How to Build a Rainy Day Kit

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DIY Rainy Day Kit

There are few things I LOVE more than a rainy day and I am certain my mom had something to do with that. Every year she would create a large storage bin of “rainy day” activities that included games, toys, (brand new) coloring books, markers & crayons, water color sets, etc.!

Necessity is the mother of all invention and I’m pretty sure that the idea for this indoor play kit was rooted in self preservation (now that I’m a parent). Each August my mom would take advantage of the back to school supply sales & stash away the “rainy day” supplies in a large plastic storage bin with all kinds of other goodies and activities that were ONLY for rainy days.

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

NOW I stock up on extra supplies whenever I can for those indoor play stretches and store them in my own Rainy Day Play kit, thanks mom!

These were items we could only use when we were stuck indoors, which made them last longer & it was special because we didn’t have access to them all of the time.

How to Make a Rainy Day Play Kit

  1. Repurpose or buy a large storage bin
  2. Repurpose or buy activities & supplies for the kit (see below for ideas)
  3. Store the kit in an easily accessible area

Rainy Day Kit supplies:

More ideas for your Rainy Day Kit 

Right now we are re-purposing my teaching note pads… Post-it brand Chart paper (sticks to the walls & you can easily turn any wall into an art easel) & an art easel that we purchased at IKEA($19 at Ikea last December. $12 for the roll of paper) with a roll of art paper attached.

Art Supplies:

Add art supplies you do not normally use at home… Colored pencils, markers, color crayons (make crayons special! Buy them 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 are a big hit with kids ages 3 and up! They are the size of a glue stick and are quick drying. INFINATLEY better than regular tempra paint with respect to clean up.  Kwik Sticks are the best ones I have use. The colors are vibrant & the quality does not disappoint. 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:

Rotate out building materials and include left over cardboard, craft supplies and even scrap wood pieces for outside projects to build ramps & race cars.

DRESS UP:

I am super cheap when it comes to dress-up play! We re-purpose old Halloween costumes & hand me downs for dramatic play in our rainy day bin.

How to keep your Rainy Day Kit Interesting:

If you find that you are using your rainy day kit more often than just a few days a month be sure to rotate items in and out to keep it interesting ALSO be carful not to add too many activities, for some kids this is overwhelming.

rainy day play

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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