Oi, the natives get restless when they are trapped inside!
My kids play outside. A lot. They have way too much energy to keep them locked up. Our typical homeschool day sees us taking care of the books in the morning hours, and then they get a lot of free time in the afternoon. If the weather’s nice, they play outside – we have a good yard with a fence, and big kids who can look out for little kids, so it’s a pretty smooth operation.
Except when it isn’t. While I’m not at all opposed to playing in the rain and mud (I like them to be able enjoy the outdoors in any weather), it’s just a sad, sad fact that children can’t be expected (or allowed) to play outside much if it’s raining, windy, and 35 degrees. Or in a blizzard, or thunderstorms, or, possibly, hailing meatballs.
Never mind that last.
- Library. The best…what’s better than the library on a rainy day?? If only they let you have coffee.
- Small local bookstores often have a little children’s area to hang out in.
- A museum. We like to have memberships to some local fun museums for some getting-out fun when the weather’s bad.
- A mall. Lots of space, and most malls have a play area that is free as long as your kids know that you are
cheapfrugal and won’t put quarters in. Or that you only put quarters in once in a blue moon and absolutely never if they ask!
- When it’s let up enough, splash in puddles and rescue worms.
- Invite a friend over. Preferably a kid friend AND a mom friend.
- Paint a picture.
- Draw with window markers.
- Make homemade play dough.
- Make slime. (I haven’t tried these recipes. If you have, leave a comment and let me know if they are any good? Please?)
- Roll out some easel paper across the room and let them go at it with crayons or markers – this is a big favorite.
- Teach a kid five or up to sew a little stuffed animal: My First Sewing Book by Winky Cherry. I’ve used this with five of the kids so far and they all love it, boys included. It usually takes them a few days to a week to finish it, depending on attention span.
- Make cookies. Or popcorn.
- Make a vinegar and baking soda volcano. (Bonus homeschool points if you get them to watch a You Tube video about volcanos, too.)
- If they are old enough to be responsible, let them use a tablet or video camera to make their own movie. These can be hilarious to watch. Or deadly boring. But, it kept them busy.
- Make crayon rubbings.
- Break out the colored rice, pasta, or beans. I did the rice for my kiddos a few years ago, and they absolutely loved it. I would give them each some in a pie tin and some toys to go with, and it kept them busy for ages. It was kind of a pain, though, because it would get all over the floor and be pesky to clean up (and no fun to step on). When it eventually ran out, from being spilled and swept over and over, I decided not to make more and to try pasta or beans instead. That’s still in the works.
- Let older toddlers or preschoolers play in the sink. There’s invariably some spillage, but the fun is worth it. Unless you happen to have an ancient wooden floor badly in need of refinishing. Then it isn’t.
- Put baby or toddler in high chair with a little water and some cups and funnels.
- There’s always the Legos.
- Lincoln Logs
- Fort out of couch cushions and sheets.
- House of cards. Jonathan used to spend a lot of time on this.
- Some kids really get a kick out of dismantling junk electronics and appliances. I will occasionally buy something in that vein at the thrift store. Jonathan is quite good at taking them apart and will be at it all day if I let him.
- Build houses out of craft sticks and glue.
- Build boats out of styrofoam egg cartons or meat trays.
- Read a book.
- Work on schoolwork.
- Do chores (No? Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you said you were bored. Just tryin’ to help.)
- Draw a picture.
- Do a puzzle.
- Play a board game.
- Watch a movie. I’m not opposed to some good screen time, to be honest. I’m picky about content, and I wouldn’t let them watch all day (unless I’m sick, or they are, then, well…), but some PBS Kids, Wiggles, Veggie Tales, nature shows..that sort of thing.
That’s what I’ve got. Have something to add? Leave a comment!
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