We’re giving new meaning to “save it for a rainy day.” All this rain is good for our creeks and rivers, but we’re scrambling to keep kids busy! Here’s a list you’ll be so excited to try that you won’t mind the rainy day (again). We have no shortage of rainy days in Central Texas, right? Some of these require inexpensive supplies and simple prep so make a list, gather what you need, and surprise your kids with it the next time a downpour dampens their plans.
Water Beads– These cost next to nothing but there are endless possibilities of activities to do with water beads. All it takes is a table spoon of the tiny beads, 3 cups of water, and a child’s imagination. My kids love watching these expand over several hours (or leaving them overnight) and then playing with them when they are fully expanded. Kids (including big kids like me) enjoy the sensory input of submerging their hands in them, but they can also be sorted by color into muffin tins, fill water balloons, squash them in ziplock bags, freeze them or add them as one of many items in a calming jar/bottle. I’ve link the photos to the MarvelBeads we use from Amazon.
Make a homemade Crash Pad- If you have a child who loves to crash around, swing or run into things this next idea is possibly genius. I don’t take credit (I learned about it at a Trauma Informed Care workshop), but I wish I could because it has saved my sanity on many a rainy day.
For this activity you need an old duvet or two sheets sewn together on three sides. Thrift stores are great sources for these on the cheap. Tell your kids to gather pillows, stuffed animals and cushions from all over the house and fill the duvet. They will have almost as much fun filling it as they will jumping onto it when its ready because they will get to crawl inside pushing plush items to the back and corners. When they’ve filled it, give them liberty to jump onto it to their hearts delight (with ground rules you set in advance). They will love belly flopping, rolling and jumping & hopefully will be ready to crash into their own beds for a nap or bedtime later!
Mod Podge Candle Holders- as moms we are privy to the underground gift bag and tissue paper exchange, and we likely have tissue paper that has made its rounds and needs to be retired. Let your kids paint Mod Podge onto old jars, then stick squares of tissue paper to it in any pattern or design they’d like. When that first layer is dry, paint a sealing coat of Mod Podge over the whole jar. Once it dries you have a beautiful centerpiece for your table, a stain glass jar for your windowsill or a lovely candle holder.
Nebula Jar- another great jar craft! All you need is a jar, 2-3 colors of tempera paint (similar colors like blue and purple), glitter, water, and boo-coos of cotton balls. Fill the jar 1/3 full with water, add a few drops of tempera paint and stir to mix. Add glitter and stretched out cotton balls, like a lot of them… until the water is almost soaked up. Repeat all the steps until your jar is full and your nebula is complete. Close your jar tight. If you’ve got a strong or determined little one, you may want to super glue the top closed!
Watch family videos or pull out old albums- something about the rain makes my kids sentimental. They always gather around the computer to watch themselves growing up. I love hearing their giggles and exclamations about their own chubby cheeks and imitations of their baby voices. You can be the initiator to start this tradition in your home!
Shapes scavenger hunt- Cut out shapes from construction paper, or gather objects of different shapes and put them in a bag. Ask your children to pull out one shape at a time. Talk about the shape, especially if they are just learning their shapes. Then go on a hunt for other household objects of that shape until they’ve found as many as they can! Then begin again with the next shape.
Make a list of extra chores the kids can help with to earn some moolah- This one may be my favorite for obvious reasons. We have a jar (seeing the jar pattern here?) full of craft sticks, each with a chore written on it. The kids have a choice to earn extra screen time (5-10 minutes each) or cold hard cash for each chore completed. Which chores should you delegate? With a little incentive my kids will eagerly clean windows, mirrors, doorknobs & light-switches, stair railing, smudgy walls, and even baseboards. You never thought your house could get cleaner with the whole family stuck inside did you?
Let them play outside- The work of a child is to play. As long as there is no threat of lightning, send them outside to stomp in the puddles, squish in the mud and play with worms- really! Some of my fondest childhood memories are of kicking puddles with my brother or friends and I wish the same for your children and mine.
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