Early spring can be a pretty gray and gloomy time of year – the rain seems to be constant, and things have not yet begun to grow.
Here are 10 tips for fun things you can do on a rainy day.
1. Treasure hunt
If it’s a rainy weekend day, the kids will need things to do. Try a treasure hunt.
Make one set of clues for every player (make the clues rhyme for added fun). Each clue leads to the next one and, finally, to the treasure. Seal the clues in envelopes marked with a clue number (i.e., 2/7, or “two of seven”); this will help the hunters keep track.
Whoever solves the clues first and finds the treasure — a small toy, an IOU for a movie, maybe a cache of coins (regular or chocolate) — is the winner. Or have your kids play as a team to solve the puzzle together.
2. Make your own bubble bath
Enjoy some quiet time to yourself by making your own bubble bath.
Mix ½ cup mild liquid hand or body soap, 1 tablespoon sugar or honey, and 1 egg white. Pour the entire mixture under the running water as you draw your bath.
Honey is a natural humectant, which will attract and retain moisture in your skin. The egg white helps create stronger, longer-lasting bubbles, for a nice, fluffy bath.
For extra-dry skin, consider adding a tablespoon of light oil, such as almond or light sesame.
3. Build a camp inside
Tents aren’t just for outdoor fun. If you have a pop-up or small dome tent, it’s easy to set up camp for your kids indoors. If not, make your own space by draping sheets over the furniture.
Make the kids comfy with airbeds, pillows, and sleeping bags, then follow through with an indoor picnic to be eaten “under canvas.”
4. Invent a game (that doesn’t include batteries)
Try these play-anywhere, no-props-needed activities:
- One-word story: Starting with “Once upon a time,” go around the room and have each person add a single word to the story.
- Tip: Decide on a genre in advance―fairy tale, ghost story, etc.―and go from there.
- Improvised poetry: One person says a line of poetry, and the next must say a line that rhymes with it, and so on. Let kids say the first line; it’s up to you to find the rhyme.
- Yes, and…monster! Invent an imaginary monster, with each person adding a new characteristic to the first person’s monster description. Every new idea has to start with an enthusiastic, “Yes, and…” and build on what has already been described.
5. Experiment with photography
Rainy days can create many interesting lighting conditions and elements to include in pictures, from rain dripping down glass to flashes of lightning.
If you’ve got a gentle gray day, try experimenting with photography near windows to capture that soft, even light across your subject. Shadows cast by raindrops can add interesting textures.
6. Organize your own film festival
Dig into your movie collection, or visit your local library to see what offerings they have available. With some old classics (“Singin’ in the Rain”) and new films (“The Lego Movie”), let the kids add a few favorites — even mix in some Netflix options for variety — and have a marathon screening.
Keep a cozy throw on hand to snuggle under, a big bowl of popcorn to dip into, and settle in to enjoy.
7. Have a tea party
If you’ve got some little princesses in your home, this is a good opportunity to practice your manners. Dress up in your best, set the table with the good china, and put on your most formal manners (remember, extend your pinkie and sip politely).
On the menu: tea (for you), juice or cocoa (for your children), and easy egg or chicken salad tea sandwiches in fun shapes, courtesy of cookie cutters.
Let your kids decide the guest list — and which of their favorite dolls or furry friends are on it.
8. Map out a city
Take a roll of paper and roll a long piece down a hallway, use painter’s tape (or heavy books) to secure the corners and edges, and let your kids draw a metropolis. If they are into superheroes, it can be Metropolis – or Gotham.
Make roads, bridges, cul de sacs, and neighborhoods. Include lakes, playgrounds, schools, hospitals, shops, and restaurants. Or use Legos and blocks to construct buildings along the way. Kids can drive toy cars along the roads and make believe a day in the life of imaginary characters.
Paper accidentally get ripped in one spot? Earthquake! Water got dripped on it? Flood!
And when the kids are finished playing, crumple up the paper and toss it in the recycling bin.
9. Mix it up
Is your signature drink a cold beer? Do you look at cocktail shakers and coupe glasses and wonder what the point is? A lazy afternoon when you’ve got no plans to drive is a great time to master the art of the classic drink — we’re talking Mad Men era cocktails here — that you can pour for yourself after a tough day at work.
Remember – shaken, not stirred.
10. Plan a vacation
It might be a rainy day and you’re stuck at home, but you can still dream of a warm, seaside resort or gorgeous mountain escape.
Look at a map — of the world, if you can swing an international vacation, or of the U.S. — and let the kids pick a location they’d like to visit. Have them research how to get there, where to stay, and what to do. If you want to teach some budgeting skills, have them create a budget based on plane tickets or house rental costs, make a plan of what sites to hit or local foods to try, and then sell their ideas to the rest of the family.
At the very least, everyone will learn a little bit about a new city or country. At best, you may figure out your next family adventure.