I love the rain. I love the sound, the smell afterwards and especially thunder storms at night!
What I do not love, however, is trying to entertain two toddler boys cooped up in our (extremely) small apartment all day…
Here are a few of my favorite rainy day activities to keep us ALL sane:
1. Dress up. No, I do not mean like princesses.. Although, if you have a daughter, this would probably be what it means for you. For my boys, they really like to dress up in all sorts of things and pretend that they are astronauts, knights, cowboys, chefs, dinosaur fighters, monsters, garbage truck drivers or even daddies! They have a few themed dress-up clothes, but mainly they will just put on different clothing of their own but pretend it is something different.. Sometimes, I will give them something of mine or hubby’s and they love this as well! Hats are also a fun and easy dress up item! I know the dollar store has lots of things for girls but not a lot for boys. Boo.
2. Coloring. Simple? Yes. Effective? Yes. My boys, especially Elias, love to color! I like crayons best, just so the mess is minimal. But if you have older children, washable markers work wonderfully as well! Do your kids not really enjoy coloring? Give them ideas of what to draw.. I told Cohen to draw what he thinks the rain looks like and he drew a bunch of colored dots on the page. Again, simple.
3. Baking. Being in the kitchen with mama is one of my boys’ favorite places to be! If things are getting tense in the house and I know we need a change of pace before anyone explodes, I will announce that we will be making some cookies! Immediately, the air thins and there are shrieks of excitement. And did you see my recent review of the Betty Crocker cookie mix? Those ‘just add water’ cookie mixes don’t taste as good as homemade but they are super easy to do with kiddos! And it’s more fun to eat them anyway, right? Especially with some milk. Mmmm.
4. Cleaning. Ok, this would not be a Top 10 if this list was for older children.. But for toddlers? They love to help us with anything and everything, even when they aren’t invited.. I also just talked about Green Works Cleaners in a recent post. Having natural and safe cleaners in the house means I feel comfortable with the boys ‘helping’ me clean! Yes, it does take me a bit longer to actually get real cleaning done. But it takes up time and is super fun for the little ones! Cohen really likes to help me sweep and Eli likes dusting best!
5. Build a fort. I still have memories of building forts with my mom and dad when I was younger! A simple sheet can be transformed into a Boys-Only fort in just a few short minutes! I use clothespins or chip clips to help clip the sheet to furniture when building the fort. You can also tie it but I have found that sometimes my boys will get too excited and pull on the sheet. If the sheet is tied and pulled, there is a chance that whatever you tied it to can fall into the fort. When using clips, it will just unclip and shoot off instead of possibly giving someone an ouchie..
6. Legos. Grandma gave the boys some Duplo legos when we moved up here and the boys play with them just about every day. You all already know how I feel about toys that promote creativity.. Legos are wonderful for kids of all ages! Even Elias (almost 2) enjoys building his own spaceship, garbage truck, house or big monster.. Well, not like they actually come out looking like what he insists they are. But that’s not the important part anyway, right?
7. Reading. We are a big reading family! I am addicted to children’s books and have been collecting them since even before I was pregnant with Cohen. I have books of all kinds; educational, fiction, beginning readers, children’s Bibles, classics, books that I saved from when I was a kid. Both boys can be found at least a couple of times every day alone and quiet, sitting my the bookshelf, reading a book of their choosing. I just love seeing this! I enjoy reading to them but they also like to ‘read’ to me, too! I love that Elias will turn the book around so Cohen and I can see the pictures. I think that it is important to instill the importance of books in our children from an early age and I love that I don’t have to try very hard at this.
8. Play dough. Yes, make sure you are prepared to clean up a mess… I don’t suggest having your child play with play dough on the carpet but it would be fine if you put a sheet or splat mat down first. My boys sit at their picnic table in the dining room to play with play dough. They are pretty used to it now and they surprisingly don’t make too big of a mess. I have many different play tools for them to use but even if you don’t have that, you can use things from your kitchen; spoons, forks, measuring cups, small rolling pin. Again, this is a great activity to inspire your child to be creative! Also, you can’t go wrong with all the great fine motor skills they are using by playing with play dough! They don’t even know their brain is developing as they play..
9. Games. I know that toddlers are still a little small to really play most board games but there are other games that can be played that they do understand! Our favorites are hide and seek (although both boys always hide in the same place.. ha), very simple versions of Candy Land and Hi Ho Cherry-O, toddler-style scavenger hunt (I will be writing a post soon just about this), indoor bedroom baseball (with very soft balls!), running and racing games (good thing we’re on the bottom floor). Games are easy, most of the time cheap or free and can come from your head or even from your child! Cohen likes to make up games all the time.. It’s always an adventure when I ask him what game he wants to play!
10. Cartoons. Yes, I know I probably will not win the parent-of-the-year award for admitting that my boys watch far too many cartoons than they should.. But especially on days where we are stuck inside all day, a cartoon or two will do wonders for both boys and mama! I do try to make sure the cartoons they do watch are educational. Our favorites are Dinosaur Train, Dora and Diego, Wonder Pets and some movies like Finding Nemo and Ratatouille! Netflix is one of my best friends!
It can be hard staying inside all day with hyper little ones but hopefully one or more of our favorite activities can help you out as well!
What is your favorite Rainy Day Toddler Activity?