On rainy days, it can be tempting to hand children devices and let them fall down a YouTube rabbit hole. After all, there can be a lot of hours to fill when the weather isn’t cooperating with your plans.
There are better ways to spend those days. With a little creativity, rainy days can be opportunities for fun and educational play.
Consider these great ideas from The Genius of Play, an initiative with a mission of raising awareness about the importance of play in order to help parents make it a critical part of raising kids.
Just because you’re indoors, doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for kids to satisfy their primal urge to get their hands dirty. Not only do kids love playing with sensory textures such as paints, slime, sand, play dirt and foam, doing so helps improve fine motor skills.
The good news? Many such items are now designed to reduce messiness, stickiness and clean up hassles.
Break out some classic board games like checkers and dominoes or grab a deck of cards for a round of crazy eights. Such games teach the importance of taking turns and good sportsmanship and can even help kids learn to strategize and plan ahead.
For an afternoon of open-ended playtime, encourage kids to develop their emotional, creative and communication skills by developing their own skit or play. With so many dress-up kits available, it’s easy to maintain a well-stocked costume trunk that kids can use to get inspired. You can also gather up some of their favorite toys to use as props and help bring stories to life.
Whether your child prefers following step-by-step instructions or using imagination, designing, creating and playing with construction toys can build problem-solving, spatial and fine motor skills.
Design an obstacle course.
Kids have energy to burn. Building a safe obstacle course for them to complete is a fun way to stay active indoors while building core muscles and developing balance.
Pick three to five exercises, like pretending to jump like a frog, army crawling under the table or log rolling from one side of the living room to another and then doing five sit-ups. Practice it for five to 10 minutes, then get to work designing a new one.
Create a mini lab.
Play with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) toys and games. Use a science kit to erupt a volcano or code a robot to guard the bedroom. These important educational experiences can be fun supplements to classroom learning that help set your child up for future success.
Make cleanup fun.
It may not sound like “play” at first glance, but cleanup can be fun with the right attitude. Crank up favorite tunes and have kids dance as they dust, straighten, put toys away, make the bed and help with chores. Or, make a game of it, racing each other to complete tasks.
Be sure rainy days include playtime, which offers many developmental benefits for children to learn key communication, creative, cognitive, social, emotional and physical skills.
For more play tips and inspiration, visit www.thegeniusofplay.org.