When the Weather Doesn’t Cooperate

There’s just something about yucky weather that makes the day feel different. So what do you do when the weather doesn’t cooperate?

Whether it’s too hot, too cold, too rainy, too windy – when the weather stinks, boredom somehow becomes magnified. Knowing that you won’t want to go outside can make even previously enjoyable activities just not enough. Here are some suggestions to keep inside play interesting.

AT HOME

You always have the option of crafts, and games, and so many other things. However for particularly active kids, especially, these may not be enough. To kick things up a notch, try these ideas:

  • Create an indoor obstacle course. From rope mazes to scurrying under tables to completing tasks before moving on, the possibilities are endless when it comes to obstacle courses. Challenge your child(ren) using some of the suggestions in these articles:
  • Build a crazy fort. Pick a room and add boxes, blankets, and more to create cozy nooks and secret hideouts. Let the kids use their imaginations to design and build the fort of their dreams.
  • Turn it into a competition. Whether it’s a dance off, a cooking contest, or a LEGO building competition, adding that extra element can make even humdrum activities more fun.
  • Bring outdoor activities inside. What do your children like to do outside? Is there a way you can bring it inside? Whether it’s playing soccer in the hallway (with, perhaps a lighter, softer ball), playing basketball with a laundry basket hoop, or creating a hopscotch board using masking tape, bringing some typically outdoor activities inside can make them even more fun that usual.
  • Play “the floor is lava.” My kids love this game, and there are many variations you can try out to add to the fun. Start with the simple concept that they have to move across the room and not touch the floor. Then mix things up by changing what they can and cannot touch – perhaps the lava is now spreading over the books or blankets they were using as stepping stones, or the floor is now the only safe thing. Ask your kids for suggestions on what to try next, and the game can keep going.
  • Break out the boxes. How many empty cardboard boxes do you have in your home? Give them to your kids! There are so many amazing things you can make with cardboard boxes, and sometimes the boxes themselves can be fun for kids. Boxes can become rockets, houses, forts, or cars. They can turn into maze tunnels, mailboxes, or pretend kitchens. The possibilities are endless! Here are some sites for inspiration:
  • Check out these articles for more great ideas:

OUT AND ABOUT

Unless it’s unsafe to leave your home, bad weather doesn’t mean you can’t go somewhere.

  • Museums. Connecticut has a wide variety of museums available to suit all interests, and several offer free days to help you take advantage of what they have to offer. A few are even free all the time – USS Nautilus Submarine, National Helicopter Museum, Yale Art Gallery. This summer, the state is also offering Summer at the Museum, to get Connecticut children 18 and under and one accompanying adult free admission to many museums within Connecticut. Your local library may also offer museums passes that can get you free admission to museums in the area. Most libraries that offer museums passes don’t limit their use to just that town’s residents, so if your library doesn’t offer one that you’re interested in, check other libraries in the area for availability.
  • Libraries. Most libraries are now open at least part time, and, while toys and games are likely still safely tucked away, just getting out of the house can help against cabin fever! While you’re there, snag some books for a story time or DIY book club, DVDs for a movie marathon, or CDs for a dance competition.
  • Play outside anyway. Even if you can’t do the activities you normally would, working with the weather instead of complaining about it can make a typically dreary day an extra fun one.
    • Too hot? Put the sprinkler on or have a water balloon fight (or try these other activity ideas from Namco Pool).
    • Raining? Splash in puddles, make mud pies, and hunt for worms (or try these other rainy day activities from Very Well Family).
    • Windy? Make and fly a kite (or try other suggestions from Creative STAR Learning).
    • Too cold? Bundle up and explore anyway (and check out these ideas from Happy Grey Lucky).

Possibilities are truly endless! What does your family enjoy during less-than-ideal weather?

Learn Something New

Beat summer slide and have fun as a family by learning something new!

EXPLORE A TOPIC

Tap into a passion by taking an online course or exploring on your own. Whether your child is into dinosaurs or art, math or magic, you’ll find something to enjoy. Here are some great sources for free educational content:

LEARN A NEW SKILL

With the World Wide Web, information on any topic is easily accessible. That means learning a new skill is right at your fingertips. Check out the sites below for some ideas.

What is your child interested in learning? Let me know, and I’ll find some great resources!

VISIT A MUSEUM

The Connecticut Summer at the Museum program has opened the doors for many families to explore new and interesting places this summer. Children 18 and under, plus one accompanying adult, can get free admission to a wide variety of museums and educational sites around the state. To learn more about the program, visit their website.

You can also take a tour without leaving your couch! Check out this list of virtual tours and field trips.

Never stop learning, and never stop having fun! Stimulate your brain, and you’ll always find something new to discover.

Explore and Investigate

Kids love to explore the world around them. Encourage this exploration with activities and suggestions, or by taking them to new places to discover.

IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD

You don’t have to go far to find an amazing, exciting world. Check out these interesting activities (and websites that can help you get started) that can be done right around your home. Don’t worry about buying any equipment if you don’t have it already on hand. Encourage children to use their senses, and perhaps any items they find around your home.

Don’t be afraid to let your children take the lead. What is captivating their attention? What do they want to explore or learn more about? The library can be a great resource for investigating a new subject. You can also search the web for more information on any topic that strikes their fancy.

GO SOMEWHERE NEW

The “Summer at the Museum” program that was introduced this month is a great opportunity to check out local (and not-so-local) museums around the state. Heading to a new location can offer new ways to explore – and new topics that you and your children may have never otherwise discovered. Museums that cover animals, science, art, history, and more are included in the program. Try something new and see what sparks an interest in your child!

Parks, trails, and other natural areas can offer opportunities to explore and investigate, as well. Even a visit to the local splash pad can be educational, as children learn what happens when water comes shooting out of the ground! Bring a bucket or ball for the water to interact with, and see what your children discover.

KEEP IT OPEN-ENDED

Sometimes the biggest discoveries happen by accident, or simply by asking yourself “I wonder what would happen if…” Rather than preparing “lessons” or structured activities, encourage your children to be scientists and see what happens. Give them supplies and ask questions, or just suggest that they find new ways of doing things, or new purposes for items. Ask open-ended questions to get them thinking, such as:

  • How many uses can you find for a spoon, other than scooping up soup or ice cream?
  • What items would float in water? What items would dissolve?
  • What shape would make the best paper airplane?
  • Can you combine two things to make something new?

While many of these activities are more science-themed in nature, they can also lead to artistic creations. However your child chooses to explore the world around them, encourage them to keep thinking outside the box to investigate and discover. And don’t underestimate the power of lying on your back, staring at the sky, and making shapes with clouds. Looking at things in a new way can be a great way of opening your mind to new possibilities. Have fun exploring!