One of the defining features of life in Great Britain is the presence of a good number of rainy days. For parents of small children, this can pose something of a challenge. Add to this the difficulty of prising children away from their screens even when the weather’s favourable, and the challenge becomes considerable. How are we to entertain our offspring when the weather outside is a bit on the dreary side?
Today, we share our favourite rainy-day activities designed to keep even the smallest of kids occupied.
How to Spend a Rainy Day with a Baby
If your child isn’t yet old enough to walk, then you’ll need activities where you can constantly supervise – or even do most of the playing yourself, while your baby looks on delightedly. Children at this age learn mostly through imitation – so be sure you set a good example.
Build a Fort
When it’s tipping it down outside, why not escape from the weather with a rainy-day fort? All you’ll need is some cardboard boxes and bedsheets. Your imagination (and that of your baby) can take care of the rest. Try to include different textures and sensations for a sensory fort experience; soft cushions, twinkling fairy lights, a little music and their favourite toys are a good place to start.
If your child is old enough to hold a drawing implement, or settle their little fingers on top of a musical keyboard, then it’s early enough to start them with a hobby. Just be sure that you’re supervising them – if they’re chewing the objects of their would-be craft, then it’s probably a good idea to delay their enrolment for a year or so.
Swimming is an invaluable life skill – and the sooner you get started with it the better. Best of all,the weather needn’t be sunny to take a dip. The UK is packed with suitable indoor pools, and you’ll be able to take your infant along. Most leisure centres offer set times for parents to take their baby along for a splash.
How to Spend a Rainy Day with a Toddler
Once they’re old enough to spend a little more time on their feet, then you needn’t discourage them from exercising just because it’s raining. In other words, give them stuff to think about and run around after when you’re planning your rainy-day toddler activities, and you can’t go far wrong.
A scavenger hunt
is typically played in a sizeable outdoor area. But if the participants are sufficiently small, then the game itself can be, too. Set up a game in your home with plenty of clues leading to the next objective. This is something you can prepare well in advance of the day itself; in fact, it’s something you can have an enormous amount of fun getting ready to go!
Almost all young children like and appreciate animals. A walk in the woods will allow you to take in these creatures in their natural environment – but a trip to your local zoo (or a more far-flung one) will allow a glimpse of more exotic and unusual ones. For rainy days, an indoor zoo provides the required distraction; reptile houses, butterfly farms and bat enclosures are all suitable.
Masking Tape Racetrack
Creating a racetrack from masking tape
is among the classic rainy-day toddler crafts. For this beauty, all you’ll need is a roll of masking tape, some coloured paper, a pen, and some toy cars. Oh, and a suitably smooth surface, like a hardwood floor. Masking tape is the only option here; electrical tape and duct-tape might make for more plausible tarmac, but they’ll also ruin your floor if you aren’t careful. Help your children to cut out their little decorations for the racetrack themselves; small children aren’t old enough to safely wield scissors. With that safety proviso aside, this is fun for toddlers and supervising adults alike!
Rainy Day Activities for Kids
Once children get a little older, they’ll be in search of activities that are a little more strenuous and demanding. If they’ve developed any hobbies by this point, then a rainy day should be an opportunity to encourage them – whether it’s studying the classic matches of chess grandmasters, reading a favourite book, or playing their favourite video game.
Visit a Soft Play Area
Soft play areas are great. So great, in fact, that they’ve even started making them for adults. Ball pits, bouncy castles and other activities are much-loved for a good reason – they’re tremendous fun, and it’s therefore only right that children be afforded the chance to partake before they grow up too much. Check out the Telegraph’s round-up of the top 10 indoor play areas in the UK
Go to the Cinema, or Watch a Movie at Home
Of course, films are a pastime that’ll appeal from the moment they’re able to follow a plot for longer than an hour or two. Cinemas such as Vue
often host mini-mornings
which give both adults and kids the change to experience big-screen entertainment for a very small price, but there are also regular showings of children’s movies (both animated and otherwise) that are sure to keep the entire family entertained.
It’s worth also mentioning another invaluable life skill that’ll serve them well in later life, keeping them in great shape and providing access to boundless gastronomic pleasure: the ability to cook. As well as being a fun thing in-and- of-itself, cooking is a practical skill that should be taught from an early age. Rainy-day baking is a great place to start, for two reasons. Firstly, it’s relatively easy to bake foods that children like – biscuits and cakes will appeal to their sweet tooth. Secondly, baking is relatively safe – it’ll get them acquainted with the basics without requiring them to deal with scalding hot skillets, bubbling vats of oil, and sharp knives.
The BBC has a selection of kid-friendly recipes
which range from basic to more advanced. We can’t get enough of these adorable hedgehog rolls
, and of course, who could resist a cornflake cake or ten?
We’ve just scratched the surface of the things you can do indoors, but we’ve surely proved that a wet day outside needn’t mean a boring one for your children. With a little imagination (and perhaps a little bit of money) you’ll be able to keep both child and parent entertained until the weather clears up again!