Rainy day keeping you inside? Here are some fun activities to keep the kids busy and amused:
~ Roll out a piece of butcher paper (or for little kids, sometimes a length of wallpaper or something similar will work too). Have the child lie down and trace around them with a pencil. Let them add facial features and clothing and hair. They can use paints, markers, crayons or even glue on scraps of paper, felt, fabric, leftover buttons, and more. This can be a fun activity to do periodically so that you can compare their growth over time.
~ Do a progressive drawing. This can be done in the style of the Exquisite Corpse where the paper is folded in three and one person draws the head and then the next does the torso (without looking at the head) and so on. http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/the-exquisite-corpse/ Or you can simply have one person draw a line on the page. Pass it to the next and have them add another line. Keep passing around, each person making only one line at a time until a picture develops out of it.
~ My cousin Vicki and I used to love to make paper dolls from magazines and catalogues. We would cut out figures of people and mount them on scrap cardboard. Then we’d use scrap paper to design clothes for them, complete with little tabs to put them on the paper dolls with. Sometimes we really liked some of the outfits we found in the magazines too so we’d use those in place of our own designs. We’d even find furniture and other items and create entire scenes for these figures! Lots of fun and other than scissors and glue, it uses recyclable materials.
~ Make your own puzzles. Print out copies of family photos or photos from favourite outings and then have the kids glue them onto pieces of thin cardboard. Or they could draw their own pictures to use instead. Once the glue has dried, they can use scissors to cut them up into pieces. Trade the puzzles and try assembling each other’s!
~ Assemble 3D shapes, buildings, and so on from toothpicks joined together with a soft but firm candy like gumdrops or with mini marshmallows. For older kids, you can even turn this into a geometry lesson discussing the differences between edges and vertices, how many are present in each type of design, and so on. Of course, part of the fun is eating the candy/marshmallows when all finished creating the designs!
~ How about having a balloon race? There are several ways of doing this. You can tape a piece of a drinking straw onto a balloon and then feed a piece of string through this. Attach the string at both ends onto chairs or something similar so that the string is stretched across the room. Do this for each participant. They can’t touch the balloons but have to race them to the finish by blowing. Or you can have them put the balloon on a wooden spoon or make a “paddle” out of a bent coat hanger covered with an old piece of pantyhose – they can only touch the balloon with their implement and nothing else and if it touches the floor, they’re out. Again, they have to get it to a finish line first!
~ Have the kids make and decorate some fish out of cardboard scraps (thin) or construction paper or something like that. Use some sort of stick – a yardstick or branch or anything that can function as a fishing pole. Attach paper clips to the fish and attach a string with a magnet on it to the fishing pole. The kids can have tons of fun with their indoor fishing pond! I used to do this in my classroom by making it into an educational game by putting letters or numbers on the fish or making them each a different colour and asking the kids to fish for a particular one – “Catch the fish with the number 7 on it!” Or they could catch two fish with numbers on them and then they had to add them together and so on.
~ Have the kids cut out pictures of people and things from magazines or junk mail and glue these onto index cards or pieces of cardboard to make a deck of story cards. Decide on a number – let’s say 5 – and have each child draw 5 cards from the deck. They then are to come up with a story that uses those 5 elements in it. Or you could draw the cards and then collaboratively work on a story. How about then making a picture book about it? Or doing a play?
~ Let the kids decorate and embellish 10 toilet paper tubes – or plastic bottles – or something of that sort. They can then set them up as bowling pins and use a small ball to knock them down. If you want, you can even use things like pillows to create bumpers and define a bowling lane.
~ Have you ever played that arcade game where you try to control a mechanical arm to pick up some kind of prize? Well this is that same kind of idea. Find some small toys and set them up on a table or the floor and have kids use BBQ tongs to pick them up. Once they have the hang of that, make it more challenging. Put the items in a box with an opening cut into it – they have to try to get the toy out through the opening without dropping it. You can have them do this blindfolded or within a time limit to make it even more challenging.
There you have it! Ten more ideas for fun activities – this time ones that can be done inside on a dreary rainy summer day!