Monday, September 13, 2010

How Do I Keep Preschoolers Occupied on a Rainy Day?


 There are lots of great places for kids to escape the rain in San Francisco, too!

Rain, rain go away come again some other day! You and your preschoolers don't have to be miserable on rainy days. Use the time you have together to get creative, problem solve and use your imaginations!


  • Make a home made fort! Use cushions, sheets, chairs and whatever else you can think of to make a comfy fort to play in. Kids love small spaces and love figuring out how to add to them. Deciding what it will be, how you will use it, or how to make it bigger challenges kids to not only use their imagination, but problem solve as well.
  • Go Carpet Ice Skating! Move the furniture out of the way and create a space on the carpet. Apply layers of wax paper over kids feet (socks only) and secure it with a rubber band. Play some jazzy kids background  music and let them skate to their hearts delight!  It’s a sure fire way to get those preschool wiggles out.
  • How about a providing a soothing art activity? Have your preschoolers make their own watercolors by adding a few drops of food coloring from the kitchen or by dying the water by tearing colored tissue paper in cups of water. You and your children are now blending together your own custom colors! Playing some nice classical music in the background really sets a relaxing mood.
  • Get their learning on with fun math activities! Set out small plastic bowls together and gather groups small objects such a pennies, paper clips, marbles, raw beans, etc. Challenge your children to sort, count, add and subtract in the bowls!
  • Have a flashlight scavenger hunt! Make a nice long list of hidden things for the kids to look for. Now hide specific objects in the room and dim the lights. Let your preschoolers look for the objects by spying them out with a flashlight!
  • Make a simple model sail boat out of a nutshell, Styrofoam or wood. Your preschoolers would love to sail them in all those wonderful puddles!
  • A have a puppet show! Use puppets you already have on hand or color your characters on paper bags a set your stage behind a small overturned table or two chairs draped with a blanket.
  • Do some Rain Art. The rain can make it’s own watery art as well! Have your children freely color a white piece of paper with markers (coloring most of the paper). Now place the art on the underside of a cookie sheet and set it out in the rain. Depending on how long you leave the art outside will determine what it looks like. When you bring it inside be sure to let it dry thoroughly before picking it up. The rain allows for those beautiful colors to all run together creating your  Rain Art Master Piece!
  • Make Hot Chocolate. It’s great to warm chilly little fingers and toes! Get creative and have them add some special ingredients like marshmallows or cinnamon.
  • Do you have a large group of children to entertain? How about a game of Bouncing Balloon Volley Ball? Clear a space and divide the room with a length of colorful yarn between two stable chairs. Have kids keep their hands on the ground and move about only using their socked feet to kick the balloon! It’s guaranteed to bring giggles and loads of fun!
Pix from The Natural Learning Community
  • How about a nice walk in the rain? Grab your boots and umbrella and enjoy the fresh air and see what you can explore together outside.
  • We create a separate schedule aside from our normal one specifically for rainy days. We use it for days where we may be thrown off schedule because of a field trip, classroom visitors, or coming back from long holidays. We allow for as much structured outside time as possible as well as dividing the children into separate groups for outside time. A small group taking turns to go sloshing in a light rain for 15 minutes is easier than a whole group chomping at the bit for missed outside time.
    What types of activities do you like to do on rainy days?

      2 comments:

      Jenni said...

      What fabulous ideas! I've never done the carpet skating thing but that just might be something I pull out of my hat this year!

      I am always for finding "active" indoor activities when it's a rainy day. There needs to be a balance of active and calm (for those children that need the calm) but you are basically trying to burn as much outdoor activity while inside so need a bit more active inside activities. This skating one is perfect for that.

      I also set up a table hockey with the blocks taped around the table and a few taped in the middle of the table for fun, then a small sponge ball or golf ball or even a nerf ball, then the wide sponge brushes (clean of course) and let them bat the ball around for a bit. They love it! And it ALWAYS comes out on a rainy day and ONLY on a rainy day so the children look forward to it once they know about it.

      Barbra Stephens said...

      Jenni I absolutely love your table hockey ideas!
      Thanks so much for those suggestions! I am going to tell some teachers about that one!