It’s that time of year when we all get a little ahead of ourselves. We have a few days of spring sunshine and before you know it, the sandals and sundresses come out of storage and we’re packing up our winter parkas.
The reality is so different from the daydream. Whether we want to admit it or not, spring usually means a few flirty days of sun mixed with a lot of gray rain. So the big question: how do we keep our little ones occupied while cooped up indoors?
For gloomy-day inspiration, we asked blogger and mother Megan Gordon of A Sweet Spoonful to give us her ideas for occupying tiny hands on rainy days.
Create and craft on the couch
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the craftiest mom. I don’t love clutter (and craft supplies tend to equal clutter!) and whenever Oliver comes home from daycare with a new project, I marvel at the creativity of the teachers. We’re a bit limited to paints and crayons around here, but I’ve started to keep a few special rainy day jars that I fill with colorful buttons, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes so we can really amp up our craft game when we are cooped up indoors.
Have a “ready to read” book basket
In our house, reading books is relegated to right before bedtime. As such, at first the thought of pulling them out in the middle of the day induces massive toddler panic that it might be time for a nap. But these days, I keep a special basket in the living room that we call our “Rainy Basket” and we pull it out on particularly nasty days when we’re stuck inside. I cycle out these books so they always feel fresh.
Bonus, my husband’s great about going to the library and stocking it with new books every few weeks, too. Power in numbers!
Bake something together
I know, I know: this one gets mixed reviews from parents. Who wants to sign up for an activity that just creates a potentially massive mess on a rainy day? That said, I actually love baking with Oliver and have come up with a few tips for making it less messy and more sane for both of us.
- Choose the recipe in advance and prep all the ingredients (usually this means doing a quick grocery run on Friday evening to prepare for the weekend);
- Measure out the ingredients ahead of time – or at least the main ingredients;
- Set a timer once our cookies or muffins are in the oven – if your kiddo is anything like mine, he/she will love to see how we’re doing on progress!
The hardest part, honestly, about the whole thing (for him and for me!) is waiting until the cookies are cool enough to sample.
Pro tip: Remember the recipe can be very, very simple – in fact, the simpler the better. Kids just like to get in there and help mix and sample the final product; they don’t need to be learning how to master French macarons!
Go on a rainy day adventure
It’s all too tempting to just hunker down during inclement or cooler weather, but in Seattle if you always waited for the perfect time to head out, you’d be waiting around … a lot. We’ve gotten good about just braving the elements while wearing a good waterproof jacket. If it’s too nasty to get out on a walk, we’ll take the car to the library, the indoor playground at our local zoo, or our favorite café Preserve and Gather.
Sitting down and picking out a treat always feels special for kiddos, while hot coffee and a change of scenery always feels pretty good for the adults.