Thursday, January 19, 2012

Simple Rainy Day Activities for Toddlers

It's super exciting (ha!) that our region has been featured as the main story on the Weather Channel's website for the last 3 days! Huge storms hit the Pacific Northwest! Prepare for snow, rain, and flooding!

We've been spoiled thus far this winter with lots of dry, warm days, sunshine, and chances to play outside. But no more.

Once upon a time, I thought I had fully prepared for rainy days with my toddlers. But we've had to come up with some more ideas! Here are the main things that have kept the kids out of trouble, and mom and dad out of the loony bin the last few days (hopefully they'll continue to work for the next 10, too).
  1. Playdough. Lots and lots and lots of playdough. We are using the name-brand stuff right now, thanks to a birthday gift from great grandma, but we also love to make our own playdough, which is insanely easy and cheap (and a good use for white flour if you are eating less of it these days).
  2. Reading Stories. Current favorites include Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Corduroy, and a new to us (from the Salvation Army Thrift Store) copy of Goldilocks and The Three Bears.
  3. Mommy's hair salon. Who knew toddlers could be entertained for such long stretches of time just playing with my hair?
  4. Helping out around the house. Since the kids are little enough to think stirring stuff, unloading the dishwasher and sorting socks are super fun games, I am taking advantage of their cooperation! Okay, it really takes a lot longer to do these things with help than without. But someday they will be good at it! We also had a good time today with "help mommy organize the baby clothes," which was extra fun, because they got to jump around on Mom and Dad's bed and snuggle with baby blankets.
  5. Playing "Grown Up Games." I don't know how I didn't anticipate this one! One of our favorite things to do when visitors venture out to our house-in-the-middle-of-nowhere is to play board games! We are kind of strategy game nerds. The kids have totally picked up on the joy of small pieces running around on a game board. As long as they are closely supervised, they are good at playing nicely with some of our board games, and even putting them away nicely. So far "Sorry" is the winner (it's easy to understand putting the little "guys" in their "home base,") and "Trivial Pursuit" is a big loser. There's just no way to explain what to do with all those trivia question cards, and if you put the little "pie" slices in the "pie" holder the wrong direction, they get stuck and everyone gets grumpy.
  6. Pictures of Puppies! This is getting ridiculous, but when I run out of constructive things for the kids to do, we sometimes do YouTube searches for cute puppies, kittens, llamas, whatever, playing or snuggling. The current favorite is a group of puppies playing in a ball pit. The YouTube video of a husky "singing along" with its crying baby is categorically outlawed, because it's waaaay too close to real life around here!
Shared at WFMW

Winter is not over yet... do you have any more simple, frugal rainy-day activity ideas for me?  What are some of your favorite memories of simple activities you did as a kid or with your own children?
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