How to Build a Rainy Day Activity Kit

RAINY DAY ACTIVITY KIT

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There are few things I LOVE more than a rainy day!

My mom had something to do with that.

I’m pretty sure that it’s roots were in self preservation (at least now that I’m a parent). Each August she’d buy extra back to school supplies she’d stash away in a large plastic storage bin with all kinds of other goodies and activities that were ONLY for rainy days.

Another big deal in my house growing up was on rainy days mom would make us hot cocoa and mini marshmallows. (We were only were offered unnatural sugars and the like on special occasions.)

Last winter we did not get a break in the rain for 3 weeks straight, naturally, I had not planned accordingly.

This year I plan to stock up on extra supplies for those longer rainy stretches.  I will also incorporate some of the improvisations we did last year that worked well to break up the amount of time spent indoors including playing in the rain, splashing in muddy puddles (thank you Peppa Pig) and going to a local indoor play place.

Rainy Day supplies

School Supplies: 

Paper (plain white, lined for letter practice or writing in older kids, craft, paint, construction, etc. Whatever you know your kids need/ will use).

Right now I have set aside Post-it brand Chart paper (sticks to the walls & you can easily turn any wall into an art easel) & an art easel ($19 at Ikea last December. $12 for the roll of paper) with a roll of art paper attached.

My son is only 3 and not super into writing yet, he loves to draw so I am prepping for that.

Tempra Paint Sticks (The Kwik Sticks Brand seems to have more vibrant colors)

Art Supplies:

Colored pencils, markers, color crayons (buy NEW or repurpose old crayons by melting down a handful or so into a lined muffin tin to make multi-colored crayons kids like making these too!), Paint sticks (AGES: 3 & up, solid tempra paints. They are the size of a glue stick and are quick drying. INFINATLEY better than regular tempra paint with respect to clean up.  I still do use traditional paints but not as an everyday thing. The paint sticks you could easily use everyday.) This year I am reusing the colored pencils (they barely were used last year) and buying new markers and crayons.

Games & Puzzles: 

My son is 3 and this fall we are using two Montessori puzzles, a fire truck puzzle and two multi-player beginning board games: The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel (he LOVES this one) and Spot It! Jr. (he is getting better at this than me sometimes. We practice with all of the materials until he is comfortable by himself).

Montessori Puzzles (I think I got these at Adena Montessori. Their site had mixed reviews but their prices are good. It is definately not the highest quality as in would not support a commercial preschool but would do just fine for at home use.)

Building supplies:

Lincoln Logs, Marble Run, Magnetic Tiles, Legos (I choose a special set distinguishable- grey, whote & bright orange. We ONLY use them for rainy days.)

Custom MagnaTile Home!

Sensory Materials:

Sensory bins,  Playdough, slime or kinetic sand (or ingredients to make yourself). If you decide to make playdough yourself, I HIGHLY recommend putting lavender essential oil in it! This totally helps calm kids down, works on grown ups too.

Music:

Add your favorite Kids dance CD’s or bookmark on your iPad/Laptop the Hokey Pokey, Cha Cha Slide or start a Go Noodle account (google it and preview songs first. My Fav’s for any age are Go Banannas, Milkshake and Pop Se Ko).         

Instrument exploration: Shakey Egg, Xylophone, Harmonica, etc. (whatever instruments you can find locally that won’t drive you totally insane.)

STEM Materials:

Misc materials for kids to build (& rebuild with) left over cardboard is GREAT for this, pipe cleaners, plastic drinking straws, etc. This may need to be it’s own bin or have a smaller bin inside a bigger bin. For outside projects use scrap wood pieces.

DRESS UP:

I am super cheap when it comes to dress-up play! We re-purpose old Halloween costumes & hand me downs into a dramatic play activity bin.

Getting Started Doesn’t Have to Cost a Fortune!

  1. Look around your home for school supplies & educational toys in good to decent shape that your kids do not play with regularly (it may seem like they’re being taken away if it’s something they enjoy regularly).  I call this “fall cleaning” & remove ,most toys that my son isn’t playing with. This way when he is tired of playing with current favorites you can rotate them out.
  2. If you have time to make sensory bins and your kids are old enough to help I HIGHLY recommend this!
  3. Purchase a few things and add on as you go. EX: AUG/SEPT. are the best months to buy school supplies, October/ NOV. hit the Halloween & Black Friday sales and add new costumes & other great bargains to your bin, DEC/JAN great time to scope out end of year/new years sales and/ or pick up a new storage bin for next year.  I buy seasonal clearance art supplies throughout the year and add as needed for projects (Christmas, valentine’s, Easter, pre-made crafts and supplies can always go in the bin as well).
  4. Set aside things throughout the year so it’s not too much work in the fall.
  5. Introduce it to your children during the first rainy (can’t play out side) day. Explain these items are only for rainy days & ENJOY the first few activities with them!

My motto is use what you have, buy what you need & HAVE FUN!

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