RAINY-DAY ACTIVITIES FOR FAMILIES
If there’s anything worse than kids tearing through the house on a rainy day, it’s kids hanging on your legs complaining about being “bored.” Perhaps you’re bored yourself. Gray, drippy weather has a way of generating angst, exacerbated by limited options for vigorous activity.
The best antidote is to occupy your mind with something productive and enjoyable, and/or with good company.
Consider letting the housecleaning sit for a while and spending some quality time with your kids. You’ll all be happier and more effective for it.
Make Some Sunshine Indoors
Break out the paper and paints/crayons/markers/gel pens, making sure to include bright yellow and other cheerful colors; then let everyone create a “sunny” picture and tell a story about it.
Even better, find (or tape together) a big enough sheet to cover a table or wall, and let everyone literally work on the same page. (You can also create a cheerful picture with other art media, from modeling clay to collages to embroidery.)
Have a Story Hour
Get out a book of stories or funny anecdotes and take turns reading out loud to the group. Make faces and alter your voices for even more fun. Or make up a story in the round: one person gets the plot going, then stops at a suspenseful point where the next person takes it up; and so on around the circle until everyone has had a turn or a satisfactory ending is reached.
If anyone plays a real instrument, or even a toy version, bring it out and have everyone sing along. But you can just as easily organize a sing-along to recordings or radio, or even make your own instruments (anything that rattles when shaken or rings/echoes when tapped will do, or you can find more ambitious musical-instruments crafts projects online).
Play a Game
Most households have board games stashed somewhere: checkers, Monopoly, Connect Four, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, or any number of perennial favorites. A jigsaw puzzle can also be a fun group project. If you can’t find anything, there are always the no-equipment-required or pencil-and-paper games: Twenty Questions, I’m Going on a Picnic, Categories, word or math puzzles.
Cooking can be fun, especially when trying new foods or making something you particularly like. There are innumerable online recipes for cakes, cookies, salads, meatloaves, soups, etc.; you can even search for “cooking for children” ideas or for options that use the ingredients you have available.
Even chores can be fun when done as a group project. Make them a little more than routine: sort kitchen utensils or things that need to be put away; put on music and choreograph the sweeping of the basement; clean out the closets and discard anything that hasn’t been used in months. (Psychologically, getting rid of clutter has a double benefit on gloomy days: you’ll feel a load lifted off your shoulders when you see the cleared space. And if anybody or everybody is in a bad mood, this will serve as a catharsis, plus you’ll actually find it easier to toss things.)
Whatever you do, combine it with an all-around challenge to keep smiling, and issue gentle reminders to anyone who isn’t. Your feelings follow your face!