Indoor Rainy Day Activities for Children

Nicole BotelhoBag O' Tricks

I still want to know the secret...where do our kiddos get all that energy from?! If we could tap into it we’d be Squillionaires. Physical experiences (gross and fine motor skills) incorporate so much more than just that specific developmental domain. It involves cognitive, sensorial, emotional, social aspects to name a core few. All that energy is what makes outdoor time a must! Where they can run, jump, dig, climb, play on the play structures and be active some more! They need to use up all that fuel before bedtime! BUT here’s the thing...our mother earth needs water! The rain brings a change in weather and strategy, so we should plan for inclement weather, sickness, or downtime indoor days. As a teacher and a mother I am constantly adding to my cache of supplies and imagination as a back-up plan!
Having a variety of indoor activities available is incredibly important because it avoids the boredom, tantrums and bickering among our little ones. I’m always sure to have two different lists of activities. The first list includes all the large motor skills like music, dancing, Simon-says, fort building, tumbling, and all other active play to get those wiggles out. The second list includes Yoga, arts and crafts, playdough, Legos, CD Books and other table activities to calm their bodies but keep them happily entertained and engaged.
My lists vary for each age group of course, but these are some activities I’ve noticed are a hit for all my kids at home and at school. My four children range in age from 8months, a preschooler, one in elementary school that is 7 going on 16 and an almost teenager! How to keep them away from their screen preference (be it tablet, TV, phone etc.) is my main goal. BUT it also has to be simple too, meaning it’s easy for me but lots of fun for them! I do NOT allow balls to be thrown in my house EVEN if Daddy thinks it will be ok. (Owner’s note: I remember a quote from an old Brady Bunch episode – “Mom always says, don’t play ball in the house” #brokenvase). Mommy says “NO” lol.

So instead; I always have a bag of balloons stored in my closet then on the necessary occasions I can just pull one out, inflate then presto. Entertainment for hours!! There are so many games you can play with even just one balloon.

Freeze dance is another fun and active game. When the music is playing the dancing goes on, when the music pauses then you have to stop and hold that position...No moving! Haha This means Mommy can rest by the CD player or phone, randomly pause the music and watch them come up with some great moves.

Simon-says is a great game too because it is another open-ended game where the possibilities are endless. You can have the kids be jumping like frogs, stomping like elephants, dancing like ballerinas, doing the cha-cha, imitating monkeys, etc. You can go wild with “Simon says”....but of course when things get too wild you can switch to some calming activities. I usually try to switch things up before our downstairs neighbor comes to our door to complain about the cacophony – no harm in asking if they want to join your indoor adventures and fun.
Building a fort is always a hit with the kids. My oldest one gets the chairs from the kitchen, then another is in charge of gathering the blankets, I get the flashlight and we each pick a book. After we build our fort with the chairs and blankets we sit inside and read books with the flashlight. I reserve this only for our inside days so it stays that much more exciting when we do it.
Art is always child appropriate because you can simplify a project for the younger ones or create something more complex for the older ones. Pinterest is a constant source of ideas and we love to mix up the mediums to include recycling, natural items, ribbons/fabric, food items (even making/baking something together can be fun – share clean up duties too).
Just using any art medium (crayons/ markers/ paint/ stamps/ etc.) is typically enjoyed by the majority of children any age (and big kids alike around ScuttleBugs). If they start to get bored you can change it up by adding some random material to the project or by asking them to draw a picture of something in particular. The last time I did this with my kids I asked them to draw a picture of their favorite family vacation...then we just began creating hilarious family portraits that led to us having tears in our eyes from laughing so hard, plus we enjoyed recanting the memories while we did it.

Another similar project is the self-image/mirror art and very interesting for all of us to try and compare. Draw each other too and encourage each artist to explain their pictures.

Most importantly before I go, just a few more words of advice; Don’t feed the cute little people sugar!! YOU WILL ALWAYS REGRET IT.