Summertime is all about being outside, but every so often wet weather dampens our fun in the sun. When sunscreen and swimsuits are scattered by a sudden storm, don’t let a few showers rain on your summer parade. Be prepared with these age-old, indoor ideas with a fresh twist.
Pulling out the arts and crafts box passes the time nicely, but how about giving your masterpiece a purpose? Make a list of people that may like to receive a special gift. Grandparents or cousins that live far away? A neighbor who has been recently ill? A friend with a broken arm or summer cold? Use your gray day to brighten someone else’s by drawing, coloring, crafting or painting a personalized work of art. In this age of technology, hand-made surprises found in a mailbox are extra appreciated. (This is also a good time to remind kids how to address an “old-fashioned” envelope and use a stamp!)
Board games like Candy Land and Shoots and Ladders are great classics to have on hand, but a kid-created board doubles the fun. Sketch a curvy, zig-zag path onto poster board. Next, divide the path into squares. Fill each square with rewards (ie: You found a pretty shell at the beach; move ahead three spaces) and pitfalls (ie: You forgot to bring the tent on our camping trip; move back a space). Personalize the squares by citing specific places your family loves to visit during the summer. Use markers and crayons to decorate, dice to move ahead, buttons for tokens, and you’re on your way!
Who doesn’t love a bowl of popcorn, a comfy couch and a good movie on a drizzly day? But have you thought of starring in that movie yourself? Pick a family favorite and choose some well-known scenes. Dress up as characters, gather props, practice saying lines, and take turns as actors, directors and videographers (even preschoolers can push “record” on Mom’s ipad or smartphone). For those with extra imagination, rewrite a scene altogether or think of a different ending to really make it your own production. Don’t forget to make that popcorn, as you’ll need it for the viewing party when filming wraps.
Making a cozy space with blankets and books is a great idea rain or shine, but why not publish your own book? Gather some computer paper and staple down the left hand side. Think of a great summer trip or outing your family has taken (or would like to take) and write about it from beginning to end. Decorate the cover with a title and the author’s (your) name. Inside, use the bottom half of each page for text, the upper half for illustrations. Be sure to describe the setting and all of the characters by adding lots of details. And don’t forget an “About the Author” page at the end telling readers all about you.
Everybody loves puzzles, but have you ever designed your own? Use a sheet of plain white paper (preferably heavy cardstock) to create a colorful picture. Be sure to cover the entire page; don’t leave any spaces blank. Turn the paper over and draw squiggly lines from top to bottom and left to right, dividing the sheet into small sections. Then cut on the lines. Place the puzzle pieces into an envelope and give to a friend or sibling, or try putting it back together on your own. Optional: glue the pieces onto a colored sheet of construction paper as the puzzle is reconstructed, for a cool mosaic piece of art.
Action games like Pictionary and charades are wonderful pastimes, but why not throw in a little academics? First, make a list of historical characters or Bible heroes. As you make your list, take time to discuss the famous figures. Who were they? What did they do? When did they live? What is important about them? Use a children’s Bible or a safe internet site to gather more information if needed. Cut up the list and gather names into a hat or bowl. Take turns choosing and acting out (or drawing) clues. Valuable information is shared and learning is reinforced as answers are eagerly discovered.
So here’s wishing your family fair skies ahead, but if gray clouds threaten to bring on the blues, put some of these ideas into action and enjoy a cheery day.
♡ Kathryn O’Brien is author of children’s picture books and writes for Proverbs 31 Woman.
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