Cooler weather is coming, and you know what that means. Fidgety house-bound kids are going to drive you crazy. We all need to get out of the house sometimes – kids and adults alike. But it’s cold, wet and maybe even snowing outside. What is there to do? What about one of these rainy day ideas?
Bowling. Kids love bowling, and everyone from about four or five to adults can play together. If you’re willing to spend a little money at the snack bar, kids would love to get nachos and drinks to bring back to eat right at your lane.
Make Indoor Kinder Tipi Zelt. Turn your living room into a tent city. Pull out all the blankets, sheets and towels. Let the kids drape them over chairs and tables to make a cool indoor tent. Get the flashlights and books ready!
Ice Skating. Don’t hide from winter, embrace it! Get out the mittens, scarves and jackets and go ice skating. Kids will get the wiggles out and you’ll get some exercise too. When you get home you’ll enjoy the warmth of your very own house!
The Mall. When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. You don’t actually have to buy anything. Local indoor malls have carousels, play equipment and more. Young ones will love wandering through the Disney Store. Older kids might go shopping for clothes. After all, now that the weather is getting cooler, they might need more long pants or a new jacket. And don’t forget to stop at the food court. If your kids are old enough, give everyone enough cash to buy their lunch at the counter of their choice!
Go to the Gym. No, not your gym. Sorry. Most kids’ gymnasiums offer open gym time or group parties, even if you’re not signed up for a regular class. Kids can tumble on the (indoor) equipment, learn somersaults, even jump on trampolines.
Brave the Outdoors. I know you’re trying to avoid the wet weather, but every now and again you should just take it head on. Take the little ones on an Umbrella Walk or a Puddle Promenade. Pick up some rain boots at the local thrift store or Target. Older children can build a small fort with several umbrellas. And my kids cannot recommend Snail Races highly enough. Kids collect snails and release them into the water flowing down the gutter.
Go to a Pet Store. The regular pet store is always a hit, with puppies, kittens, birds and mice. But if you’ve already done that, check out any specialty pet stores in your area. A shop that specializes in exotic birds would have a lot of parrots, cockatoos and other large and small plumed pets. What about a pet store that has only reptiles? There are even some pet stores – in the city if you can believe it – that have baby farm animals like lambs and chicks.
Crafts Project. Make a gingerbread house, finger paintings or macaroni necklaces. You can keep it simple and just bring out the art supplies you have and let the kids exercise their imaginations. Or you can make a whole day of it by going to the craft store and picking out a big project that everyone can do together. A more expensive but less messy (for you) option is to take them to a ceramics place where they can decorate their masterpiece and bring it home.
Theme Park. At least once this winter, you should hit up a theme park in the rain. The lines are non-existent and laughter is guaranteed. Just pack dry clothes (and slippers!) in the car for the ride home. Pack a thermos of hot chocolate as a special treat to help thaw everyone out when you get back to the car.
Indoor Bounce House. There are many places that have a variety of bounce houses set up indoors. They mostly cater to birthday parties, but some of them offer an open playtime too.
Cook. Yes, I know that cooking sounds like a chore to you, but the kids will love it. They can bake cookies or a cake. You can have them choose something to make for dinner. In fact, they can make up a grocery list and you can take them to the store to do their shopping for dinner. You might even get your regular shopping done while you’re there. Are there any achievements in their scout books about shopping or cooking? What about preparing for those evenings when everyone is going different directions at dinnertime? Have the kids make burritos or little pizzas and freeze them for those get-it-yourself dinner nights. If you want to get a group of kids together, but you don’t want to offer up your kitchen, there are cooking schools for kids that will host a group activity.
Go to a Museum. There are tons of museums just for kids. Many of them offer free or almost free days once a month. There are museums to discover science, wildlife, dress-up, history or art.
With all these great ideas, you and your kids will look forward to the next rainy day!