If it seems like your toddler is climbing the walls when the rain pours down, rest assured, you can make indoor activities just as fun as an outdoor adventure on a jungle gym. With some creativity and entertaining activities, those raindrops won’t put a damper on your day. Use this time to bond with your curious little one and spend some quality time with your toddler while engaging in rainy day projects.
Rainy Day Reading
There is something soothing about cuddling on the couch reading a book while the rain splatters on the windows. Calm your toddler and connect on an intellectual level while reading a book together. Roei Siman-Tov, founder of the Sparkup Magical Book Reader, recommends reading and recording the original “Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss, which tells the story of two siblings stuck inside on a rainy afternoon with a cat who shows them just how much fun they can have.
“Parents can flip the pages and record the story together, adding their very own personal touches and sound effects,” says Siman-Tov. “Even if toddlers are too young to read on their own, they can still participate in the recording and build confidence in their nascent reading abilities.”
Compile a Photo Book
Whether your toddler loves to be in front of the camera or behind the lens, put her to work snapping pictures for a customized photo book. Create your own scrapbook or photo album to showcase your rainy day activities. Or, shuffle through a box of family photos or old photo albums to show your toddler extended family and friends.
“This activity lets parents and toddlers ‘visit’ relatives and friends who may live far away or have passed on,” says Siman-Tov. “Parents can relive special memories and experiences, and share them with their kids. Parents can also point out to toddlers people and places in the photos and share anecdotes.”
Imagine the giggles coming from your toddler when she sees your baby pictures or infamous prom photo.
Wet and Wild Home Projects
Who says you have to clean alone with a toddler around? Get your little one active indoors by delegating some duties he can handle, such as using a squeegee on the shower or wiping down furniture. Make dusting and cleaning fun by putting on music, racing through chores with a timer or playing peek-a-boo with your spunky toddler while wiping down mirrors.
Toddlers love to help mom and dad to establish independence. You will be amazed how excited and grown up he may feel when he is allowed to use his own spray bottle.
What child doesn’t love to be mommy or daddy’s little helper? Break out some child-safe tools and a small hammer so your little one can help with home repairs. A small child can help build a birdhouse or a wood frame to put on display. With mom and dad’s supervision, he can also learn to use a screwdriver and even help build a new toy box.
Add some paint to the mix and your toddler will be so pleased with himself when his construction project is complete that he won’t even mind that he missed out on a day outside.
Create Delicious Dishes
Make a feast you both can enjoy without the pain of slaving over a hot stove by yourself. Get your toddler involved, recommends Lisa Kathleen, Canada-based founder of Full Circle Parenting and former Montessori teacher.
Kitchen tools such as a cherry pitter, watermelon baller or egg slicer are great for toddlers to work with, she says. You can make cherry pie, fruit salad or egg salad together.
“By age three, a child who has practiced can likely crack and peel the egg, rinse it, slice it in two directions, then add mayo, salt and pepper and put on toast, all by him or herself,” says Kathleen.
Make Story Books
If your toddler won’t sit still long enough to listen to you read a book, why not have her create her own? “Parents and toddlers can make up their own story or create versions of one of their favorites,” says Siman-Tov.
Take a blank notebook, markers, crayons, a glue stick and cutouts from old magazines and make your own book together. Add some technology by recording an audio or video scene from the book for your toddler to watch on future rainy days.
“Parents and toddlers can share the bond of creativity together with this project,” says Siman-Tov. “They will create something together both tangible and audible while exercising their story telling muscles.”