Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain, because some of our happiest times have been when it’s poured.
I grew up playing in the rain so it’s second nature for me to get outside whilst it’s wet. The same thing can’t be said for my husband. The difference is, I am from England and he is from Gibraltar. As we all know, in England it rains… a lot! If we don’t get out in the rain, we would spend a lot of time inside. In Gibraltar, the climate is so mild a rainy day is a great excuse to stay indoors. Also, when it rains in Gibraltar… it pours! But when he married me, he also took on some of my life motos. One of which is rain doesn’t stop play…even when its torrential. I only needed to tell him he could have a whole new wet weather wardrobe and he was on-board!
So whether it’s rainy in Gibraltar or in the Gower, you are likely to catch us outside taking a long walk, throwing stones into the sea, or more recently, thanks to Peppa Pig, jumping in muddy puddles. If rain really stops our play, then we are most likely to get the craft box out or have an indoor picnic.
If you are stuck for ideas on how to spend your rainy day, here are 10 things to do on a rainy day. Best of all, for all of these ideas you don’t need to turn on the TV.
1. Get your raincoat and wellies on. Go and jump in muddy puddles.
Don’t worry about getting wet! Take some spare clothes in the car if you need to and enjoy every second. Go to the park, you won’t have to fight over the play equipment. Chances are it will be empty.
For any parent who has ever watched Peppa Pig you will know exactly what your child wants to do in the rain. Just last month we paid £9 each to get into a farm. It chucked it down, and my toddler spent the whole time jumping in the puddles and didn’t even want to see the animals. We spent the rest of the week just finding puddles for him rather than wasting more money on activities. He LOVED it! Best of all, it was free.
2. Make a list of things to find. Remember those days of scavenger hunting?
Whilst I don’t suggest you send the toddler out all day alone – those were the 80’s parenting skills – I do recommend drawing up a list of things you can find on your walk outside. Get your toddler to help. He can either, choose items to find by using the computer, printing out pictures and sticking them on. If you prefer to steer away from technology, just get him to draw them. Pop the list into a plastic folder so it doesn’t get wet and grab a Tupperware or a plastic bag. Start collecting and when you get home you can sellotape them to the list. My toddler is obsessed with finding buses, so we opted to take a photo of and print it out when we got home! Whilst I do a lot for my toddler, hijacking a bus would be taking it a bit too far.
3. Have a picnic or a tea party inside.
Don’t let wet weather stop you from having a picnic or tea party in the house. Set up a blanket on the floor, serve up some cake and if you are feeling really generous, invite some dinosaurs along too!
If you live in sunnier climates, don’t forget that these indoor activities are also great for those sweltering afternoons where it is too hot to get out.
4. Got some masking tape? Make a road for the cars
This is one of our favourite, and one we also use when the weather is too hot to go outside!
Take a roll of masking tape and stick it to the floor to make road markings.
Get out the cars and there you have it, a road, a junction, a roundabout, an airport runway…whatever your imagination allows.
This was such a success with my toddler that we ended up leaving it for a couple of weeks when we came home with our newborn.
5. Make a boat
We love making things that float. We have also made many things that don’t! Our boats have become more successful over time.
Take a plastic tray left over from raspberries or blueberries, make a flag on paper, add a lollipop stick, go around it with sellotape and there you have it.
You can be more adventurous and make one out of lollipop sticks, straws, milk cartons… you name it.
Find some water and take it out and float. Don’t forget you can always use the bath too!
6. Make your own Post box
For those with younger children a post box is a fantastic way to keep them entertained.
Grab an old formula box, cut a hole in it at the front and find some old cards from your wallet.
Young toddlers spend ages posting them in and getting them out. For the older ones making letters to “post” is good fun. Make them on different coloured card and ask the postman to deliver the right colours to the right teddies. Works well if you have some brightly coloured teddies.
7. Play Simon Says
Our toddler loves nothing more than leading the way. When we actually follow what he says it keeps him entertained for ages. Be warned, this one can get tiring but also hilarious especially when you hear him say “run around naked”. I guess we just have to make sure the curtains are drawn!
8. Make a den
Making a den is the perfect way to spend a wet afternoon. It keeps the children quiet and you may even get a chance to put your feet up. See my post on 10 quick tips for making a Den for the real experience.
Playdoh is always useful to have around and good for creative fun. If we aren’t feeling adventurous enough to have a picnic indoors then we will use it to create some food and serve it up to those hungry dinosaurs.
The only problem I have here is my husband is amazing at modelling clay; mine in comparison must be a disappointment to my toddler!
Check out the Soft Stuff Bumper Activity Jar (£14) from ELC which is a bumper box full of modelling dough, equipment to squash, squeeze, cut and flatten. It also include cutters, rollers for adding patterns and textures and moulds in the shape of food, animals and objects, plus a rolling pin that also features different shapes to print into the dough as you roll. When you have finished using the playdoh I pop it into little pots for another day.
10. Just jump in bed and read
I love this one, and actually it is often how my Sunday mornings are made up! Reading is so important to children. It doesn’t have to always happen at bedtime. We just pick a load of books and read through them. We are now at the point where our toddler can start to tell us the story himself. The best bit, it means we get to stay in bed for a bit longer.
If you liked this article you can find more exciting ideas on my blog www.alongcamebuddy.wordpress.com
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 20th 2015.