As a mom of young children with loads of energy, there is little I dread more than rainy days or early mornings when one of my kids rise earlier than the sun and I need to keep them busy without constantly resorting to TV.
Over the years we have tried many indoor games and activities and here are some ideas that have worked well and don’t require too much preparation.
- Balloons – It is definitely worth keeping a supply of balloons in the house. You can play “balloon tennis”, see who can hit the balloon the most times with the palm of their hand without it falling and draw faces or pictures on a balloon. Long balloons also make excellent wands or swords depending on your little’s one preferences or imagination.
- Tents – children love tents and you don’t need anything too complicated to make it enjoyable. Some chairs to hold it up and a few blankets to create the fort does the job well. We have used elastic bands, string and even hair bands to tie the blankets on the chairs. You can encourage your children to bring some toys or books into the tent. Bringing bowls of snacks into the tent also creates some fun.
- Stickers, Sticker Book – Have a stash of these in a cupboard that your child doesn’t know about. I often look for cheap fun stickers and pack them away for rainy days. You can make cards out of paper and decorate them with stickers, do drawings and add stickers to the picture or just put stickers in a sticker book. You can even use pictures of stickers to write basic words and start introducing letters or simple words to your little ones.
- Hide and Seek – an oldie but a goodie. I am always amazed but how much my children love this game. You may need to vary it a bit for a smaller child but generally from the age of 3, they can understand some version of it. You can even let you kids hide together or let them work as a team to find you.
- Cookies – I have tried out a few cookie recipes (all found on google) and found one that is easy to make (less than 5 steps) and can be frozen. So on the odd occasion I make a large batch of dough and split it in 3 or 4 batches which are frozen. It’s then easy to take it out, let it thaw a bit and there you have dough all ready for making and decorating cookies. You should also keep some cookies cutters and decorations like sprinkles or hundreds and thousands. Raisins and smarties also work for decorations.
- Making Orange Juice – believe it or not this is something my kids absolutely love to do and there will be fights about who cuts the oranges and who does the squeezing unless a very clear turn system is set up from the start. It’s also one of the only times they will actually drink entire cups of orange juice as well.
- Paper Aeroplanes – Another oldie but goodie. All you need is some paper although you can use crayons, kokis or stickers to decorate. You can try out different versions and spend some time seeing which aeroplane flies the longest or highest. This can totally capture your little’s one imagination and there are so many variations on what you can do and make. All you need is plain paper but you can use different colours or cut and stick different colour shapes on to the planes too.
- Books – Books are a firm favourite in our house. I tend to scour the cheap book shops or go to sales and stock up on age appropriate books to take out for rainy days. My kids love getting new books and I find it useful to keep some hidden away. For older children, you can pick up some great books at second hand or charity book shops as well.
- Marbles – Again there are many ways you can play with marbles. We do marble races creating all sorts of tunnels from blocks, bricks, lego and kitchen utensils that the marbles need to get through (sometimes with a bit of help).
- Kitchen Music – Pots and pans are great for banging using spoons of any kind. We love using wooden spoons but anything will do. You can also fill containers will seeds or beads and make shakers. My children create their own “band” using their make shift instruments. Sometimes they sign along, other times its just about making sounds/noise. This one I wouldn’t recommend for early mornings but is quite fun during the rest of the day.
Written by: Monique Loewenthal
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