Rainy days can have even the most hands-on parent begging for a break, but they need not be stress-filled or cabin-fevered! Don’t feel trapped by the rainy days – just follow our 10 easy tips for keeping the kids entertained and you’ll beat the rainy-day blues!
Create a rainy day box
It can be hard to think of the perfect activity when you’re suddenly trapped indoors, so keep a Rainy Day Box of fun, hands-on activities and crafts that are only brought out when the weather is grey. Your Rainy Day Box will need to be large, so you can keep it stocked with an assortment of fun stuff. Don’t forget to restock your Rainy Day Box when the weather clears up!
Here are some fun ideas for your box:
- Cheap art and craft supplies
- New colouring and activity books
- Pencils, textas, crayons and chalk
- Old make-up and your latest wardrobe throwaways for costumes
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Old magazines and newspapers for papier-mâché or collages
- Left over party favours like balloons and decorations
- A deck of cards
- Family board games
Have a jigsaw afternoon
Jigsaws are a whole-family activity that can be a wonderful bonding experience between differently-aged siblings and their busy parents. Set each member of the family up with a puzzle to suit their skill level, all helping each other finish, or create teams to work on puzzles together. You can even make your own family-photo jigsaws using an enlarged photo printed onto plain paper from your computer.
Indoor fortress fun
What child doesn’t love building a princess castle or a fortress indoors? Pick a room in the house that you don’t mind being rearranged for a few hours, and use sheets and blankets and lots of pegs or butterfly clips to secure them as a roof between tables, couches and chairs. Encourage your children to use their imaginations – they can create rooms inside with towels and other furniture, dress up and act out stories from their favourite books, and even have a picnic in the cubby for lunch. This activity is hours of entertainment for any age, and especially great fun when you have a friends over for a playdate.
Family movie day
Rather than watching the same old kids’ TV shows all day long, beat rainy day boredom with a fun family movie day. From making fun snacks like nacho popcorn and lolly gobble bliss bombs, to creating a cinema in your lounge room, this is a great way to keep kids of all ages entertained.
Board game bonanza
Break out those board games from the back of the cupboard that haven’t been played for a while or invest in a few new ones. Board games come in a huge range from simple games that just involve rolling a dice and counting the spaces to the finish, to epic games that require tactics and strategy – there’s something for every age.
High Tea at home
Cooking with kids can be messy, but it’s also a whole lot of fun and a fantastic way to keep them entertained for a couple of hours. Get them busy helping to bake yummy treats for an afternoon High Tea, then set them up with their toys at a table or on a picnic rug. Make a deal with them – you’ll help them have a wonderful High Tea if they’ll help you clean up the dishes afterwards (this may include washing, wiping, putting away and a fair amount of bowl and spoon licking). This will teach them about compromise and responsibility – but don’t forget to keep it fun! Find some gorgeous recipe ideas for your High Tea at Kidspot Kitchen.
A scavenger hunt is a great way to amuse kids large and small. You can hide treats, but if you’re health-conscious, hide toys instead – just use a specific set so they know what to look for, such as the Barbie collection, matchbox cars, or leftover party favours like balloons or toy whistles. Give each child a small basket to collect their loot in – they could have some fun decorating this for an extra activity. You could even let the kids create a deck of colourful picture cards to use as your scavenger pieces. To keep them engaged, offer a prize or treat for the child who brings back the most loot each round. This is a game that can be played for hours on end, with the right incentive!
Fashion show spring clean
Here’s a fun way to spring clean the childrens’ wardrobes – put on a fun fashion show! Place lamps in your hallway and pop some fun music on the stereo, then get your kids to strut their stuff down your makeshift catwalk. Cheer them on from your audience chair at the end of the hall, as you decide whether each item is ready for the rag-bag or op-shop, delegated to the hand-me-down or sewing baskets, or still fine to wear for another season. De-cluttering has never been so fun!
Story book fun
Create a fun memento of your rainy day by letting the kids make their own story books – this is a fun activity for any age. Simply staple some pages together and let the kids use their imaginations to decorate the front cover. They could use photos of your own family, friends and pets to make a family scrapbook. Old magazines are also great for sourcing colourful pictures to stick in your story book, or encourage them to draw their own pictures. Try giving the children some inspiration with a story theme – stick to simple themes like robots or fairies, or ask them to write a story about their favourite birthday party, holiday, family member or pet.
Have a rainy adventure
A walk in the rain is a fantastic thing – you get to beat cabin fever, wear out bored and cranky kids for a (hopefully) lazy afternoon, and get some much-needed fresh air at the same time. Dress up in gumboots, hats and raincoats, grab the umbrellas and go and discover the outside world in the rain! You could head to your favourite local park, take a walk around the block, or just explore your own backyard. Never mind if the children get a little wet from their puddle-jumping adventures, just pop them into a lovely warm bath afterwards – the perfect wind-down after a rainy adventure.
Sorting through a big, mixed mess of toys can be more fun than you think! Dedicate a few hours to making it an enjoyable activity with your kids by playing a series of fun games to get all the toys sorted into each child’s toy box. You may like to award points to the winner and runner-up of each game, with an overall reward or prize as added incentive. Plus, here’s a mum-secret – keeping it fast-paced will cut down on the urge all children have to stop and play. Ssshhh!
First, you need to place one empty basket or box per child in the middle of the room. Delegate each child to a box and get them to draw a picture of themselves and write their name on it – this will be their label for their personal toy box.
- GAME ONE: Give each child a mixed box or basket of toys to sort, with clear instructions to fill the empty boxes with the correct sibling’s toys. Now you can make it race to see who can empty their basket the quickest!
- GAME TWO: Set them all loose on one basket of mixed toys, instructing them to fill the middle toy boxes until their mixed basket is empty. Now, count the toys in the middle and see whose box has the most toys.
- GAME THREE: Place your labelled toy boxes in a straight line and show the children where they are. Then ask the children to sit around a basket of mixed toys, next to the labelled toy boxes. Blindfold one child at a time, instructing them to take one toy from the basket. They must guess who the toy belongs to – each correct guess gets one point. After they guess, reveal who the toy belongs to, and then the blindfolded child must find their way to the correct labelled toy box to put the toy away. The other children can call out directions to help!
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