Nanny Tips: Rainy Day Activities for Kids
Whether you are a nanny or babysitter, you are bound to encounter at least a couple of rainy days throughout the year when you are watching the children. You may feel like this is the opportune time to panic because you know the youngest child is going to start jumping off a furniture any moment, but have no fear! I have created a list of activity ideas that you can do with children indoors on those rainy days so that the time goes by quickly and the kids stay engaged (and won't go jumping on their beds).
Keep in mind that you may need to modify the activities based on the ages of the children you are watching. You don't need to have any fancy equipment to create fun!
Coloring with Coloring Books or Plain Paper
Nobody said you had to be a well-known artist to create a masterpiece. Coloring is a great rainy day activity for kids because:
- It allows them to use their imagination
- It's a great way to use child-directed play (meaning the child is in control)
- It builds their fine motor skills
Teachable Moment: If you are working with a younger child, provide some commentary while they are coloring. For example, if a child picks up a blue crayon, you may say something like: "now you're picking up a blue crayon off the table." This will help build the child's vocabulary while also providing them with a fun activity.
- Crayons, Markers, Colored Pencils
- Plain paper, Lined paper, Construction Paper, Coloring Books
Check out some of these great construction paper crafts for more ideas!
As a child, I used to enjoy making animals out of anything I could think of. Sometimes I would use pipe cleaners as antlers or alien antennas. The possibilities are endless with just a few supplies! In the video to the right, you and the children can make a butterfly! The video provides a quick tutorial on how to make the butterfly with some foam and a water bottle.
If you are taking care of older children, have them be creative and make up their own animal. Who knows what they'll think of!
Do you enjoy rainy days?
Build a Fort
Building a fort just might be one of the best rainy day activities for kids. As a child, I used to grab all of the blankets and pillows I could and start constructing the biggest fort possible. I suggest using a table, bed, or couch as your stabilizer so that the fort is able to stand. After that, it's all up to you! You could use the pillows as walls and the blankets as a ceiling so that the fort is completely enclosed.
Once you've helped the children build their fort, it's time to enjoy it! This would be a great time to have a reading session in which each child chooses a book and practices their reading skills. If you are working with a younger child who is not able to read yet, let them choose a book and then read to them. Take time to point out all the different features on each page rather than just reading the words. This will keep the child engaged and teach them new things!
There is just something about science that kids enjoy. I think a lot of it has to do with the element of surprise. Children are constantly trying to learn new things about the world they live in, and science is a great way to teach them! I highly suggest performing a Google search for 'science experiments for kids' and find some that are doable for you. Science Bob is a great site to check out if you are in a hurry and need some ideas fast!
Hint: Anything that deals with water or minor explosions will probably get the biggest reactions (because children really like these things for some reason), but plan accordingly. Also, make sure you get permission from the family you are nannying or babysitting for and assure them that you will clean up any messes you make.
Puzzles and Board Games
With the rise in video game systems, it's no surprise that puzzles and board games seem to be less popular with the younger generations. The great news is that you can change all of that! Puzzles and board games are a great rainy day activity for kids of all ages. Maybe the kids have a board game that they haven't had time to play yet, or maybe there is a large puzzle that they haven't been able to finish in one sitting. Whatever it is, take the time to utilize these activities as a way to learn rules, apply patience, and be good sports.
If you are working with younger children, they may not understand the rules of the game yet. If this is the case, ask them what the rules are and follow their lead. You will be surprised with the ideas they come up with!
Make a list of random items that are easily within the children's reach but are scattered throughout the house. Some examples:
- Yellow crayon
- Pokémon card
The possibilities are literally endless for this one! After you have your list, send the children on a scavenger hunt to see what they can find.
Teachable Moment: For children who are learning their shapes and colors, have them find something that is a particular color or shape. For example, tell them to find something that is "blue" or "square".
If All Else Fails... Have Free Play
Children are bound to have their own toys in their rooms or throughout the house. If none of the above activities are working and you need a moment to figure something out, have the children take some free play time. During this time, the children can play with whatever toys are available. There should be no structured activity during free play time, other than making sure the activities are appropriate and safe. At the end of free play time, have the children clean up their toys and move on to something else. This is a great way to start and end a long rainy day!