Here in Wisconsin, we experience a variety of weather. Four real seasons, rainy days, snow and sleet, and cloudy and foggy days. We get a couple months of extreme cold and a good month of extreme heat. We might have beautiful days in the spring but the ground is still wet from the snow melting so playgrounds and parks are still off limits.
Needless to say, we have a lot of ideas for indoor activities and appropriate outdoor activities so we are not getting cabin fever too badly! A lot of these ideas also work for if you’re stuck without power due to a storm. Thankfully, we haven’t experienced that, but my friends in the northeast sure do.
This article originally appeared on my old blog, Townsley Times. If you came here looking for this particular article but thought you were going to a different site, never fear, you’re actually in the right place. 🙂
Card and Board Games
We have been really getting into games more now that the kids are older (oldest is 6, so they’re not that old still, but getting old enough to have more patience and self-control). You might think of classic board games like Monopoly or Operation, but in recent years, there has been an explosion of indie games which has brought forth tons of new games from “the little guys.” My brother is a game publisher so we get to try new games when he visits! You can check out his Facebook page for ideas and games he’s offering or new designers he’s working with!
So my brother is visiting since he’s in the area for the @midwintergamingconvention and showed me a couple of prototypes he has for new games. This one was a riot! You have to create a palm tree with your hand (“palm” trees) and these cards. The cards are coconuts and palm fronds and you have to hold them a certain way to build a tree. It is hysterical! Swipe left for more pics and there’s a vid of my “tree” in my #IGstories. He has all sorts of cool stuff as he’s going to be publishing a bunch of new games this year. Check him out @goldsealgames – #midwintergamingconvention #palmtrees🌴 #boardgamesrule #familyfuntime #PalmTreesGame
We also love the Peaceable Kingdom games that we’ve tried, and more recently, we have tried printable games like the file folder games from Home School in the Woods. I love that most games out there have some kind of educational component, and at the very least, they are learning social skills and how to follow directions.
My kids love puzzles! We recently bought a desk for my girls’ room (ages 6 and 4) so their toddler brother will leave them alone while they are working on puzzles (or crafts – another great rainy day idea). We also have puzzles with big, sturdy pieces for the little guy to do with help. Melissa and Doug items are always good for the younger set.
We got an indoor trampoline years ago as a gift. It had wires underneath it so it would make sounds and count your jumps and it was loud and honestly pretty obnoxious. Our toddler at the time kept going under it and getting tangled up, and it eventually broke. Have to say I wasn’t sorry to put it at the curb!
For outside on hot days, a water table can be fun! You can even use it in the rain (or just let them splash around in rain boots). Make sure the one you buy has a drain in the bottom so you’re not breeding mosquitoes. These can be fun for all ages! Do an experiment or just let them play.
Inside Phys Ed
My kids are still little so your mileage may vary, but I’ve noticed they are more calm overall if I let them do crazy stuff in the living room to get their energy out (and their goofy giggles). As I type this, they are pretending to be tornadoes….
Another thing we do is I’ll call out an animal and they have to act it out. I try to pick funny ones like frogs or active ones like kangaroos. Or ones that are practically impossible on carpet like a fish or worm or snake. It makes everyone laugh, it lets them think outside the box, and they are getting some exercise, too.
There are always regular types of exercises like jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, cartwheels, and somersaults. You could even do a shuttle run if you have the space. Or a dance off. Or look up kids workouts on YouTube. Consider clearing your living room every once in awhile to give them room.
This is great for hot days if you can find a place to volunteer indoors (or hey, maybe your family loves the heat and you can volunteer to help put in a community garden). Or you can do something from home to serve others.
All children need to learn their way around the kitchen. See what you have on hand and have them help you choose a recipe. Let them use utensils and equipment they don’t normally get to use, or get a set of nylon kids’ knives. You could make a few small appetizers so they can sample new tastes. A “five senses” taste test would be a great idea for youngsters.
You might even consider hosting a tea party in the summer when it starts getting hot. Decorate wide-brimmed hats from the craft store and fold paper fans. Drink iced tea instead of hot tea.
Along those lines, you could have etiquette classes with some fellow homeschoolers and come together for a tea party at the end, where each family brings something they cooked or baked with their kiddos, and they get to dress up and practice their skills with their friends. Giggles are sure to follow.
PIN IT FOR LATER! Continued below….
Start a Garden
You can start seed in a small indoor greenhouse in late winter. It can take time to plan your garden and order seeds and set everything up, and then they will need tending every day or every other day after they sprout. You’ll need to pay attention to how hot or cold they are getting and how much water you give them. Eventually you’ll have to start exposing the little plants to the wind and cooler temps. It can be a fun project for the whole family to work on and is perfect for homeschoolers!
Once spring comes, you’ll move everything outside. This is another whole process but great for everyone to help with. It will require commitment to get outside in weather you may not like so much! But that’s a fulfilling way to make the best of the heat and the rain (and the weeds that come with those! Ha).
Music is good for any day. Put on YouTube or Amazon Music and dance around, bang on pots and pans, sing along, or discuss music theory. You could work in a composer study or talk about different era of music history.
Better yet, learning an instrument can be fun for all. There is actually evidence that playing music can rewire the brain! Something as simple as a recorder could work for your homeschool. Or find a free piano on Craigslist, pay to have it moved and tuned, and vóila. I’ve heard good things about the Alfred’s books and also the Teach Your Child Piano program. A little guitar playing on dad’s day off is always a blast, too. Or on cool spring or fall nights, perhaps a bonfire and a singalong with neighbors (gotta work that socialization in there 🙄).
Snow Tie Dying
I posted about this on social media a couple of times this past winter. It was so fun to use the snow to dye some shirts for summer. You can pick up a kit from Tulip for this and add snow on top of your designs once you apply the dye. Let it melt and rinse it out according to the directions. It will create a cool mixing of the dye as the snow melts!
Teach them something new on days you’re stuck inside! A lot of the time, I don’t feel like stopping to teach them how to do a chore because it’s just faster to do it myself, but they do need to learn. When you have some down time and the given chore is not in desperate need of being done (e.g., the floors aren’t so bad that they need elbow grease to clean them), show your children how to clean and let them have a shot at it. You won’t be upset if it’s not to your standard since it wasn’t too bad to begin with.
As they learn the right motions to clean things, let them tackle it alone, and eventually when it hasn’t been cleaned in awhile. You can start trusting them with these chores as they gain experience.
Well, I hope this has given you some ideas for when you’re stuck indoors due to inclement weather. What are your favorite activities for rainy days? Leave a comment and let me know.
This post is part of a roundup of more rainy day ideas at the Homeschool Review Crew!