HAPPY JULY 1st!! I love the first of a month. This month is particularly exciting because it is the month when I FINALLY get to reveal my new brand to everyone! Mark your calendars because the HUGE brand reveal and online party with giveaways and contests is happening on July 17!!
Gone are the exciting first summer days of June (or April if you live in Texas) in exchange for the steamy dog days of summer in July! If you’re like me, you may have been googling “How to entertain your children indoors” a lot lately! Even though we made an exciting adventure-filled “Bucket List” at the beginning of the summer, I still find myself searching for last minute rainy day activities. I wish “July Courtney” could go have a chat with optimistic “End-of-May Courtney” and tell her to have realistic expectations for the summer bucket list. “July Courtney” wishes things like “stay in pajamas all day,” and “play the quiet game for 2 hours,” were on the list but instead we have been to the Zoo, the Science Museum, and the trampoline park just in the last week! (I actually do love adventuring and have plenty of tips for filling your days with excursions, but man am I wiped out!)
So here are 10 of my favorite things to do with my kids on a rainy summer day, plus some additional resources at the end for even more great ideas.
My kids L-O-V-E to help me bake! It is the ultimate combination of sensory play, science experiments, and math practice (hello fractions)! It is also a great way to teach your children to have a servant’s heart. Some of the things that made it on our summer bucket list are “Make cookies for fire-fighters” and “Bake treats for neighbors.” And it does NOT have to be elaborate, cut out sugar cookies or be worthy of the British Baking show. One of our favorite things to “bake” are no-bake energy balls. Mary Ellen over at Milk ‘n Honey Nutrition has tons of great recipes to make with your kids!
2. MAKE SOCK PUPPETS/HAVE A PUPPET SHOW
This one usually follows a marathon laundry day where I end up with 38577236 lost socks. I dump out a huge basket of socks in the living room and let the kids go to town matching pairs. Whatever doesn’t have a pair (within reason-you moms KNOW there are some stragglers that have been sticking around for a while) get turned into sock puppets for a puppet show. You could just use markers, but its not hard to find things around the house that make great puppet accessories like old yarn, string, buttons, pom-poms, popsicle sticks, etc. Have some prompts ready to help spark your kids’ imaginations with their puppet show. Here are some ideas:
– beach day for puppets
– puppets visit a sick friend at the hospital
– puppets go on a cruise around the world
– puppet goes to school
3. BUILD A GIANT FORT
I’m pretty sure everyone did this as a kid, but you forget how entertaining it is until its 10 AM, raining, and you’ve already watched 3 episodes of PawPatrol. We grab blankets, chairs, ottomans, tents…anything we can think of, and get to work. It usually incorporates some sort of problem solving element and cooperation to work together while we’re building but my kids have been known to stay and play in their forts all day! BONUS element of “who can put away more blankets than mom in 10 minutes?” to help clean up the fort. Sidebar- not sure that’s the healthiest way to motivate my children but what can I say? Griffins are competitive.
4. HAVE A PILLOW FIGHT
This one has ALMOST transpired organically a few times already this summer when my big kids were asked to help me make the beds, but when there’s not actual aggression to be let out, its a super fun way to “break the rules.” We will grab all the pillows in the house and line the perimeter of the living room, turn on some dance music, and let everyone have a pillow for “play-fighting.” This is not recommended if your children are in a particularly bicker-y mood!! It usually turns into a dance party and we have (yet) to sustain any pillow fighting injuries.
5. HAVE AN INDOOR PICNIC
It is the SAME FOOD we eat at the kitchen table, but for some reason when you put a blanket on the floor of the living room and call it an “Inside Picnic” it is infinitely more exciting for kids. Next time my kids are bothering one another but I need a quiet activity, I plan to set out separate blankets and pretend each one is a car at a drive-in, have a picnic and call it a “drive-in movie picnic.”
6. BOARD GAME MARATHON
This one is pretty self-explanatory but adding words that emote like “marathon” can take an afternoon of “I guess we’ll play some board games” and turn it into a fun memory.
7. SHAVE CREAM PAINTING
When I added this to our summer bucket list, I had intended to make puffy paint with shave cream and glue, but knew that if I got desperate I could always hand each kid a can of $1 shave cream in the bath and call it “painting.” It turns out – “shave cream painting” could mean one of 3 different things:
– painting with shave cream in the bath (easy)
– make puffy paint by mixing equal parts of shave cream and Elmers glue. Add food coloring and mix then paint with a brush on paper!
– shave cream marbling (what we ended up doing last month!) If you do this, I recommend using a disposable lasagna tray or cookie sheet. You fill the lasagna pan with shave cream, drop food coloring around the shave cream and swirl it with a toothpick. Lay the paper flat over the shave cream and gently lift up. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes and scrape off the excess shave cream. You’re left with a beautiful marbled painting.
8. MAKE (AND SEND) CARDS TO FAMILY MEMBERS
Everyone loves snail mail! This is a great way to teach your kids what their address is, how to address an envelope, and most importantly that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make someone else feel special. We plan on using the marbled shave cream paintings we made last month and turning them into greeting cards for my grandparents.
9. KIWI CRATE
My kids each got a subscription to Kiwi Crate for Christmas from my parents and it was the best gift! Each month, a box of age appropriate, themed STEM activities and crafts arrives at our door. There were a few times during the school year when we didn’t have time to open our boxes right away so now I have one or two extra ones hidden for a rainy day. Last week our boxes came and taught us all about how to make musical instruments so each big kid made their own music box with a handle and crank. It was so fun! (My middle one should technically still be getting koala crates, but he can handle the kiwi crate with a little extra help and I think its easier to keep them both the same each time.)
10. DOT STICKER ANYTHING
I originally got this idea from Susie over at Busy Toddler and now I use dot stickers all the time. One of my favorite things to do with them is to take some butcher paper, have them trace their name or write it themselves depending on where they’re at developmentally, then have them trace their name again with dot stickers. That is just one of the dozens of awesome activities you can use them for.
BONUS 11. PRINTABLE COLORING PAGES
I have not bought a coloring book in months. I have discovered Crayola’s FREE printable coloring pages online and I can match our coloring pages to the theme of the day. If I know we will be delivering cookies to the fire station on Tuesday, on Monday we may bake then spend our “rest time” or “mama’s cooking dinner” time coloring fire-fighter related pictures!
So there you have it – some of my favorite things to do with my kids on a rainy summer day! The next time it rains I hope this list inspires you to do something fun and different with your kids! It doesn’t really matter WHAT it is that you do, so long as you are doing it WITH them.
It’s easy to see the posed photos my children give me and think they behave that way all the time, but let me assure you – I am working with some BIG personalities!