School is out, the days are long and your kids are at home with energy to burn. One of the best things about summer is that the weather makes it possible to play outside until the sun goes down...at least until those loud claps of thunder start booming in the sky and the rains start to fall. When your family is forced to retreat indoors, try out these rainy-day activities that will boost your kids' imagination and keep them entertained until the rains pass and they can play outside again.
Plastic Bottle Bowling
Sure, you can head to a bowling ally on a rainy day, but it's also possible to re-create the fun of bowling at home. Pull some plastic two-liter bottles or milk jugs out of the recycling and set them up like bowling pins at the end of a long hallway. Use a soft rubber or plastic ball as a stand-in for a bowling ball and then have at it. Recruit one of your kids to keep score. The winner of each game is exempt from the job of setting up the pins after each turn.
Indoor Scavenger Hunt
Keep the kids' curiosity churning by holding an indoor scavenger hunt in the house. Have your kids search for common, easy-to-find items, as well as a few one-of-a-kind pieces that aren't so easy to come across. The excitement of hunting for items in the house that your kids never even knew existed will help them look at your home with fresh eyes while they burn some of that pent-up, rainy day energy.
Who needs a court, ball and rackets to play tennis? With indoor balloon tennis all you need is a balloon and a few pieces of cardboard. Have the kids design their own tennis rackets on a piece of cardboard, then cut the rackets out, put a blue piece of painter's tape on the floor to stand in as the net and let your kids backhand, volley and ace the day away.
Go wild by challenging the kids to act out their favorite animals in a game of charades, and before you know it they'll be stomping through the savanna, swinging from treetops and hopping across lily pads. In another version of this game, have your kids describe—instead of act out—their favorite animals. This will allow your kids to show the breadth of their knowledge by giving them the opportunity to share what their favorite animal eats, where it lives and how it operates in the wild.
Favorite Song Dance-off
A timeless way to expel energy on a rainy day is to clear the family room floor (push the furniture aside if you have to), crank up the volume on your kids' favorite songs and dance! To turn this party into a game, hold a dance-off where two kids dance back-to-back, showing off their favorite moves while each member of the "audience" gives them a score of one to 10. The dancer with the highest points wins and moves on to face the next dancing opponent.
Help your kids build their storytelling skills and get in a few good giggles with the "And then..." game. One person in your group starts this game by telling a few lines from a story. For example, "One dark and scary night many, many years ago, a boy named Neal was walking through the forest when he was confronted by an evil troll..." The next person in the group must then keep the story going by saying, "And then the troll said to Neal..." Continue the story until it hits a point when the next storyteller can't come up with a scenario to keep it going.
The Cleaning Game
Kill two birds with one stone and recruit your kids to help clean the house without them even realizing it. Assign each kid a room and then pull out a stopwatch and time them to see who can tidy up the fastest. Each round of the cleaning game can include tasks like picking up, dusting, sweeping, organizing or tackling other small chores like watering the plants and loading and unloading the dishwasher. The winner of the game is declared the King or Queen of Clean.
Design an Indoor Obstacle Course
Tap into your child's creativity and help them flex their engineering muscles by designing an indoor obstacle course. Incorporate furniture, toys and on-hand items like cardboard boxes to create an obstacle course that your child can crawl through, jump over and wiggle under.
Paper Plane Flying Contest
Pull up some YouTube tutorials and have your kids design the best paper airplanes they can come up with—then see how far they will fly. Your kids can compete in different "categories," such as farthest flight, best style and largest or smallest functional plane.
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