Wednesday, February 19, 2014

5 Rainy Day Toddler Activities

It's that time of year when you just don't know what to expect from the weather. Your babysitting shift could land on a beautiful sunny day, or it might land on one of those days when you just don't want to get out of bed because it's so miserably cold.

That's why it's always good to have some rainy day activities in your back pocket. No matter what the day, we've got a list of co-op shift activities to keep the kids happy and keep you sane.

The Child Went Over the Mountain

This activity comes from our friend Jaimi at The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide. It's pretty simple but lots of fun. Pile up a bunch of couch cushions and pillows to make a mountain, and then have your toddler climb over them. Make sure the floor is safe for little heads to fall on (i.e. don't try this on tile).

Salt Paint

This is the coolest. But, okay, maybe it won't keep you entirely sane. You can make salt paint by combining Elmer's glue and Epsom salt. It's sticky and gooey--what a fantastic sensory activity. The results look a lot like beautiful shimmery snow. Thanks to Hands On As We Grow for this one.

Hat's Off!

Raid your newspaper recycling stash and get enough newspaper for every child in your babysitting co-op. Show them how to turn their newspaper into hats. For a wizard hat, roll the paper into a cone and tape the ends together. For an old-fashioned paper hat, fold the paper in half and lay it down with the folded side farthest away from you. Now fold the top two corners down so they touch in the middle of the page. You'll have a piece of paper with a triangle at the top and a long rectangular section across the bottom. There are two layers of paper making up the rectangle. Take the top layer of the rectangle and fold it up to the bottom of the triangle, then up again. Now turn the hat over and do the same thing with the bottom layer. 

Play Dough

It never hurts to have a stash of homemade play dough in your refrigerator for those rainy day co-op shifts. Use the following recipe for making your own dough, and then check out these fun play dough ideas from Sheryl at Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds.

  • 2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • Up to 1.5 cups boiling water (adding in increments until it feels just right)
  • food colouring (optional)
  • few drops glycerine (optional- adds more shine!)
Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl. Add the boiling water and stir continuously until the dough becomes sticky and thoroughly combined. Add the food coloring and glycerine. Allow it to cool until it isn't comfortable to handle, and knead it vigorously for a couple of minutes. If it's too sticky add just a little flour. Keep it supple by storing it in a sealed plastic container in your fridge.

Shape Scavenger Hunt

Cut shapes out of paper: oval, circle, triangle, square, rectangle, hexagon, star. Give a shape to each child and start exploring your house looking for items that are shaped like the pieces of paper the children are carrying. It's amazing what you can find when you're looking for something simple and specific!

Have fun on your rainy day babysitting shifts! It might be so fun at your house on rainy days that you'll start hoping the sun won't come out! 

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