Guest Post By Jennifer Landis
Summer vacation is here, and we probably all have plans for picnics, park days and trips to the beach, but summer in many places also means that we’re looking at a ton of rain, which can keep you stuck inside. There’s nothing worse than an energetic toddler who was expecting to go to the beach only to be trapped inside by an afternoon thunderstorm. To help you keep your sanity, here are some fun rainy-day activities for you and your toddler this summer.
Dance the Day Away
There’s nothing quite like spending the afternoon dancing to your favorite music. It can also be a great way to get your heart rate up and burn off some energy if you’re stuck inside because of a thunderstorm. Put on some fast-tempo music, clear the furniture out of the way and just dance — and encourage your children to dance with you! Toddlers love to move, so it won’t take much encouragement to get them moving.
You can never go wrong with blanket forts. Pull all the pillows and cushions off your couch, break out the blankets and sheets and build the most elaborate fort possible. Set it up near your television, put on one of your kid’s favorite movies and have a movie afternoon in the blanket fort. Your toddler may not even miss the beach or the outdoor activities — plus it’s a great place to hide if your little one is afraid of thunder!
Look for Indoor Playgrounds
McDonald’s had the right idea with their indoor play places. Indoor playgrounds are a great way to help your littles burn off some energy, even if it’s pouring down rain outside.
If you don’t have an indoor playground in your area and you live somewhere that gets a lot of rain during the summer months, it might be a good idea to get the ball rolling to have one opened in your area. Talk to neighbors, city planners and local businesses to see if there would be any community support for this kind of project.
Plan a Treasure Hunt
You’ll need a prize or two for each child participating in the treasure hunt. The goodie could be as simple as a piece of chocolate or a cookie or a toy or anything that your child will be excited to find. Don’t make it too hard for them to locate — add hints or create a simple treasure map. Your children will have a blast searching for their treasure, and it will help keep them entertained during those rainy afternoons.
Your littles are probably used to you making them breakfast, lunch and dinner, and while they don’t need to cook all their own meals quite yet, getting them involved can keep them entertained when you’re stuck inside.
Pick something that you can make together, like cookies or other sweet treats, and let them get their hands dirty — literally. They’ll be thrilled to share their creation with other family members, because they’ll get to say “I made this!”
None of us like doing chores, but if you’re stuck inside and your toddlers are looking for something to do, why not try some cleaning? Hand your little ones a broom, dust mop or whatever their little hands can handle, and let them help. They can even do some other cleaning if you use kid-safe green cleaning products. Don’t allow them to clean with harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia, especially if they’re young enough that their hands are almost always in their mouths.
Play in the Rain
If it’s not thundering, why not just go outside and play in the rain? Head out there with your children and get wet — they’ll love having you play with them, and spending some time in the rain can help with your mental state as well. Have some fun in the water, splash in some puddles, then take a nice hot shower and nap after you’re done stomping in puddles.
Your kids won’t be this little forever, and it’s important to spend as much time with them as possible before they grow up and decide that playing with Mommy and Daddy isn’t cool anymore. Embrace those rainy days and the things you can do when the weather is bad. Even if you end up stuck in the house instead of soaking up the sun on the beach, there are plenty of activities you can do to enjoy the time you have.
Your options are limited only by your imagination. Try to come up with ideas for things you know your toddlers will enjoy, just to make your life a little bit easier. Rainy days don’t have to be boring or cost your sanity — there are plenty of awesome and fun things you can do until the weather clears and you can get back to your planned outdoor activities.
More About Jennifer
Jennifer Landis is a mother, wife, and the editor Mindfulness Mama. She enjoys yoga, green tea, and dark chocolate. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.