Toddler activities on miserable, rainy, dark days?

(34 Posts)

What do you do with your toddlers on days like today? DD is 2.3 and currently having a nap. It will be nearly dark when she wakes up. We read, draw, paint, watch TV, she plays with her toys a bit but generally seems under occupied. Any ideas for good rainy day activities which take up decent chunks of the day?

nitsaretheworst Mon 21-Apr-14 19:18:05

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Summersbee Fri 04-Jan-13 20:48:26

Instead of endless playdough all French children know about 'Pâte à sel' which is dough made of flour, salt and water which you can mould into all sorts of wonderful shapes and then cook, paint and varnish. One of the first things my daughter made out of it was the number 4 (her age at the time) which she painted and decorated with little 'flowers' - or you could always make an 'Angry Bird'! A Green Mouse has the recipe and instructions in English in its French activity section or look elsewhere online for books and ideas.

elleephant Fri 04-Jan-13 18:25:52

I like it! Fun AND dinner!

SchnappsDamnYou Fri 04-Jan-13 00:29:40

And finally. Buy or make pizza base. Chop up veg and cocktail sausages, shred ham, grate cheese. Cover pizza with passata or tomato pesto and get toddler chefs to arrange toppings. Cook.

SchnappsDamnYou Fri 04-Jan-13 00:26:36

Also - cut out lots of simple fish shapes on card. Decorate and stick together so fish are colourful both sides. Attach lines and make mobile using wire coat hanger.

SchnappsDamnYou Fri 04-Jan-13 00:20:56

I was going to say pipe cleaners! I get a colander and ds pokes them in the holes then wears colander as hat.

Also - three blobs of red yellow blue poster paint inside taped up freezer bag. Manipulate with fingers to make interesting swirls and patterns without mess!

And chocolate broken biscuit fridge cake. Smash biscuits in plastic bag, melt choc and butter, mix and put in greased paper lined tin, refridgerate and decorate. Lots of recipes online - google tiffin or broken biscuit cake.

Cover blackboard with chalk and then draw patterns with wet fat blusher or shaving brush.

Cover baking tray with foil and slop blobs of poster paint. Use fingers or cotton buds to draw swirls then lay paper over the paint to get abstract art. When dry, cut paper into letters spelling childs name or use stencils and cut out people, animal, flowers shapes and make collage.

ellee Wed 02-Jan-13 22:18:44

Oh oh, I have one!

Bought a big box of extra long and varied pipe cleaners in euroland shop, and my 1yo and 3yo love 'em! Even though I really haven't the faintest idea what we're supposed to be doing with them!

vladthedisorganised Wed 02-Jan-13 13:20:43

Bread making goes down well - can kill an hour or two with kneading and you can't go too far wrong; it's also quite nice eating the results.
I do a mini science lab when I'm feeling really on top of my game: what happens when you put a drop of lemon juice in bicarbonate of soda (small plastic pot of bicarb and a squeezy lemon gives a safe amount of fizz), making cornflour paste which acts as a solid when you tap it with a teaspoon but can pour as a liquid, and putting a penny in Coke to see what happens). No idea how much of it goes in and you have to supervise to make sure things aren't eaten, but she seems fairly entertained..

Fuzzymum1 Wed 02-Jan-13 09:16:13

Glad the rice was enjoyed,

Great ideas - we did the rice thing today and DD loved it. I think about 1/3 went up the hoover afterwards, but much better than sand.

We also made a den in the lounge with the sofa cushions and did some foot and hand painting.

cordiality Mon 31-Dec-12 17:34:01

This thread is amazing! We've done the biscuit decorating this afternoon, and the sofa assault course and now DH and dd are playing in a den under the table! Dd will be exhausted by bedtime!

My suggestion is to do 'washing up' at the kitchen sink. We put dd on a chair at the kitchen sink (after covering floor and chair with towels) then run the sink with lots of bubbly washing up liquid or hand wash. She can then wash up anything non breakable like wooden spoons, plastic measuring jugs, plastic bottles from the recycling, sieves, funnels, etc.

Can kill a good hour doing that, especially if we leave the tap running.

FairyPenguin Mon 31-Dec-12 15:41:58

Put a sheet over dining table or backs of two chairs and make a den. Even better with a torch and the lights off. Keeps my two entertained for hours!

slatternlymother Mon 31-Dec-12 15:38:00

Oh yy to water tables; they rock! And the decorating biscuits; they do that at my DS' nursery.

ANY birthday parties you get invites to; GO. No matter how tired or unbothered you are. We've been to one this afternoon and it was fab! There was a bouncy castle and everything! We made an effort for DS' party though, so what goes around, comes around.

Spookey80 Mon 31-Dec-12 14:30:18

Bump- brill thread.

