Rainy days can be a major bummer no matter where you live. Of course, it is even worse when you factor in young, restless kids and dogs that need regular trips outdoors for exercise (among other reasons).
Your darling children, unlike your pet companions, have hands and feet, which sometimes flail around and knock into things. They’ve also got powerful lungs. When children are bored, it’s not uncommon for them to let out a plaintive “Mom, there’s nothing to do.” What’s an apartment-dwelling Mom or Dad to do to keep their kids happy?
Plenty, it turns out. Kids (and animals) need to burn off their excess energy to calm down a bit, and to do that indoors, you’ve got to engage their minds, hands, feet and paws! Keep your children and pets engaged and active on rainy days right inside your apartment with these child-sanctioned activities that are bound to make your kids feel that they’ve got the coolest parents around!
Disclaimer: Before anything else, make sure there are no sharp or jagged edges exposed when things start to get active indoors. Furniture, picture frames, mirrors, etc. should not jut out where little faces or bodies can come into contact with them. Cover your furniture with blankets if need be. Tape a little foam on the particularly sharp edges.
OK, remember your mission: keep your kids involved and happy, with a little help from your pets. Ready, set, go!
1. Blow Bubbles
Remember this activity from when you were young? Buy the requisite bubble blowing kit and blow those suckers as large as you can. Now, let them go! It’s up to your kids and animals to romp around and try to catch the bubbles! They’ll give the activity a good try, that’s for sure.
(Note: Bubbles can be problematic for apartments with carpeting. This is best tried in spaces with wood or tiled floors).
2. Music, Set, Stop
The object is to dance up a storm while the music’s playing, and then, when Mom or Dad stop the music, the dancers have to freeze in their last dance movement positions. It isn’t as easy as it sounds, but it is loads of fun. Try it!
OK. Pets probably won’t be dancing with you, but some do get excited by the music and try to join in their own ways. And, if you’re dog or cat is small enough (and will let you), you can pick them up and dance with them!
3. Balloon Seize
Go to your local supermarket or general store (or a greeting card store) and pick up a pack of colorful balloons. Blow them up and throw them all over the apartment.
Give each player 1-2 minutes to seize as many balloons as they can carry. Let them be creative; they can carry them in their hands, under their arms, by their teeth, using clothing, etc. You can even designate points for each color. Then, at the end, the person who collected the most balloons or racked up the most points is the winner!
If you’ve got animal companions, you’ll have to watch out for sharp claws, but if one or two balloons get popped, you can always inflate some more! Or, make the game more complicated somehow by including your pet!
4. Simon Says
Any fun, repetitive exercise you can do with your kid will work here, but Simon Says is a great game to get everyone moving. Jumping jacks, anyone?
Not only will games like this tire the little ones out, but also they can be beneficial for development. For example, jumping jacks are a balance-improving exercise that can help your kids further develop their hand-eye coordination.
5. Hide and Seek the Treats
A Beagle, with the breed’s super-nose and hunter’s makeup, is the perfect dog for this family game, but any eager, energetic dog will do. Hide your dog’s favorite treats (the smellier the better) and give the dog the command to “find the cookies!”. Demonstrate, if need be, until the dog gets the idea. It’s important to sound really excited when the dog finds the treats! Your kids will love hiding the treats, and watching the dog hunt for them.
6. Treasure Hunt
Why wait for Easter for this one? This takes a little preparation beforehand, but it’s worth the effort when the fun starts.
Place clues around your apartment, sending the finder of the clue on to the next clue. Write the clues in big, clear handwriting on pieces of paper. The winner gets the treasure.
Your treasure could be something as simple as a bag of trail mix or candy bar to something more elaborate, such as a framed snapshot of the whole family engaged in the treasure hunt (snapped while the fun was going on).
7. Decorate Cookies
Get the kids in by letting them help you bake cookies and decorate home-made cookies! You can buy a ready-made cookie dough mix in your grocer’s freezer if you want too (or even use store-bought cookies).
Once the cookies have finished baking and have cooled off, give your children a squeeze-tube of icing and let them have fun decorating the cookies. When the cookies are done and you’re all munching on your snack, discuss the designs and laugh over the best (or worst) in the bunch.
Tip: Don’t forget about your four-legged friends! There are a lot of cookie recipes for humans and dogs to enjoy without getting sick. (Think peanut butter for dogs!) Just be sure to do your research for the right recipes.
If you follow some of the ideas above, before long, young and old, two-legged and four-legged alike will join in the fun, and soon the entire family will be laughing up a storm.