Your kids are cooped up inside while the rain pours down outside. If you don’t keep them occupied, they’ll end up bored or restless — or worse. Keep the blahs at bay by trying out a new art project or game. You might even want to put together a small bin or box of potential activities and keep it in the closet as your rainy day kit.
Large-Scale Art - Rainy days are the perfect excuse not just to do art projects, but to get ambitious and go large-scale. Break out the butcher paper rolls and trace your childrens' bodies with a crayon or marker, then let them create a life-sized self-portrait. Or collaborate on a mural or collage spanning the entire length of your front or back hall.
Costume Dance Party - If your kids need a more active way to spend an indoor day, try this idea. Break out the costume trunk and dress up any way you like -- fancy frills, superhero capes, funky hats, feather boas. Push all the furniture against the wall, put on some silly music you can dance to and turn up the volume. Dance until you're too tired to dance any more or the rain has finally stopped.
Balloons - Stash an inexpensive variety pack of balloons in your rainy day kit. When the occasion arises, blow up a half dozen or so of various shapes and sizes. You can decorate the balloons if you like, or make a game of keeping them in the air for as long as possible.
Board Games - Older kids will appreciate an impromptu board game party. If there are any games in the game closet that rarely get played because they either take too much time or eat up too much space, now is the time to break them out.
Jigsaw Puzzle - Another good idea for older children is a jigsaw puzzle. Clear off a space on your floor and find the biggest, most complicated puzzle you have. Spend the whole day putting it together with your kids. You'll never notice how the time flies.
Indoor Picnic - Don't let the rain spoil your plans for a picnic meal. Spread a picnic cloth out on the floor of your kitchen or living room, set out paper plates and napkins and serve sandwiches, juice and other picnic foods right there indoors. At least you won't have any ants to fear. You can make this into an indoor beach party if you put on your flip-flops and bathing suits and (if you're not superstitious) open up a beach umbrella. Or you can go "camping" with a small indoor tent or card table fort. Another fun variation of this activity is the classic tea party.
Treasure Hunt - Hide small "treasures" -- small toys, candies, stickers -- in various places around the house. Then let your children loose to hunt for and find them. You can provide age-appropriate clues or "treasure maps" as needed. If they find everything too fast, just play it again!
Cooking Projects - If your children are old enough to help out in the kitchen, then a rainy day is the perfect excuse for a cooking project. Bake a cake or a batch of cookies or brownies -- and then eat them, of course. Let the kids decorate the cookies or cake. If you want a more healthy option, take a cue from cookbook author Mollie Katzen. One of her children's cookbooks is called "Salad People" and it suggests just what you think -- making figures of people out of salad ingredients. Art you can eat!