It’s pouring outside, and you’re cooped up in the house with energetic children who are bouncing off the walls. Before you lose your temper (or your sanity!), or give in to the urge to park your kids in front of the TV for six hours straight, try out these rainy day activities from top parenting experts and bloggers to keep the family entertained.
Getting your children involved in preparing a meal for the whole family may not only help them feel independent, but may also allow the family to experience more togetherness in the kitchen, making meals fun for everyone. Pick a recipe (try one from Dishing It Up Disney Style: A Cookbook for Families with Type 1 Diabetes, available free from your healthcare provider), and create a theme centered around that recipe for the rest of the day. For instance, when cooking Mexican food, have a fiesta: Make some brightly colored decorations and construction-paper placemats and listen to festive music. It can make the experience so much more enjoyable and entertaining for parents and children.
–Yvette Garfield, founder and creator of the Handstand Kids Cookbook Company
Play Golf — Indoors
This project is fun to make and equally fun to play. It’s perfect to build in a long hallway or basement and can be moved outside when the weather gets nice.
- Recycled materials such as shoeboxes, water bottles, empty milk jugs, oatmeal containers, coffee caddies, pizza boxes and plastic cups
- Craft materials such as construction paper, markers, index cards, glue, scissors, duct tape and paint
- Golf balls, putters
- Make miniature golf course holes using recycled materials to build tunnels, ramps, houses, car washes, sand traps, lakes and more.
- To make a tunnel: Cut off the top and bottom of an oatmeal container.
- To make a ramp: Unfold a pizza box until it’s flat and then carefully place one side on top of the oatmeal container (use glue to secure it in place).
- To make a house or building: Turn the bottom of a shoebox upside down and cut out doors on both sides. Decorate as desired.
- To make the hole: Cut off the top of a water bottle or turn a plastic cup on its side.
- Don’t forget to include “hazards.” To make a lake: Paint the inside of a shoebox blue and add a penalty note such as: “Splash! Lose 2 Strokes.” To make a sand trap: Paint the inside of a shoebox brown or add play sand for more authenticity.
–Beth Engelman of MommyonaShoestring.com
Have a Pajama Party
Invite your kids to stay in their PJs for the morning, then build a blanket fort. Encourage them to use couch cushions, pillows, blankets, card tables and more. Supervise their efforts from a distance. Allow them to create, understanding that it usually involves a mess. (You can always clean up together later!) Suggest they bring activities into their world — like books and board games. My four kids LOVED pajama days!
–Susan Tordella, author, parenting expert and workshop leader
Play the Memory Game
This alphabet memory project can be fun and educational for younger kids, and will keep them busy for hours.
- 3 pieces of heavyweight card stock for the top of your playing pieces
- 3 pieces of heavyweight card stock for the bottom of your playing pieces
- 3 pieces of yellow card stock
- 4 pieces of 8 1/2″ x 11″ craft paper
- 2 1/2″ scallop punch
- 1 1/2″ circle punch
- 1 1/4″ circle punch
- Brown ink pad
- 52+ stickers
- Adhesive roller
- Punch 52 scallops out of each of your pieces of heavyweight card stock, for a total of 104 scallops. Using the adhesive roller, stick one of each together, to create a two-sided base for the playing pieces. On the top side, place a sticker right in the middle.
- Punch out 52 1 1/2″ yellow circles. Roll each of them in brown ink to edge them. Stick them to the center of the bottom side of each playing piece.
- Create letters. Using the 1 1/4″ punch, punch out each letter. Again, edge them with brown ink, and stick them to the center of the yellow circles on the bottom side of the playing pieces.
- If you have a few extra stickers, stick them to a few of the playing pieces beside the letters. (They can help differentiate between “M” and “W,” for instance.)
- Find a nice, open space on the floor, and sit down with your little ones for some fun.
–Nikki McGonigal of Nikkiinstitches.com
The best rainy day activities can be ones that involve time to spend together and time to work independently. Making books is just that activity. You can construct the books together and then complete them with stories and drawings on your own. Once the kids learn how to make a book, all you need to do is have the materials handy. They’ll want to continue making more.
Here’s a simple accordion book that’s perfect for a rainy day. Start with a piece of paper. For a small book, try a piece of used copy paper with writing on only one side. For a large book, use the front or back panel of a grocery bag.
Fold the paper in half so that it’s long and skinny like a hot dog. If it has writing on it, the writing should be on the inside. Fold it in half again the short way. Take the edge of one layer and fold it back to meet the original fold. Turn the paper over and do the same on the other side. Use markers, crayons, colored pencils, and/or collage papers to complete your book.
–Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord, author of a book about making your own books by hand
If all else fails, throw on your slickers and head outside to play in the rain — even if it’s only for a few minutes. A big jump into a full puddle is sure to bring a smile to your child’s face — and yours, too.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.