Rainy Day Boredom Busters
What can you do when the weather doesn’t cooperate with outside play time? Television and video games are a common solution, but are not always available, and not necessarily always parents’ preferred choices.
Experts at OLOL Children's Hospital offer some rainy day "boredom busters" for those times when it’s not easy to encourage children to entertain themselves.
Start a new habit by providing options that are prepared in advance and readily accessible for your children. Give your child a choice of activities and a little encouragement. Parents may find, with consistency, children will pick up a book or creative project, without prompting from Mom or Dad.
While the suggestions below don’t encourage running and jumping in the house, they will get your kids moving instead of sitting still and watching tv. These options are simple, quick, fun to do, and offer ways to see where children’s imaginations will take them:
- The Idea Box - Begin with a tissue or shoe box decorated by your little one. When you come across a good rainy day idea, write it down and place it in the box. Send them running to the idea box when they say they are bored.
- Rainy Day Box to the Rescue - Find a sturdy cardboard box or hat box (one for each child). Stock the box with tons of arts and crafts items and play things: chalk, chalkboard, washable markers, crayons, pocket-sized coloring books, construction paper, stickers, stencils, colored pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, tape, child-safe scissors and yarn. Create puppets, masks, journals and more.
- The Prize Box - Winners to the challenges listed below can earn prizes worth their while, with incentives such as: trinkets, stickers, activity or coloring books, trading cards, food treats, money (the younger the child, the smaller the amount) or stay-up-late time that night.
- Reverse Writing - Challenge your older child, with a pencil and paper. Can they write a sentence backwards, without looking in the mirror? Can they write you a secret message?
- Look at Me - Have your child observe you for a minute. Leave the room. Return to the room, having changed a small detail in your appearance. Remove an earring, put on some lipstick or change your hair. Can they guess?
- Can-Do Cards - Don’t underestimate the power of a deck of cards. There are endless possibilities for all ages – Go Fish, Crazy Eights and Rummy or check out a kids’ card games book from the library. Or, buy a deck of quiz or trivia cards.
- Contest Craze - Hold an official family spelling bee or trivia contest, using index cards to write down words or questions.
- Good Ol' Games - Use the fallback road-trip games - 20 Questions, the License Plate Game and I Spy. Or, try the Alphabet Game (you pick a topic - like, animals - and a letter, then have everyone spout off animals that begin with A. The best part about this game is that kids can pick the topic of interest - cars, TV characters, countries, cities, foods, names, etc. - and there are 26 possibilities (one for each letter) for every topic.
- Make It Magnetic - Stock up on a few super-cheap magnetic games (i.e., tic-tac-toe, checkers, etc.) at the local dollar store.
- Tales A Plenty - Bring a few of your kids’ favorite books - or those they’ve been wanting to read - both in the printed versions and on tape/CD. You can listen to the story as the kids read along. Stop by the library to check out copies of the books and the books on tape/CD.
- Team Storytelling - Ask each family member to create a line for a story (i.e. “There once was a boy name Hugh...”), then have everyone add a line until you’re all stumped (”who lived in the town’s biggest zoo...”) Write down the story as you go, then have kids create drawings to coordinate with your silly tale. When you’re done, you’ll have your own custom-made family story.
- Window Gallery - Use washable window markers to make colorful creations to play endless, paper-free games like tic-tac-toe and hangman. Keep a cotton cloth or dust rag on hand so kids can keep the window fun flowing.
- Silence Is Golden - When all else fails, use the standby game, “See Who Can Be the Quietest.” After hours of games and crafting, your little ones just might appreciate the challenge of not saying a peep.