How to Survive a Rainy Day with your Child

Rainy Days are often very long and eventful in an enclosed area full of rambunctious preschool aged and toddler aged children.  The fact that you can’t go outdoors and are inside for many, many, many hours during the day can wear down any adult. Both at home and at school, children are awake and ready, as ever, to play!

All of the research and information available that tells parents and teachers that screen time is bad and that the daily amount should be limited, creates a day of internal battles (should the adult give into the TV or give full attention to their child ALL DAY LONG)?

Screen time is a must-have at certain times of the day and no parent should feel bad about using tools at hand in order to get things done. The idea is to limit screen time- to no more then a half an hour at a time.

Looking for ways to decrease the amount of time Your child spends using "screens" throughout the day? Download our FREE SCREEN TIME GUIDE for strategies.

Toddler/Preschooler activities that will keep your child engaged - hopefully for hours:

Rain Boots and Umbrella

Daily Dress UP center

Dressing up is so much fun! Children learn and grow both physically and cognitively when using new materials. Create an area in you home for dress up play. Put  box or empty laundry basket in the corner of a room with a variety of dress up materials. These can include pre-bought costumes, but can also include daily clothes. The idea here is that children can practice zipping, taking things off, putting things on, buttoning, etc. Some ideas  for this daily Dress Up center include

  1. Jackets
  2. Variety of Shoes (sandals, boots, tennis shoes, water shoes, etc)
  3. Scarfs (Monitoring should be done in this area to prevent chocking hazard)
  4. Shirts (long sleeve, short sleeve, no sleeve)
  5. Bathing suits
  6. Slippers and PJ’s
  7. Any thing else that you can find!

The Art Room

Art Materials

Art is a time where a child can feel creative and explore a variety of mediums in order to experiment with building and creating their own designs. Place a variety of buckets in an area, each bucket full of a different art materials and let your child explore on their own. These materials can include:

  1. Crayons
  2. Markers
  3. Finger Paint
  4. Paper
  5. Foil
  6. Buttons (As long as your child isn’t eating small objects)
  7. Yarn (With supervision to prevent chocking)
  8. Painting cars
  9. Old boxes for drawing and coloring (tissue boxes, amazon/shipping boxes, empty paper towel rolls)

Building with New Materials

Empty Cardboard Box

Children love to build and for good reason. The buildings and creations usually have  a story behind them (a house for the tiger, etc). Allow your child to use a variety of materials to build what they would like. Some ideas for the building area include:

  1. Empty Boxes
  2. Tissue Boxes
  3. Empty Toilet Paper Rolls or Empty Paper Towel Rolls
  4. Cars or trucks (toys)
  5. Plastic animals or puzzle pieces
  6. Building blocks of a variety of sizes and colors
  7. Pictures of a variety of buildings (Castles, airplanes, stadiums, space stations, fire houses, World landmarks (Towers, Pyramids, Statue of Liberty, etc)

Clean up the Mess

Messy activities are fun and can engage children for a long time. Sensory bins create an opportunity for children to develop appropriate sensory skills and also provide an opportunity for them to practice fine motor and cognitive skills. Some ideas of items to place in a Sensory bin depend on how old the child is and what types of skills they have. Are they still oral and put a variety of objects in their mouths? If that is the case then sand, water, or food item in the sensory bin will be most effective. Once your child is done using the sensory bin, simply have them place the lid on top and put it away for another day. Use a towel and broom to clean up the area and have your child help. Here are some ideas for items to put in the sensory bin:

For children ages 1-2 (or any child still putting things in their mouths):

  1. Flour
  2. Oats
  3. Water
  4. Jello
  5. Sand

For children ages 2-5 (or any child not putting times in their mouth any more):

  1. Beans and buckets/shovels
  2. Rice and buckets/shovels
  3. Pebbles and cars/trucks
  4. Rocks and sand
  5. Dirt and worms
  6. Play dough and play dough toys/play dough scissors
  7. Christmas tree trimmings and small ornaments

Engaging Music and Songs

Music Notes

Making music is both fun for child and also helps them to learn beats and language development. Put on a child-friendly CD and allow your child to have a dance party in the room. Give them dancing scarves, musical instruments and a pretend microphone to sing and dance along to the music.

Movement Activities

Jumping and moving is a great need for young children, even while it is raining. The Popcorn dance is a fun way to make this happen while you are in doors. Parent should place a pieces of paper that are at least one foot away from each other, all around one room (if on a tile floor, tape them down to prevent slipping). Paper can be a variety of colors, shapes sizes or just regular white paper. They can be placed in a line, circle or pattern. Allow your child to jump from one piece of paper to the other. They can count, they can sing, they can jump to music.

Creating New Spaces

This is a fun game for children who enjoy playing with cars or drawing maps. The parent should sit down with the child and either draw a “road” map on a poster sized piece of paper, or using painters tape, make a “road” map with the painters tape on the floor. Now allow the child to drive over the roads with cars, use objects to symbolize buildings, animals, trees, etc. Once the road has be drawn (or tape on the floor) the child can create on their own. Check out our recommended toys and furnishings for your child's learning environment.

Looking for Specific Activities that you can use to teach your child Preschool and Kindergarten Readiness Skills? Visit our Activities Page to see how you can prepare your child from your home.

Remember – Rain wont’ hurt so it’s important to go outside and experience the rain, but when you must stay inside all day , these activities will surely help keep your littles' occupied.


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