Turning Drizzle Into Drazzle

— Written By Kim Reid and last updated by Cindy Nance

How’s the weather today? Is it raining? Don’t feel trapped by the rainy summer days – with the following rainy day activities for kids, drizzle can be turned into dazzle.

Have a jigsaw afternoon

Jigsaws are a whole-family activity that can be a wonderful bonding experience between differently aged siblings and their busy parents. Set each member of the family up with a puzzle to suit their skill level, all helping each other finish, or create teams to work on puzzles together. You can even make your own family-photo jigsaws using an enlarged photo printed onto plain paper from your computer.

Indoor fortress fun

What child doesn’t love building a princess castle or a fortress indoors? Pick a room in the house that you don’t mind being rearranged for a few hours, and use sheets and blankets and lots of pegs or butterfly clips to secure them as a roof between tables, couches and chairs. Encourage your children to use their imaginations – they can create rooms inside with towels and other furniture, dress up and act out stories from their favorite books, and even have a picnic in the cubby for lunch. This activity is hours of entertainment for any age, and especially great fun when you have friends over for a play date.

Family movie day

Rather than watching the same old kids’ TV shows all day long beat rainy day boredom with a fun family movie day. From making fun snacks like nacho popcorn and lolly gobble bliss bombs, to creating a cinema in your lounge room, this is a great way to keep kids of all ages entertained. Check out our easy guide to creating the ultimate family movie day (or night).

High Tea at home

Cooking with kids can be messy, but it’s also a whole lot of fun and a fantastic way to keep them entertained for a couple of hours. Get them busy helping to bake yummy treats for an afternoon High Tea, then set them up with their toys at a table or on a picnic rug? Make a deal with them – you’ll help them have a wonderful High Tea if they’ll help you clean up the dishes afterwards (this may include washing, wiping, putting away and a fair amount of bowl and spoon licking).

Scavenger hunt

A scavenger hunt is a great way to amuse kids large and small. You can hide treats, but if you’re health-conscious, hide toys instead – just use a specific set so they know what to look for, such as the Barbie collection, matchbox cars, or leftover party favors like balloons or toy whistles. Give each child a small basket to collect their loot in – they could have some fun decorating this for an extra activity. You could even let the kids create a deck of colorful picture cards to use as your scavenger pieces. To keep them engaged, offer a prize or treat for the child who brings back the most loot each round. This is a game that can be played for hours on end, with the right incentive!

Fashion show spring clean

Here’s a fun way to spring clean the children’s’ wardrobes – put on a fun fashion show! Place lamps in your hallway and pop some fun music on the computer, then get your kids to strut their stuff down your makeshift catwalk. Cheer them on from your audience chair at the end of the hall, as you decide whether each item is ready for the rag-bag or op-shop, delegated to the hand-me-down or sewing baskets, or still fine to wear for another season. De-cluttering has never been so fun!

Storybook fun

Create a fun memento of your rainy day by letting the kids make their own storybooks – this is a fun activity for any age. Simply staple some pages together and let the kids use their imaginations to decorate the front cover. They could use photos of your own family, friends and pets to make a family scrapbook. Old magazines are also great for sourcing colorful pictures to stick in your storybook, or encourage them to draw their own pictures. Try giving the children some inspiration with a story theme – stick to simple themes like robots or fairies, or ask them to write a story about their favorite birthday party, holiday, family member or pet.

Have a rainy adventure

A walk in the rain is a fantastic thing – you get to beat cabin fever, wear out bored and cranky kids for a (hopefully) lazy afternoon, and get some much-needed fresh air at the same time. Dress up in gumboots, hats and raincoats, grab the umbrellas and go and discover the outside world in the rain! You could head to your favorite local park, take a walk around the block, or just explore your own backyard. Never mind if the children get a little wet from their puddle-jumping adventures, just pop them into a lovely warm bath afterwards – the perfect wind-down after a rainy adventure.

Let’s create day

Here are some recipes that will get children exploring their artistic side.

Non-hardening No-Cook Play Dough

2 cups self rising flour
2 T. alum
2 T. salt
2 T. cooking oil
1 cup, plus 2 T. boiling water

Mix and knead.

Cooked Play Dough

1 cup flour
½ cup salt
1 cup water
1 T. vegetable oil
2 tsp. cream of tartar
Heat until ingredients form ball, add food coloring.

Finger Paint

2/3 cup elastic dry starch
1 cup cold water
3 cups boiling water
1 cup Ivory Soap Flakes
oil of cloves, a few drops (preservative) calcimine pigment or vegetable coloring

Dissolve elastic starch in cold water. Smooth lumps and add boiling water. Stir constantly. Thicken but do not boil more than one minute. Add rest of ingredients (hot or cold). Use oil glazed paper, newsprint, or wrapping paper.

For more information, contact Kim Reid, Extension Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at (910) 592-7161.