It’s raining. Hard. And it’s a little gloomy, but I’m thankful when weather like this falls on a work day instead of a weekend. On a rainy weekend day, especially in the summer, I start to feel like a kid again, staring out the window and itching to play outside. I can only imagine what it’s like for parents at home with their kids on a rainy day like today. How are they keeping occupied?
I called my sister, Bonnie, mother of a precious and precocious 2 1/2-year-old, Henry, and quickly growing 12-week-old, Pete, to check in on her rainy day tips and tricks. As luck (or unluck?) would have it, it’s raining at her house, too.
Kids crafts are the answer. “Henry loves finger-painting and making his handprint in paint,” my sister says. She forwarded me one of his latest creations, a handprint flower built on stems painted by my sister, made for our mother (who he calls Honey) on Mother’s Day. Glare aside, if this picture doesn’t make your heart melt, you might want to have your heart checked out.
What else? “He’s also REALLY into stamping,” Bonnie says. Since that’s the case, I’m pretty sure he’d love this DIY potato stamp project. I remember making potato stamps as a child, and I know it led directly to my love of carving linoleum blocks for block-printing today. Just be sure to keep little hands away from sharp objects.
“And he’s gotten a little obsessed with magnets lately,” my sister continues. Magnets really are so cool when you think about it. And they offer opportunity for a science lesson so mesmerizing that I’m still in awe of it. (If you need a refresher about how magnets work, check out this magnetism lesson from National Geographic’s Education desk. I promise not to tell your kids that you asked!) Refrigerator magnet clothespins are a simple rainy day kids project with fun payoff — use them to hang their other artwork on the fridge.
Henry is also very interested in anything going on in the kitchen, especially making cookies. “Let’s do cookies!” I heard him plead just the other day while I was talking with my sis on the phone. “He knows how to operate the stand mixer as well as I do,” Bonnie admits. “If I can figure out safe ways to get him involved in cooking dinner, it’s a big hit.”
Given that Henry likes cooking AND play dough (I mean, what kid doesn’t?), I’m pretty sure that this recipe for homemade play dough would be a winner. A few other rainy day projects for kids take basic items out of the kitchen and onto the craft table: cupcake liners to make bouquets, Mason jars to make snow globes, and coffee filters for faux carnations — who knew?
These DIY paper flowers might pique Henry’s interest, at least for a little while. (I mean, he’s two, how focused can we expect him to get?)
Since our budding chef is also a budding gardener, like his aunt, I’m pretty sure he’d also get into this kitchen herb garden project, which brings the outdoors inside, though inside use of soil may be questioned by his mom. A drop cloth or garbage bag spread out on the kitchen floor might help contain the dirt diaspora that’s inevitable when a toddler begins to garden. Dirt is just too fun not to spread around, right?!
Come to think of it, all these rainy day activities sound a lot like my personal go-to ideas for indoor fun. If the sky keeps looking like it does right now, I know what I’m doing tonight — planting this strawberry pot succulent garden project I’ve been eyeing since it first posted. Of course, I’ll need a drop cloth on the kitchen floor, too, because, like a toddler, I can’t be fully trusted when soil is involved.
For any moms, dads or otherwise antsy adults looking for quick, fun kids craft ideas for rainy days or any day, here’s a recap: