the bowl, measure out the flour for the pancakes, spread the jelly on your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, lay down the cheese and/or meat in your sandwiches, etc. You get the idea. And before you eat, have them set the table. My daughter (almost two) loves to help and be involved.
- Clean together! I know, you think I’m crazy for throwing this in here. But my almost two year old loves to help me clean! Well, she thinks she’s cleaning and that’s all that matters. Any time I grab the Windex to wipe down a window or glass surface she yells for a paper towel, too. She loves to get right in there and wipe down the surface with me. She’ll wipe down the kitchen cabinets, the fridge, the sliding glass door and the chairs. Give her a broom and she’ll happily “sweep” the floors! And even though she’s not really cleaning, she’s learning how by watching Mommy do it AND she’s out of my hair while I get some actual cleaning done! She’s not begging to watch Bubble Guppies or to be held. She’s content. You should really give this one a try.
- Read books. This activity is probably an obvious one but it still never gets old with my daughter. If your kids are a bit older than mine, maybe 3+, you can pretend you’re in a library. You can set up some chairs or some comfy cushions on the floor and have someone be the librarian. I used to love to pretend I was checking books out and if I was the librarian, I’d pretend I was stamping the insides of each book. You can grab some index cards (or small pieces of paper) and actually stamp those (with whatever stamps you have) and pretend like you’re actually checking books out to each other.
- Play hide and seek. This game can most definitely take up a good amount of time. Of course, it’s important to lay out some rules first of where not to hide and areas to stay clear from. I think this activity is a lot of fun and gives the kids a chance to get creative and exercise their brain from trying to figure out where the good hiding spots are in the house, and then how to fit in them.
- Dance party! That’s right, put your dancing shoes on, turn up the music and bust a move. This will really get all of your wiggles out and will burn off some extra energy. Teach each other new dance moves, learn to slow dance or have a competition to see who can dance the longest. What a great way to burn off some extra calories, too (parents).
- Indoor bowling. You don’t need much space for this one. You do need items for pins, though. One great idea I came across is to use toilet paper tubes as pins, each with a different color. Start saving those tp tubes, parents. And if you don’t have those, then I’m sure you can come up with a pile of items from your kitchen cupboards that are light enough to fall down when hit by a ball (ex: those squeezable applesauce pouches, Caprisuns, empty bar of soap box, empty toothpaste box, etc.). Make it work.
- Build a fort. Grab some sheets, blankets, pillows, cushions and chairs to hold the whole thing up with and just build. Try to turn this activity into a learning experience for the kids by discussing the setup first. Get them to think of how you’re going to construct it before starting and try to stand back as a supervisor and/or assistant (depending on their age). If your kid is two, you’re doing all the work and they’ll reap the benefits and all of the fun. Once it’s finished, get creative with some games to play inside. Imagine you’re all bears and the fort is your bear cave. Or maybe it’s an over sized dog house. Everything ends up having to do with dogs and barking anyways, right? Oh, and you can also make a box fort out of a giant box, or put together a bunch of regular size boxes.
- Make puppets. You can use brown paper bags or old socks. Use whatever materials you have to draw the faces on or glue them on. Create a whole cast of characters and put on a puppet show at the end. You can make props to go along with the show as well.
- Have an indoor picnic. At snack or feeding time, lay some blankets on the floor along with a few cushions and enjoy your food somewhere other than the table or highchair. If you have a smart phone or a laptop, pull up sounds from nature like chirping birds, to really get the feel that you’re outside.
- Start a food tradition that you associate with rainy days. When I was a kid, my mom would make my brother and I tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. I know a lot of people who did the same so I’m sure this isn’t a shocker. But now as an adult, I crave that grilled cheese and tomato soup combo whenever it rains or when we have a really cold day (which isn’t often). Making it and eating it brings back childhood memories and is such a comfort food for me now. Create a similar tradition with your kids or continue one with them that your parents made for you.
- Ring toss. What a simple and great idea, just using paper plates and a paper towel tube.
- Play in the rain. Yes, get outside! Water won’t hurt you, I promise. This is an activity for any age. Get out the rain gear, the coats, hats and boots, and get some towels ready by the door for when you come back inside. Explore your yard or neighborhood in the rain. Take note of any changes. Examine plants, mud and puddles. Enlighten your kids of the benefits of rain. Teach them of the importance of rain to the plants, the trees, the animals and all the farmers, crops, lakes and rivers around the world. And when the kids get tired of hearing you talk, start splashing and jumping in puddles. I’d save this activity towards the end of the day so that when you get back inside and dry off, you can get the baths going (which I think is a great way to unwind close to bed time).
- Start reserving rain water. This is a great activity to get your kids involved in. Take buckets, cups or some kind of containers outside and set them up in areas where they won’t be disturbed or contaminated to collect rain water. The collected rain water can later be used to fill up your pet’s water bowl, to water your indoor plants, to wash dishes with or even to use when steaming or boiling vegetables on the stove. This is a great lesson in reserving water and reusing it to suit your daily needs. This will most definitely encourage creativity in your kids, it will get them thinking outside of the box and will hopefully get them to be a little more aware of their usage of resources.
That concludes the list of activities to do on a rainy day. After reading them over, I’m super stoked for our next rainy day to do all of these with my daughter. Let the rain dances begin. I hope you’ve found this list helpful and I’d love to hear of the activities you do with your kids on a rainy day. Leave me a comment with your ideas. And, I started a board on Pinterest for rainy day activities. There’s not much to it yet since it’s new but follow along for more ideas to add to the list!
“Rain” is the April writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Katie of Hello, Little Bean. A few words from Katie — Hi! I’m Katie and I write a blog called ‘Hello, Little Bean.’ It’s about life as a new mom to my cute daughter, Lark Story. I’m California born and raised, but currently live in Michigan with my soon-to-be husband, James and my soon-to-be stepson, Brennan, as well as our little Lark and two kitties. I’m a full-time graphic designer who loves all things artistic and creative. I’m overly sensitive and sentimental, sarcastic and foul-mouthed at times, a foodie and a reality tv junkie who’s completely and utterly in love with motherhood. You can also find me on instagram, facebook, pinterest and our little online boutique, Bold Threads.