Everyone needs a list like this one. We all have those desperate days when your kid is literally bouncing off the walls and the rain hasn’t stopped pounding the windows. Here’s a little list of things that we like to do/have resorted to do on those non-stop rainy days.
- Bring the toys to a new environment. Go and play in a different room to normal. For us this doesn’t leave many choices as our flat is only made up of 2 bedrooms, an open-plan lounge/kitchen, a big long hallway, and 2 bathrooms. But hey, those toys seem way more interesting when you get to play with them in the bathroom, hey?
- Balloons in the bath. Of course, you’re thinking, why on earth didn’t I think of that?! So. Much. Fun. Do this even when it’s not raining.
- Build a den. If you’ve got a kid who’s older than 18months, you’ll more than likely already have a sheet or giant bit of fabric that you tend to use to make a den, and you’ll be an aficionado at the best tools to make your own special, sturdy den. For us, it’s a big bit of cheap cotton from Ikea (something ridiculous like £2 a metre), and about 8 clothes pegs. With dens, I don’t even tend to ask if they’d like to build one, I just start and they get the idea and are more excited than they would’ve been if they’d been given a choice. Tip – also a great distraction from tantrums.
- Bake together. You’ve got to be up for this one, and have a few easy and quick recipes up your sleeves (keep an eye out for a future post about baking), otherwise you’re in for about an hour of tidying for only about 3 minutes of fun, and approx. 7.5mins of stress, anxiety, shouting ‘no, no, stop! Not that! Put that down! Don’t put that in there! Where did you get that knife from?!’ etc. etc. etc. Make it fun by having your own aprons too, it’ll save you an extra clothes change later (for both of you!). I’d also advise having some mini utensils for them to use, as they will no doubt try to grab the wooden spoon from you to do their own stirring, and fling sugar and butter onto the ceiling.
- Film ‘night’. Should really be called ‘film afternoon’ or, more accurately ‘film-quarter-of-an-hour-if-that’. But, 15 minutes of calm is better than 0. Stick some cushions and beanbags on the floor, or curl up on the sofa together under a blanket, make sure you have popcorn in the house (popcorn making should really come under its own heading in this list – 2 minutes of sheer joy and giggly popping fun!), and stick on the most toddler-friendly film you have. I can highly recommend the Julia Donaldson mini-films, like Stick Man and the Gruffalo, although be ready for little ones to get a bit scared when the Gruffalo actually turns up.
- Put a ball pit up in your lounge – self explanatory.
- Have some special ‘wet weather toys’ that you keep out of sight until moments of desperation.
Failing all of that, grab your wellies, umbrellas and waterproofs and get out there!!
- Jump in puddles – Those all in one puddle suits are truly brilliant. So long as you have a good waterproof coat yourself, you can pop your little one in theirs, stick their wellies (and an empty plastic bag for the way home) into the buggy and head out to explore the rain. Jump in puddles if you don’t want to go far – you might not even need to leave the road you live on for this. Once Archie Bear gets into puddle jumping he generally chooses just one and jumps over and over again, trying out new angles and bigger and smaller jumps.
- Go to the playground – you will have the place to yourselves, and it doesn’t matter if everything is wet if they are in their puddle suit. Plus, those suits make going down the slide way more fun – just be ready to catch them at the bottom!
- Have a rainy picnic – go to the woods or to the park, sit under a tree on one of those PVC tablecloths, or just on the floor, and have your sandwiches in the rain. Don’t worry about getting dirty, it’s going to happen, and it’s great to let them do it once in a while. They will have so much fun, and they’ll love watching you get mucky too. Draw in the mud with sticks, let them pick up sticks and rocks and just follow their lead.
I hope you’ve found these ideas useful, please do share your own ideas in the comments, I’m always in need of more!