As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. But as we all know, drizzly spring weather also brings with it stir-crazy children aching to get outside after a long winter. As we all anxiously wait for the mud to dry and the temperatures to pick up again for the drier summer months, we’ve put together a list of 15 of our favorite ideas you can do with your little ones to keep them engaged and excited during those gray days.
1. Make a Home Movie Theater
Nothing feels quite as good as snuggling up with the kiddos under a big fuzzy blanket and watching your favorite flick. You can spice up the standard movie night by creating a movie theater experience for your little ones. Have the kids draw or color their own movie tickets for entry, and set up individual theater seats (or pillows) for everyone to join. Zap up your favorite popcorn recipe and settle in for an evening of fun, adventure, comedy, or whatever genre your family decides.
2. Build a Cardboard Box Town
Wait, don’t take out your recycling just yet! Pick out any cereal, show, or other clean cardboard boxes and help your young ones become the mayor of their very own cardboard box town. Use one large broken-apart cardboard box as the street, and glue colored and spruced-up boxes of all shapes and sizes using your child’s architectural eye. You can also help them color the streets with paint or markers to create green spaces, roads, and other parts of their new cardboard hometown.
3. Create a Fort with Blankets and Pillows
Who didn’t love taking over the living room with blankets and pillows to build the most epic rainy day fort a kid ever knew? Grab your kiddo and dig into the linen closet as the two of you scuttle furniture out of the way and share in this memorable experience together.
4. Make a Rain Stick
Bring the rain inside with your very own rain stick! Grab a cardboard tube (maybe borrowed from your cardboard town) and tape off the bottom with clear packaging tape. Hammer craft nails on the exterior of the tube. Then, pour rice and beans into the tube and tape off the end. You can add washi tape or color the cardboard to give it individualized flair that suites your child’s unique personality.
5. Partake in an Indoor Scavenger Hunt
A quick Google search will quickly point you in the perfect direction for putting together your very own indoor scavenger hunt. Draw up your own variation to help your child explore their home with a new perspective and use their imaginations while they check all the boxes.
6. Make Your Own Instruments and Get the Band Together
Exposing children to music at an early age may help accelerate brain development. (Source here) Why not take a twist on simply listening to music and build your own instruments? From paper plate tambourines to sippy straw flutes, the Red Tricycle blog has a whole host of perfect rainy day instruments you and your child can create together.
7. Cook or Bake Together and Share in the Kitchen Love
If kitchens are made for bringing families together, then sharing in your love of cooking is a surefire way to spur your child’s love of the culinary arts. Have your little one decide on a meal and help them play chef for the day, giving them the (guided) reigns to partake in cuisine extraordinaire.
8. Make Craft Paper Your Best Friend
Paper craft projects can be a parent’s best friend – just ask Martha Stewart! For this activity, put away the scissors and glue sticks and pick up a crayon instead. Depending on the age of your child, either write out how many times they think a raindrop will land on the paper or put as many dots as they think will land on the paper. Then place the paper outside, sit, and wait for the fun to begin.
9. Bust Out All the Old Childhood Games
No set up required! Take your little one on a walk down memory lane and teach them all of your favorite neighborhood games. Need a bit of a refresher? We recommend indoor-friendly games such as Red Light, Green Light, Simon Says, Hide and Go Seek, Charades, and 21 Questions.
10. Host a Cupcake Decorating Party
Whether you choose to make your own frosting and cupcakes or go the pre-made route, a cupcake decorating party is both fun and delicious! Set up a decorating bar complete with different colors of frosting and decorations they can use such as sprinkles, chocolate chips, berries, or nuts.
11. Have a Tea Party or Indoor Picnic
Don your finest apparel and break out the china – er, maybe just the sippy cups. Hosting a “fancy” indoor tea-party or indoor picnic is a great way to bring the outdoors inside. Don’t’ forget create the invites and deliver them to your child’s favorite stuffed animal friends to complete the guest list.
12. Have an Indoor Campout
Is your child feeling a little more adventurous? Help them pack up their bags and set up camp – in the living room! Setting up a tent inside and all of the camping fixings is a great way to get them excited about summer adventures. You can even create a “campfire” by nestling real logs around fake candles or a flashlight covered with red and orange tissue paper.
13. Make a Playlist and Have a Dance Party
Getting kids to be active and move their bodies is a great way to blow of rainy-day steam. Ask your child to help you in putting together a playlist and then have a dance party through the house. Themed parties? All the better. Need some inspiration? Check out Spotify’s suggest kids party playlist.
14. Read the Day Away
Reading with your child is a great way to get them excited about learning and to spark their imagination. Whether they prefer you reading to them or wish to do it themselves, encourage their reading habits on rainy days by having books on-hand celebrating spring and rainy-day activities. If your child needs a bit of a challenge to get excited, challenge them to an at-home read-a-thon that they can check off as they go along.
15. Play a Few Rounds of Balloon Ping Pong
This activity is super simple and your kiddo can even build the materials for it. All you need to have on-deck is a balloon and two “paddles” created from paper plates and popsicle sticks. Use the paper plate paddles to bounce the balloon together. See more here.