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« Guest Post: Why Kids Ruin My TV | Main | For Japan With Love »

Rain, Rain Go Away: Top Tips for Indoor Play 

The Weather Channel is not my friend. This week’s forecast looks grim—five or so days of incessant rain and temperatures that won’t top the low 60s. Ugh. This is NOT what I signed up for when I moved to the always-perfect Mediterranean climate of Los Angeles.

While I can appreciate that these spring floods downpour showers will enhance my green garden and, even better, relieve any worries about summer drought, I’m never excited by the possibility of staying indoors indefinitely (unless of course there’s a Flipping Out marathon on TV, which unfortunately is not the most kid-friendly form of entertainment). Because the Little Dude and I thrive on sunshine and our outdoor adventures, we have to make a concerted effort to fight monotony and cabin fever. To ensure that I don’t become Ms. Cranky Mommy Pants and that the Little Dude doesn’t go stir crazy, here are our top rainy day/indoor activities:

1. Roll Modeling. The Little Dude and I enjoy whipping up this easy DIY version of the famous modeling clay, Play-Doh, which is a great medium to encourage imaginative play. We roll the colorful dough into truffle-sized balls, build caterpillars and rainbow snowmen, and stretch, pound and sometimes throw the homemade clay.

2. Top Chef Junior. As I’m sure you’re aware, the Little Dude delights in making new culinary creations so we turn to this lovely book and cook up yummy and healthy eats. The Little Dude not only has tons of fun using his mixing spoon and measuring cups, but he truly benefits from the developmentally appropriate instructions which detail the steps of the recipe through simple illustrations that he can easily match with the real ingredients.

{the resident artist preparing to sketch railroad territory}

3. All Aboard. The Little Dude’s favorite book—Kevin Lewis’s Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo—served as the inspiration for adapting these two rainy day activities that I learned of from Tokketok (via A Cup of Jo) and Rookie Moms. Using construction paper or a deconstructed Trader Joe’s bag, we draw a railroad track and scenery that captures his current interests, such as birds, flowers, dogs, and other animals, and then have fun rolling his trains and trucks over the illustration. Similarly, we use painter’s tape to mark a railroad track on our floor that the Little Dude can follow as he pushes along or rides his Alphabet Train.

4. A Friendly Visit. A rainy day provides the perfect excuse for calling up a girlfriend and arranging a play date at each other’s homes. Our children enjoy the change of scenery and playing with their friends’ toys, which seem fresh and new compared to their respective stash at home.

{exploring the wheels on the bus at the children's museum}

5. Children’s Museums. Not only do we venture out to wander the galleries of our beloved LACMA, but we always make it a habit to stop by the Zimmer Children’s Museum when we need to stretch our legs (and minds) while staying dry. This quaint museum’s two exhibit-filled floors are perfect in size and space for the wee ones, who can explore the insides of an airplane, serve up food in a miniature deli, roll around in a bounce house, ride in an ambulance, or splish splash when sending boats down the canals of the water table. Next on our list is the Star Eco Station, where the Little Dude can learn about wildlife and the environment through hands-on lessons and tours.

What are your parent-tested-kid-approved rainy day activities? Are there any that take advantage of what you have at home and/or are free? Please share!

~ The Other (Under the Weather) Sarah

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Reader Comments (3)

My baby isn't big enough to truly enjoy those type of trips. But I feel your LA rain pain. It makes traveling and running errands with a child absolute hell!

March 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrealanonymousgirl2011

Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog.
Have a nice day!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterveronica lee

We love to do puzzles and build our train sets in multiple arrangements, and Play-doh is always a winner. A recent development for us has been Wii. I realize this is a video game, but swordplay on the Wii Sports Resort is SO AWESOME for my 7 year-old and almost 4 year-old boys. Exercise and sword-fighting = an hour or so of NO FIGHTING and NO WRESTLING between the two of them. They even team up when they get a particularly difficult adversary -- so fun for me to watch!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

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