When rainy weather forces the kids indoors, don’t let boredom rule the day. With a little forethought, you can have ready-made activities for those times when your kids and their friends are house-bound. Consider keeping a “rainy day box” at the ready, stocked with basics such as construction paper, poster board, old magazines, glue, tape and crayons. For more versatility, include ribbon, yarn, crepe paper streamers and child-safe scissors. When dark clouds gather and you hear the distant rumble of thunder, don’t worry. With your “rainy day box” and a little imagination, your kids may decide that playing indoors is the most fun of all.
Have a creativity day! Have each child make a book. Cut pages out of poster board. Cut pictures from old magazines and glue to the pages. Then, have children write captions for each picture to create a story. Help younger children as needed. Cover each page with clear contact paper and tape each page together to form a book. Or you could use a hole-punch to make three holes on one edge of each page and string yarn through the holes to bind the books. Let each child take a turn reading their story out loud while showing the pictures to the listeners.
Cut out pictures of cartoon characters or animals from old magazines or comics. Glue the cutouts to poster-board and then glue to a popsicle stick to make puppets. Have a puppet show. Let the kids make up a story or a play to act out with their puppets. Providing the voices for a variety of characters can be hilarious for kids!
Use paper bags to make masks. Place the bag over the child’s head first to locate the correct locations to cut out the eyes, nose and mouth. Let children decorate the masks with glitter, markers, sequins, cotton balls, feathers or any craft items you have on hand. Another way to make a mask is to use paper plates. Punch holes on either side to run string or yarn through and after the kids have decorated them, they can be tied on.
Make a memory box. Use an empty shoebox. Cover the box with contact paper or construction paper. Glue on decorations such as dried, pressed flowers, glitter, sequins, pictures or words cut from magazines or even photos. Cover all this with clear contact paper. The box can be used for anything they choose such as photos of friends, birthday cards, notes, letters or memorabilia such as ticket stubs from special events.
Form a marching band complete with flags and music! Make a drum using a coffee can. Use wooden spoons as drumsticks. For, cymbals, two pot covers clanged together work perfectly. Put beans or macaroni in an empty oatmeal cylinder, tape the lid closed and shake. For a stringed instrument, cut a hole in the cover of a shoebox, tape the cover on and stretch rubber bands over the box. Strum the rubber bands. For a flag, tape crepe paper streamers to a stick or dowel and wave in the air. Now, line up and parade through the house with flags flying and music playing!
If you have small dinosaur toys or jungle animal figures, use a shoebox to make a diorama of their habitat. Color the background first or cut paper to make a background of blue sky. Glue on cotton balls for clouds. Decorate the interior of the shoebox with trees and grasses made from construction paper, yarn, felt or other material.
Start a story by providing a simple beginning and let each child help to complete the story. For instance, you could say, “When I was walking through the park, I saw a black and white cat with her kitten.” The children then add to the story, taking it wherever their imaginations may go.
Rainy days inside don’t have to be boring. Children learn by using their creativity to entertain themselves and to make something they can use or display. So, when storm clouds threaten, bring out the “rain day box” and let the fun begin!