What is summer without some rain?
As adults, rain can be nice because it means a cozy day inside with books, a great TV show, and delicious snacks. But for kids, rainy days are the enemy. No outdoors depending on the amount of rain and limited active games inside so the house doesn’t get destroyed.
I remember it being particularly rough when it felt like I had nothing to do. Those were the worst days where it was physically draining to think of something to do while stuck inside.
With a little one obsessed with spending time outside, it’s hard to say “no” when Jai wants to go out despite the rain. Some days I am able to accommodate him, but other days it’s storming really bad or I don’t feel getting wet myself.
Below are some activities I’ve come up with the help combat boredom on rainy days for Jai. As he gets older, the activities will evolve to be more age-appropriate and reflect his desires.
Make Rainy Days a Special Occasion
This required some planning ahead, but I have a set of toys and books that only get pulled out when we have a rainy day. It makes the day a little more special and exciting for him. It’s the same concept behind packing a special travel bag for kids that have a special set of toys – if the item is “new” to him, he will spend time playing with it rather than asking to go outside.
One such toy is an indoor bowling set. While he doesn’t understand the concept of bowling just yet, he loves rolling the ball or knocking over the pins. Jai has a vehicle that moves forward with the push of a button, so we line it up with the pins to knock them over.
It’s hilarious. For him and for us to watch his enjoyment of the game.
I also make special snacks and drinks for the day that he won’t normally get in good weather. This includes popcorn, chocolate “milk” (a coconut milk and date-sweetened drink), and herbal teas. I try to make sure they are healthy in nature, but the chocolate milk feels like a real treat for him.
Finally, I try to limit his screen time on a daily basis. Right now he’s obsessed with a song from a popular children’s movie, so I have to play that at least three times a day on a streaming site. But we try to make that the extent of his screen time. So on rainy days I will pull out his favorite PBS kids show or play the movie his favorite song is from.
The TV is a wonderful thing, but by limiting it to rainy days it becomes a treat that makes it easier to turn on and off when I need to and less of a fight when it’s time to do something different. I don’t know how long this attitude will last, but I am not taking it for granted.
Active Activities for Little Ones
Provided I am willing to deal with the mess, there are a lot of active activities I can do with Jai on a rainy day. Here are some things we’ve done in our house on a rainy day…
- Blanket & pillow nest: arrange blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals into a nest shape and read some books together
- Blanket forts: Using furniture we’ll arrange blankets into a fun fort that is fun to destroy because Jai is still a toddler
- Art projects: Jai is still too little to focus on drawing or coloring, but I do have a washable paint set that he likes to play with – I just hang the paper on the wall and let him go to town under strict supervision
On the days I am able to get out of the house, I like to plan some fun field trip activities that will wear him out for a solid nap…
- Attend a local museum that has a kids exhibit (art, natural, or children’s)
- Visit a local kids gym that has soft mats and playsets indoors
- Take a trip to the local library to get some more books
- Get lunch together as a special treat
Quiet Activities for Little Ones
There are also days where I don’t feel like doing anything super active, either because my MS is draining my energy, or it’s been overcast weather for several days. I try to find quieter activities to keep him occupied but allows me to rest…
- Find a new kids movie Jai hasn’t seen yet or a known favorite
- Read a longer, non-picture book to Jai while he plays with his toys
- Work on his wooden puzzles together or build some towers to topple in his room
- Open the window in his room to watch the weather or identify birds at the feeder outside
There are plenty of other activities we do, but my main focus is to make the day a little more special and show him that there are options. That way, as he gets older, he won’t look at rainy days as a drudgery, but switch his activity choices to something else until the weather gets better.
What do you do with your little ones when it’s rainy? What are some of their favorite activities? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.
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