So it’s gray and rainy today. It was gray and rainy yesterday. And it’s supposed to be gray and rainy tomorrow.
Needless to say, we’re going a bit stir crazy here in the house-of-boys. You can only last so long outside in the rain. At least 2 of my 3 boys can read chapter books in a cozy chair on days like this. I love that. My youngest? Not so much. And I remember the days, very recently, when all three of them were standing there, looking up at me with those big expectations, asking, “What’s next, Mom?”
My opinion? The best way to survive these days with a smile in your face is to throw in the towel. Yes, that’s right. My great parenting nugget for the day is….drumroll please…throw in the towel. Fine words of wisdom, don’t you think? What I mean by this is that a rainy day is a day for us to forget our Very Important List of Things to Do, get down on the floor with our kids, and remember what it’s like to simply play.
Rainy Day Activities:
- Make a Fort. The old stand-by is as good as ever. Kids in every state and every town love nothing better than building an Awesome Fort out of couch pillows, blankets, and sheets. But the real giddiness kicks in when they see that mom is actually going to join them in the Fort. The smiles you’ll receive are worth every single thing you didn’t get done today that you will absolutely pay for tomorrow.
- Break out the Perler Beads. As I’ve mentioned before, Perler Beads are a fantastic activity for kids to do on their own. But they’re fun to work on together, too. Your kids can create beautiful designs to give to Grandma and Grandpa for the upcoming Mother’s and Father’s Day celebrations. After you’ve ironed their masterpiece, simply stick a magnet strip on the back & your gift is ready to go.
- Break the Rules. No running in the house? No hiding in the pantry? Take a half an hour today, ditch the rules, and play indoor hide-and-seek. That thing that breaks? It’s just part of the deal. Plan on it, and it won’t seem so tragic.
- Break Bread Together. Eat your snack the floor! Another ageless old-timer, the picnic-on-the-living-room-floor is a sure crowd pleaser. Feed the baby first and have your picnic with the older kids during naptime. (Babies tend to be a little messy for the living room.) I have a huge piece of canvas fabric that we put down to spare the carpet. The kids shriek with joy when I pull it out. The mayhem that ensues, in anticipation of peanut butter and jelly that they don’t have to eat at the table, is a bit unbelievable.
- Rediscover Rubber Ducky. On a rainy day (no, not one with lightening), the bathtub can serve as a small pool. Don’t worry about the clean-factor. This bathtime is just for fun. Bubbles, toys, bath paints, splashing: it’s all included. The bonus? You don’t have to get in…you’re just the lifeguard for this one.
- Special Box of Toys. What? You don’t have one? Oh, you gotta get one! All the cool kids have ’em. Okay, here’s the deal: our children have too many toys. Can we agree on this one? We buy, our parents buy, our friends buy. Too much buying. When I realized our windows were on the verge of popping out because of all the excess, I just wanted to chuck it. Goodwill, here we come. But my friend intervened. “Buy a large plastic bin,” she suggested. “Fill it with lots of these toys, then put it away for a rainy day. When the rainy day comes, pull out the bin. The kids will be so excited to play with these “special” toys.” Hmmm… And she was right. Thank you, friend! Goodwill still received a donation, but we save some for the Special Box that creates Special Fun on rainy days.
- Make a Movie. These are some of my most treasured keepsakes, and I didn’t have a thing to do with them. My husband, bless his heart, spends hours with the boys creating movies. They’ve “gone” to Africa, flown into outer space, and even fought aliens. I watch these movies and I can’t believe how little they once were! Those voices! I promise you, moms, their voices will change, their annunciation will improve, and to be able to hear them, to see them in action at those tiny little ages, is a precious gift. The movies are a bit of a pain to make, with props and all, and they’re definitely time consuming. In other words, it’s the perfect activity for an otherwise boring, rainy day.
- Make Play-Doh. Play-Doh is such a kid-pleaser, but no one likes it when they peel off the lid and instead of easy to mold clay-like material, they find the hard, gross substance formerly known as Play Doh. My neighbor, Pam, gave me a recipe about years ago (see below) and this stuff lasts forever. It’s kind of weird how long it lasts, actually. Sometimes it gets a little sticky – just add a touch more flour, and you’re ready to shape and mold.
- Or, Make Dough Figures. During the holidays, my kids make something for their teacher’s, grandparents, and other lucky souls. One of the things they’ve created is dough ornaments. (Yep, I like the oldies. What gave it away?) This dough is easy to work with – just don’t over bake it! If you’re feeling extra crafty, the kids can paint their designs once they’re dry.
- Keep a Few Tricks Up Your Sleeve. Under no circumstances, no matter how gray and rainy it is, are you, the parent, to use all of these tricks in the same day. Pace yourself, people. Pick a few, and maybe a back-up, and go for it. Trying to make play-doh, build a fort, and have a living-room picnic on the same day is just asking for trouble. There’s always tomorrow.
Homemade Play-Doh Recipe:
2 c flour 2 c water
1 c salt 2 T oil
4 t cream of tartar food coloring
(This makes a ton. Sometimes I just make half.)
Mix all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in food coloring. Remove from heat. Put mixture onto waxed paper and knead. Add extra flour, if sticky.
Dough Figures/Ornaments Recipe
1 c salt 1 c water
2 c flour food coloring (optional)
Mix salt and flour, then add water a little at a time. If you’re using food coloring, separate dough into different bowls, add color, and mix. Knead for 7-10 minutes until dough is putty-like.
Create people, animals, or other figures with dough. For ornaments, roll dough to ¼” thick (I go a little thicker). Use cookie cutters for basic shapes, like snowflakes, Christmas balls, or snowmen.
Bake on cookies sheet at 325 until very light brown.
Enjoy the rain!
This updated re-post is here today courtesy of the weather!