Resourceswww.familyeducation.com Offers activities organized by age group, along with a few activities just for Mom.
www.amazingmoms.com The site sports a wealth of links, such as arts and crafts, playtime and recipes.
Summer should be filled with plenty of colorful flowers, abundant sunshine and a heat wave that has your clothes sticking uncomfortably to your skin. But life throws you a curve when the wind howls and the rain pours and suddenly your kids’ favorite phrase becomes "I’m bored."
"Rainy days are like snow days," says Sylvia Barsotti, parenting expert and editor-in-chief of Scholastic.com. "They force you to slow down, stop what you may have planned and take joy in the moment."
Susan Kuczmarski, author of Family Bond: Inspiring Tips for Creating a Closer Family, emphasizes physical activity as a good way to get the day going. Dancing with each other or singing loudly will get kids in a good mood for the rest of the day.
With a little planning—and creativity—you can create a special day to remember with these five fun, easy activities suitable for all ages. And who knows, your kids may have so much fun they’ll want every day to be a rainy one.
Have a board game marathon
Dust off those board games from the back of the closet and let each child pick two. Maybe your math whiz will show off his skills as the banker in Monopoly; maybe your analytical prodigy will devise strategies to sink everyone’s boat in Battleship. Your 3-year-old may cry for the third time when she plucks the Plumpy card in Candy Land, but you’ll be able to watch skills such as teamwork, fair play and determination blossom. For an extra good time, have the kids create their own board games by using construction paper, crayons, markers, stickers and any other craft items around the house.
Set up puzzle stations
Web sites such as www.puzzlemaker.com allow you to create a variety of printable puzzles. Create some personal ones—maybe a word search of family members or a crossword of favorite local spots—and have the kids rotate between stations. Reserve one table for Mad Libs (visit www.teach-nology.com), another for word searches and crosswords and a third table for the older kids to write their own short story. After five minutes, blow a whistle (or clap your hands) and have the kids run to the next station. After 15 minutes, have them share their creations.
Turn your living room into a camp site
If you have the gear, then pitch your tent in the middle of the living room, sleeping bags and all. Even if you’re a camping novice, spread some pillows and blankets out. Don’t forget your flashlight. Make hot dogs and s’mores on the stove and sit around the pretend campfire of scented candles and tell the scariest ghost stories you’ve ever heard. Go around the circle and have everyone share their favorite camping story or memory of their ideal day in the woods. Then get out those markers and draw the prettiest camping images that come to mind.
Make cards for loved ones
Why not use this time to think of others? Grandma and Grandpa would love a homemade card. Create an art station with the works—markers, fancy paper, glue, pipe cleaners, ribbons—and have each child make their own card. You can also secretly make your own cards for each child and slip them in the mail the next day. Tell them how much you enjoyed sharing the day with them. They’ll have a mommy souvenir from the rainy day.
Celebrate Christmas in July
Slip on your Santa Claus hat, pop some "White Christmas" into the stereo and create a Winter Wonderland in your kitchen. Maybe there’s a Christmas cookie recipe you’ve been dying to try—visit www.christmas-cookies.com for ideas and a wealth of tips. Have the kids frost and decorate. Later, sit down in front of the fire and sip a warm cup of hot chocolate with the tasty treats. For an extra good time, create cute and fun stockings for the kids, filled with candy and other trinkets.
If the mid-afternoon brings a lull in activity, then don’t feel like you have to keep the energy level up.
"There is tremendous value in what I call ‘hammock time,’ " Kuczmarski says. "This means daydreaming, hanging out, getting lost in your thoughts, doodling. Children are nourished by introspective time to wonder and dream. Give your child a special indoor place. Just hang a blanket or find a quiet place for them to experience solitude."
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