Rainy day fun

Being stuck inside with young children on cold wet days is hard on both children and parents. There are many fun educational things that you can do that use everyday materials you have around the house at very little cost.

Being stuck inside with young children on cold wet days is hard on both children and parents.

There are many fun and educational things that you can do that use everyday materials you have around the house at very little cost. 


Activities with balloons – support problem solving & perseverance

  • Wiggly balloon
  1. Take one balloon and insert inside another, keeping the two ends together.
  2. Take the end of the inside balloon and put it over the cold tap.
  3. Slowly fill the balloon with about 200mls of water and tie the end.
  4. Blow up the outside balloon and tie.
  5. The balloon will wiggle as it rolls across the floor. Try playing inside soccer or rolling the balloon around obstacles.
  • Playdough balloon            
  1. Pull the neck of one balloon as wide as you can and push in as much playdough as can fit. Tie off.
  2. This makes a great stress ball to squeeze.
  • Balloon tennis
  1. Make two bats from rolled up newspaper or you could use fly swats (available from $2 shops).
  2. Use a blown up balloon as your ball and use string as a floor marker to hit your ball across.
  • Balloon soccer
  1. Blow up one balloon and tie on a length of string long enough to reach from the top of the door frame to the floor.
  2. Tape the string to the top of the door frame.
  3. Now you can play with the balloon by kicking it.
  4. The balloon won’t go far as it is attached by the string.

Activities with bubbles – help with co-ordination & concentration

  1. If you have a machine bubble maker see how many bubbles your children can pop with their hands before they hit and ground.
  2. Then see how many they can pop with their feet.
  3. Popping bubbles provides opportunities for children to practice hand, eye, and leg coordination that they need to play group games.
  4. As children use their eyes to watch the bubbles falling to the floor they need to use their eyes to track.
  5. This tracking skill is essential for children to be able to follow lines of words on a page when they are reading.

Craft  Activities – encourage creativity

  • Photo puzzles
  1. Find old calendar pictures or photos that you don’t mind cutting up.
  2. Glue your picture to light weight cardboard.
  3. Pictures can be made more durable by covering with duraseal.
  4. Draw cutting lines over your pictures and cut into puzzle pieces.
  5. A picture cut into regular large shapes will provide less challenge than a picture cut into smaller irregular pieces.
  • Lacing cards
  1. Take medium thickness cardboard and using a hole punch make a series of holes around the outside of your cardboard.
  2. Use a shoelace to practice threading through the holes.
  3. Add variety by changing the shape and colour of the cardboard and make patterns when punching holes.
  4. Add complexity by numbering holes to order how they are threaded, or use lines and arrows to follow.
  5. Threading activities help to develop finger strength and dexterity as well as hand eye coordination. These are essential skills for reading and writing.
  • Make placemats
  1. Placements for the dinner table make an excellent present for grandparents and friends, or they can encourage a reluctant eater to stay at the table for longer.
  2. Your artwork placement needs to be laminated. You can purchase an inexpensive laminator for at home or you can take your work to a place like Warehouse Stationary.
  3. Get your child to do some of their best artwork, collage, or a combination of both to create their placemat.
  4. Remember the work cannot be thick or covered in glue otherwise it won’t laminate.
  5. Felt, crayon, acrylic paint and dye over crayon all work well.
  6. Remember to date and add the artist’s name to the reverse of the work.
  • Picture shopping list
  1. You could get your children to make a pictorial shopping list for use in your play shop or when you go to the supermarket.
  2. Cut out and paste pictures from supermarket mailers onto a large sheet of paper.
  3. Write the name of the grocery item beside the picture or see if your child can have a try at writing it.
  4. Perhaps go for a grocery hunt at home to find the items you have cut out. Talk about what they are used for.
  5. Make your child aware of the writing and numbers on the cut out pictures. See how many letters and numbers they recognise.
  6. Shopping lists are a fun way of providing numeracy and literacy practice.
  • Alphabet and number scrapbooks
  1. Take a scrapbook and give each page a letter of the alphabet or a number.
  2. Search through old magazines or supermarket flyers to find examples of the same letter or number.
  3. Cut out and paste on the correct page.
  4. To add complexity find pictures of items that start with each letter like a picture of cheese for letter “c”, or find three blocks of cheese to represent number three.