Theveryhungrymuma Mon 31-Dec-12 14:23:59

If you have Facebook there are two good pages I've liked, the rainy day mom and the imagination tree, lots of good ideas for preschoolers I'm hoping to try in the new year.

bbface Mon 31-Dec-12 08:02:28

Prob for boys more than girls, but we do sword fights. DS (2.4) dresses up in his knight's outfit. I get the dodgy broken flimsy sword, he gets the gleaming knight's sword and we run around the house, sometimes him chasing me, sometimes vice versa. Shouting nonsense to one another and basically poking each other with swords. I kid you not, this can go on for an hour, then break, then more.

I am 32 weeks pregnant and, if you knew me, you would know how this is not something I would appear to do with my child, I am no earth mother, I am not great at playing BUT for some some, we both love doing this and ideal for this time of year.

I am no baker as can not be bothered with the after cleaning of baking. So I got a load of decorations, squeezey icing, hundreds and thousands, silver balls etc etc, and some ready made fairy cakes and / or large plain biscuits. We then decorate them together. He loves that, actually I love it too.

I get the iPad and ask him what animals or anything really he wants not look at. He starts listing anything and everything, from owls to dinosaurs to monster trucks. Then we go through the images or you tube videos of them. That can easily while away an hour or so.

Theveryhungrymuma Mon 31-Dec-12 00:02:41

Really cheap activity, decorating biscuits- packet of icing sugar about 99p and a pack of hundreds and thousands about 99p in aldi/ home bargains, packet of rich tea fingers .coat the biscuits in icing and let dc put sprinkles on, keeps my dd amused for hours.

make Oreo biscuit cakes, grind down a load of Oreo biscuits, melt a packet of marshmallows and some butter in the microwave and add in the crushed biscuits, pour into tray,bung in fridge. Get dc to stir and pour.

Dd loves glitter, smother a page of card with glue and let loose with glitter shaker, messy but keeps her amused for a while. Pound land do lots of crafty packs, paint , glue ,Pom poms etc get them all there. have made a sort of washing line with string where her masterpieces are pegged to show daddy her 'prettys' when he gets in, also lets them dry without her touching after I've cleaned up!

Also I often get one of those Betty Crocker pancake shakers, add water get dd to shake (whilst sat in high chair) I will cook one round , while they are cooling ready to eat ,do the next round, lovely and quick to do. We always have them when we've been out in the cold!

Dd has a 'proper' water table now, but before I bought it I used to fill a washing up pan with warm water and bubble bath lay down lots of towels and throw in her ducks from the bath, stacking cups, kitchen jug anything to splash about.

Do you have a Pinterest account op, there are lots of fab ideas on there, I have a board ready for wet weather ideas!

moonstorm Sun 30-Dec-12 18:04:23

Get dressed for the weather and go out anyway. I can't imagine never going out. Doesn't matter if it's dark to play in the garden. Play with torches!

Fuzzy that sounds amazing! Definitely doing some of that!

Slattern it is fab, it's Lewis Smith and Dan Keating's training gym <showing off now> but they're desperate for an update/refurb so whilst its not snazzy (my mum took me there when I was a kid and its not changed much!) they stuff they do with kids is brilliant.

Fuzzymum1 Sat 29-Dec-12 17:39:15


Get a bag of cheap rice, put a quarter of it in a tub with a secure lid, add a few drops of food colouring and then put the lid on and shake like crazy, repeat 3 times with a different colour each time so you end up with 4 different colours then mix them together, put it in a deep tray (we use a potting tray from the garden centre) add some spoons, pots, funnels etc.

It's a bit like paying with sand but safer and easier to clean up - it dries really fast so can be ready to play with in a few minutes.

DS3 loved it at 18 months and still likes it now at nearly six. I must make some more as he's been nagging me for weeks

bigkidsdidit Sat 29-Dec-12 17:28:43

Yes, I know, and we go try I get to soft play or somewhere of poss. But DS is 99.6% for weight and I do worry sad

slatternlymother Sat 29-Dec-12 17:16:16

bigkids you can only do so much though, can't you? Took my DS all wrapped up to the beach the other day, but we all nearly got blown away! It was bloody freezing! You just have to make up for it as far as you can when it's drier and in the summer months.

bigkidsdidit Sat 29-Dec-12 16:36:46

We do baking and often painting - I cover the dining table with newspaper and he paints it and glitters it.

Running races in the hallways!

Obstacle courses

A bit of Cbeebies

Bouncing on the beds


I need more inspiration too, DS will generally play by himself of I'm nearby but I don't feel he gets enough exercise

slatternlymother Sat 29-Dec-12 16:32:34

stop that gym class sounds amazing!

HappyNewSkyebluesapphire Sat 29-Dec-12 16:25:37

DD 4yo loves making cards so I bought some green A5 cardboard and gave her the Christmas cards to cut up and stick and some Christmas stickers and she has made new cards for next year. They may definitely will need some tweaking before handing out grin.

Kept her busy for ages though

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