Good, clean fun on a yucky day
Have you been outside today?!
On days like this hanging out at home is the better part of valor. But, as we all know it's no substitute for the play ground. That's why we veterans of rainy days, snow days, and hot sticky days past have scrambled to pull together some of our favorite family-friendly alternatives to Backyardigan reruns.
-- Blanket Fort
You've heard of the man-cave and the mom-cave: thing of this as the kid-cave. it can be as simple as putting a long table cloth over the table it may involve upturned chairs and blankets. It's all good. Help the kids set it up then watch their imaginations go! Give them a flash light, serve them lunch in the cave. this is a big hit with boys and girls.
-- Bean game and variations (button game, rhinestone game, jingle bell game, etc.)
Provide a big plastic bin, a variety of scoops and containers (metal is great for plinking sounds!), and pour in an assortment of dried beans.This can occupy my kids for an hour or more when they're in the right mood. They love the textures, the colors, the sounds, the fill-and-dump joy of it all. Little dump trucks, cardboard tubes, funnels can all add to the fun.
-- Big cardboard box
The perennial favorite -- find a box big enough for your kid to crawl in, cut a few holes for windows and doors, you've got a playhouse, a pretend boat, a fire truck, or whatever your kid decides. Kids can also decorate the box with stickers, markers, or crayons.
-- Pillow maze/cushion gym
Arrange all the cushions and pillows you have on the floor for a tumbling extravaganza.
-- Bug in a rug
A sensory integration technique we swear by when kids are cranky: roll 'em up in a soft rug, perhaps singing a silly song. Amazingly effective at cheering them up.
-- Bathtub paints
Mix roughly equal amounts of Dr. Bronner's or similar soap and corn starch. Pour into muffin tins, dye with food coloring. Can be used for fingerpainting or painting with a brush ... the bonus is that when you rinse the artwork off, you've cleaned your bathtub. Shaving Cream and a paint brush works well too!
-- Playing instruments while listening to music
-- Face Paints
Order some face paints and let kids go to town painting each other's faces (in the bathtub for supreme easy clean up).
-- Sock Puppets
Everyone has socks that don't match-- find a few and make some puppets with those buttons you have!
-- Sweating With the Toddlers
Have you and your child exercise together-- jumping jacks, yoga stretches, airplane, etc.
-- The Big Sort
Organize your child's books by colors, working on their colors.
-- Car Wash
Set up a car wash in the bathtub. Help you child choose some water-proof vehicles to put in the tub. Add a few tools for cleaning --old circular bottle brushes or spongy dish scrubbers work well. Fill a small tub with warm soapy water and let the kids go to work. Rinse under with a hand held shower head or a watering can. Dry the trucks with an old towel or help them them (far, far away from the bathtub) with a blow dryer set to "low". This is a great way to clean up yucky sand toys. Please note: this has the potential to become a bath.