Rainy Day Fun – Bring the Outdoors In
Especially if you have school-age children who are home all summer you will be very aware of rainy days when they can’t go out to play. This is when sibling rivalry is at its best and it seems everyone is “bored”. As a parent or caregiver, you can seem to be “losing your mind” as the rain keeps coming down and the children are starting to “tear the house down”. Well, this type of activity doesn’t need to happen. There are numerous ways to combat rainy day boredom by bringing the outside in, and here are some of them:
Have you ever thought how much fun children can have enjoying water inside as well as out? Take your bathtub for instance. For example, young children have a great time just playing in water. Let them put on their bathing suits and let them choose toys water won’t harm. You can even have a ‘rainy day box” where you keep toys to be used just on rainy days. Special small boats, play fish, sponges, plastic nesting cups, turkey basters, and washable wall crayons are some things fun to use in the tub. Another idea is to drain out the water and let children finger paint or do other kinds of messy painting, using the tub as their table. When they are done, clean them up and just wash any mess on the “table” down the drain. Try this fun water project as well. Fill clear plastic containers with water and have a variety of small objects the child can put in the jar to see if they sink or float.
Children need to be active, which is one reason why going outside is such a good idea. But, it is raining so they can’t go out. However, large beach balls can come in to be used for rolling, jumping over, and for some types, bouncing on. A bowling game can be set up using plastic water bottles for pins and a soft medium size ball to bowl with. If you have a table big enough, clear it off and use it as a ping, pong table. Even very small children enjoy bouncing a ping pong ball across a table. If you have several children, line them up for a relay and let them push a small, softball with their nose, walk backward, hop on one foot, and carry a cotton ball on a spoon. You can even make small sandboxes in metal baking pans and let children draw with their fingers or hunt small metal objects with magnets, (can be purchased at a dollar store).
Games with prizes:
All children enjoy winning prizes. Try an indoor treasure hunt with clues to uncover the treasure–the prize, one for each child. You can have a prize as each clue is uncovered or have a final special prize such as pizza for lunch (which they can make themselves) or making ice cream sundaes. A scavenger hunt is fun too. Make a list of several items found in the home, give each child a bag to collect the items in, and send them off. Every child receives a prize when all the items on their list are found and in their bag. The spider web game is a sure winner. Using yarn or string make a maze with as many strings as there are children. One at a time let a child untangle their “web” to find a prize at the end. A different colored yarn for each child works really well for this game.
Here are just a few ideas for bringing the outside in on a rainy day. And of course, in addition to all the games and activities, you will want to have an “indoor picnic”. Use a blanket or old shower curtain spread out on the floor. Have a variety of picnic style food and drinks to enjoy and wind it up with ice cream cones. Children love to cook so let them do as much of the preparation as possible. Clean up is easy–just shake the blanket or shower curtain over the bathtub and rinse away the crumbs. So you see, with a little advance planning, such as having a supply of prizes tucked away, rainy days in summer can be fun for both caregivers and the children in their care.