run out of womb

... learning how to be a mum from scratch

Wednesday 29 June 2016

16 rainy day (indoor) activities with a baby or toddler

So the season's called summer but don't let that fall you: August is one of the UK's wettest months. On a recent day of downpour my busy tiny man wasn't happy to just 'play' so we got active. Here's what we got up to - and let me know in the comments if you've got some great wet day play ideas - looks like we might need them....

* Make garden soup - in between the rainy spells, I pulled on these (brilliant) JoJo Maman Bebe overalls onto tiny man, popped some wellies on and we went to get messy. We've an empty big plant pot that had filled with water; tiny man added some leaves and grass and used a stick to stir it up: garden soup fun. Just watch out for attempts at worm-eating... they come and play too in the after-wet-weather...

* Dancing. Babies' music doesn't have to just be Twinkle Twinkle etc. We often like to dance around the room - and if tiny man is growing up with just as deep an appreciation for S Club 7 as I did, well... reach for the stars.

* Make a tent - might sound like an older kid's game, but tiny man loves sitting under a sheet draped over a few chairs with me! He'll play with all his usual toys, we'll sit and read, he loves playing with a flashing torch, and peepo is an obvious bonus.

* Plastic bowls - I was struggling to get any cooking done until I did a kitchen reshuffle, put all my plastic and metal mixing bowls and spoons in a big, low drawer and... left tiny man to it. He can play with this for an hour - seriously! I think he might think he's being a bit mischeivious, so there's extra appeal... Tupperaware boxes, kids' crockery, etc all works well. My new strategy is to wash the contents of this drawer just before I need to use it...

* Playdough: we didn't have any in the house (and it was pouring: shopping NO THANKS) but I found a super-easy recipe to make your own tiny man loved helping stir it up. Then I popped him into his high-chair with its washable detatchable plastic tray (Baby Bjorn's brilliant one) and he sat prodding, throwing, shaping and only once trying to taste the dough (he got a tiny bit in before I stopped him, but luckily he hated it.. v salty.. soon stopped that!). You can wrap the dough in a plastic bag and put it into a Kilner - mine's into its third week of happy usage.

* Play TV-making. Tiny man is fascinated by watching himself on an iPhone video - so sometimes I record him laughing / playing / walking and then we watch it back. Also pretty cute when we swap with friends and he points at his chums in videos. Works well with Facetime too - he loves laughing and 'chatting' to my friends and his, and family near and far.

* Make some rainbow spaghetti - saw this online and it looks so pretty - but does require some advance cooking effort.

* Do some shape-sorting with different kinds of dried pasta, measuring cups, and spoons. Different coloured and different shaped pastas are best. And yes, they'll try to eat them!

* Make a treasure hunt / play hide and seek: use a favourite toy - we use tiny man's fave teddy,  and hide him somewhere tricky but visible - eg in the bookcase, under the cot, poking out of a drawer- and sometimes somewhere really high like above the curtain rail - he finds it hilarious when the bear 'climbs' so high up! 

* Read. Not such an unusual activity, sure, but rainy days mean you have time to sit and get through a pile of books rather than rushing at bedtime - I've put a pile on the floor next to our rocking chair so tiny man picks his fave reads (or the ones that look most chewable..) and sits on my lap for a 'boo' as he calls them.

* Make a baby obstacle course, with pillows / cushions / duvets / tunnel etc for your baby to totally ignore negotiate to the end. 

* Form a band. No need for drums n bass... just grab a mixing bowl, wooden spoon, (put rice in an old water bottle if you're feeling really creative), can also use food like an onion / carrot etc... and watch your baby become the next Mozart. (Ear plugs optional).

* Pile up some cardboard boxes. H O U R S * OF * F U N. Tiny man goes in them, under them, through them... if he looks like he's tiring of them I make some holes in the side and become 'box mama', dancing around like, uh, someone with a former-Pampers-nappies' box on their head..

* Cleaning! Two of tiny man's favourite toys are the broom, and the hoover head part. He loves shuffling these around the floor, and if your baby sees you cleaning he/she will think that's super fun too - just give them a clean rag and a water spray and you're training them for the future as well as having fun...

* YouTube. Nah, not Peppa Pig - that's for a future we haven't yet reached - but if your babe has an interest, you'll find videos of it here. Ideas include ducks in ponds, airplanes flying/taking off, diggers on construction sites, dogs, etc. This is an entire video of ducks and dogs: baby gold-dust.

* Day-bath: bath-time is always fun but sometimes ruined by tiredness.. So have a day-one: play fun music (to distinguish from night-time routine), put kitchen/plastic gadgets etc into the water rather than the usual bath times and enjoy the splashing.

What are your favourite rainy-day activities? Please share below.

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