10 Activities That Kids Can’t Resist for Rainy Day Fun October 04 2011

Children can quickly become bored and frustrated when they are stuck inside, which can escalate to whining, fighting and making huge messes. While older children can and should be expected to figure out their own fun, smaller children often will need a bit of guidance from their parents when it comes to choosing an activity.  Here are a few of our favorite suggestions for indoor activities.

1. Build a city out of blocks! You can supplement your block collection with cans from the kitchen, cardboard boxes, paper towel rolls and other common household items. Let your children’s imaginations go wild as they build their block city. When it’s time for clean up, take a picture so that your child can look back on their creation for years to come.

2. Hold a toy wash in the kitchen or bathroom. Fill a big dishpan or tub with soapy water and let your child clean his or her plastic toys. Lay down plenty of towels and be prepared to change your child’s clothes afterward.

If you have mostly wooden toys, you can show your child how to wipe them clean with a lightly dampened cloth instead of immersing them in water.

3. Open a family restaurant. Make a menu and let your children be the servers and cooks while you play the role of customer. You’ll be delighted when you recall just how “delicious” toy food and drinks are.

4. Design a scavenger hunt for your child. Older children can get a written list, while you can make a picture list for the younger ones (hand drawn or made on the computer using clip art or photos).

5. Push all of the living room furniture against the walls, crank up the music and have a singing and dancing party. You can play silly kids songs, classical waltzes, swingy jazz or pop dance songs - whatever you and your children love.

6. When it’s time to settle down, get cozy on the couch and catch up with your child’s life. Many children (and teens, too!) need prompts to get them talking. A box of conversation starters like Box Girls can help get things started.

7. Make a giant collage! Tape old wrapping paper, deconstructed paper bags or whatever large canvas you can find in your home to a wall and let your child(ren) decorate it using glue sticks and pictures cut out of magazines and sales fliers. Bonus points if you can round up googly eyes, pop-poms, bits of cloth and other textural elements to include on the piece.

8. Help your child make their own book using their dollhouse/toy castle/toy barn and accessories. Have your child pose his or her dolls or animals in the toy structure, then take a photo. Repeat a few times as your child has the characters act out a story. Then, print the photos out as 5x7s on single pieces of paper, leaving room at the bottom for writing narration. Once it’s done, staple the pages together to make a book.

9. Have your child write, direct and perform a puppet show for you to video and send off to the grandparents, aunties, uncles and other loved ones. If you have home video editing software, your child can help you add titles, captions and credits to make the video extra special.

10. Ask your child to make decorations for the next holiday/seasonal event using their art supplies. Place-mats are a good choice as you child can make several different ones so that each family member has their own. Paper lanterns, cut out snowflakes, turkey centerpieces, decoupaged jars and vases made out of clay are also easy to make at home.

By Jacob and Carol Maslow

As the proud parents of five pre-teen children, Carol and Jacob Maslow know quite a bit about the importance of play in a child's life. Carol is also a therapist who specializes in working with developmentally delayed preschoolers so that they can successfully integrate with their classmates. Jacob works for Today's Concept, where parents can find the highly regarded Melissa and Doug line of classic toys. Both firmly believe that the best toys don't use batteries.