Rainy days happen. Bland, boring and blah days are often the norm during the colder months. Throughout Autumn and Winter they show themselves more and more often. Yet even on these days there is no reason why children can not continue to be active and happy. As “inside” days become more frequent, we challenge you to turn off the TV, put tablets, phones and other electronics aside, and engage your child(ren) in activities that keep them active and build their imaginations and creativity.
To help you get started, we offer this list of fun things to do with kids at home during gray days:
Investing in a bunch of costumes may seem overwhelming, but your family’s stockpile of clothes and accessories can grow over time and without breaking the bank A costume can be made up of old clothes, sheets and masks made out of paper. Every time I go to a thrift store I eyeball the costume section for a foam shield, an eye patch or anything that could make my child look like a wookie.
You can also create costumes and accessories with your children. Start with an old red flying saucer sled, grab some blue and white spray paint and you and your child can create a Captain America shield. Use some elongated boxes, tin foil and sharpies and create an army of robots. Your children will get to create their costumes (which is something they can tell everyone about) and you get to teach them to be resourceful.
Building a Fort
Fort-building is a time-honored tradition for children. The traditional fort, of course, is constructed out of blankets draped over various articles of furniture. An alternative to blanket ceilings is using sheets, which are much lighter and can be strategically tied to corners of furniture to create a variety of structures: spaceships heading to distant planets, train cars with evil-moustached robbers onboard or castles complete with a lava moat.
Whatever your child’s preference, fort-building engages him or her in spatial reasoning (Will this blanket cover that gap? Will I have enough space to fend off knights, robbers or pirates?), understanding weight distribution (Is this book heavy enough to hold this blanket in place? Which blanket is best to use for the “ceiling”?), and creative thinking. Once the fort is built, that opens up a whole slew of choices for imaginary locations (jungles, treehouses or alternate dimensions).
Big Paper Art
If you or your child have an artistic edge, there is no end to the fun you can have with a ridiculously big piece of paper! The paper can be a poster board, from a paper roll, or several smaller pieces of paper taped together.
We found a blog article that has several suggestions for big paper projects. My favorite project involves all family members sharing one piece of paper and creating a piece of art together. You can choose a theme, and while each person creates his or her own images, they also all go together to represent your family’s ideas. This activity can also be used to teach a story, such as Noah’s Ark.
This is a game best played as a family, aided by the hamper of balled-up abandoned socks. The rules are simple: two teams, two forts (built primarily out of cushions), loads of ammunition and no mercy. Just make sure the socks are clean.