As dark clouds roll in and raindrops splash the window pane, you suddenly realize you’re stuck indoors with your little ball of energy all day long. The combination of a short attention span, curiosity and boredom gives your toddler the potential to find some major trouble or throw a massive tantrum. Having a few tricks up your sleeve makes you the rainy-day super hero who fights boredom and saves sanity with one flap of your cape.
The idea of paint and toddlers together can cause a spike in blood pressure in even the most laid back parent, but it’s possible to get crafty without having your entire home redecorated toddler-style. Most toddlers love the creativity and the sensory experience that comes with squishy paint between their fingers or molding play dough into shapes. The resulting masterpiece becomes a treasured keepsake for you to remember your child at that stage. Tuck away a few basic art supplies, such as non-toxic finger paint, paper, safety scissors, stickers, glue and play dough for rainy days.
You don’t need an acting background to whip up dramatic play fun on a rainy day. Dramatic play is a fancy word that encompasses any activities that involve pretending to be someone or something else, such as dressing up, putting on a play, telling a story, doing a puppet show, or role playing. For example, set up empty food containers and let your child carry a basket through the “grocery store” to pretend shop. Make a tent from a blanket and chairs and pretend to go camping. Dramatic play gives toddlers a chance to explore different situations, encourages language development, lets them practice social interactions, and inspires creativity. Props like dress up clothes, dolls, puppets and everyday household objects get you started on rainy day dramatic play.
A rainy day is the perfect time to break out toddler-friendly games. You don’t need to spend a fortune on toddler board games at the stores. Instead, make up your own games on the spot with things around the house. An empty laundry basket becomes a basketball hoop for his favorite ball. Pillows and furniture work as obstacles for a rainy day obstacle course. Other game ideas include freeze dance, I Spy, Simon Says and hide-and-seek.
Learning projects turn a rainy day into a productive one, but you don’t have to photocopy preschool worksheets to help your toddler learn. Hands-on learning situations offer entertainment while boosting your toddler’s brain power. Teach your toddler about sinking and floating with a giant tub of water and objects around the house. Practice letters by hiding letter cutouts around the house. Show your toddler how to cook by inviting him into the kitchen at lunch time and making him your sous chef. These activities help pass the time while you’re stuck indoors and give your toddler practice at skills.