Oh, the joy of children singing in the rain....
It's raining here again today. I like these kinds of days once in a while, because it gives me a chance to do some really fun indoor activities with my family. Even though it's obvious that my favorite family activity is reading together, there are so many other fun and subtly educational activities that families can do together.
Here are my top five rainy day activities:
1. Visit the library. It's one of my top ten ways to raise an avid reader. Need I say more? Yes, I do. How about taking out a book and the related movie? Or taking out a cookbook to find a recipe? There are so many possibilities. It's a post for another day....
2. Cook or bake together. There's nothing like homemade snacks, baked goods, or meals. Why not get the whole family involved? Your children might especially enjoy Bethenny Frankel's Guilt Free Chocolate Muffins or Family Fun's Good Morning Muffins.
Just think about how much children can learn through this hands-on experience:
- Reading recipes not only builds upon literacy skills, but also helps them to better understand sequences and patterns. If you use words like, "first, second, third," or "first, next, then, finally," you'll also be helping your child to develop important organization and writing skills!
- Measuring ingredients helps children to develop an understanding of important math skills. It's so much easier to remember units of measurement when you've actually had real experience with measuring cups and spoons.
- Mixing ingredients and watching them transform from solids to liquids to gases (boiling water, for example) is science in disguise!
- Presenting the food can be considered a form of art to some people, especially chefs.
- Eating food can become an important lesson about culture. Everyone eats, but not everyone eats the same thing. What a great way to explore our similarities and differences.
- Healthy eating is so important for all of us. If we model it, children will be more likely to follow our lead.
3. Piecing together puzzles. These days, there are puzzles for children and adults of all ages. Whether you complete them in a day, a week, or a month, it's a great way for children to learn how to stay focused, to solve problems, to work as part of team, to practice self-control, and to see a task through to completion. These are all essential life skills.
Just be sure not to drop any pieces! They could pose a choking hazard to small children and pets. Over the winter vacation, we put together this fantastic 3D Globe puzzle by Ravensburger. There is one piece missing, though, which was chewed up by our dog, Roxy! Luckily, she didn't choke on it.
4. Discover the lost art of games! Put away those video games, and spend some quality time together the old fashioned way. We've spent many hours playing games like these:
- Sorry, which is a great exercise in self-control and sportsmanship for ages 4 - 8.
- Yahtzee, a great dice game for children 8 and up (adults can help younger children with math calculations).
- Uno, a fantastic card game for ages 3 - 10! My children learned not only to identify colors and numbers, but also how to sort them. This card game makes it so easy to introduce some very important math skills, as well as important life skills like cooperation, self-control, and sportsmanship.
- Rumis, a truly unique game of strategy and spatial awareness. It's great for your inner architect! It's recommended for ages 8 and up, but it really depends on the individual child. I think my son was about 5 when we started to play this great game.
Oh, I could list so many more, but it'll have to be a post for another day! Whatever game you play, your child will learn so many important life skills from the experience. There's so much technology these days, that there's less interaction among families. Great games like these help children to develop important communication skills and even anger management.
By the way, if you're a teacher, you may be interested in reading a great School Library Journal article about the use of educational games in the classroom. Parents (especially home schooling ones) may be interested in some of their game recommendations as well.
5. Get creative! Draw, paint, build, write, play music.... Think about family trips you've taken and make a scrapbook. You could even give away your creation to a special relative, friend, or teacher. The possibilities are endless!
These are just a few of the many ways you could spend a rainy day with your family. The important thing is to spend it together without distractions.
I reserve the right to add more to this list! In the meantime, would you like to share any of your rainy day ideas?