We all love spending time outdoors for a dose of fresh air. Sometimes, however, living in the tropics means we may have to stay in, no thanks to the sticky, blistering heat or swollen rain clouds. Children bursting with energy love the outdoors, so make sure these energies are channelled productively.
To keep the chants of “I’m bored!” at bay, here’s a backup plan for a rainy day.
Rainy Day tip #1: The Balloon Game
I don’t know many children who don’t love balloons, so they’re the perfect tool to keep toddlers amused. The ‘Don’t Let the Balloon Touch the Floor’ game is a favourite in our home. The name says it all -for as long as possible, take turns to keep the balloon up in the air without touching the ground. Variations include having them count how many times they can hit it either by themselves or back and forth to each other. Bump up the challenge factor for older kids by either having one hand tied behind their back or have them juggle more than one balloon at a time.
Rainy day tip #2: Mini Picasso
Throw on some old clothes that are okay to be stained and pull out some non-toxic paint. Next, grab some brushes and palettes and unleash your wee ones’ inner Van Gogh. Use fingers and toes for some squishy, wet play or cut up vegetables and fruit to make pretty stamps. Oranges, lemons, bitter gourd and ladies’ fingers make for cute patterns, and bubs will love the sensorial experience.
Rainy Day tip #3: Scavenger Hunt
Make a list of 10-15 things and send your tots off on a merry hunt around the house. List precise items to make it exciting and clear especially for toddlers. “Your favourite book”, “A blue shirt” and “Your red spoon” are some suggestions to get you going. For older siblings, try “Something starting with the letter ‘T'” or “A book about a train”, then set the timer and go!
Rainy Day tip #4: Disco Days
Hook up your speakers, slip your dancing shoes on and throw an impromptu party right in your living room. Put together a kids’ playlist and hit the dance floor! Let the mini performers do their own thing and if your child star wants to lead, go ahead and follow their moves. Little happy feet will love grooving to catchy beats like ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’ and ‘Try Everything’. Energy spent, heart rates up, calories burnt. Everyone wins.
Rainy Day tip #5: Bowling with Cups
All you need are paper cups, tape and a couple of balls to create your own bowling alley. Start by sticking two long strips of tape running parallel to each other on the floor, about 3 feet apart. At one end line the cups up on top of each other in the shape of a pyramid and you’re ready to play. Don’t forget to keep a score sheet!
Rainy Day tip #6: Lego Colour Hunt
If like us, you have a huge Lego enthusiast at home, you probably have tons of Lego bricks. Select 4 pieces of coloured paper and gather 10 Lego pieces to match each colour ie. 10 green bricks for a piece of green paper. This is similar to a treasure hunt except that the kids need to find the hidden Lego and return it to the matching coloured sheet. All you need to do is hide the pieces and start the clock. Don’t forget to tell the kids how many bricks to look out for so they can keep track of their recovered loot.
TIP: To even the playing field, use bigger Duplo pieces for toddlers and regular bricks for bigger kids and tell them each can only pick their own. This way everyone gets a chance to find the same amount.
Playing outside on a nice, bright day might top the favourites list but indoor play can also be fun. With a bit of imagination and minimal tools, time inside doesn’t need to be boring for energetic kids or their mamas. Enjoy!
By Annabelle Josef
Annabelle Josef is a girl from KL who married the best guy she knows and lives with him and their two little folk in the neighbouring red dot of Singapore. Between school runs, swim classes and building Lego, she’s posting on Instagram, weaving dreams and working on her next travel adventures.