Any parent of a preschooler knows that rainy days are easy to dread. It is sometimes unbelievable that such a small person can have such an endless supply of energy and to not be able to go outside may feel like torture – for the child and the parent. There are many projects that can be undertaken inside, however, and your preschooler may just have so much fun that he or she forgets about the outdoors.
Cooking is an excellent activity to do with your preschooler on a rainy day. Cooking with children can either be structured – with a parent helping the child to complete a favorite recipe – or it can be more free-form, perhaps tossing all the fruit in the house into the blender for an imaginative smoothie. Either way, make sure your child doesn’t use sharp knives or hot stoves. Instead, give him or her the responsibility of pouring pre-measured ingredients or stirring. Expect to make a mess, but that is part of the fun.
Art projects are another favorite for days when you can’t go outside. It’s a good idea to keep a store of art supplies to use with your preschooler on a rainy day, including crayons, paper, and washable paint. You can let your child color on regular printer paper, or you can use a long roll of butcher paper to make a long “mural” with paint or crayons. It can be a special project that is rolled up at the end of the day, to be taken out again on the next rainy day.
A rainy day can also be a good time to work with your child to clean out their closet and toy supply. This activity may seem challenging at first, and you may encounter resistance. However this is a great opportunity to help your children learn empathy and the value of helping others. Set up three boxes, one for toys and books to keep, one for toys and boys to donate, and one for broken toys and torn books that need to be thrown out. Keep track with stickers on a chart how many toys and books your child gives away. If your child is about to donate 20 or more items, celebrate with a special outing!
Finally, any child likes it when their parents or guardians play with them. It could be playing with favorite dolls or stuffed animals, making a blanket fort and pretending to camp, or racing cars and trucks around the house. If an adult gives up his or her dignity long enough to play on the floor with a child, it is likely to be a hit, no matter what the activity is. Remember that anything is fun when you do it with your preschooler on a rainy day. The activity is far less important than the company and the attitude!