The weather is turning, which invariably means activities for children can no longer involve tearing down slides at the park or chasing butterflies in the garden. A rainy day can seem like an eternal prison sentence with bored children. Here are six key indoor activities to keep the boredom at bay and your sanity in check:
- Homemade Play Dough
Play dough sounds messy, doesn’t it? Well, it doesn’t have to be. All you need is a clear bench space and some play dough If you don’t have play dough on hand, don’t fret, it’s easy to make with everyday items you already have in your pantry.
Get the kids involved and simply combine 2 cups of plain flour with one cup of salt. Let your children add in any crazy food colouring they choose. The brighter the colour the better. Add in a cup of cold water and combine.
The kids will have hours of creative fun with play dough.
- Make an indoor activity centre
Children can find being inside all day restrictive and boring, so let them be creative and create their own hidden fort or cubby house out of couch cushions. Whether they are solitary or have playmates, the kids will have hours of fun creating hiding spots and conjuring adventures and stories for what they are using their hidden fortress for.
- Colouring books
This may seem like a no-brainer, but children thrive off the sense of achievement and ability to share their creations. Load up on pencils and colouring books and sit them down to the challenge.
For every picture, they finish, reward them with a sticker. The more they complete, the better they will want to do each time. You will end up with a fridge full of images, but the peace and quiet you will experience while they are busy working on their masterpiece is worth it.
Tip: Not all colouring books are created equal. Pick problem-solving based on such as colour all triangles in blue and all circles in yellow.
Pull out the (safety) scissors and rifle through your recycling bin. Old milk carton, cereal boxes and even toilet rolls are a young child’s creative dream. Set the kids up in the kitchen and task them with creating a city, a scene and people to go with it. Provide wool, markers and sticky-tape. Their imaginations will run wild and you will end the rainy day by posting images of the new ‘houses’ within your house.
- Cooking / Baking
Cooking doesn’t always need to be a chore and of course, we’re not suggesting a degustation menu! Kids love to cook and best of all, they love (usually!) eating what they cook! Bake a cake with them using ingredients you already have and let them decorate it.
An easy cake recipe is:
- 175g (6oz) margarine or softened butter
• 175g (6oz) caster sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 150g (5oz) self-raising flour, sifted
• 50g (1¾oz) of cocoa, sifted
• 1tsp baking powder
• 1tsp vanilla extract
• Pinch of salt
For the icing:
- 100g (3½oz) of dark chocolate
• 100g (3½oz) of chopped butter
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease a 7in cake tin. Lightly grease an 18cm (7in) round cake tin
2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until just combined.
3. Bake for 50 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when you touch it
4. Let cake cool and create icing by heating the ingredients in a saucepan of very hot water
5. Let cool then spread over cake
6. Don’t forget to lick the spoon!
- 6. Create an in-house cinema
Sometimes a parent needs a break or some ‘alone time’ on a rainy day. And that is completely okay. If you need the kids out of your hair, set up an in-house movie theatre.
Load up on blankets and rug them up in their PJs. Put the couch cushions on the floor to up the novelty of the experience. Make some popcorn or a platter of healthy snacks and let them select their film of choice.Turn the lights off to create the whole cinema effect and shut the door to create the feeling of independence.
You will all feel far more at ease with the only noise coming from the screen.