Don't Let the Weather Get You Down: Rainy Day Boredom Busters
Rain, rain, go away! Are you a parent struggling to find entertaining activities for your child on those gloomy, rainy days? Worry no more! In this blog post, we've got you covered with a treasure trove of fun-filled ideas that'll keep both you and your little one engaged and entertained while staying indoors. So grab your cozy blankets and let's turn those drizzly hours into memorable moments. Let the indoor adventure begin!
Playing with our kids is one of the best ways to make sure they get the physical and mental stimulation they need to grow and develop. When parents take the time to enjoy play with their children, it creates a strong foundation for a relationship based on trust and connection. There is a significant body of research that suggests that playing and interacting with children has numerous benefits for their development.
Here are a few categories of play and how they benefit children, along with activity ideas for each.
Improved cognitive development: Engaging in play and interactive activities with children can enhance their problem-solving and critical thinking skills, as well as their memory and attention. A study published in the journal "Educational Researcher" found that interactive play with parents can have a positive impact on young children's cognitive development, including their attention, memory, and problem-solving skills (Pellegrini & Bohn, 2005).
Stronger emotional bonds: Spending quality time with children can help strengthen emotional bonds between parents and children and improve children's sense of security and self-esteem. A study published at the Rochester symposium on developmental psychopathology found that parental involvement in play can enhance emotional bonds between parents and children and improve children's sense of security and self-esteem (Greenberg, Kusché & Speltz, 2014).
Better academic outcomes: Children who engage in interactive play and learning activities with their parents are more likely to do better in school and have higher academic achievement. Better academic outcomes: A study published in the journal "Marriage and Family Review" found that parental involvement in children's learning, including interactive play and learning activities, is positively associated with children's academic achievement and success in school (Jeynes, 2005).
These are just a few examples of the many benefits of playing and interacting with children. It is important to note that the quality and nature of the interaction is also crucial; positive, supportive, and stimulating interactions have been shown to have the greatest benefits for children's development.
What are sensory activities I can do with my kids?
Set up a sensory table (or use the sink). You can use water and toys, or other items you have around the house.
Place various items in separate cardboard boxes, and have your child use their senses to guess what’s inside. They can shake the box, put their hands in with their eyes closed, even smell!
Conduct a taste test of foods you have at home, with no peeking! Kids can rate the foods on taste, texture, and smell, and see how many they can identify without looking.
Bake or cook a favorite food together, taking time at each step to feel, smell, and (when safe!) taste your ingredients
What are movement activities I can do with my kids?
Enhanced physical development: Physical play can help children develop their motor skills and coordination, as well as their physical fitness and health.
Have a freeze dance party, getting the wiggles out while also practicing the skill of self-control
Build a pillow fort and have a picnic inside. Kids will have to practice body awareness to make sure they don’t knock the pillows down!
Create an indoor obstacle course that involves climbing, jumping, and crawling.
Set up a game tournament with brackets and levels to crown an overall winner. Include some games with movement, like charades. Recognize your child when you notice them being patient on their turn, or being a good sport when things don’t go their way in a game.
What are activities I can do with my kids to improve their verbal skills?
Interactive play and conversation can help children develop their language and communication skills, as well as their social skills and ability to understand others' perspectives. A study published in the "Frontiers in Psychology" found that quality parent-child interaction can positively influence children's language development, including their vocabulary and grammar skills (Zhang, 2020).
Blow bubbles indoors or, if it’s not too rainy, out a window or doorway. Describe how the bubbles move, and how your child interacts with them.
Put together a scavenger hunt. Instead of naming a particular item, describe it in terms of color, shape, and how it’s used. This will get your child to think a bit harder, while also using their creativity– they might find an item that fits the description that you hadn’t thought of!
Try a science experiment, like making a “lava lamp” with oil, food coloring, and antacids in a plastic bottle. Talk through the instructions and terms that may be new to your child (and you!)
Start by writing “would you rather” questions for your child on separate pieces of paper, encouraging them to write down some of their own. Then, crumple all of the paper to make “snowballs.” Have a paper snowball fight, pausing every few seconds to pick up a snowball and answer the question inside.
What activities can I do with my kids to boost their social-emotional skills and social-emotional learning?
Set out two or three sets of toys and let your child choose what to play with. Follow along, playing with the same set.
Play the “feelings faces” game! Take turns making different faces and having the other person guess which emotion they are portraying. To extend the game, you can also draw different feelings.
Set a goal for building with blocks, Legos, or a puzzle and approach the challenge together. Practice the skill of collaboration, letting your child take the lead, and encourage them to build their frustration tolerance!
Create your own timed escape room challenge for friends or other family members to try. Your kids will have to race the clock while staying calm and working on a team with others.
Greenberg, Mark T., Carol A. Kusché, and Matthew Speltz. "Emotional regulation, self control, and psychopathology: The role of relationships in early childhood." Internalizing and externalizing expressions of dysfunction: Rochester symposium on developmental psychopathology. Vol. 2. (2014)
Jeynes, William H. "Effects of parental involvement and family structure on the academic achievement of adolescents." Marriage & Family Review 37.3 (2005)
Pellegrini, Anthony D., and Catherine M. Bohn. "The role of recess in children's cognitive performance and school adjustment." Educational researcher 34.1 (2005)
Zhang, Yue. "Quality matters more than quantity: Parent–Child communication and adolescents’ academic performance." Frontiers in Psychology11 (2020)