Bad weather is always such a challenge for little children. Being cooped up indoors can be hard on children and parents alike! It can be a challenge to come up with things that are simple and easy but always engaging. I’m always sure to keep these activities put away and only get them out on days I know we will need them. Here are four tried-and-true activities that always work for me:
A sensory box-
I created a very simple sensory play box for my children out of a Rubbermaid container and quite a few pounds of dried beans. Rice would work, too, but something about the beans is so appealing to children. I used a Rubbermaid bin that will fit under my bed so I have a place to stash it while not in use. I added plastic containers of many different sizes that they could pour the beans into and through- I even have a flexible tube in there for them, a funnel, a couple of scoops, and all kinds of cups and bowls. You can find containers around the house or pick a few up at the thrift store. Make sure before you do this activity that your child is old enough to not place the beans in their mouth, up their nose, etc. Safety first!
I always have a little playdough on hand for the kids to play with, but in times of bad weather I break out the big guns- rolling pins, cookie cutters, plastic knives, you name it. I sit and shape dough with them and cut out pretend cookies and it keeps them busy and engaged for a good bit of time.
Even young children can lace or sew if the materials are right. Very young children do better with stiff cardboard and shoelaces- you can make a very attractive and engaging lacing board with sturdy cardboard covered in pretty paper- you can just mod-podge the paper onto your cardboard and punch large holes at least a half-inch in diameter through it. Space the holes close enough together that the laces can move through several of them before running out of length. For older children you can buy blunt needles and plastic needlepoint canvas. Blunt-tipped needles can be found at any craft store like Michael’s- there are usually some designed for sewing yarn that are thick, made of plastic, and not at all sharp but you can also order some from Amazon- You can also find needlepoint canvas there, too. Needlepoint canvas is available very cheaply on Amazon, too-
The last item in my arsenal is exercise. Putting on some upbeat songs and dancing hard, doing some yoga for children, or jumping jacks all work fine. But my absolute favorite has always been ‘Running the Stairs’. I’d pay my children a nickel for every time they’d run up the stairs in our split level house, starting at the bottom and ending at the very top. This works like you will not believe. One dollar per child is about all they can ever manage and it settles them down like nothing else I ever try.
What do you do with your children when they’re stuck indoors and are feeling antsy?