Rainy or cold or blistering hot days with toddlers can be . . . challenging. They want to go outside and play, and you would love to send them outside to get that energy out, but the weather is just not cooperating. The kids feel stuck inside, and it’s not long before you are all starting to get a little stir crazy.
Believe me, I feel you. I totally get it. I live in a part of Texas that gets a lot of rain, and it can be very frustrating for a mom of littles. Don’t lose hope, mama! I am here with a list of five great ways you can keep your kiddos entertained indoors when the rain just won’t go away.
1. Build a Fort
This one is the easiest way to keep toddlers entertained! Throw a bedsheet over your kitchen or dining room table, arrange some blankets and pillows under the table, and stock the space with books, flashlights, coloring books, and crayons. Congratulations, you are now the coolest mom ever. Kids LOVE forts, and they are likely to play in one for a good period of time. I like to set up a fort around lunchtime on rainy days and let them have a “picnic.” They love it, and I love it—win-win!
2. Make a Mess
Kids love to get messy (can I get an amen?). There are two ways I have found that allow kids to explore their artistic side while still containing the mess to a minimum cleanup for me. The first is to hang up a large piece of brown kraft paper on a wall using painter’s tape. Put a tarp or a sheet on the floor beneath the kraft paper. Set out a few plastic cups full of washable kids finger paint and let them create a mural. The second way is to set up your finger paints in the bathtub and let the kiddos go to town “decorating” the tiles. It’s a fun way to let them get messy and creative without creating a whole lot of cleanup work on your part.
3. Set Up Simple Games
Spend two minutes searching Pinterest, and you will find a year’s worth of simple games you can create and set up for your toddlers for cheap or free. Here are two of my favorites:
- 2 paint sticks
- 2 heavy-duty paper plates
- hot glue
- Hot glue a couple of paint sticks to the back of some heavy-duty paper plates.
- Blow up a balloon.
- Teach your kids to hit the balloon back and forth to each other and challenge them not to let it touch the floor.
- several sheets of colored felt
- small washers
- wooden dowel
- hot glue
- Cut out colorful fish shapes from felt.
- Hot glue two fish shapes together with a small washer sandwiched between them.
- Tie a length of yarn to a wooden dowel rod.
- Tie or glue a small magnet to the other end of the length of yarn.
- Go fishing!
4. Get Sensory
Toddlers love to experience different textures with their fingers. Sensory play is one of the best ways to entertain a toddler and is vital to a young child’s learning. Here are two quick and easy ways you can make a fun sensory experience for your toddler:
- One 4-oz. bottle Elmer’s glue
- 1/2 tsp Borax
- 1/4 cup warm water
- plastic cup
- food coloring
- 1 tsp fine glitter
- Empty the glue into your bowl, then fill the glue bottle with water, shake, and dump it into the bowl.
- Add your food coloring and glitter and mix well. Set aside.
- Put 1/4 cup warm water into your plastic cup and add the Borax, mixing until the Borax dissolves.
- Pour Borax mixture into the glue bowl and start mixing. When it gets too hard to stir by hand, start mixing and kneading with your hands until the mixture becomes pliable.
- Store in a small Tupperware container.
- 1 shallow plastic bin large enough to hold a TON of rice
- several large plastic bags
- 15-20 pounds of white rice
- white vinegar
- food coloring
- small cups, measuring cups, spoons, small toys, funnels (optional)
- Put about 5 cups of rice in each plastic bag.
- Add 2-3 tbsp white vinegar and 30-40 drops of food coloring to each bag.
- Seal each bag and shake it up until all the food coloring is easily distributed.
- Open the bags and allow them to air-dry overnight (reduces the vinegar smell).
- Pour each bag into the large bin carefully to make a rainbow.
- Add small cups, measuring cups, and funnels for pouring and hid small toys for your kids to “discover.”
- When your kids are done playing, snap the lid on the bin and store it away for the next rainy day!
5. Dance in the Rain
When all else fails, if it’s warm enough and there’s no lightning, grab the rain boots and umbrellas and let your kids jump in some puddles and dance in the rain. Both of my kids think it’s the best thing EVER when they get to play in the rain with their umbrellas. Sure, they may get wet and muddy, but it will allow them to get outside and get some wiggles out. Just be sure to keep some towels nearby for when it’s time to come back inside!
How do you keep your active kids busy on dreary days?