Monday, January 25, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Activities

Cold, rainy days are my least favorite as a stay-at-home Mom. I don't mind the occasional dreary day - it's a good excuse to be lazy and do a lot of snuggling. But around here, it seems like from November to May, all it does is rain, rain, rain - and being trapped indoors with a 3 year old is enough to try the patience of a saint!

I struggle with coming up with creative, constructive things to do indoors. The goal is not just to keep everyone entertained and happy, but to also help them to learn and grow and discover. I decided to brainstorm and come up with a list of activities to refer to during the rainy season; I hope sharing it here will help some other mother out there keep her sanity!

Top Ten Rainy Day Activities

1. Play-Doh - Wendy loves Play-Doh! It's so versatile; we use it to make objects (animals, snowmen, etc.) but it's also good for practicing letters and numbers.

2. Water Play - whether in the bathtub or the kitchen sink, water play is fun for everybody! Switch up your usual water toys and try some safe kitchen implements - ice cube trays, measuring cups, strainers, and bowls can make for a great playtime. It's also a good time to talk about comparisons and practice motor skills like pouring and stirring.

3. Dress-Up - we have a bin of odd clothes, eccentric costume jewelry, hats, purses, feather boas, and old sunglasses. Since our collection is primarily girl-oriented, we've started to add things for when David gets older, like a fireman's hat and old neckties. Playing dress-up is a great exercise for the imagination, and can lead to several hours of pretend play.

4. Movie Marathon - okay, okay, so a movie marathon isn't necessarily all that creative or constructive. However, appropriately-chosen movies can be a great topic for conversation and learning. Many movies also lend themselves to themed meals or crafts. Make a pot of soup while watching "Ratatouille," or create paper dolls of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

5. Bake Cookies or Bread - I don't know if every preschooler is like this, but my daughter loves to help in the kitchen! It can be hard to find things that are safe for her to do. When I bake cookies or bread, she can help with most of the steps, and of course she loves to eat the yummy results!

6. Build Fort - we are going to do this today! Sheets, pillows, blankets, a few well-placed chairs, clothespins, broomsticks - whatever you have on hand! A fort is a great place for a special picnic lunch and a story!

7. Build a Town - I think just about everybody has some toy cars and some toy people. Why not spend some time making a town out of a stray piece of cardboard or heavy paper, and then play with it? You could make buildings out of small boxes, blocks, or small plastic containers, and draw streets and parks on the cardboard...we haven't done this yet, but I know that Wendy would get a lot of enjoyment out of it!

8. Make Puzzles - Make some kind of artwork, and turn it into a puzzle! Just cut the paper into puzzle pieces, and put it together. It's fun, inexpensive, and can be tailored to your child's age and ability.

9. Write Letters - everyone enjoys getting real handwritten notes in the mail. Spend some time writing letters or drawing pictures to send to loved ones and friends, then get them all ready to drop in the mail.

10. Cleaning - when all else fails, something in the house needs to be cleaned. My brother and I knew not to complain of boredom when we were growing up; my Mom would immediately assign us a chore like dusting or vacuuming. It only took two or three times before we got the idea!

I would love to hear your suggestions for rainy day activities, especially for preschoolers! What do you do to keep your sanity?

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Christine Satterfield said...

Those are great ideas! My little guy is only 8 months so I'm not into rainy day activities yet. It'll be soon though so I'm pretty sure building a fort/tent will be in my future!

K Hill said...

We made indoor snowmen a couple weeks ago when we were waiting for it to snow. Could totally change it to a preschool activity and make shapes and little balls to count. You could even make letters - at least the easy ones.

Great ideas!

oh amanda said...

SUCH a great list! I love making a craft along with a movie. LOVE THIS.

Mandi @ It's come to this said...

Great list!! We've been doing these b/c it's just been too cold & windy!!

Allison said...

My kiddo loves building forts. Great idea about having lunch and a story in it.

Anonymous said...

Great list!

I have to admit that once in a great while, I will just let the kid go out in the rain. We live in Florida. Rain is a fact of life. If there's no thunder; no lightning -- I take it as a sign and let him go get soaked. Then he can take a nice warm tubby when he comes in.

He thinks I'm cool :).

Anonymous said...

When it snows, we used to fill up squirt bottle with water and food coloring and go out and spray the snow, I would strip my guy naked, put him in the bathtub and let him have at a can of shaving cream, one of my friends put rice and/or beans in a large plastic tub and put kitchen utensils in it to play with. This stage seemed so long ago for me, it's hard to remember! Such fun times, great list!

Yavonda said...

Your next list is ideas for a snowy day in Little Rock... :)