It is raining. Again. Not like it did last month. Last month, I took a second to count the hash marks on my wall, and it confirmed my fears: That watery prison held me and my offspring captive for eleven days straight! Rainy days like these mean I haven’t been able to say “Go outside and play”. Rainy days like these mean I’ve heard “Mom there’s NOTHING to DO” approximately every 3.9 minutes. And rainy days like these mean throwing my little ones into the SUV for our typical beach days has been off the menu. Will. It. Ever. End…?!
After about day 3, a mommy has to start exercising some creative juices to keep the kiddos occupied. Because at that point, it’s either them or me – survival of the fittest. That being said, in order to support other moms who are in the same watered-down trenches this summer, I’ve compiled a list of things to do that will keep them occupied. Let this aid in keeping you sane when it rains. Use these in whatever order your desperation requires…
1) Make a parade! Put on their little rain jackets and goulashes, give them little umbrellas, and go puddle jumping. It will get in a nice amount of physical activity, get them out of the four wall prison they’ve been kept in with you, and let them sing in the rain!
2) Bake a batch of cookies. My kids have aprons and stools (even my 2.5 year old gets involved!) and I sort out the ingredients and let them each have their moment to shine as chefs. Or, if you aren’t up for homemade cookies, believe me – Pillsbury wouldn’t mind being part of your rainy day bakery! Whatever you use, just make sure you make it a sweet experience!
3) Make mud pie volcanoes!!! Every kid waits for the moment when mom says “Put on your jackets and bring me a bowl of mud.” And if the end result of that bowl of mud means they get to pack it around a toilet paper roll (or bowl), and fill it with food coloring, baking soda, and vinegar and watch it explode…??? Suddenly you’re the coolest mom ever. And that is a direct quote from my 5 year old! : )
4) Build a pillow slide. I have found that if we gather every pillow in my house, prop all of the couch cushions against the sofa, and stack pillows on top of each other, my children will wear themselves out jumping, somersaulting, and flipping onto the cushions! Mom score!!!
5) Tell a pirate story. The rain makes everyone feel slightly gloomy, so take that gloom and create your own pirate tale. Make silly hats out of tissue boxes or newspapers or milk jugs, and sail away with your little mateys to hunt for buried treasure!
6) Have a picnic. Redbox and on-demand movie rentals are a mom’s best friend when the rain keeps falling beyond the typical hours of your PBS children shows. So take a vinyl tablecloth and spread it out on the living room floor, and enjoy lunch and a movie. Finger foods are the easiest, and perhaps end the showing with some of those cookies you made!
7) Make your own playdoh. The internet (especially Pinterest) is filled with recipes for homemade playdoh. It’s little more than cornstarch and flour and water, adding food coloring if you wish, and voila! You have a safe and extremely cheap way to make your kids become sculptors.
8) Put on some play clothes and send them to the bathtub to color. I learned that washable markers wipe right off the tub and shower walls, so let them unleash their inner graffiti artist. It is the messy play little ones love, and it’s on an easily cleaned surface which YOU love. Everybody wins!
9) Movie Day! With all the easy access we have to newly released movies (and let’s face it – you probably haven’t managed to see every movie Disney or Pixar have put out this year), make a big batch of popcorn, put it in some little brown paper bags, spread out some pillows on the floor, dim the lights, and pretend you’re in the theater. This one is tricky with little ones (it doesn’t yet work with my 2.5 year old), but if you do it while your littles are napping, the school-age kiddos will love it.
I hope you can make some of these work for you, and perhaps save some of your sanity! Good luck!!