This is our first post in our new blog series titled “Top 5”. This series will include a variety of posts of ‘Top 5’ tips and ideas on a variety of topics related to raising children. In this post we will review five ideas for parents to incorporate into their rainy (or snowy!) day with their children.
Idea #1: Games
Games are a great activity for a rainy day and can teach children many valuble skills like taking turns.
The key to this idea is finding age-appropriate games for your children. My girls are now 8 and 5 years old, and our current household favorites include Trouble, Sorry, Uno, Yahtzee, and Monopoly. When they were younger games like Memory, Candy Land, and Guess Who were favorites. As I look ahead, I’m excited to incorporate new games like Scrabble, Upwords, and Racko. If you have younger children, consider playing as a team so that they have additional support in understanding the concepts and rules. While these are our family favorites, there is an endless supply of games out there to choose from. Even a deck of cards can offer many different ideas from War to Solitaire.
The beauty of games is that it teaches children many different skills. In addition to the skills required in the game such as learning to spell and build words when playing Scrabble or matching colors and numbers in Uno, children also learn basic life skills such taking turns, being patient, and collaborating with others. Games also help create family bonds, and truthfully, that is one of my favorite parts of playing with my girls.
Struggling to build a game supply at your house? I totally get it! Games can be expensive and buying many different options can add up over time. Consider requesting games from family and/or friends for birthday and holiday gifts.
Idea #2: Build a reading fort and read together
Building a fort is great for imaginative play and makes for a special place to do some reading.
Who doesn’t love building a fort? All you need are couch cushions or chairs and at least one large blanket. If you have older kids, let them figure out how to build it. This is a great STEM project for them to figure out the structure and support required to get their fort to stay in place. It is also a great way to explore imaginative play with your child. And I think it goes without saying that books are even more enjoyable inside of a fort. Read with flashlights or lamps to set an ambiance that can be enjoyed by the entire family.
Idea #3: Cooking and Baking
Cooking and baking teaches a huge variety of skills to children of all ages.
Being a registered dietitian, I find any excuse I can to support others to get their kids in the kitchen. Cooking and baking teaches kids a variety of skills including measuring, following instructions, math, food science, chemistry, and more. Teaching kids to cook is a lifelong skill. It also helps reduce selective eating and increases the likelihood they will try new foods which contributes to a positive overall healthy relationship with food that can last their lifetime. I can go on and on about all of the benefits of cooking with your small children, but I will leave it as this is just the tip of the iceberg. As the saying goes “give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” Or in this case- give a child cooked food and feed them for a meal, teach a child to cook and feed them for a lifetime.
Idea #4: Learn about the weather
Learning about what caused the rainy weather you are having can be a fun activity for kids.
What caused this rainy day in the first place? When we think about it, the weather can affect so many aspects of our life- what we wear, our mood, the food we crave (hello soup on a cold winter day!), and our daily activities. Learning about what causes our weather can be such a beneficial lesson for little ones. If you feel your child is too young to learn about what causes the weather, you can explore topics such as different types of weather- rainy, sunny, cloudy, snow, and the 4 seasons and the weather in those seasons. Weather can be an endless topic from types of clouds to weather in different countries/different parts of the world. The topic of weather can easily flow into conversations about nature and the environment. Consider making or buying a rain gauge and tracking rainfall during the season. You can also chart the different types of clouds you notice in the sky. There are plenty of activities that can help you and your child explore the weather on a deeper level.
Idea #5: Complete chores together
Rainy days are a great opportunity to teach your child about helping with chores.
Everyone can have responsibilities within a home. Some people have more complicated chores like cooking dinner and other people have simplier chores like matching socks. All of these chores are important and help a home function optimally. In our home, everyone has chores they do. Some of us have daily chores and others have weekly chores, but we are all responsible for something. A rainy day is a great time to tackle a ‘bonus chore’ together- something that doesn’t need to be done regularly. This might be something like organizing the toy room or cleaning out a closet. Children as young as 2 or 3 years old can match items or put like items together to make the more complicated parts of the task easier on the adults. While this may not be an ideal way to spend the day, having a good attitude putting on some fun music can make this task much more enjoyable!
These are our top five favorite rainy day activities. We would love to hear about your favorite activities and how you keep your kids entertained during bad weather!