April showers bring… a prison sentence for preschoolers and their parents. This week, we had two glorious days of sunshine, parks, and picnics. Then Saturday poured buckets on our happy plans. But instead of giving up and making it an all out movie day, inspiration hit, and we decided to have some indoor adventures. In case creativity isn’t sparking in your house on some drizzly day this season, take these ideas and go wild! Note: these are in no specific order and can be adapted to amuse different ages.#1: “Cookie” decorating. We took graham crackers and made them our artistic palettes. I happened to have icing tubes, sprinkles and mini marshmallows, which made it colorful and fun. In hindsight, we could have used peanut butter to make things stick and raisins, cut up grapes, shredded coconut, cheerios or anything else you have on hand. We did this and followed it up with a tea party.
#2: Fort making. Always a classic and popular with all ages. Nuff said. Snacks can be made more enticing when eaten in a fort. Shows may hold interest a little longer when watched in a fort.
#3: Egg hunts. We do this kind of thing indoors before and after Easter. We just hide shiny candy- chocolate in gold foil etc. and she has to find all the hidden pieces. With older kids, make the treasure harder to find.
#4: Indoor sports. Bowling: if you don’t have plastic pins, use plastic cups. You can also stack the cups up like a pyramid and do it that way- may be more satisfying when they all fall down. You can also bounce ping pong balls into plastic cups. Basketball: use laundry baskets. For older ones, Soccer: ideal for long hallways if you include obstacles to dribble past. Draw flags and include an Olympic ceremony at the end just for fun.
#5: Imaginary Facepainting. We don’t have facepaint at home, though it would be useful. We use water and a paint brush, and she paints our faces or pretends to paint our nails. If you are very bold, they could use washable paint or finger paint with a brush and let the artist paint your arm. This was entirely her idea, probably because she recently was facepainted at a fair. We also paint with water on those standup chalkboard easels- a less messy artistic expression.
#6: Crazy dressup days. Necklaces become crowns, scarves become masks, and blankets become capes. We all dressup and take on alter egos. It makes an ordinary day extraordinary.
#7: Youtube dance parties. Get your groove on. Shake your Boov thang (Home reference, anyone?).
#8: Imitate a movie scene. Get a cardboard box and make it a spaceship like Andy does on Toy Story- crayons, tape, and a paper plate. Make seashells and create a path to a treasure like Dory’s parents in Finding Dory. Pretend to “go beyond the reef” and make a couch into a canoe for Moana. You will be AMAZED what they remember (and long to re-enact).
#9: Create a movie. One advantage to our current technology- we can be our own filmmakers, and our children can be the stars. This is not usually for posting online, but for them to feel like the focal point and see that we care. A ballet performance- complete with makeshift costume- can be captured. A passionate telling of a story. Your very own Bob the Builder fixing things around the house or building Legos.
#10: Letting them lead. Honestly, all of the activities above are just examples of things that she usually initiated and that I (or her Dad) stayed engaged with or took to the next level. They will love anything you get excited about, which is rough because it means staying involved. But if you surrender to that idea and embrace it, it can actually be really fun.
Please share any of your ideas- the forecast doesn’t look promising for us this month!