Things To Do With Kids On A Rainy Day

When the weather turns bad and the kids get bored, try suggestions like these to keep them busy and smiling.

On a cold, snowy, or rainy day, it becomes all too easy for kids to complain. "What can I do now?" they ask, looking to parents for ideas or suggestions.

While it is difficult to come up with fun things to do on the spur of the moment, plan ahead by saving a few supplies in anticipation of that coming day and the kids' lament. Here are some tips that may keep your kids busy and productive:

1. Let them build a play house. Save or get a large appliance box, the kind that refrigerators or wide screen televisions come in, for later use. Stash it in the garage or basement, and when the time comes, drag it out and hand the kids scissors, markers, non-toxic paint, and glue. You can add construction paper for shingles and roof tiles, shoe boxes for window flower planters, and a host of other odds and ends to let them make a creative playhouse of their own. They'll probably have more fun making it than using it, but as long as they're using creativity and energy, it doesn't matter.



2. Set up a race track. Keep a cardboard box of empty oat cartons, tea boxes, and other cardboard containers that can be used for making vehicles. Use Popsicle sticks, cotton swabs, or sucker sticks for wheel axles. You can buy small plastic wheels at a craft store, or have the kids experiment with making their own from cardboard paper or baby food jar lids. Have a few tools handy, such as a hammer, metal puncher, and screw driver and teach the children to use them properly in assembling their "cars." Use a dissected cardboard box, sides taken apart and taped together for a flat surface, to make a race track surface. Then use modeling clay or construction paper to structure a track on which to race or run the newly made vehicles. Paint, crayons, decals, or stickers will add special touches to each car.

3. Make a home movie. Decide which story scene the family will enact. Or better yet, take turns writing your own little skit. Then find costumes from the box of old clothes or salvage store finds that everyone can dress up in. Designate someone as the camera person who will use the video camera to record the family drama. For backdrops, rearrange part of one room with easy to move furniture so that it resembles a stage or at least provides room for actors to move as they say their lines.

4. Have a karaoke session. Use a microphone from the family's recording unit or simply have someone play the piano, trumpet, or whatever instruments are available in accompaniment to others' singing. Another option is to record the group harmonizing a favorite tune, holiday or otherwise. Show it to extended family members when they come to visit.

5. Write a story. Take turns writing out a paragraph to a story that begins with an introductory statement, such as "Once upon a time..." or "It began one dark and stormy night many long years ago..." As each person finishes writing the paragraph, pass it to the next person. Older siblings can write a few sentences for the younger ones who can't write yet but are old enough to voice their ideas for the story.

6. Cook a collective meal. Have each person make a recipe for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Younger children can make colored placemats or choose the music that will play while everyone is dining. If there are several family members, pair them in two's for a recipe to avoid cooking too much. If possible, select a theme, such as Caribbean, Hispanic, African, or Middle Eastern that will guide the choice of menu's, music, and decorations.

These are other ideas can give the kids (and parents who wish to participate) fun and interesting things to do. Not only will they avoid boredom, they can grow closer and learn new things. What parent could ask for more?

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