Pretend play – imagination allows children to understand & develop positive relationships

  • Shop
  1. Play shops are always popular with children.
  2. Save packaging from everyday household items for use in your shop.
  3. Make your own play money or you could use the old “coat check tickets” or raffle tickets that are still available in $2 shops. You could even use different coloured and sized bottle tops (like milk bottles) for money.
  4. You can use the pictorial shopping lists you made from supermarket flyers here.
  5. Perhaps help your children to think of a name and make shop signage.
  6. Take turns at shopping and serving customers.
  • Hairdressers or Doctors
  1. Set up a hairdresser or doctor type scene with things that you have around your home.
  2. If you don’t have a dress up box at home already now is a great time to make one.
  3. Visit you local charity shop to get a variety of hats, scarves, and bags for your dress up box. Perhaps ask Nana if she has been keeping things you could use.
  4. Plain ¾ length capes are great for dress up boxes as they can be any number of characters and they are easy to get on and off. Children love to dress up in shoes as well but often adult shoes with heels are not suitable as they are too big and the heel is too high.
  5. Set up your theme (doctor, hairdresser, or vet) with the items you have at hand and act out what happens. If you play doctor you could use an old sheet as bandages.
  6. This creates a great opportunity to talk to your children about basic first aid, fire safety, and earthquake preparedness by practicing your home evacuation plan or what to do if they should see a fire at home.

Games  -  promote turn taking & co-operation

  • Simon says
  1. A real favourite with many children from around 3 years old and up.
  2. Good to support listening, responding and physical coordination skills.
  • 3-legged races
  1. Try to use something soft and elastic to tie two legs together, stockings or scarves work well.
  2. Mark out a course and see which pair can get around the course in the fastest time or you could give each pair a challenge of going over, under, and through small obstacles.
  • Carpet square walk
  1. Mark out a start and finish line using string/rope.
  2. Each player begins on the starting line with two carpet squares.
  3. The players must walk to the finishing line without touching the floor with their feet or arms.
  4. This is a good game to develop critical thinking as well as physical coordination.
  • Treasure hunt game
  1. One person (the treasure hunter) sits in the middle of a circle of people.
  2. The treasure, which could be a coin or special small object, is passed around the circle so it is not obvious who has it.
  3. The treasure hunter has three guesses about who has the treasure.
  4. The person with the treasure now becomes the treasure hunter.

Physical activities – develop the small & large muscles & co-ordination

  • Home-made skittles
  1. Use plastic bottles like pump water bottles or lemonade bottles for skittles.
  2. Add weight to the base of the bottle if needed by adding stones, play dough, or water. Secure the lids firmly.
  3. For young children use a large soft ball to knock down the bottles.
  4. As children became more accurate use a smaller ball.
  5. Add complexity by numbering or colour coding the skittles. Only knock down a specific number or colour skittle.
  6. Remember to encourage children to roll the ball inside rather than throw.
  • Challenge course
  1. Make an inside challenge course using boxes, tables, chairs, floor cushions, robe, buckets, mats, and balls.
  2. Arrange your challenges in a circuit.
  3. Provide as many different physical challenges for the materials you have, such as, a box can be a crawling tunnel, walk along the rope, roll over the cushions and the children hop when they reach the mat.
  • Make huts
  1. Huts make an excellent inside place for pretending to be on a camp, having morning tea, exploring with torches or storytelling.
  2. Throw blankets, sheeting, or old curtains over a large table.
  3. Place something soft inside like floor cushions or blankets. Large boxes can also make great huts, which children can paint or draw on these as well.
  4. Try cutting doors and windows in your box. When your box is flat, use the cardboard to paint on outside.
  6. Fun educational activities need not cost much and most of what you need you already have at home.

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Source: This article has been written by Creators, a nationwide service offering quality home-based care and education. Creators are passionate about seeing every child’s unique talent being recognized and nurtured.

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