Here we go mama! It’s spring time and your child expects to go to the park every-Sunday-no-matter-what, right? However there are still a lot of rainy days (since we’re lucky) and, for how much fun playing in the rain could be, today is not a good day. What to do then? Easy! Here’s a list of 10 toddler indoor activities ideas for rainy days.
Or sick days.. Or any other day you just can’t go outside. You got the point!
These games will be your salvation.
Side note= at the end of this post you’ll find a complete list that you can print and keep at hand anytime.
10 Toddler indoor activities ideas for rainy days
- Poster paint games. The most commonly loved by children is the game of “let’s make a mess and color the entire house”. An effective way to keep his innate artist far from your walls is to equip yourself with a plastic sheet (a trash bag open on the side will do) and lay it out on the floor. Secure the sheet in the corners with some fairly heavy objects (nothing sharp for safety reasons) and spread some paper sheets in the middle. Get the non toxic children paint ready in some paper plates divided by colors and make sure your child is wearing appropriate clothes and she’s barefoot. At this point the sky is the limit: you can let her experiment with the colors mix, or you can make her walk in the paint and then in on the paper sheets (help her not to slip). Or you can use extra tools such as sponges, plastic molds, stencils, etc. Then keep the masterpieces and throw your kid in the bathtub.
- Cardboard constructions. If you happen to have some boxes around the house (diaper boxes or else), you can have fun building a nice fort or castle. If it’s too long or complicated, you can simply open the bottom of each box and connect the boxes with some duct tape to create a tunnel. She’ll love crawling in there and experiment new ways to do it.
- Handling. Toddlers love using their hands, squeeze and most importantly get dirty. A great and easy way to make them happy is to make some pizza dough (no yeast or salt necessary) and play with it. If she decides to give it a taste at least it’s just water and flour, ergo perfectly safe. Play-Doh is a good but more expensive alternative.
- Jammin’ session. Give your kid a couple of small boxes, a plastic basket and a wooden spoon and you have a top-ten-hit rock band. You only have to get some earplugs and show her how to do it once. When it’s time to stop…Nothing, I got nothing here. Good luck it’s all I can say because she’ll have a blast. But hey, it truly is fun to watch and burns a lot of her energy, I promise.
- Transfer games. Choose an area where you can limit the disaster and easily vacuum. Then get some bowls or paper cups and other plastic containers of different size and colors. Play to transfer rice, cereal, beans is very stimulating and fun for kids. Plus, colors and shapes of the containers will help her recognize and remember where rice goes rather than the beans, etc. I personally love rainbow rice. I saw my sister in law making it once and I adored it. For an easy 3 steps tutorial on how to make it I suggest this article. You can have fun making some, or if you already have it you can use it for the transfer game.
- Find and put away. Among all the toddler indoor activities, this is probably mama’s favorite. But believe it or not, toddlers love to tidy up. The goal is to reorganize all the toys (I see you there with heart shaped eyes!), but first she’ll have to make a post-apocalyptic mess. Here’s how you do it: Set a specific area such as his playroom’s floor and spread all the toys and stuffed animals around. Keep the toy box at hand and one by one “call” the toy she’ll have to find, fetch and place into the box. Don’t get discouraged if you’ll have to help her understand the game or recognize the toys names (repeat and enunciate them more than once). But you’ll be surprised on how fast she’ll learn with some positive reinforcement. Plus, she know perceives organizing as a fun thing to do. I call it a win-win!
- Building blocks. If there’s one toddler indoor activity you need to do, this is definitely mandatory. The reason is very simple: after a couple of inputs from you, she can do it on her own! Blocks are too big so there’s no swallowing risk (at the most she’ll try to bite it) and if she throws them around you can always play the “find and put away” game calling them by colors. But for now let her have her fun and enjoy 10-15 minutes of relax (I doubt it’ll be longer than that, but it’s something).
- Play-pretend. This toddler activity is so much fun. Play doctor with his favorite stuffed animal, pretend to cook something (you don’t need a kitchen play set, just some imagination) or exchange mom/child roles and have fun how she pretends to be the mom. You can see yourself through her eyes.
- Music games. Who doesn’t love some good music? Dance, move following the beat is one of our primordial instincts which means that it’s innate in children. Through music they can learn how to move, memorize words, sounds a movements, improve coordination, you name it! You can use children songs that have educational purpose (colors, animals, etc), motor skills purpose (open shut them, brush your teeth, etc) or just choose the music you love and leave space to dancing and singing improvisation.
- Read books or draw. Of the toddler indoor activities I strongly suggest to keep this one at last. Not in order of importance clearly, but to help them calm down before their nap. Choose your favorite games from the list and then, some good chill-time both for you and them. So get comfy and pick a fairy tale to read. As an add-on, one of those sensory books. Or seat them down with paper and crayons and let them express their artistic talent until they’re almost asleep. This way you can also enjoy some quiet time.
But before you jump to the bottom of this post to print out your list, some extra basic advice to enjoy them at best.
Let me add a couple of things that I hope you’ll find useful.
Toddlers this age are developing mainly 3 things:
- first motor skills
- intellectual and interlocution (speaking) skills
Any game that involves on or more of these key factors is for them a huge learning and development resource, besides the fun. So unleash your imagination mama!
And speaking of which..
Keep it fun!
It’s important to understand when a specific activity is too easy or too hard for your child, as every child is different.
If she doesn’t show any interest in the game you chose, she’s probably bored as hell. Try to reintroduce the game with some challenging variation or change activity. It’s also possible she already knows the game from daycare and grew tired of it.
Instead, if she looks super interested at the beginning but she gradually shows frustration signs, don’t try to explain to her that there’s no point in getting angry, because she bases her fun on emotions not logic.
Try to make the game easier or change activity at once, but don’t complete the task for her. It will only make her feel incapable and hurt her self-esteem.
My advice is to use comfort words and positive reinforcement such as “it’s ok baby, we tried. Why don’t we play this now?”
Trust me, the last thing you want when you’re stuck at home is a angry frustrated toddler. They’re called terrible twos for good reason.
But no worries mama, it’ll be a lot of fun and as Brandon Lee taught us:
It can’t rain all the timeBrandon Lee – The Crow
For some reason the Gothic atmosphere seemed appropriate to me 😉
But let’s go back to practical things
As promised, here’s your printable list:
- Poster paint games
- Cardboard constructions
- Handling (pizza dough or play-doh)
- Jammin’ session
- Transfer games
- Find and put away
- Building blocks
- Music games
- Read or draw (at last to calm down)
P.S.= If you liked this article, don’t forget to share it 🙂