Monday, October 4, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Rain, rain and more rain. This is pretty much what the weather has done all weekend here on the Mid North Coast.


Now, I don't mind a little rain. A little rain. But a constant downpour and drizzle is another story. Why?
1. Most of us worry another flash flood is on its way (once bitten, twice shy) and 2. Cabin fever.

Keeping my two little ones entertained during this kind of weather is hard work, but it can be fun. Continuing on from my previous post about Entertaining the Kids (read it here), a little preparation can go along way to keeping the kids entertained and your sanity intact.

Below are some of my affordable and easy ideas for keeping your little ones busy in the wet weather. I suggest having a box put away especially for rainy days or those 'i can't think of anything else to do' kind of days.
  • Make a list of indoor playgrounds and head there. Check out your local Bunnings stores and McDonalds who both usually have undercover playgrounds to play on.
  • Have a stash of board games that ONLY come out in the wet weather. My kids enjoy puzzles, but other easy games like Snakes & Ladders, Trouble and Connect Four will also provide entertainment for the whole family (P.S. This adorable Hungry Caterpillar board game is going on my short list for the kids this Christmas). 
  • Make some playdough. This is the easy, peasy recipe I use. An extra tip: Make multi coloured playdough and entwine them together. Once your child mixes two colours together (like blue and yellow), they'll learn that a new colour is made (green). Educational and fun. Jackpot. 
  • Have a dance party. If you've got energy to burn, put some tunes on and start dancing! You'll not only wear the kids out (or not), but it's one way to get some cardio exercise done for the day. Keep it upbeat to make up for the miserable weather.
  • Head to the library, if they're open. Read some books there or borrow them out. Either way, library books are way more exciting than the ones you have at home. 
  • Fill the kitchen sink up with water and bubbles. Add some food colouring and a whole lot of jugs, measuring cups and other utensils. Warning: Place a towel on the floor and have spare, dry clothes on standby. 
  • Get baking! We normally eat pretty well in our house and if you're the same, consider making rainy days your 'triple choc brownies' kind of baking day. For something different, make cookies and stick in paddle pop sticks to make cookie lollipops.
  • Beading. Grab some twine, tie a knot in one end and bead on some Fruit Loops (or Cheerios for a healthier choice). Tie it around your child's wrist and you've got a portable, ready to go snack. 
  • Do an indoor treasure hunt. Hide yourself, hide the kids or hide some fun things around the house and get the kids to search for them. Use the old 'getting colder/warmer' method to help younger kids on their hunts. 
  • Have a family movie session. We have a spare mattress that gets placed in front of the TV and we all snuggle in with our pillows and doona. Put on a movie the whole family will enjoy, have your popcorn ready and relax.
  • Make an indoor cubby in the lounge room. Simply drape a sheet over your strategically placed dining chairs to make a quick indoor tent. Read some stories in here, have a tea party, colour in or play Barbies all in your special little fort.
  • Do a toy box clean up. Nothing gets my kids interested in their toys like mummy on a cleaning rampage. Empty the toy boxes out and watch your kids come over to 'help'. 
  • Do some art and craft. My daughter goes nuts for crafts, so have a box full of craft items and get creative. Cut out strips of coloured paper or magazine and staple, glue or tape them into circles to form a chain. You'll find plenty of other craft ideas online. Or simply do some drawing or colouring in. 
  • Deck your kids out in some gum boots and a rain coat and let them go outside! Remember: rain is only water. It will dry. Let the kids have fun and explore your garden in the rain. We find lots of worms and puddles in our backyard, which the kids are fascinated by. Have towels ready or a nice, warm bath or shower ready for them to warm up when they're done. 

If you need to get out and have some extra coin, here's some extra ideas to keep the family occupied. 
    • Go indoor bowling. We did this yesterday and the kids had a ball. Don't forget to ring and book in advance since they can get pretty busy in the wet weather.
    • Head to the movies. Find a kids movie that's showing and go along as a family. Alternatively, just take your older child/ren and leave the youngens at home with dad.
    • Find an indoor play centre. My kids love these places, so head along, grab a hot chocolate and a magazine and chill out while the kids play!
    • Go to a cafe. Milkshakes and babycinos are popular in our family, so make a date with your kids and have a treat. 
     Having your rainy day supplies ready and some ideas up your sleeve is half the battle. That's why I suggest having a Rainy Day Box that has the ideas I've mentioned above written down and any equipment you'll need readily available. Put the box somewhere you'll remember, but not in a place where the kids can access it everyday otherwise the excitement will wear off much quicker.

    Most of all, don't forget to look on the bright side. Rainy days can be just as exciting and enjoyable as a warm, sunny day and time spent together as a family is never a bad thing :)

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