When the spring rains start keeping your kids cooped up, you may end up insane. With no outlet outside for their unlimited energy, your children may start being bored, irritable and argumentative. I don’t know about you, but to me that is a recipe for disaster. My children make me crazy enough as it is without adding in the horror of being cooped up inside for endless days. Here are ten ideas for activities to help keep your children occupied and you semi-sane during the rainy days to come.
Arts & Crafts – Pull out the craft kits, unearth the crayons, grab your scissors and get creative! Your kids can decorate the windows and walls with paper flowers and rainbows, they can make play dough snakes and draw a picture of their hero. For an extra dose of fun, make sure you participate too! Allow them to go wild with their artwork. Who cares how much of a mess they are making as long as they are busy and occupied?
Cooking Class – Tell your kids it’s time to earn their keep! Ask them what they want to eat for a snack and then teach them to make it. This can be a great way to incorporate actual teaching into a fun activity. Cooking can teach children the basics of chemistry and can also teach them about measurements. Don’t stop with snacks, but enlist their help with dinner too!
Board Games – Board games may seem like a simple idea, but so many of us don’t even remember we have games anymore. With so many video game systems and computers, we rarely seem to pull out the old standbys. Not just Monopoly or Battleship, either. Think about games such as Apples to Apples or card games like War that will keep your kids busy and laughing for a long time.
Movie Theater – When the other activities are running dry, open up a movie theater. Make up tickets that the kids need to earn by doing something like picking up the living room or putting away books. Then, lower the lights, make popcorn and settle down with your kids to watch a new movie together.
Seek and Find – Make up a list of common household items. Make sure your list includes items from every room in the house. Give a list to each child and tell them they have a specific time limit to find all of the items on their list and bring them to you. Make the list harder or easier depending upon the ages of the child. You can even do this with children too young to read by drawing pictures!
Store Keeper – Have one child designated as the store keeper for each time you play this game. Find different items around the house that the kids will want to play with, watch or eat for the day. Allow the kids to “earn” money (use monopoly money) by doing different things. Once they have earned enough money, they can purchase an item for the day. You can even make certificates good for a half an hour on the computer or extra game time on their favorite gaming system!
Restaurant – Have your children help you with dinner by making it a game. Have them help plan the menu and then write it out on colored paper and post it. Once you know what the menu is, you can assign each child a job to do. They can help you cook, clean and serve the food, take “money” for the meal, greet “customers” or whatever you can think of! You can also have them plan the decorations for the table and set the table. Clean up is another “job” they can help with!
Bath time Fun – Who says that bath time needs to be right before bed? As long as it is not thundering and lightning, your kids can play in the tub. Give them foam soap to play with, lots of different sized tubs and containers to pour water to and from and even some washable soap markers or crayons. Let them decorate themselves and the tub/ shower and then wash it off. I know my boys can spend an hour in the tub, easy.
Free Pass – This is basically a chance for you to say to your kids…. go ahead, jump on the bed. Or, get out every toy you own and play with them all at once. Or, build a giant tent/ fort in the middle of the dining room. Anything that you would normally tell them not to do, you could let them get away with for a day. As long as they are not hurting or damaging themselves or someone else, give them a free pass for a while. It may keep all of you from being too “bored”.
When all else fails… go puddle hopping! Break out the rain jackets and boots, the rain hats or umbrellas and go for a trek through the rain. Jump in puddles, splash each other and laugh as you run through the rain. Top this off with a hot bath and a warm dinner for plenty of uninterrupted sleep that night!