Rainy Day Activities (for Preschool Aged Children)

Raining“It’s raining, it’s pouring,
The old man is snoring….”

Yes!  It is raining outside and outdoor play is no longer an option.

There is no need to sit looking out the window, wondering if it will ever stop. There are a number of appropriate activities that you can do at home with your preschool aged children to keep them, and you, busy for the long rainy day.

Some of these activities need a lot of supervision and require you to participate with your child, but think of it this way…. When you are giving them something new, something they’ve never seen, or used before…. How will they know what to do?   You have to show them!

Some of the activities are great for your child to do while you do something else, but they are in your view so you are two steps away if they need a helping hand or two!

In preparation for your rainy day activities, here are 4 activities and the items you will need, so … start collecting!

Homemade Hand Puppets

Supervision level:  Mid – High (depending on age)

sock puppet1You will need to start collecting some materials for this activity in advance:

  • Old worn socks, that have been grown out of, that have a hole or are missing a mate. Or new ones, that you acquired for this activity
    • Buttons (representing eyes/nose) or googly eyes
    • As buttons and googly eyes are choking hazards for children under the age of 2 ½ years old, keep in mind you can make the puppets eyes and nose out of construction paper (white and black/blue/green/brown – depending on eye colour desired)
  • Glue/glue sticks (liquid white glue)
  • Yarn or string of various colours (representing hair)
    • (18 – 3 yrs old) pre-cut in different lengths
    • (3 to 6 yrs old) large pieces so that your child can cut the size of the piece they want on their own
  • Scissors (depending on age)

Sock puppetRemember, there are no rules when making puppets.  Your child’s puppet can have 6 eyes, blue hair, and 2 mouths.  It is more important that your child is using their imagination, and practicing their motor skills.

Expand and take puppet making a step further and make clothes for your puppets.  All you need is…

  • Fabric/felt pieces
    • (18 – 3 yrs old) small pieces or pre-cut so that the pieces can be glued on
    • (3 to 6 yrs old) large pieces so that your child can cut the size of the piece they want on their own using scissors (depending on age)

Expand this activity even further by putting on a puppet show!    Bravo!

Box Painting

Supervision level:  High (if you need/want to control the amount of mess made)

There are two versions of this “fairly” to “very” messy activity that you can try depending on your materials, your child’s age, and your space.

boxYou will need:

  • 1 Large box (refrigerator, TV)
  • Lots of smaller boxes of various sizes (ie. tissue boxes, cereal/cookie/granola boxes)

Some grocery stores have boxes that they throw away or give you to pack up your groceries.

  • Paint (variety of colours)
  • Paint brushes (18 months to 3 years – large handled, 3 to 6 years – smaller handles)
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Garbage bags
    • Use one small garbage bag with a hole in the top for your child’s head, and two holes at the sides for their arms
    • All other garbage bags are to be cut open as these will be placed on the floor underneath where your child is to catch the paint! It will help make the clean up easier!
    • If your child is young (small) and you have a large box (cut off the top of the box so it stays open) and place your child inside the box with the paint and brushes. SUPERVISE YOUR CHILD…. Do not leave them unattended inside the box.Paint

Expand this activity for older children by taking all of the small boxes that your child has painted (when dry), adding glue and\or tape. Let them use their imagination to build a city, a robot, a monster!  If your child is struggling – mention these ideas to them and walk away …. see what  they can create!

Ice Cube Painting

Supervision level:  Mid – Low (depending on age of child and size of ice cube)

This activity needs to be prepared in advance as the water need time to freeze.

Ice cube trayIn advance, you will need to gather your materials and prep by :

  • Fill an ice cube tray with water
  • Drop two drops of food colouring into each cube (variety of colours – ie. one red and one yellow and mix red and yellow to create orange etc).

Psst….The more colouring you put in, the richer the colour

  • Stir each cube of colour with water so it blends properly using a popsicle stick
  • Put it in the freezer to freeze overnight

Food colouringTo minimize the ”mess” factor, interrupt mid – freeze and when the ice is almost frozen stick one  popsicle stick in each cube so that your child has something to hold on to.   Put it back into the freezer to finish freezing.

  • Once frozen and you are ready to begin, put the ice cubes on a plate or in a bowl with the popsicle sticks pointing up, give your child a piece of paper and let them go ”paint wild”!
  • Make sure you have paper towel or towels nearby so the children can clean up!

If your child sits in a high chair, secure them in the high chair and set up this activity on the tray.

Making Edible Playdough

Supervision level:  Low (you can cook while your child is at the kitchen table making or playing with the playdough they made all by themselves)

On your kitchen table or on a long flat tray place;

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 drops liquid food colouring (one colour)

playdoughOlder children can participate with the measuring of the ingredients which helps with learning early math/measuring concepts.   Let your child mix and manipulate the concoction until it becomes the actual playdough consistency (trust me – with the constant manipulation it will – the mess that was on their hands will take form).

Expand this activity by adding (just a sprinkle) items that have a scent, such as cinnamon, kool-aid powder (lemon flavour, etc).  Then, depending on the age of your child, add in other items to expand your child’s learning/imagination.  Popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, cooking utensils, spoons, measuring cups, googly eyes (for older children).

All of these activities are a lot of work – and take a LOT of preparation!  BUT….this is how memories are made, and how your child’s learning develops.  Doing one or two of these activities on a rainy, dreary day will certainly make the day pass quickly as your child is kept busy using their imagination.

Fun isn’t had, unless a mess has been made!

Enjoy!   I will be making sock puppets with my 5 year old nephew and 2 year old niece this weekend!   Feel free to ask how it went.  🙂

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