“When life gives you a rainy day, play in the puddles.” This is a quote by one of my favourite cartoons of the 70’s – Winniethe Pooh. We all have memories of sneaking out of the house right when it would start raining and did not care about falling sick or getting splashed.

Times have changed though. As parents, we tend to get quite worried when our kids have gotten wet in the showers because falling ill is a major concern. However, play is important to children as it facilitates learning in many ways and we shouldn’t take that away from them irrespective of weather.

Now, how can kids engage in play even when it is raining? The tiny tots are sure to throw a tantrum to go out. This is when you as parents need to be ready with some really fun and engaging activities indoors.

 

Here’s a draft of top 10 activities you can do at home with their advantages:

#1. Water-play: It’s surely difficult to divert kids from wanting to play in the puddles outside. Set up an alternative water play at home. You could help them collect rain water in a tub or bucket from your balcony. Teach them to make paper boats and float them in the tub. This can be quite engaging and can keep the kids busy for an hour or two. Take caution to supervise your child if he/she is less than 4 years of age.

Advantages: Fine motor skills, water-play is therapeutic for the mind

 

 

#2. Rain-painting: This one is rather easy and fun for adults too. Grab a thick sheet of paper or cardboard. Open a set of water paints. Ask your child to dip his fingers into different shades and make spots all over the sheet of paper. While it is still wet, assist your child to hold this paper outside a window or balcony and let the raindrops make art. Quickly rush inside and teach your child to make different designs with their bare fingers. You can trace shapes, animals or letters. If you manage to keep this sheet from tearing, you could even frame your child’s art in their bedroom.

Advantages: Fine motor skills, learning concepts related to school academics – numbers, letters, shapes), budding artist 😉

 

 

#3. Card or board games: What’s a better time than this weather to dust off your board game sets and get all ready for some fun? Games like Crossword, Dobble, Ludo, Snakes & Ladder, Monopoly, Chess, Carom and different puzzles with sand timers are available in the market. I personally recommend Dobble – you can buy it on Amazon. This is the best way to avoid TV and games on mobile/tab but your involvement is much needed!

Advantages: Cognitive development, decision-making, patience, avoiding screen-time, visual learning, attention-span increases

 

#4. Twister: Exercise takes a back seat when you cannot step out. The best way to keep your kid and yourself fit indoors is playing Twister with your little one. Buy the Twister chart from the market. It typically has big coloured circles in red, blue, green and yellow. You need to spin the wheel and start with placing your limb on the colour it shows. This continues till you manage to twist your body in different ways to touch the colour spots on the chart with your entire body. Whoever falls first or makes a mistake is out. It’s a fun way to exercise and laugh at all the silliness with the entire family. Don’t forget to stretch before you start. Check these links and learn how to play Twister:

  • Fun way to watch your child play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FL7VDdvXk4
  • Playing with many participants with all rules: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A5XO0udmdo

Advantages: Fine & gross motor skills, body co-ordination, multi-tasking, flexibility, learning persistence, gaining physical strength, making swift and smart decisions

 

#5. Art & Craft: This is the best time to stay indoors, sip on a big mug of hot chocolate and teach your kids some art and craft activities. Art can involve painting with hands and feet such as finger painting, finger tracing, colouring, drawing a rainy day scenery, etc. Craft can include a host of activities like making birthday cards for friends, making Ganesha idols out of play dough as the festival is just around the corner, making a snail out of paper plates, making rainbows out of newspaper or magazine cut-outs, etc. You can even collect all the childhood photographs and teach how to make a collage for your child’s bedroom. Refer to this link for more ideas with videos: http://www.kidsstoppress.com/2014/08/7-craft-ideas-for-kids-this-week-monsoon-special/

Advantages: Fine & gross motor skills, learning patience, imagination and creativity increases

 

 

#6. Kitchen-kitchen:Bring out the chef in your child by baking or cooking things from scratch. The best way to spend time with kids is to involve them in the kitchen. Teach your kids to make different shapes with cookie-dough and you can bake them for snacks. You can teach them to sort a bag of assorted vegetables and put them into different baskets. You can also teach them how to wash all fruits and vegetables before cooking. Monitoring your kids during these activities is very important so that they don’t hurt themselves.

Advantages: Learning basic cleanliness skills, fine motor skills, organizing skills

 

 

#7.Story time: The best way to cosy up indoors in the monsoons is to grab a book. But how can we make reading fun for kids? As it is, kids love story time. Jazz this up by making a tent in your balcony or bedroom using bedcovers. You can hook the four ends of a bedcover to furniture or set it up like a tent using wooden/metal poles which are safe to use with your child inside. Make the space comfortable using pillows, cushions and teddy bears. Huddle up inside and read to your child. Some of my childhood favourites are books by Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss.

Advantages: Language development, reading habit, vocabulary expands

 

 

 

 

#8. Indoor gardening: Help your child to dig up some wet brown soil from your society garden when it is not raining. You can gather this up into a small bowl or pot and help your child to plant coriander seeds, tomato seeds, garlic pods, etc. Teach them how to dig and cover the seeds with soil and water. Give them 2 to 3 time slots during which they have to water these pots every day. When kids are taught how to care for something that is less capable than themselves, they learn how to love and care for each other too. Gardening also teaches patience which many children of this generation lack.

Advantages: Learning to care for others, patience, be responsible & independent

 

 

#9.Blindfold: This can be played with the entire family or you may invite your child’s friend circle at home. All you need is a dupatta to blindfold one child and a big room with enough space for the other children to run around. When the child with the blindfold catches someone, they have to guess their names. This game can become a lot of fun but needs to be monitored by an adult from time to time to avoid fights or someone getting hurt.

Advantages: Communication skills, learning to identify each other

 

#10. Hopscotch: Place 10 plastic cups or bowls in a square on the floor and label them with numbers 1 to 10. You have to call out the number of the bowl and your child has to throw a small pebble into the cup from a distance which you may decide. You can play this with all family members and your points keep increasing with every successful attempt of throwing the pebble correctly into the cup/bowl.

Advantages: Spatial/visual development, fine & gross motor control

 

Allowing our children to play is their right but monitoring what and how they play is our duty. While you try these games out, keep monitoring your children to avoid an accident.Some of these games can be played outdoors too but wear protective raingear and gumboots to avoid falling sick.

 

So dear parents, it is about time we stop giving our children all the fancy screens to play online games or watch cartoons! Let’s replace their TV, mobile and tab time COMPLETELY with these fun activities. It will bring back your childhood days too, hence your involvement is a must!

 

~ Ophelia Lobo

Behavioural Counsellor, GIIS, Chinchwad

August 2017

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