- Family and Parenting
Kids 3 Fun Things to Do on Rainy Days
When Toys Get Boring
Three consecutive days of rain, rain (go away!). Children recovering from illness, but not quite ready to go back to school or to play outside. The endless school vacation. What do these have in common? If you are the parent or caregiver for young children, your eyes have probably started involuntarily bugging out in unpleasant flashback memories.
"Dad, there's nothing to do."
"What can I do, there's nothing _______ (fill in the blank: on TV, to do, to play, ...)."
Often, in this situation no matter what the sage adult suggests, it is rejected.
Therefore, I offer a few emergency suggestions. These do not require purchasing toys or games or demand much of the adult's time.
However, a certain level of courage will be required. These ideas are not for the faint of heart.
Already In Your House
Perhaps you have heard someone comment either in wonderment or exasperation, "I don't know why we bother buying toys. Our kids play with anything they find." Spoons, empty thread spools, socks, and much more, have been enlisted by children for ages in their zeal to have fun.
If you react with admiration and envy to kids playing with spoons they pretend are soldiers or beverage coasters they imagine are lily pads, if you feel that the benefits of such imaginative play far exceed the possible wear and tear on the household items, then read on.
1. Pretending to Live in Houseboats
Send the kiddies to wherever you have sofas with removable cushions.
To create a houseboat, one removes all of these cushions. The un-cushioned seat area is now the ship's deck. Then, rearrange cushions to make walls and a partial roof for the cabin on the "deck" of the sofa. The variety of structures possible is limited only by materials and the imagination. A few towels can add to the possibilities for roofing, curtains, or other structures.
Often, much of the fun is creating, fine-tuning, and remodeling the boat before (or if) playing ever begins. Inevitably, there will be open "deck space." Here is where your child will call out to her friends, command the crew, fish, and peer over the water. Although you may be seeing floor, your child will see this...
2. Make Up a Play
Also known as "Gee gang, we can put the show on right here!"
Children and performing are a happy and natural combination. If they get rolling with an idea, only a few household items may be needed. Props of chairs and other items can expand in one's imagination to be the train, the cave, or whatever is required. In the costume area, adult hats and boots and old suit jackets can carry kids to thespian glory.
If you are feeling generously courageous, a clothesline in the basement easily transforms to the stage and curtains by use of a few old sheets and about five million safety pins to attach them. (Well, let's just say "many.") Obviously, this should be done by an older child whom you trust with the pins. Many a delightful hour can be occupied by the children in casting, making up, and directing a story.
It will be no difficult chore for you to be the appreciative audience when they are finally ready.
3. Cook Something
Perhaps you would be receptive to having your homebound children use their creative juices in the kitchen. This idea may require more of your time and attention, depending how you feel about your foodstuffs and your utensils being used without supervision.
A relatively easy think tank assignment for your emerging chefs is to create a punch drink. Since you already stock only the beverages and ingredients you feel good about giving your family, you should be relatively safe in giving the kids carte blanche in combining juices.
What makes it even more fun is to record the amounts, making it truly a new recipe. A joyous name, such as "Super Silly Punch," is all that is needed to complete the activity. Except for tasting, of course.
Imagination Saves the Day
So, you have a few new ideas in your mental Rolodex when the kids come to you with their pleas for something to do. You will be encouraging imagination and teaching your children that they really do have a wealth of potential fun right in their home. These ideas might be so much fun that they'll want to do them when the sun is shining as well.
Text copyright 2008 Maren E Morgan