For many stay at home parents, a rainy day at home can be a quandary. It’s really easy to turn on the Disney Channel and stick your kid in front of the TV set. It requires little effort and frees you up to work on other hobbies, answer email, or a variety of other grown-up activities. But many of us know that letting the TV be your babysitter can be dangerous for a child’s emotional and physical development as well as to their physical safety.
Even though many kids’ shows these days claim to be educational, they do very little to exercise your child’s hand-eye and motor coordination AND say nothing about failing to develop an important bond between father and son/daughter. Furthermore, while your son or daughter is watching Dora and Diego, it’s easy for Daddy to fall asleep or get otherwise distracted by things far less important than your little one. This is a recipe for disaster. And it’s down-right irresponsible.
But, what to do for a first-time dad who is afraid to ask Mom or any of the other experienced women in their lives for advice? Well, we at Daddylogue.com have gathered some positive suggestions culled from the many “mommy boards” on the web, as well as from our own experience so you don’t have to look like you’re clueless about what to do.
· Ever notice that when your child receives a present, more often than not, they would rather play with the empty box than the gift itself that was inside it? Well, just take an empty box from Diapers.com, Fresh Direct, or any other delivery service and grab a bunch of crayons and stickers. Your child will have a blast decorating the box and covering it with the stickers. It’s relatively easy and usually costs nothing except the price of crayons and stickers. The best part is that your child will have fun and so will Dad when he hears his child laughing and giggling.
· Take a bunch of family pictures from the closet or your computer’s memory drive and start putting together an album just for your child. You can collect the baby and toddler pictures of your entire family and show your little one what everyone looked like when they were his/her age. Then, upload the pictures to a web site like Shutterfly.com and they will send you a beautiful album featuring the entire family as children. For a less costly version, just print out the pictures yourself and make the scrapbook album together or do a collage. It’s fun, engaging, and creative. And it’s a great way for your tyke to get to know some of his relatives including those he may have only met once or twice.
· Did you know that there are many websites that can ship you pre-packaged activities to do with your little boy or girl? One mom suggested Smarty Crafts or the WonderBox from Education.com. Once you sign up online, you and your child will receive a monthly arts and crafts kit or packaged activities perfect for a rainy day at home. Parents like it because the activity kits are based on kindergarten concepts so you too will be able to teach your little ones educational lessons while having fun together with your project.
· Another experienced mom suggests an activity which utilizes two inexpensive trays, a bowl of water and some random containers. Together, she and her son pretend each container is a cup that has to be filled with the water before setting the table for dinner. The point is for your child to learn when to stop pouring so the cups don’t overflow. There are at least two major benefits to this activity. First, a child learns about setting the dinner table. Always important. And second, it’s great for his or her hand-eye and motor coordination skills. And, of course, there’s at least one down side. Be prepared to clean up a wet and messy dinner table. Also, your child might not have fun right away. But it’s a great lesson for them to learn.
· Prepare a “Rainy Day Jar”. You fill the jar with Popsicle sticks or pieces of paper labeled with different activities for you and your child to do together. One might be to play a board game. One could be to play hide and seek. Another could be to make something really simple and easy like a paper airplane or do a baking project. Basically, there is a variety of things to do. You can create the ideas together, on one rainy day…and then you always have the jar to go to on another rainy day or any other time you can’t or don’t want to leave the house.
· Bored? How about an exciting game of balloon volleyball? All you need is to take a string or long piece of yarn and stretch it across the room to serve as a net. Then, you can tie it on each side to something like a chair. Get a balloon to play with rather than a ball. Trust me, it’s safer for indoor play. Then, play ball! Just make sure you do it in a room with enough open space so furniture doesn’t get in the way. Great for hours of fun and exercise. Or, play a game of keep it up with the balloon -don’t let it touch the ground!
Any of these ideas are simple and engaging. The point is that you and your child can have loads of fun together, and be productive at home on a rainy day without having to turn on the Power Rangers or resort to screen time. There are so many other wonderful activities you can do or create with your little one. We haven;t even discussed storytelling or reading books. You get the idea – the ideas are endless! What’s your favorite indoor game to play with your little one that you created? Please share…