Rainy day blues? Not in our house! We welcome all seasons and weather ’round these parts. We especially treasure our rainy days because living here in sunny Florida usually has us craving a day of play indoors every so often. As a mama of two very active kiddos, I try to keep them busy by using their gross and fine motor skills. Here are just a few that we love rotating through together.
What You’ll Need: your child’s favorite couch, blankets, small toys or books | Benefits: gross motor skills, imagination, spatial awareness
Alright folks, this is where you have to let your strong desire to keep things in place go right out the window. Allow your kids to use whatever they want (within reason) to build the fort of their dreams! Couch cushions and large pillows make the best walls, while thin blankies for ceilings usher in just the right amount of light. Throw in a good book or favorite toys and your kiddos will love spending time in their own private little space!
Whisk Pom Pom Grab
What You’ll Need: a whisk or two, colorful pom poms, tweezers | Benefits: fine motor skills, color recognition
Who says that a whisk needs to stay in the kitchen? Grab one along with some pom poms for this fun and simple activity. For toddlers: Fill the whisk with the pom poms and allow them to use their pincer grasp to pull them all out one by one. For older kiddos: Have them stuff their own whisk. Give them a pair of tweezers and tell them which color to grab out of the whisk one at a time! Additional challenge: Have the child use tweezers to pull out individual pom poms without touching the spindles of the whisk!
Homemade Play Dough
What You’ll Need: this tried and true recipe from teachingmama.org | Benefits: fine motor skills, color recognition, sensory experience
Who doesn’t love a good homemade batch of play dough? This recipe is super simple and a crowd favorite in our house. I am always able to get at least an hour of straight play from my kiddos with a fresh batch of this awesomeness. Have a little one who might take a bite of this squishy fun? Just put it in a plastic baggy and let your sweet cherub enjoy the sensory experience of squeezing it through the bag! Kids slightly older? Give them kitchen utensils and silverware, and then step back and let the magic happen.
What You’ll Need: an assortment of household items | Benefits: gross motor skills, problem-solving, team building
Kids love finding surprises. For the younger ones, send them on a hunt with items of a specific description: “Can you find something red?” If you have more seasoned children, make up a list of hints and clues that lead them to find an exact item in the house. Give them a prize incentive they can’t pass up to keep them interested and hunting for the mystery items!
What You’ll Need: your child’s favorite couch, blankets, small toys or books | Benefits: imagination
Remember all of those boxes you’ve been saving up for a rainy day? Well, looks like your time has come to cash in on this golden opportunity! If your sweethearts are anything like mine, they’ll complain about being bored with having nothing to play with, but the moment you give them a cardboard box: BOOM, hours of fun! The last time this happened, they turned my shopping extravaganza scraps into a car race track, which was quite impressive really. Kids love when the boundaries are nonexistent so give them some art supplies and watch their imaginative creations come to life!
What You’ll Need: your child’s favorite couch, blankets, small toys or books | Benefits: gross motor skills, self-expression, language development
Anyone have offspring who seem to be confused as to which animal they were really born to be? (Raises hand.) My tiny humans seem to think they are anything but humans these days, so what’s more fun than to give them the green light to be any animal they want? They think it’s hilarious to act out different animals and the guesser has the best time trying to figure it out. Bonus points for when Mommy or Daddy gets in on the acting fun. That’s usually when we get all of the extra giggles!
Snail Mail Shop
What You’ll Need: paper (lined or unlined), envelopes, stamps, writing utensils | Benefits: fine motor skills, language development
Ever catch yourself admiring snail mail from your loved ones? Why not be on the giving end of that? This works for kids of all ages! Babies can finger paint the next Picasso for Grandma and Grandpa, while an older child can create a unique handwritten letter for an Aunt or Uncle. Provide your aspiring writers with all they need to express themselves or help write their ideas down for them. Remember, the envelopes and stamps are the best part so be sure to let little Tommy do that all on his own!
Living Room Picnic
What You’ll Need: blanket or towel, your favorite picnic meal | Benefits: socialization, language development
Everyone craves a change of scenery when they are enjoying a scrumptious meal. Sometimes it’s that change of scenery that encourages one to eat more! My kids get a kick out of eating anywhere else besides the dining room table. Throw a washable blanket down in the middle of the living room and enjoy a snack or lunch with your minis. I promise they will just be so tickled to have you down on their level that they may actually eat the whole meal they asked for!
What You’ll Need: painter’s tape, laundry baskets, chairs, couch cushions, yoga mat | Benefits: gross motor skills, problem-solving
I’m sure this comes as no surprise to you, but kids need to move, like, all. the. time. Setting up an obstacle course for them is the ultimate boredom buster. For a toddler, set a few couch cushions down on the floor and encourage your babe to climb up and over to work on building strength in larger muscle groups. For a school age kiddo, use painter’s tape to lay out a path around the house that leads to different obstacles to cross. Chairs make great “mountains” to climb, laundry baskets can be targets for throwing a ball into and yoga mats can double as an act-it-out spot. Get silly with them and it’s guaranteed to be a day to remember!
Pillow Belly Sumo
What You’ll Need: pillows and dad’s T-shirts | Benefits: gross motor skills, strategizing
Yep. This is exactly how it looks and sounds. We all know that siblings have a hard time keeping their hands to themselves anyway, so why not give them the tools to do it in a silly (and supervised) outlet? Grab some of your softest pillows, stuff them into dear old dad’s T-shirt and then stand back for all of the rambunctious play that is sure to ensue!
What You’ll Need: your favorite music | Benefits: gross motor skills, self-expression
I have never met a kid who didn’t like to dance or at least sway to a good beat. Our house is always loud with our favorite tunes and the kids are always shaking what their mama gave them across the living room! Get in the groove with them and I’ll bet your dance party lasts twice as long. Gotta love those activities that take up the most time and get your heart rate up! Two birds with one stone.
Stuffed Animal Puppet Show
What You’ll Need: stuffed animals, dress-up clothes and accessories | Benefits: imagination, socialization, dramatic play
Let’s face it, kids love being the center of attention. Now whether it’s for a good cause or not, that’s another story! We love putting on a good puppet show even if it isn’t with actual puppets. Dramatic play is one of the key components in a child’s early development so why not put that giant pile of fluff to good use?
Need more rainy day inspiration?
I always like to keep a few activities and tricks up my sleeve for times when we are marooned in our own home. These moms understand those real-life S.O.S. situations and I love learning new activities from them because they just get it!
Busy Toddler: tons of activities to help you make it to nap time in one piece
Teaching Mama: lots of ideas for playing, creating and learning at home
Teen Formula: ideas for keeping those teens occupied and enjoying their downtime inside