A rainy day can put a damper on your kids’ plans to go outside and ride bikes, play catch, and burn all their pent-up energy. When there is so much to do, it can be frustrating to spend time inside. As a parent, you may not want your child on screens 24/7 either. While it’s an excellent day for a movie and some relaxation, there is only so long before a YouTube binge in kids’ hoodies can feel a bit stagnant. So, if you want to change the pace, make indoors fun by introducing some creative screen-free activities for rainy days. Here are some ways to entertain your kids without technology.
There's hardly a phrase that any parent dreads more than “I'm bored!”—and for good reason. Parents have so many responsibilities already that they should not have to be an entertainer, too. A rainy day is a gift for your child to tap into their inner creativity and to find that fun can be made regardless of the circumstances. So, if your child comes to you and asks you to entertain them, this is your opportunity to tell them how they can use their creative potential for making new experiences and fun memories.
While it's fine to give them some guidance about how to go screen-free, it's important not to do the work for them. For instance, if they like to engage in theatrics, encourage a game of dress-up, but don't do the work for them. Little kids like to put on fancy outfits like kids’ dresses and capes and act out a story they like. They can also make a new story and have it play out with their toys and even a sibling. When you provide the starting point to generate new ideas but aren't the source of the ideas, everybody wins. The parent gets to have more time to guide and lead while the child has a chance to explore the beauty of screen-free entertainment.
If you want your kids to be active inside, do not expect perfection. The house will get messy and there will be some mild level of chaos. However, every parent knows this trade-off when it comes to indoor play and rainy days. So, let your children organize some safe indoor activities where they can express themselves and burn some energy. Playing “the floor is lava” in the living room or sending little Matchbox cars down the hallway for a race are fun ways for your kids to move around and engage with the world without screens.
A classic indoor rainy day activity is bowling. You can do this activity with inexpensive items around the house. If you save toilet paper and paper towel rolls, you will eventually have a collection of low-budget bowling pins that your kids can set up at the end of the hallway. Then, just get any available ball and let your kids take turns at the game. Encourage one of your kids to use a whiteboard to keep score for even more fun. This helps them use some math amid a bit of friendly competition. If you have wooden floors or tiles in this area of the home, your kids' feet can get cold. Have them put on some cozy socks or some kids' slippers to keep the fun going!
If your kids like some challenges, then there are plenty of academic resources online that can help them satisfy that need. Simply look for brain games that are age-appropriate for your child and you will find worksheets online with puzzles that you can print out for your children. For younger kids, visual-spatial puzzles are fun and engaging. Older kids can have a lot of fun with logic puzzles, crossword puzzles, and word searches… and it can all be done in the comfort of kids’ robes and pajamas!
Also, board games are trending with tweens and teens these days. Not only do these games help kids engage with each other face-to-face, but they also give them practice in negotiating and reasoning skills. You’ll get to see a different side of your children as they navigate new game rules and learn to cooperate with others and gain new strategies to win. Be careful—you may also get sucked into the action because board games are fun for all ages. Whether you want to go with a classic game, like Clue or Connect 4, or expand into new board games that have complicated instructions and a steep learning curve, there is a game for you and your family!
When the weather is soggy outside, it can be tough for high-energy kids to kick the boredom. Try out these ways to entertain your kids without technology the next time the forecast calls for rain.