Now I’m writing this in the month of March, which, if you live in the UK, isn’t exactly a time known for it’s glorious weather. There have been quite a lot of weekends recently where rainy day activities are an absolute must. My little boy is 6 now and I’ve spent years working out the best way to keep him entertained when we were confined to a limited dry space. Well, I’m still fully working that out. But whilst I’m on my journey of discovering how to entertain a child with an unlimited amount of energy, I thought I’d share some of my favourite activities that I’ve discovered along the way.
1. An Indoor Picnic
Yes, I am being serious. This was something that I did last year after promising my then 5 year old that we would have a picnic in the school holidays. Low and behold, come the day of said picnic, torrential downpour fell upon our lovely town and didn’t stop for almost a week. The idea of laying blankets over the mud whilst trying to save a basket of sinking sandwiches just didn’t quite appeal at the time so I thought ‘indoor picnic’, why not? All you need are a few blankets or bed sheets, cushions and of course, teddy bears. I think approximately 20 teddy bears joined us for lunch as well as Spiderman, The Hulk and Captain America. My little boy loved the idea and to be honest (minus the sunshine), it felt no different to any other picnic.
2. Bake Something
If you hadn’t noticed, I do bake quite a bit. Every recipe that I pop onto here is one that I’ve made with or for my family. My little boy loves getting involved in the kitchen so I always try to make my bakes with a child friendly method. Why not try some fun character face cupcakes, a no-bake recipe like Chocolate Tiffin or some bread rolls for the indoor picnic?
3. Build a Den
This is one of the things that stands out in my mind when someone asks me what I remember from being a child. I loved building dens with my mum. It’s something that I remember her helping me do when friends came round to play. Introducing the same concept to Bruce has been great fun. It’s a time when all the family can get involved and join in to create ‘secret spaces’. We turn chairs and tables round and cover them with blankets. We put cushions and teddies inside, and have been known to take our snacks in. Bottles, by the way, are a must, as cups are definitely not den proof!
4. Draw or Colour
It sounds so simple but I think sometimes we forget how much joy a child can get from simple pen and paper. You could also get some crayons, pencil crayons, pens or even paint. Obviously this depends on the age of the child and what mess level you want to take this activity to. Why not even pick up a couple of small canvas’ and have a full on artist session. Canvas’ can be picked up for pretty good prices nowadays and are a new way in which you can display your child’s artwork in the home. Bruce has 2 up in the front room already.
5. Movie Time
We all know how to put the TV on, set up a DVD or tune into Netflix, but why not make more out of the whole experience. In our house, we have ‘Movie Night’ every Saturday evening. We each get into our ‘comfys’ (usually pyjamas) and set up the ‘cinema’ with pillows, blankets and teddies. Of course, there’s also the obligatory movie night snacks. This could be popcorn, pick and mix sweets, fruit and veggie mix bowls, or an assortment of all. Phones are completely banned while the film is on, the curtains are closed and the lights go off. Voila, you have yourself ‘Movie Night’, or ‘Day’, it’s totally your choice.
6. Make and Play
Crafting is one of my favourite things to do with Bruce, especially those that you can play with after. One of the simplest and most fun has got to be sock puppets. The whole family can get involved with this craft, to create a character of their own. The best bit? Once they’re all done, you can put together a sock puppet show. Cut a hole in an empty cereal box to create a TV style frame and place this on a table. Your little ones can then use this in a sort of ‘Punch and Judy’ puppet style to put on a puppet show. Obviously, feel free to join in with this too. I do!
7. Indoor Water Fun
It seems that, just as most cats will turn away from running water, most kids are absolutely drawn to it! I have no idea what it is or whether there is some science to this but their little eyes light up at the sight of a bowl or a jug of water. Have you ever been to a children’s swimming session and seen the staff put toys in the pool like plastic watering cans? The children absolutely love them! This is an activity that costs absolutely nothing and just uses things that you already have in the house….and towels, lots of towels! Simply fill up a bowl with luke warm water and put different household objects next to it or in it for your child to play with. Anything that can pour water is an absolute hit so jugs, bottles (empty of course), plastic bowls (make great boats for the spoon family), bottle tops (also known as water traps / sea monsters) and a few plastic figures (animals or people). Let their imagine run wild.
8. Make a Dream Catcher
This is such a lovely craft to do with children. Dream catchers can be as simple or as sparkly as you like. It’s all about personal preference and letting your imagination guide your design. You could make a dream catcher Spiderman themed, you could coat it in glitter or you could go completely overboard with the feathers. To give you some idea of how to get started, have a look at this step by step guide.
9. Hide and Seek
I can’t ever remember getting bored of this game as a child and Bruce is no different. Why not take the game to another level and offer some variation. Play hide the teddy? You could create a treasure hunt by writing or giving your child clues of where their teddy might be hiding. Maybe hide multiple teddies and each one has a clue that leads onto the next?
10. Brave the Park
Yes, we did this! As mentioned above, water does tend to attract children and this is no different for rain. During the Easter holidays 2018, we decided to brave the spring downpour and take to the park. With our wellies and rain macs on, we felt ready. We visited one of the biggest parks in our town, which is usually full of people and everything has a queue. On this particular day, apart from our family of three, there was not a single other person in sight. It was brilliant! If the weather doesn’t bother you and you’re quite happy to dry off when you get home, why not give it go and go and jump in a few muddy puddles.