When the weather takes a turn for the worst, it’s the perfect opportunity to get cosy indoors, but this may leave your little ones clambering up the walls with boredom. The solution is simple – don your creative hat and get their imaginations running wild.
Here’s a round-up of ten creative play ideas for rainy days:
1. Go “camping” indoors – get together cushions, throws and bed sheets to make the base and cover for your tent. Use chairs and a clothes horse to form the structure and drape all of your soft furnishings over them. Grab a few torches and books as well as all important snacks and spend the afternoon hiding away from the wet weather outside. Add a bit more of a game element to it and pretend you are in the wilderness and need to hide from bears or hunt for food. The possibilities are endless and if you invite a few friends over it could turn into a bit of a slumber party.
2. Make colour crayon wheels – ever wondered what to do with all those broken bits of crayons left over? Instead of buying new ones, place all of the bits onto a piece of baking paper and place in a low-heated oven. The pieces will melt and merge together forming a wonderful crayon wheel that can then be used to make unique cards or wrapping paper to give to family and friends.
3. Make collages – cut out pictures from old books and magazines to form landscapes and collages. These could even form the backdrop to an indoor play or be added to your tent game to make you really feel like you are in the wilderness, on safari or in the Antarctic!
4. Paint things for the garden – when the weather is unappealing, it is nice to get creative with colour. Painting plant pots or a toy like this Colour Me Gnome from All Round Fun, is a fabulous way to introduce creative play AND have something to put into the garden when the weather gets warmer. Alternatively, use the pots to store pens and pencils or other craft materials and create a little gnome grotto where they can hibernate until the spring.
5. Hunt for worms and make them a home – wiggly worms may not be for every child, but they are a great way to learn about nature and how different types of weather bring different creatures out into the open. Create a ‘worm hotel’ out of old shoe boxes or plastic containers and decorate them so the worms can live in the lap of luxury until the weather clears up. Always put the worms back afterwards so they can head back home after their holiday.
6. Create a family recipe book – whether you have traditional family recipes or just remember some great food from trips abroad, put them all together in a home-made book. Cut out pictures, create recipe cards or even add photos (Polaroids are great for this) and place them in a cardboard book, tied up with string. You can always cook a few of the dishes and have a family feast afterwards. Comfort food on wet weather days is the best!
7. One word story game – if there are a few of you, start a story and everyone in the room has to add one word onto the story to complete it. It has to still make sense, but if you use your imagination you can make up some really funny stories. This is also a great way for children to build on their vocabulary.
8. Make instruments – create a mini band at home and fill your home with music by making instruments out of household items. Dry pasta placed inside a plastic bottle makes an ideal shaker for your percussion section. Paint paper plates and hole-punch bits out around the outside. Tie milk bottle tops to the paper plate using string and voila; you have a wonderful tambourine.
9. Make a marble run – gather together old kitchen roll tubes, loo role tubes and plastic bottles, sticky tape them together and decorate them in bright colours. Place them at an angle on your stairs or the side of the sofa and have marble racing games. There could be a prize for the best marble run.
10. Make origami – if you already have a book on origami then dig it out. Alternatively, look online for easy to use templates. Origami is a great way for kids to express their creativity and, once they have mastered the basics, they can go bigger and bolder with their designs. Hang the finished pieces from string in their bedroom so they can decorate their rooms and marvel at their designs.