Rainy, cold days in the winter months can feel long when you’ve got young children. Yet there are a few simple ways you can liven up time spent indoors, and don’t be afraid to also get outside regardless – you just need the right equipment, and to do a bit of advanced planning!
Cold or wet?
Whatever the weather, get the right equipment and you can still go outside.
If temperatures drop, don’t be afraid to get outside – just make sure children have the appropriate clothing. A warm coat and a good hat can keep them toasty and ensure you get much more playing time from them outdoors. Add an extra pair of socks to avoid cold feet.
For rainy days, waterproof pants are ideal to wear with gumboots as they give extra protection from big puddles and muddy play. Children love carrying a little umbrella too if you need to get out to the shops or for a walk.
Rearrange your child’s books
Children grow out of books quickly and you may find that there are books that your child no longer reads or simply isn’t interested in anymore. Regularly rearranging and refreshing books can engage your child instantly in picking up a book and asking for a story.
It’s easy to pick up second hand children’s books really cheaply, or you can go to your local library and enjoy regularly switching books as your child develops.
Playing with playdough
This activity can keep children entertained for hours. Younger children and toddlers simply enjoy learning about the texture and colour of playdough, whereas older children will start to sculpt it into shapes or objects and may play creatively with what they have made.
You don’t need to buy playdough as it’s simple and cheap to make. A good rolling pin and some cookie cutters can be great fun to use with it too.
Build a den
Children love to build dens –regardless of where they are or what materials you’ve got. Whether it’s two cushions from the sofa on the floor of the living room, or if you’ve got a tepee in your child’s bedroom you can use to create a little haven. Let your child decide what the den is like – ask them questions about what’s inside it and what they’re going to do there.
You can encourage them to invite their teddies in for a picnic, or have storytime in there with some of their favourite books. If they’re happy playing independently, you may want to put on an audio book or some background music for them.
Singing and dancing
Children love to sing and dance and it can help to instantly shake off a bad mood or brighten up a rainy day. Although it’s hard to recreate the group singing that your child often benefits from with other young ones, you can ask them to sing their favourite songs and join in with them.
You may want to give them ribbons or musical instruments and encourage them to do dancing to music. Try and avoid setting up music with a video as they’ll often end up standing and watching that instead of moving around!
Tea party for teddies
Whether it’s in their home made den or just on the floor of the kitchen as you try to get things done, having a tea party for teddies is a great rainy day activity. Let your child gather up some plastic plates and bowls to offer to the teddies with some imaginary food.
Let your child decide where the teddies sit and how to arrange them. You could ask your child to tell you about each teddy and what they like to eat and drink. Putting out some healthy snacks like chopped cucumber and carrots can be a great way for children to learn about eating well.
Treasure hunt around the house
Get children moving by setting them a treasure hunt to do around the house. You can adapt this to different ages by either drawing pictures of items that they need to find or writing them a list.
You could also hide a number of stickers around the house and offer a prize if they find 5-10 of these stickers. Ask them to count how many they have to help encourage their numeracy skills.
The winter months don’t have to mean long days stuck inside. It often just takes a little creativity and a touch of enthusiasm to get children excited for an indoor activity or two.