Rainy Day Activities

This past weekend was filled with rain, rain, rain. The kids were getting on each other’s last nerve and a big blow up was coming our way. Most days we just get out in it, but that was not possible this weekend. I used this opportunity to come up with a list of activities to keep on file for the future. All activities require only what you probably already have in your house. I must note that a few activities are “screen time” activities, but they do require movement on the child’s part. Once I started brainstorming I realized the options were endless. I will do a Part II later on so as not to overwhelm.

Clean the Grout/Chores

Yep! Put them to work. My favorite is to hand them a few old tooth brushes, a cup of baking soda, a spray bottle of vinegar and tell them to SCRUB. An invitiation to clean! Any other chores to do around the house? Show them the list of the activities below and tell them you will set up the activities of their choice if they first complete all the items on your chore list.

 Obstacle Course

Clear a room, turn over some chairs, pull off the couch cushions and make an amazing obstacle course. Couch cushions leaning against a couch make for a great tunnel.

Wall Stand Competitions

Find a wall in a carpeted area (no owies, please), put your hands on the floor and walk up the wall with your feet.  Challenge the kids to see who can stay up the longest.

Build a Reading Fort

The best (and easiest) way to build a fort is to throw a blanket over the dining room table. If you do not have a big enough table, turn your couch around and place two chairs opposite the back and throw a blanket over that. Add some pillows and a bunch of books and you have your very own rainy day reading fort!

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Jim Gill Sing and Dance Along

One day I would love to take the kids to see Jim Gill, but until then we love his YouTube videos. They require the kids to listen, act silly and sing. A few of his songs introduce children to classical music and the instruments at the symphony

Color a Mural

Take a large piece of paper (or tape a bunch of small pieces together; these can be used on one side). Use a pencil to divide it up into cool shapes, get out the box of crayons, assign each child a section and go to town!

Animal Charades

Cut out some cards and work with the kids to brainstorm animals. The older kids can write the animal name on the card or draw a picture of the animal. Put the cards in the basket and take turns drawing the cards and acting out the animal on the card while the others guess.

Road Race

This one will require some colored tape (painter’s tape works great) and small toy cars. If you don’t have toy cars around, not to worry, the kids can be the cars. Tear up the tape to make road marks and create a course to follow around the house. Have the kids use paper and crayons to make stop signs, cross walk signs, speed limit signs, etc. Talk about the “Rules of the Road” and then watch them have fun. Check out the Drive In Movie Night activity below for a box car idea.

Cosmic Kids Yoga

The kids are worn out now. Good job! However, the lack of outdoor time means they still can’t quite settle down. My kids adore Cosmic Kid’s Yoga videos; they are free on YouTube and range from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. The yoga instructor leads the children through a yoga inspired movement story focused around a theme such as a lost mermaid or Harry Potter.

Drive In Movie Night

Have a few boxes lying around? Work during the day to turn them into cars to be used for your family movie night, drive in style! These box cars can also be used for the Road Race activity above. Check out this link for a great example.

Check out TheCleansedLife pinterest board here for more ideas.

 

Animal Home Scavenger Hunt

This past weekend I needed to get the kids outside, but was having difficulty motivating them. The rainy winters of the Pacific Northwest have the tendency of creating homebodies. Looking out my window I noticed a hole in the ground and called the kids over to show them and brainstorm what animal might live inside. What followed was a wonderful hour adventure outside searching for animal homes.

Animal Home Scavenger Hunt

What You Need

  1. Access to the outdoors or a window
  2. Helpful, but not necessary: A camera, a list of types of animal homes, a sketch book and pencil.

What To Do

  1. Before venturing outside create a list of types of animal homes: web, hive, hill, nest, hole, burrow, cave, etc.
  2. Go outside and try and find as many animal homes as possible. You may sketch the animal homes or take pictures of them.

See below for pictures of our animal home scavenger hunt. We had a bit of an Amelia Bedelia moment where my daughter heard, “X out the homes” instead of “Sketch out the homes”.

Secret Messages for Valentine’s Day

I thought it would be fun to put together a little Valentine’s Day activity for kids using one of the ingredients on my list of twenty. The activity I came up with involves using lemon juice to create invisible ink for writing loving messages.

What You Need

  1. Red and white paper
  2. Lemon juice
  3. Q-Tips
  4. Scissors
  5. Markers

What To Do

  1. Create a pocket by folding a piece of contruction paper horizontally, leaving a little tab at the top.
  2. Seal the edges using staples or tape.
  3. Using a q-tip and lemon juice (do not diulute with water), write simple messages on pieces of white paper. Examples: XO, a heart, I love you
  4. Allow lemon juice messages to dry.
  5. Place the messages in the construcion paper pocket.
  6. Give to loved ones and instruct them to hold the secrect messages up to light (lamp, sunny window, etc) to reveal what they say.

Nature’s Paintbrushes

Whenever I mix up a new household concoction I am reminded of my Grandmother Rose. Molded during the Great Depression she abhorred waste. I recall one day being at her house when she found a twenty-five cent stamp on the floor and called everyone to the room in a panic asking to whom it belonged. I also loved the old pantyhose that hung in the bathroom to collect small pieces of left over soap. Nothing went to waste in her house. Our modern culture is so obsessed with throwing away and always having what is new. The Artful Parent recently posted about a wonderful idea for an art project with children: Nature Paintbrushes. The process of going out into the forest behind our house and finding sticks and plant material with which to make our nature brushes absolutely delighted my children. They really got into the process. It was so refreshing to be able to start a brand new project without leaving the house to pick up supplies. I even partook and enjoyed the painting; the long moss brush was my favorite. Although our brushes did not turn out as picture perfect as the ones from the Artful Parent, we still enjoyed the project just as much if not more. My grandmother would have loved this idea.

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Mushrooms

Sunday was a perfect fall day in the Pacific Northwest. The skies were clear and everything looked more alive following a few days of heavy rain. We were fortunate to find ourselves at IslandWood on a mushroom tour. Mushrooms tend to emerge after a rain so the timing was just perfect. It was a great reminder of the need to simplify and live. For an hour we walked the beautiful trails and scoured the ground for mushrooms. Every day we pass the same fungi we found there, but this experience forced our family to slow down and appreciate the diversity around us. Before Mushroom Mania (isn’t that a fun name?) I basically ignored the mushrooms growing around us unless it was to kick them out of the way and watch them disintegrate under my shoe, but on Monday we did something different. On Monday we bundled up, put on our rain boots, grabbed some baskets, and in the fading light of evening walked out into the forrest and discovered that our own backyard was full of mushroom treasures.

 

Playing with Vinegar and Baking Soda

One of the great things about The Terrific Twenty is they are all kid-friendly. While you are going about your daily routine there is no need to worry about your little ones getting into your household products. My five-year old son is very fond of mixing vinegar and baking soda; the reaction gives a lot of bang for very little effort. While I was de-clogging a few drains using the baking soda/vinegar method, I set my son up with an old soap dispenser filled with vinegar, a bowl of baking soda and an empty bowl for mixing fun!

“I put baking soda in a bowl and then I squirted vinegar into the bowl. It was fun!” -Wyatt (5)

One of the best things about this activity for kids is afterwards you can put the product and the kid to good use. We poured the final mixture into the bathtub and scrubbed it down. Good, clean fun!

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