It is a rainy day and you just don’t feel like leaving the house. You don’t want to put on ANOTHER television episode and you keep hearing choruses of “Mommy! Play with me! I’m Bored!”
Here is a list of eleven types of activities to entertain your toddler (and most are so minimal effort on your part that you can do them when you are sick, tired, or pregnant)!
I admit that I have minimized the use of sensory boxes with the Champ because he loves to make a mess, but these are great for indoor learning. Add a “base” such as rice, pasta, oats, flour, beans, sand, or cotton. Then add small toys and objects to match your box “theme” (ex. Toy animals for a farm theme, toy bugs for a bug theme, shells for a beach theme , toy dinosaurs and rocks for an archaeologist theme). Spoons, small shovels, small measuring cups, and tongs are great for kids to use to play with the box.
Busy bags are activities that are stored in a bag for ready to go learning and fun. They are more portable than sensory boxes, and are usually less messy. Most of the Free Printables that I offer on Tuesdays are perfect to put in a Ziploc bag and offer as a busy bag. You can also search “Busy Bag Ideas” on Pinterest.
Kids love playing games with their parents. Some of our favorite games for young kids are Don’t Spill the Beans, Cootie, Zingo, and Candy Land.
Arts and Crafts
Painting, coloring, playing with play dough, stringing beads, or tearing up paper and gluing it into shapes are all great free form art activities. Craft projects are also great for rainy days.
Grab any set of flashcards and create your own active game. For word cards, I will ask the Champ to identify the object on the flashcard. If he gets it right, he can race a lap around the room. For our color concept cards, he has to find something in the room that matches the color on the card. With number concept cards, I will ask him to clap or hop the number of times shown on the card.
Grab a ball and any set of objects that can serve as bowling pins. You can use blocks, pvc pipes, toy animals, etc. Or buy a plastic indoor bowling set. I love this game because I can sit in one spot with the Rookie while the Champ sets up the pins. The Rookie can even “bowl” with his big brother.
Blocks and Other Creative Toys
Mega Blocks, Duplo Blocks, Legos, Lincoln Logs, or Kindergarten blocks are all great for building. You can also play with other creative toys, such as toy tool sets, kitchen sets, trains, or dress up sets.
Rainy days are a great time to cuddle up on the couch with a great book. To make reading even more fun for your child, build a fort out of sheets and read in your secret hide away.
The Number Game
We love playing the Number Game to get our wiggles out. I call out a number and an action (e.g. Flap your arms 8 times). The Champ then performs the task. Other action examples include: run a lap around the room, hop like a frog, spin around, pat your back, give mom a kiss/hug, clap, pat your head, touch your toes, etc.
Create a Story
Make up your own story. We take turns saying a sentence until we are giggling over our silly creation. Bonus points if you dress up and act out a play.
When all else fails, turn on some tunes and have a dance party!