I worked at a daycare for four years and trust me, there were plenty of rainy days where we ran out of activities and had to come up with some ideas on the fly to keep a rowdy group of (insert number here)-year-olds entertained. The good news is that through that experience, I have come up with a list of tried-and-true ways to engage your child on days when there just doesn’t seem to be anything to do.
- Play in the Rain. This was a rainy day favourite: I would have each of the children pick a couple of plastic animals (usually marine animals) and go outside to find a puddle. There is just something about actually being allowed to play in puddles that fascinates children. And bonus: although they might get wet, as long as you establish the “hands, not feet” rule you won’t end up with muddy children. Unless you want to, which I also completely encourage. J
- Create an Animal Habitat. If you are more inclined to keep the party indoors and avoid the rain altogether, one time I set up a dinosaur habitat and let the children play with plastic dinosaurs in that. All that was involved was two plastic buckets; one with some water and pebbles for the aquatic dinosaurs, and one with some fake plants to mimic a forest environment. Add sand or dirt if you’re feeling brave. This can be done with any type of animal, and I chose to make it an educational experience by inviting the children to ask questions about the types of places dinosaurs lived and why they had different bodies to suit their environment.
- Build a Racetrack. You can use all kinds of things for a racetrack. If it isn’t raining outside, a sandbox or dirt field can be the perfect place to trace a track out. Drag a shovel through the dirt to draw a road in it. Add sticks for stop signs, train tracks, or bridges. If you’re stuck inside, blocks can make some great racetracks. Line them up, angle them, create buildings and ramps. Kids will be entertained for a long time pushing their cars along the tracks, and it teaches them architectural skills they can use in the future.
- Have a Dance Party. You know that children love music. Clear the floor, let them dress up, and dance with them to their favourite songs! Bonus if you have accessories like pom poms, ribbons, or tambourines they can dance with. It’s a great way to cut loose and get some energy out.
- Exercise with Them. Children are so willing to try new things, and they love to do whatever they see you doing. You will set a great example for them if you work out and allow them to be a part of it. My mom was a ballet teacher. Not only did she enroll me in ballet classes where she worked, but she let me be a part of her at-home practices as well. I was getting extra skill-building time, she was getting a free weight, and we were both getting invaluable mother/daughter time together. My dad used to take me running twice a week. He would make it fun by playing chase, or follow the leader as we ran. There are plenty of ways to make healthy exercise fun for your child and keep them entertained.
So there you have it! Five new ways to have fun with your kids even on a rainy day.
What does your family like to do when it rains? What are your favourite activities?