Rainy Day Fun

umbrellaHere in Pennsylvania we’re caught in what feels like monsoon season, as is much of the country.  It’s hot, humid and raining buckets!  On these dreary days I get bored.  This is crazy because I have a ton of work, lots of hobbies, and of course there’s always cleaning, but rainy days zap my energy and fog my brain.  This morning I found myself wondering what I would do if we still had children at home.  I broke out in a sweat thinking about how I would entertain little people.  If I’m bored, think how they must feel not being able to play outdoors.  So, I put on my thinking cap to see what I could come up with.

We all have the tendency to plunk kids down in front of the TV or hand them an I-Pad.  Resist that urge and be creative. Hopefully, one of the following ideas will fit your family.

My first thought is always reading.  Snuggle up and read to your small children and hopefully you’ll all end up taking a long nap.  Encourage older children to read by offering a reward for the number of chapters they read in one day or a very special reward for the number of books they read over the summer.  If your child already enjoys reading, you have no challenge and many hours to yourself.


Board games actually seem to be gaining in popularity and are fun for the entire family. Start a Monopoly marathon.  Set the game up in an area where it can be left for days without being in the way.  Call in the neighborhood kids, provide some snacks, and you have the afternoon to yourself.

Have contests of who can put a puzzle together the fastest.  Jigsaw puzzles come in all ability levels and are great for long hours of working together as a family.

Spend a few hours teaching and/or learning a new skill with your older children.  Sewing, knitting, crochet, origami, tying fishing flies, trying a new recipe…the sky’s the limit.

Bake cookies together and/or let them help with meal preparations.


How about that treadmill or exercise bike that’s been gathering dust or pretending to be a clothes tree?  Clean if off and take turns exercising.

Make your own play dough!  This is an old favorite of ours.  Once the play dough is made, dig into kitchen drawers for a rolling pin, pasta cutter, cookie cutters, canape cutters.  A ricer makes great stringy hair for play dough animals and people. You can find all kinds of tools similar to the ones in play dough kits.

Homemade Play Dough

1 c flour

1/2 c salt

1 T oil

3 T cream of tartar

1 c water

Food coloring if desired

play dough

Heat and stir all ingredients until it can’t be stirred any longer and forms a ball.  It will still feel very sticky.  Allow the dough to cool thoroughly and then knead.    Divide as desired and knead in food coloring.  For a little extra pizzazz knead in some glitter. Play dough is nontoxic and can be stored in an airtight container for quite a while.

Turn on some music and dance with your children like nobody is watching.dancing

Set-up a “salon” where girls can do manicures, pedicures, and give each other new hairdos.  Moms can join in as well.  Great time to corral the little girl who hates to have her hair washed.

Pull out that old suitcase with dress-up clothes and jewelry.  If you don’t have one, this is a good time to clean-out closets and make a dress-up box.  Old costume jewelry is a favorite and don’t forget old shoes…a must.

If it’s your only day off and you have to run errands, call your local craft stores to see if they are offering any summer craft days for kids.  These are usually very inexpensive and sometimes free.  Drop the kids for a few hours while you get your errands done.

Have an indoor scavenger hunt.

Have the kids write a play and then perform it after supper.

Be prepared to offer rewards to get the kids interested…unloading the dishwasher or cleaning a bathroom.  Just kidding, but surprisingly if you catch a child at the right age they actually think it’s fun.  It took very little to convince my Goddaughter to dust the intricate design on the legs of my antique sewing machine.  I don’t think I could get away with that today.

Seriously, rewards work, can be fun, and don’t need to be expensive.  Let them bank minutes for TV and video games for future use.  You will still need to monitor what they are watching or playing, and the time should be limited on the day they use their points.  A trip to the ice cream store, library or perhaps a visit to a local amusement or historical site that you have never gotten around to doing.  A picnic in a local park or even the backyard…they do need to eat.  Let them add-up points toward a new item of clothing, a special toy or school supplies.

I keep a very small, decorated suitcase (the kind you see in craft stores) with “prizes” sometimes just for being good or sitting still for a few minutes.  This suitcase is filled with all kinds of “nothing.”  Dollar store trinkets, stickers that came in the mail free, old jewelry, freebies given away at stores and restaurants, and coupon books to fast food restaurants.  Many of these items I would normally throw away but kids are happy with surprisingly simple things.

girl in window

Plan ahead for the next rainy day by picking up craft kits when you see them.  These go on sale frequently and can be had for pennies on the dollar.  Try different crafts, your kids are bound to find something they enjoy and then the next rainy day will be a lot easier.

If all else fails…send them to grandmas!

rainy poem




Dollhouses, memories and more has been nominated for the Encouraging Thunder Blog Award.

Thank you Deanie Humphries-Dunne!


Hopefully, you will have less real thunder and more creative thunder at your house.

Copy and paste the link below to your browser to see the book trailer for Emerson’s Attic, The Blue Velvet.