At this time of year, a lot of plans are put on the back burner due to last minute changes in weather. Not only do we have to occupy our children’s minds, but we also need to wear them out enough so bedtime isn't a chore.
Here’s seven ideas to try next time you’re house bound with your brood:
1. Den/Fort Making
One of my son’s favourite things to do on a rainy day is to turn his bedroom into his very own adventure den. Cue all of our spare bed sheets, cushions, a million and one clothes pegs and our box of Christmas lights and voila! A cosy nook that your kids will want to spend the whole day in.
We’ve even gone as far as moving our spare television in there for the day. The only struggle is when we’ve had to reluctantly take it all down, so it might be best to wait until the weather has cleared up and the kids are busy elsewhere to do this.
A classic rainy day activity. Whether you’re a packet-mix pro or a culinary whiz, cake or biscuit baking is a fun and delicious way to spend an afternoon with your young ones.
They’ll love getting involved with the mixing process and it’s great to see the look of achievement on your child’s face when they see the finished result and can finally decorate!
Easy recipes such as cornflakes or rice crispy cakes can be a quick and simple alternative to oven baked sponge and will still achieve the same excited response from your child.
3. Pizza Making
Just like baking, pizza making can be a great way to get your kids excited about food. Pizza bases are easily accessible from most supermarkets (of course, you can choose to make your own if you wish!) and can also be frozen for those of you that like to be organised.
Line up your toppings and let the kids go crazy! You’ll also find that when the kids have made it themselves, there will be more empty plates and full tummies at dinnertime - bonus!
4. Board Games and Jigsaws
Rainy day activities like these are an awesome opportunity not only to have fun together, but also to reinforce key skills as you play.
Most board games aimed at children involve some form of counting, colour and image matching or need for strategic thinking, meaning that they’re just as educational as they are fun.
Playing board games with little ones can also help them to embrace vital social skills such as sharing, patience (ie. waiting for your turn), as well as the ability to lose without a temper tantrum. Jigsaws are also an excellant bonding experience between parents and their kids, especially if yours are different ages, as it’s something everyone can contribute towards
5. Rainy Day Box
Imagine you have a whole family day out planned, only to look out of the window and see the heavens opening up. Wouldn’t you like to have something quick and easy that you can give to your children until the weather has calmed down?
Introducing the Rainy Day Box - a pre-prepared trove of new and exciting things to occupy your kids, even if it's for a small amounts of time.
It’s completely your choice what to include within, after all you will know best what sort of objects will instantly spark interest in your little ones. However, a few ideas that you may wish to consider could be paints, pens, craft kits and any other arty bits that you can get your hands on.
Fancy dress masks and props are another good option to get imagination flowing and you should also keep an eye out for any small toys or games, pairs cards, yoyo’s and small puzzles which are all brilliant time consumers.
6. Movie Day
Why not turn your lounge room into your very own cinema for the afternoon? Hit the lights, shut the blinds and grab the popcorn!
You’ll be surprised how excited your kids will be with the transformation and how much more willing they’ll be to sit and watch the whole film with you.
Choose a movie that the kids haven’t seen before (Netflix is very useful), and one that will keep them engaged.
7. Bubble Painting
This activity will be a surefire hit with kids on any rainy day! Cheap and easy to do, bubble painting will allow your children to create wonderful pictures instantly, in a new and fun way.
All you need is paint, paper, water, washing up liquid and a straw. Squirt your child's chosen paint colours onto a tray or plate and mix in a small amount of the water and washing up liquid.
Put one end of the straw into the paint/liquid mixture and have your child blow through the other end (make sure they know not to suck the paint up as that can be a bit of a disaster and not a great tasting one either!).
Bubbles should then start to emerge within the paint. Keep going until you have a good number of bubbles and place your sheet of paper gently over the top and lift. Once dry, you'll have an amazing bubbly effect.