By Leo Babauta
This morning it was pouring down rain outside — it was one of those hard rains that makes seeing very far impossible and makes driving downright dangerous. My first thought: “Oh no, that’s not good for our Family Day! We can’t play stuff outside.”
Then I remembered the days of my childhood, when it rained, and I would go outside in rain boots and play in the streams of water. These were some of my favorite days. In fact, I love rain so much that I named one of my sons Rain.
I realized that rainy days are no reason to spoil Family Day. Here are some tips for things to do with your kids when it rains outside — some of my favorites, anyway:
- Dance in the rain. This is great fun. Just go outside, and start dancing. Open your mouths and taste the rain. Sing and shout. Re-enact the famous “Singin’ in the Rain” scene. Have a blast! There’s nothing more fun.
- Stomp in mud puddles. This is fun to do with rain boots, but even barefoot this can be great. Just stomp as hard as you can, and let the water splash! Bonus points if you can splash your kids. Jump up and make a huge splash!
- Make little boats and float them in the streams. Anything will do — the simplest boats are curved leaves that will float for a little while. Or use popsicle sticks, or cardboard, or anything really. Let them float, play games with them, invent stories about them.
- Make mud pies. We used to do this as kids. Grab a bunch of mud, put them in any kind of container, and pretend it’s food. We would play house or other make-believe games. Playing with mud is gooey and wonderful.
- Wash the car. No time is better and more fun for washing the car. It’s already wet! Just add soap, some rags, and you’ve got a great activity for the whole family. Plus, you’re being productive. I believe that free labor is the best kind. Anyway, kids should earn their keep after sponging off us for food and shelter for so many years!
- Play sports. Rainy weather bad for sports? Bah! Get out there and slip and slide! Muddy sports are the best kind.
- Something for the missus. Dads: When your kids aren’t looking, grab your wife and kiss her in the rain. Slip her some tongue, too. Trust me, kissing her in the rain is romantic, and she’ll love it. It feels lovely, too.
- Cuddle and watch DVDs. When it rains, it’s a great time to spend quality family time together indoors. Rent a movie everyone will love, pop some popcorn, get some blankets and cuddle together. A great family day.
- Cuddle and read. If you’re stuck indoors, make the best use of them. Read with your children. Huddle under a blanket and choose a classic children’s book. See the Best All-time Children’s Books for ideas. You might have noticed a trend with all the cuddling — I love to snuggle with the family when it’s rainy outside.
- Play board games. This is a very entertaining way to spend time together. Monopoly, Clue, Risk, Sorry, even Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land. Any of these games are sure winners with your kids.
- Have a pillow fight. Each of you grab a pillow and go to town. I’m notoriously rough with my kids, but they seem to love it. I have two characters I’ve made up that they love: Bruce Leo, and The Angel of Mercy (this mystical Angel really shows no mercy). They’ve been slaughtered by both many times.
- Make a tent out of blankets. This is especially fun on rainy days, when it’s darker than normal. Get a flashlight and hide in the tent. Pretend you’re camping in the rain forest.
So, tell us in the comments … what are your favorite rainy day activities?