by Lindsay Small
There is nothing worse than a rainy day in the middle of the school holidays,
when children are cooped up inside, you have nothing planned, and the inevitable
cries of ďIím boredĒ are not far away! Keep this list of rainy day activities
ready for just such a day. Older children may enjoy choosing from the list
1. Sort through the toy cupboard
Itís surprising how much fun this can be! Get everyone together and aim to
clear one shelf or drawer. You will probably find that old treasures are
rediscovered, odd pieces can be thrown away, and some things will be ready to be
passed down or sold. If you are not sure whether to get rid of some of the toys,
try packing them away in a box and hiding them in a dark corner of the cupboard
for a few months. When they come out again they will either cause a sensation,
or not - which will make it easy to decide on their fate!
2. Record the sounds around you
Get out the tape recorder and make a project out of recording everyday
sounds. Try water running in the bath, someone ringing the bell and opening the
door, or flushing the toilet! It certainly makes you think about things a little
differently than usual. Suggest that some friends or neighbors do the same
thing and then get together to see if you can identify each otherís sounds!
3. Make a story tape
Grab that tape recorder and a blank cassette, find a story you enjoy, and
make your own story tape! Each child can read for a while, or can take on the
part of a particular character. Make the appropriate noises too! You will
probably have to practice a few times to get the hang of it, and be prepared for
lots and lots of giggles! Tip: a homemade story tape makes a great present for a
child who has to go to hospital or is bedridden for a time.
4. Have a jigsaw afternoon
Get out all your jigsaws and invite some friends around with theirs too!
Clear plenty of space and have a marathon jigsaw session. Some libraries have
jigsaws you can borrow too, and you can often find jigsaws for sale very cheaply
at charity shops (thrift stores) and car boot sales (garage sales). Tip: if you
buy your jigsaws second-hand and the box has seen better days, cut out the
picture and store it in a re-sealable bag with all the pieces.
5. Have a mammoth junk modeling session with friends
Invite a few families around and ask them to bring their craft-cupboard junk
with them Ė boxes, containers, and other bits and pieces. You provide glue,
sticky-tape, scissors, and encouragement. You could make houses, or creatures,
or boats, or modern art Ė or you could all combine together to make one giant
6. Make a card house
If you donít know any good card games or havenít anyone to play with, try
building a card house! Start by balancing two cards against each other so that
they stand up in an inverted V-shape. Take it from there!
7. Make an indoor obstacle course
Check with an adult that this is OK first! Use easily movable furniture
(kitchen chairs, coffee tables) to mark out a course. Create a tunnel to crawl
through with a blanket draped over low tables, or space cushions around the room
to use as stepping-stones. You will have lots more ideas!
8. Practice balancing
Balancing is fun! Try walking the length of the room with a book on your
head. When you can do that, try balancing two or three Ė then add a cuddly toy
to the very top!
9. Create an indoor den
A few blankets and tablecloths can create the most wonderful indoor den.
Drape blankets between sofas and chairs, over stepladders and clothes-dryers, or
tie the ends to cupboard knobs and door handles. Once the den is created find
some special snacks, coloring pages and pencils, a CD player and music, a torch
or two, and camp out for a while!
10. Play with string
Older children can create some wonderful inventions with a ball of string
and their imagination! A toilet roll and a sloping length of string make a great
message chute or rocket. Get some action toys involved too: try making them a
lift (elevator) out of a box or a basket and hoist them up! Adults should
supervise constantly if there are younger kids around.