It’s another rainy day and your kids are stuck in the house, nipping at your heels with that old classic, “We’re bored.” Instead of mindlessly switching on the TV or tablet, I’m sharing my list of kid-favorite games and activities we do in our house to keep boredom at bay by bringing the fun!
What’s great about these games is that many involve repurposing long-forgotten toys and using them in new creative ways. The main tip here is to go nuts and let your imagination run wild.
Enhanced marble run
Kids love marble run toys, but you can really boost the fun by adding Hot Wheels tracks (and even “stairs” comprised of stacks of books) and extending the tracks willy-nilly throughout the house. Use pots and pans to add landing pads that clang, and let your kids add anything else they can think of.
Action figure bowling
Set up your action figures or stuffed toys as the target and knock ‘em down with either a tennis ball or a soft foam toy. You can even create your own real-life version of Angry Birds by ramp-launching Matchbox cars for ammo. The kids will quickly come up with all sorts of scoring and rules.
“Make something that uses EVERY Lego we have” or “let’s build a tower that touches the ceiling” are good starting places. You can also create innovative Lego structures for the marble run or the Angry Birds games mentioned above.
Board games with new rules
Board games are great, but even old favorites start to feel stale after a while. That’s why on rainy days we change things up. Add Post-It notes with additional rules to Sorry or Uno cards (“Tickle Attack” is a good one). Give special powers to Battleship games (“Your next shot wipes out a whole line”).
One simple thing you can do is have your child roll the dice to determine which game to play next. Kids love the unexpectedness of it.
Hide-and-seek is a classic, but kids get tired of hiding in the same places. To liven things up when we’re trapped inside, I’ll help them get into new spots that are normally unattainable.
Sometimes it’s cleaning out a set of cabinets (and stashing the contents elsewhere), or it could be rearranging couch cushions or a laundry hamper to create a new nook.
Cozy home theater
A trip to the library to choose a movie (and don’t forget to grab a new stash of books for bedtime) and then rearranging the furniture can turn your family room into a fun movie-watching den. I’ll sometimes steer the kids towards something from the past that I know they’ll love, like “E.T.” or “Superfriends.”
A warning: Sometimes the DVDs from the library are scratched up, so be sure to get a few back-up selections as well.
Think inside the box
Kids love big boxes. They just do. The next time you get a big order from Amazon or the like, break down the box and store it in your basement, attic or under a bed. Pull it out on a rainy day, and let your kids come up with their own fun.
You might even let your young artist decorate the box with more unusual art supplies like tin foil. You’ll end up wondering why you ever spend money on toys.
Finally, sometimes we forget but it’s okay to embrace the rain. Ride bikes, splash in puddles or have a dance party. Tell your kids to pretend the neighborhood has become a waterpark. Bonus tip: Do this later in the day, and when your kids clean up and get in their pajamas, you are on pace for an on-time bedtime.