10 Non-Crafty Ideas for Rainy Days with Kids

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Yesterday I heard a glorious sound outside my window while I was putting on makeup. It was the sound of cute little birds chirping away in the sunshine. Be still my heart! Spring must really, truly be coming! In Montana where I live, we don't hold our breath on that until we hear the sound of a very specific bird: the Meadowlark. Yes, this yellow-bellied beauty with the distinct song knows without fail when spring has actually arrived here in our great state. And when I say great, I mean greatly COLD. Let me be totally honest. I entitled this 'Ideas for Rainy Day(s)', because I know that most of you reading this actually have a season called spring, where the grass turns green, daffodils and tulips decorate front yards, and people actually own something called umbrellas for all the rain they get in the Spring (I'm pretty sure that native Montanans who've never left the state don't know what those are; It almost never rains here). You see, "spring" in MT is really just an extension of a very long winter. Sure, we get a tease here and there with a random 65 degree day, but then our very souls are crushed when we wake up to three more inches of snow the very next day. On Easter, it's not unusual for us to wear pretty Easter dresses with snow boots. We hardly get any rain, but mud and slush for a few months as the several feet of snow melts, then freezes, then melts some more, and freezes again. Sometime around June, the temperature jumps up to the 80's and then it's summer practically overnight, thus, we don't have a cutesy flowers and butterflies spring. But I happened to live in TN for several years of my life, so I do know what a true, magical spring is like, plus I see all of your pictures on Instagram of flowers blooming and painted toenails peeking out of sandals, so I do know about spring, okay?

That said, those of you having spring, complete with rainy days, and those of us who are still dealing with snow until late March or April, we have something in common: STIR CRAZY KIDS. I have three girls ages five and under, and this time of year, they spend a lot of time with their faces pressed to the glass window panes asking, "Mommy, when is it going to be summer?" (See?! They don't even ask about spring!!) Those are the days I have to get my creative hat on and come up with some splendid idea to keep them happily occupied in the house. I do crafts with them occasionally, but I'm not really a crafty mom--art, yes; crafts, not so much. This winter has been extra brutal and looks to have no end in sight, so I decided to share with you some of our favorite things to do when we're stuck inside all day. And by the way, this probably came across as pretty whiney. I actually love living in MT and I love raising my kids here, but I have some major spring fever going on, and maybe a touch of seasonal affective disorder (something I struggle with most winters). February and March are tough, no doubt, but I sincerely love the rest of the year! Now that we've got that cleared up, let's get to it!!

10 Non-Crafty Ideas for Rainy/Snowy Days with Kids

1. Build an epic fort.
 Use furniture and sheets (sheets work better than heavy blankets). Once the fort is built, it can be 'furnished' with pillows, blankets, books, and whatever your kids want to bring in with them! We usually leave ours up for a few days, since it takes a lot of effort to build it.
2. Play dress up and have a dance party.
 This always, always cheers everyone up on grumpy afternoons. Experiment with different types of music depending on everyone's mood (or the mood you're hoping to achieve!)
3. Help your kids put on a puppet show.
Honestly, this takes zero craft making ability. Your kids can use stuffed animals, socks with eyes glued on, or my kids favorite puppet: a popsicle stick glued to a picture of an animal. Of course, you can get more creative with making your puppets, but the whole point is, you don't have to!
4. Have tea-time and read aloud or play games.
And by tea, I mean whatever drink your little ones prefer. Mine have been experimenting with tea because I drink so much during the winter, but really, they prefer hot chocolate, milk, or kambucha (weird, I know). We pop popcorn and I read aloud out of the Little House on the Prairie series, and occasionally if we forgot to do devotions that morning, we'll do that. Picture books are fun depending on the age. Anything goes, just read or play games and have fun!
5. Have a scavenger hunt.
I know, this is more of an outside activity, but it works indoors too! Use an egg carton and number each section 1-12. On a notecard, list 12 things by number that they need to find. It's okay if they can't read yet, that's what you're there for!
6. Bake a double batch of something: one for you and one to give away.
My girls love baking, as do most kids! While this activity in particular tries my patience sometimes, it's genuinely one of my favorite things to do with my kids, and it's fun to wrap a batch up and take it to someone else to enjoy!
7. Help them write letters to grandparents or other family or friends.
 Do your kids love drawing or painting? Have them draw a nice picture, and then help them write a letter to someone special. I love doing things that make them stop and intentionally think about someone else, and letter writing does just that! Plus, it makes the recipient's day!
8. "Go" to the movies--at home!
Okay, this one involves watching TV (hey, I never promised that this was a TV-free list!), but it's still creative and fun. And especially great for sick days when no one wants to do much. Create comfy spots for everyone (the fort is fun, if they can see out to the television!), pop popcorn, close the curtains and turn the lights out, and watch a movie they've never seen. Watch it with them if you have time to slow down. It makes for uninterrupted snuggle time:)
9. Plant something!
This will get you in the mood for spring for sure! On a nice day, go to a garden supply store and buy some seeds and soil. Depending on your budget and how much you want to spend on this little project, you can plant them in solo cups (the plastic red or blue ones you find at the grocery store), or buy mini plant pots. Set your planted pots in the window sill and watch them grow! Don't forget to water them!
10. Do a "unit study".
 This one takes a little planning, so if you see nasty weather in the forecast, you can do some prep work ahead of time. Ask your kids what they are interested in learning about. Space? The ocean? A particular country? The topics are endless. Then check out any books and videos your local library has on the subject. Look online for fun things to do that go with your topic...cooking cuisine from a different country, etc. The sky is the limit.


Well, I hope this helps you out during the next couple of rainy (or snowy--depending on where you live) months. It won't fix stir-crazy, but it will help, I promise!!! Cheers to fun-filled rainy spring days!


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