Time to Play: Entertaining the Kids on Rainy Days

As we endure April showers—and for some, an extended winter—we’ve been getting creative with playtime, quite literally. Boy or girl, baby or big kid, rain or shine, playtime is inherent—especially after a long winter. Beyond the TV and touchscreens, here are some helpful ways to have fun on those rainy days:

1. Be creative
Rainy days are my absolute favorite days for creating art with the kids. There’s something about a rainy day that conjures up creative inspiration and sets our imagination afire. It’s days like these when I like to break out the stamp pads, water colors, scissors, and glue. But before unleashing the art supplies, be sure to set out several layers of newspapers to ensure easy cleanup. Stamp pads, which are a versatile crafting tool in our arsenal, are an inexpensive medium for kids of all ages and are often found in the dollar bins at Michael’s and Target. The kids can make cards, pictures, bookmarks—the possibilities are endless with stamps. Want to change it up? Instead of stampers, help kids make unique shapes with a cut-up potato.

Since bugs are synonymous with spring, we recently created jars for our upcoming bug collection. We simply cut up cool shapes out of colorful tissue paper and glued them to a clean mason jar. We then used Modge Podge as a shellac to finish it out. Not into bugs? You can pop a glow stick in the jar for a nightlight or a lantern.

For the non-messy creative types, à la Pinterest, fill a Ziploc bag with cheap hair gel, glitter, and some food color to create mess-free pouches for finger painting. After creating several different colors, set the Ziploc bags on top of white paper and use Painter’s Tape to secure and give it a canvas look. For an even easier alternative, Crayola makes a variety of Color Wonder sets that take the guesswork (and mess) out of crafting.

2. Think inside the box
Speaking of taking the guesswork out of crafting, several companies now provide subscription boxes filled with craft supplies and ideas. Subscription boxes are convenient alternatives for those who don’t have time to wander around craft stores or scour the internet for activities to entertain the kids. What’s great about subscription boxes is if you’re short on space, the boxes provide just enough supplies for the pre-planned activities, minimizing the need to buy the economy-sized bag of pom poms so you can get that one red piece to finish a project. Babba Box and Kiwi Crate are among many of the available options for subscription boxes filled with activities and art supplies for kids.

Want to create your own craft stash? Consider making your own box of art supplies and having these tools on hand: colored paper, markers, crayons, various scissors, Modge Podge, pipe cleaners, shaped hole punchers, popsicle sticks, and googly eyes. My latest go-to supplies: masking tape, Painter’s Tape, and washi tape. Each of these tapes has different uses and strengths, and they’re great to have on hand.

3. Bring the outside in
On most rainy days, all my boys want to do is go outside and splash in the puddles. But since it’s still chilly, puddle stomping is out of the question. One of the best ways to spend a rainy day is bringing the outdoors inside. We’ve been known to throw on our raincoats and rain boots and splash in “puddles” in our living room. For our rain, we use bubble wrap and splash away. When all of our puddles are done, we make forts with couch cushions and bed sheets in the living room. Not into the living fort? Use Painter’s Tape to create a racetrack, a landscape for action figures, or Spider-Man’s web.

4. Make it a group effort
We’re big on puzzles in our house, so we enjoy taking advantage of rainy days to do puzzles over and over. Another way to pass the time with the family on a rainy day is to enjoy a classic board game or even the modern board games inspired by online games. Over the holidays my 5-year-old cleaned up shop when we played the Spider-Man-themed Monopoly. For older kids, consider construction projects such as LEGO, models, and robotics. These sorts of activities not only implement logic and reason, but are also educational to boot.

5. Pinteresting
It’s so easy to spend the day watching movies on a rainy day, but what better way to spend the day with family enjoying low-tech fun? Let the kids’ imaginations take the lead on those days that keep you cooped up, but if you’re in need of ideas for rainy day activities, Pinterest is the mecca for age-appropriate activities. Beyond searching for “rainy day activities” and checking out my pins (ahem), make sure you browse the pins of other creative parents and educators such as the cannot-be-missed board: The 20 Must Follow Moms on Pinterest.

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