May has been so hot, so early in the year…until last week, when it started sporadically storming throughout the day. The weather apps can’t keep up, and neither can we. One minute it’s blue skies and sunshine, and thirty seconds later it’s flat-out pouring rain while the sun is still shining.
Since spending any length of time outside is prone to being ruined and rushed inside by the rain, I thought I’d share my list of inside, rainy day activities to do with kids 5 and under. My boys are (almost) 3 and (well into) 5, so these activities are great for those age groups and for doing with a mixed group of ages.
Since I work from home, I try to sprinkle a few of these into my breaks throughout the day so my kiddos are still getting some special mommy time and I can also still get things done. (Truth time-getting things done is significantly harder when it rains and I can’t send them to play in the backyard during my work time).
Hide and Seek
Remember this childhood favorite? It’s still fun as a grown up, and pretty hilarious when your kid is atrocious at hiding.
Duck, Duck, Goose
My preschooler learned this one at school and is currently obsessed. It’s just the three of us, but it works okay. You can get goofy with it and they’ll love it!
You can grab one of these in Target’s Dollar Spot for $1-$3, or print/make your own. You just need 10-20 matching sets of images. If you make your own, you can simply print a page of matching images, glue it to construction paper, then cut. Voila! If you print them without color, coloring them adds another level of fun for the kiddos.
Don’t judge me, but my kids have suddenly become obsessed with video games. They’re all about Mario- Super Mario Galaxy, Mario Cart, etc. We have the old original Wii, so we play Mario on there, as well as getting them moving with Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort. The first time they saw a real ping pong table, they were ecstatic and totally unafraid to try it (even though my youngest could barely see over the table!). So we do a few races, sports, or get a few stars in Mario, and they’re happy and we all did something together. We play for maybe thirty minutes, so it takes a bit of screen time, but it’s also quality family time as we laugh and play together.
Build a Fort
This one requires a bit of cleanup. But remember the joy of taking blankets and chairs, pillows and story books, and just snuggling in for a bit? It’s a great time to read a story together, play pretend, or make shadow puppets with your phone flashlight and some silliness.
Pop some popcorn, pull out The Sandlot, The Little Mermaid, or your childhood favorite, and settle in. Sharing my favorite movies with my boys from when I was a kid has brought me such joy, and they get the giggles just thinking about me being anything but a grownup.
Whether you’re reading at home or taking them to the library or Barnes & Noble (story times most Saturdays; check your local store for details), reading is such a valuable thing to do together. Studies have shown that people who read more live longer, so you’re benefiting them and yourself when you read aloud. It’s fun to get really goofy with it- something we don’t do at bedtime since we’re trying to settle them down a bit- and go crazy with silly voices, hand gestures, and wild faces.
Pinterest is basically exploding with toddler craft ideas (Here’s my saved ideas
). Summer crafts are a great way to help prepare your preschooler for Kindergarten in the fall- practice scissor skills, coloring, gluing, painting. These will all help hone fine motor skills and they’ll have fun while doing it. I always buy a disposable table covering at Dollar Tree at the beginning of the season, then just fold and re-use throughout the summer to save your table from paint and crayons. Use what you have on hand and hit the Dollar Tree for new items when yours are looking sad and you’ll add even more fun for just a few dollars (I refuse to buy expensive craft items for my kids. They’re small and uncoordinated and while I love their crafts, I will not die with fourteen huge tubs of finger paintings in my attic. I take a picture and then recycle it. I keep all the photos in an iCloud album, and eventually I’ll be organized enough to order the photos and put them in an album. I do keep my favorites and put them in a sheet protector in a binder- the Mother’s Day cards, school surveys about their favorite things at this age, anything with handprints).
I’ve always loved baking, and I’m incredibly lucky that my kiddos do too. Baking is fun for them because we’re doing it together, they get to feel grown up by helping cook, and of course they love sampling the results. Whether it’s something from scratch or from a box, they’ll treasure the memory of sitting on the counter, standing on a chair, and helping you measure and stir. If your kids are older, it’s a great way to practice math too! Whether you’re working on counting or fractions, baking can help with that.
What are your favorite indoor activities for these summer rainy days?
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