Rainy Day Fun: Tips to Keep Kids Busy
When skies turn gray and the rain falls, kids often find themselves bored and cranky. Try these creative ideas to help spur your imagination, boost everyone's spirits, and chase those rainy day blues away.
Nothing Says Lovin’
There’s just something comforting about a warm snack on a cold day. Enlist the help of your kids when making that special afternoon treat! Have them pour in ingredients you’ve already measured, put sprinkles on the tops of sugar cookies, or let them measure and crack eggs themselves if they’re old enough. It make take longer for small hands to mix the ingredients, but the pride in your children’s eyes when they bite down into a treat they baked is worth every second of mixing time. (Obviously, normal kitchen safety precautions always apply and small children should not be near sharp knives or hot objects.)
Take in a Show
You can have a special matinee movie in your own house—cheaper than a theater and with better popcorn. DVDs are easier to control than TV and there is a definite beginning and end to the show. If you feel that you just want a quiet day at home, consider scheduling a movie, but make it special. Try popping your corn the old-fashioned way, heating up oil, and letting the kernels pop. Children are delighted by the sound of the popping corn against a metal pan. And resist the urge to pop in and out of the room yourself to finish the laundry. Relax and enjoy the film.
Museums: Not Just for Paintings
Not all museums center on art. History museums, science museums, children’s museums, and those focused on other cultures all offer you something wonderful.
History museums are less likely to be great entertainment for the very young since they have not yet developed a sense of the past; however, older kids will have great fun seeing how people just like them lived 200, 100, even 30 years ago. It’s best to spark their imaginations by relating museum displays to real life people. “Many years ago, children your age had to do their homework by candlelight. They didn’t have electricity to light lamps, they used oil.” Keep it simple and those gentle lessons will be learned because it’s just too much fun imagining the way things used to be. When you get home, organize some activities that relate to a specific time period. How about a 1960s day where you make a tie-dye and listen to the Beatles?
Cultural centers are also an excellent entertainment possibility. For example, if you have a Chinese Cultural center nearby, immerse yourself in that culture for the day: eat Chinese food, go to the center, and find some Chinese music to enjoy. All ages will have fun with this idea. Learn how to say “hello,” “I love you,” “thank you,” and “good-bye” in a different language. Learn an age-appropriate game from another culture. The possibilities are endless.
Almost all children can enjoy science and natural science museums. Little ones will be fascinated with many displays, which tend to show how things are put together, how they work. Cause and effect are fairly consistent lessons in many science museums, and they are the lessons young children just love to learn. Are your kids dino-nuts? Want to learn about the weather? Perhaps they are fascinated with cars, planes, and trains. Many science-oriented museums have discovery rooms where kids get hands-on experience.
Saving for a Rainy Day
It’s not money that’s going to save those rainy days, it’s creativity, attitude, and a few supplies. Be excited and keep your child excited about the possibilities ahead of you. Try to be prepared, too. Consider keeping a special Rainy Day box filled with arts and craft supplies and craft books. You don’t want to find yourself staring out the window at the rain; you want to know that you have a craft book filled with ideas and materials waiting in the hall closet. Explore the offerings at your public library before purchasing a book, so you can try a few ideas in each book to make sure the directions are clear and the projects age suitable.
Consider adding a supply of self-contained arts and craft projects, as well. Most craft stores sell small projects that can be completed by children in an afternoon, and the necessary parts prepackaged for you. Small games and toys from a party store work well as treasures, game prizes, and so forth. Keep your play-dough recipe and paper mache recipes available. Print out a copy of this article, and write notes to yourself about your own ideas.
Take a page from the Cat in the Hat and make your motto on rainy days:
“I know it is wet
And the sun is not sunny.
But we can have
Lots of good fun that is funny!”
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