We know how it can go as a parent. You come home from a long day of [insert list of career to dos, household chores, errands, and child-chauffeuring here]. And, while you’d love a few minute alone to, say, make dinner, you can’t send the kids outside for exercise because it’s been and cold and rainy for days.
It’s tempting to park our kids in front of a screen for a little downtime. (We’ve all done it.) But, with a little bit of creativity, it’s possible to keep your child’s mind and body engaged with activities that are every bit as fun as those played in the great outdoors.
Here are five simple ideas to get you started:
Dance Break – This is a simple, fun, and a great way to burn off excess energy indoors. Help your kids put together a play list with some of their favorite dance songs. You’ll get to see what songs your children like and introduce them to some of your favorites. Who knows? You both might wind up with new artists on your phone! When the playlists are complete, switch them to shuffle and let the dance party begin. To go the extra mile, you can change the lighting or move back the furniture, to give the space a dance floor feel!
Make a Movie – Rainy days are perfect for snuggling up and watching a movie. But making a movie can be even better! Ever since the rise of the camera phone, creating home movies has never been easier. You can sit down with your children and plan out the movie, or shoot it scene by scene as you go. Don’t be afraid to get creative with movie making magic. Car chases, horse races and even space travel is possible through the magic of toys in a close up shot! This is a rainy day activity that can be fun the whole way through; first you make it, then you watch it!
Puppets! – This activity combines arts and crafts time with getting a new toy! The variety of do-it-yourself puppets is vast! Sock puppets only need yarn hair, button eyes, an old sock and some glue! Paper bag puppets can be whipped up by decorating a brown paper lunch bag with markers, crayons or colored pencils. And shadow puppets can come from glue, popsicle sticks, and construction paper. Once you have your puppets, you’re ready to make a puppet show! You can even make your puppet show into a movie (see above)!
Pool Party – Just because it’s raining outside, doesn’t mean you can’t have some indoor water fun. If you have a bathtub, you have the perfect excuse to suit the kids up and play with pool toys. If your selection of pool toys is limited, you can improvise from what you have already. Spray bottles can become squirt guns and plastic action figures turn into deep sea divers. Just be sure to lay some towels down in case the fun gets too splashy. Bonus: Your children wind up squeaky clean afterwards
Hide and Seek (with twists!) – Hide and seek is a classic, fun game for all ages. All you need is the kid who’s “it” to close their eyes while the others hide, then head out to find them all. If after a few rounds of this, the game starts to lose its charm, throw in some adjustments. Sardines is a version of hide and seek where only one player hides and everyone else seeks. Once a seeker finds the hider’s spot, they hide with them. This continues until the last seeker finds all the other players trying to hide in one spot together. The first one to find the original hider gets to be the hider for the next game. Or, to add another fun element to hide and seek, give everyone a flash light and play in the dark. You’ll be surprised how many new hiding spots this creates!
Photo Credit: Irena Martynuk