We all know that April showers bring May flowers, but what to do when it rains and your kids—and you—get stir-crazy? Try these fun games and activities that require simple household items and just a little creativity! If you run out of ideas, be sure to check out Buzzfeed or Pinterest online for more ideas.
My mom played this game with me religiously as a kid! She had a few pre-made lists of 20 to 30 specific objects from around the house printed off, and all she had to do was give me a pencil and let me loose to go find everything! For younger kids who can’t read yet, simply use pictures instead of a written list. Have a few of these made up ahead of time, so that when your boss calls and you just need 15 minutes of quiet time, you’ll be all set!
Simply cut out different shapes of construction paper and tape them down to the floor with a little painter’s tape. This is an easy way to wear the kids out before their afternoon nap.
Paper Airplane Olympics
The Summer Olympics are coming—enjoy the games at home with “Flying School.” Grab a giant sheet of paper or parchment paper, if you don’t have poster-sized paper in the house, and cut out different shaped circles on the paper. Label each circle with points—the smaller the hole, the more points it’s worth! Then have the kids make their own paper airplanes and see who can fly their planes through the different targets. To add to the fun, encourage your kids to decorate their paper airplanes or dress up like pilots. You can even make your own awards for “Best Decorated Airplane,” “Highest ‘Flying School’ Score,” and “Best Looking Pilot.”
Hot-glue paper plates to Popsicle sticks or paint stirrers to make ping-pong racquets. Then blow up a balloon and use it instead of a ball for hours of ping-pong entertainment with the kids. A guaranteed way to have fun without having your grandmother’s vase broken!
The end of spring is the best time to get outdoors, but parents live busy lives too … and sometimes, there’s not enough time to make it to a park or fun outdoor space on a weeknight after work and dinner. Here are a few fun backyard games to play that require minimal equipment and should help your kids unwind after a day at school!
Use non-damaging, ground-marking spray to make a Twister board on your lawn as large or as small as you like! You can alter the size of the dots depending on the age of your players—perfect for little hands and feet!
The Great Marble Race*
Cut a pool noodle in half lengthwise, so that the hole in the tube becomes two long “slides” with the half circle running down the middle of the noodle. You can then prop one side of the noodle up on a box or other object and have kids drop marbles into the “slide” to race their marbles. *Bonus! You can play this game indoors too!
Save up a few two-liter soda bottles. Once you have 10 (or more if you want a harder game), have the kids wash them out and paint them whatever colors they want on the next rainy day. Once dry, pour in enough sand or use pebbles (about 1/5th of the way up the bottle) to weigh down the bottles so they won’t blow away outside. Then, set them up in the backyard in whatever formation you want—get creative with it—and let the kids roll soccer balls or basketballs at the pins. For an added challenge, have them test their aim and kick the ball instead!
Outdoor Tic- Tac- Toe
Gather some rocks and have your kids paint them two different ways—be it polka dots and stripes or just two separate colors—and then draw a Tic- Tac- Toe board with chalk on your sidewalk. You’ll have an instant—and calm—gameboard!
No matter how you choose to spend time with your kids, inside or outside, they’ll appreciate the time and effort you put into the activities you plan for them. Remember to slather on sunscreen and bug repellant if you’re outside, especially if you plan on hiking. Have fun, be safe, and enjoy the beautiful weather!