While warm sunny days are always perfect for frolicking outdoors, there are plenty of simple pleasures for us all to enjoy with children even when the clouds roll in.
“When it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” – Gilbert Chesterton
Sure, it’s tempting to play marathon video games and consume mass quantities of raw cookie dough when it’s dreary out, but overcast weather doesn’t have to spell electronics and salmonella risk only.
In fact, gloominess outside provides an opportunity to unplug. For old-school connection with your kids. Unplugged is kind of the new black.
Whether you decide to make it a lazy day with popcorn and a DVD (okay, that’s plugging in… whatever), a productive time organizing the playroom or indulging in one these six engaging activities below, don’t forget to look to the sky for the rainbow!
1. Overcast photo shoot. There is no such thing as too many photos of the kids. There just isn’t. So take advantage of a sunshine-impaired day when grey skies are optimal weather for snapping better photos. As long as there is no lightning, have a blast capturing puddle splish-splashing Kodak moments. The cute factor of smiling kids in rubber boots who aren’t squinting? Ummmm. Hard to beat.
2. Bake up a storm! Let a cloudy day inspire you to whip up magic and comfort in the kitchen. Trouble deciding on gooey cookies or fancy cupcakes? Make both. You can always freeze extras to throw into school lunches. If your kids are old enough to read, let them recite the recipe to you and allow them to measure for excellent math practice. No fancy pans or equipment required to create culinary masterpieces! A wooden spoon, mixing bowl, patience and their enthusiasm will do the job fabulously.
3. Rainbow picnic. Make sandwiches, spread celery sticks with peanut butter and dream up a yummy dessert. Lay out a quilt on the family room floor and play a board game or two. Since indoor Frisbee isn’t always the best idea, think about balloon volleyball instead. If your kids have not volleyed with balloons before, you’re in for a treat! This dreamily quiet activity will keep them engaged for good periods of time. Bonus: no ants, itchy grass or fatal mayo to worry about on this picnic.
4. Dance ‘til you nap. Forget the inside voices! Crank up the tunes and cut loose. Kids never seem to tire of the freeze dance game. You be the DJ and control the music, and let them dance until you silence it at which time they freeze and hold their position until the music starts again. Let them request their favorite songs and get worn out, and then try to take a nap when they do.
5. Rowdy runway revelry. Fashion shows are fabulous even when they aren’t in Milan. First, kids will need to select wardrobe. Encourage them to be as flamboyant, creative and crazy as possible (offer lipstick, sports jerseys, pantyhose, purses, pumps and hats). Tape off a catwalk with masking tape and play energetic music to put them in the mood to strut their stuff for the paparazzi – you!
6. Mother of all forts. Is there anything quite like constructing a massive tent before climbing inside to read, dream, play Legos and simply snooze? With sheets, quilts and clothespins (or duct tape!) help them build a magical cozy nest to chill in.
Swimming, sandboxes and soccer matches? Those sunny day pleasures await just around the corner, but a rainy day magical fort? These are the sort of creative days of fun a kid will never forget.
Michele Ranard, M.Ed., has a husband, two children and a master’s in counseling. Visit her blog at www.hellolovelyinc.blogspot.com.
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