Rainy Day Play

Boy on porchIt is a steamy, nasty, rainy day here in Kansas City so I thought I’d take time to post some of my favorite indoor activities to do with toddlers.  Older kids are in school or can entertain themselves for the most part; so this post is dedicated to all you cuties out there under the age of 6 – have fun!

Some of these activities I made up, some I found on line, some came from books I’ve read.   I probably have a list of over 100 things to do on rainy days, so I’ll keep new posts coming on other rainy days – for now we’ll start with my top 10 activities.  Have fun and change these up to fit the materials you have available and the skill level of your child.  Rainy days CAN be fun!! :o)

1. Indoor Baseball – All you need is an empty paper towel roll or even better I have used an empty wrapping paper roll.  using an inflated balloon create your own bases for a game of baseball.  Have fun pitching, catching and running.

2.  Ball Boogie– We have a million different sizes, colors and textures of balls in our house.  To help my kids learn to categorize and sort things I’ll get out different baskets or containers and ask them to sort a pile of balls (they can sort them by color, size, texture, anything that fits for your collection of balls).  I have also taken the balls and set up a kind of “ring” with pillows or blankets.  I put all the balls in the “ring” and as soon as I call out a color my kids jump in and try to knock all of that color out of the “ring”

3. Paper Plate Purse– We use to do this craft in Sunday School a lot but it is still fun for me.  Take 2 paper plates, cut one in half.  Let your child decorate the bottom (rounded part) of the 1/2 plate and the top half of the whole plate.  Punch 2 holes in the top of the big plate and string yarn through it to make a strap.  Using a stapler around the edges, attach the 1/2 plate to the whole one and you’ve created a little pouch to put things in.  HINT: a couple days later pull out this creation and declare a search for things that are circular, or things that are red, or anything else that will fit in their pouch.

4. Bowling – I started keeping and rinsing out our old plastic apple juice containers.  When they were dry I poured in some tempera paint and swished it around so it covered the inside of the bottle.  After making lots of different colors I stuck library card sleeves on the front (you could use anything that will let you put paper in and out of it).  I put a different letter of the alphabet on different 3×5 cards.  I put the cards in the pockets so the letters are hidden – then we set up the containers in a bowling pin pattern.  I bought a thin, woven door mat at the dollar store and that’s where we stand when we roll the ball.  Using a small kickball we roll the ball.  I pull out the letter card for each container they knock down and they get extra points for naming the letter and another point for saying a word that starts with that letter.  I let the younger brothers ask for help if they need it – but the older brothers aren’t allowed to offer help unless they are asked to do so.

5.    Balloon Balance– Have your child decorate a paper plate.  Tape the plate to the end of a flattened empty paper towel roll, wooden spoon or spatula (anything long enough to act as a handle).  Let them bounce a balloon on their plate as they hold on to the handle.  I’ve also had the kids try to complete a homemade obstacle course in the house (step over pillows, sit on a chair, walk around the table, etc.) while balancing the balloon on their plate.  There are LOTS of ways to play this game.

6.  Wheel Painting – Put a small amount of tempera paint on a plate.  Let your child put the wheels of different trucks or cars in the paint.  Roll them back and forth and then on a big piece of paper “paint” with the wheels by rolling them across the paper.  Let your child experiment with different sizes of wheels and colors – maybe challenge older children to make a pattern on the paper.

7.  Safari Hunt – This is one of my favorite activities on a dark, rainy day.   All you need is a flashlight, a dark room and different stuffed animals.  After placing the animals in different “hiding” places, turn off the lights and give your child a flashlight.  You carry a basket or bag and as your child uses their flashlight to find the animals and you put them in the basket.  If your child can name the animal as they find them it makes it even more fun.  I’ve actually had my boys wear a safari hat and we talk about what a real safari would be like – you can do lots of fun things with this activity.  Your child can even hide or place the animals for you to discover! 

8.  Instrument Fun – Make an instrument out of anything and play it while you listen to music.  I’ve used dried beans or pasta to make a shaker, we beat on Tupperware or pots and pans, we even make jingle bell bracelets to wear and shake to the music.

9.  Animal Bag– Using a pillow case or a bag put a bunch of different stuffed animals inside it (if you don’t have enough stuffed animals you can use pictures pasted on paper).  Take out one stuffed animal at a time and take turns acting out that animal, listing its characteristics and talk about where it lives and what it eats.

10.  Grocery Store– I love this game only because it is easy to set up and carry out.  I keep different boxes and food containers – then I tape them closed.  We have a pretend cash register and paper bags that we also use to reenact our own grocery store trip.  The kids help me set up the “store” – the older kids like to put similar products together – it’s so funny.  We take turns, sometimes I shop or they shop, but  either way they love putting things in the bags, pretending to pay for the items and then unpacking everything in their pretend house.

2 Responses to “Rainy Day Play”

  1. 1 Sarah Moser August 17, 2009 at 3:11 PM

    Fun ideas! I love hearing tips from other moms on creative things to do with kids. A couple of my own:

    * Hodge-podge crafts. Dig out the craft supplies box and let the kids make, or for little ones, direct you in making, a new creature. We’ve used little wooden blocks, googly eyes, pom poms, pipe cleaners, glitter, and glue to make funny characters, for example.

    * Indoor campout. Give kids a flashlight, head to a darkened basement, and go exploring. Lay out blankets, read camping-related books, hunt for wildlife (stuffed animals), and finish with s’mores roasted over a candle.

    • 2 Kasey Johnson August 17, 2009 at 4:21 PM

      Great ideas! Keep them coming! I’m going to try the indoor campout later this afternoon – the boys will love it!

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