The Summer Solstice has come and gone, and we are well into the dog days of summer. Perhaps some summertime monsoons have started where you live, or perhaps you are having dry desert days. In any case, there is still plenty of time left before many children return to school and it is always good to have some new ideas up your sleeve to have fun with your kiddos—even if the rain comes your way and changes your outdoor fun plans.
House Scavenger Hunts
If the rain is really coming down and it is just too uncomfortable to be outdoors, you can have a scavenger hunt in the house! There are two types of scavenger hunts, collecting hunts, and clue hunts. Collecting hunts work well for larger groups of five or more. Clue hunts can work with larger groups but are better for small parties.
For larger groups, divide the kids into two or more teams, and have them compete to collect a list of things from around the house of your devising. Here is an example list:
- A wooden spoon
- A missing sock from the laundry room
- A book by your (the guardian’s) choice of author
- A family photograph
- A book about a certain, specific subject, such as sailing, biology, or fine arts
- A flashlight
- An elastic band
- A paper clip
- Something cold
- A penny or coin
- A hammer or other tool
- A beach towel
- Something used in the snow or cold
- Something pink
- Something fuzzy
Whomever can find all the items on the list and return them to you the fastest wins the scavenger hunt, but everyone gets a prize!
For smaller groups, take a moment to write up some clues that will eventually lead to a final destination in the house. Pick three to four spots in the house between your starting and ending spot and leave clues in each spot. For instance, you could start in the kitchen, giving them the first clue that takes them to a bookshelf, where they will find another clue leading them to an office. The office has a clue leading them to a bathroom drawer. The bathroom drawer has a clue leading to a bedroom window, etc.
Your clues should be cryptic and sneaky. For instance, if you want to lead the child from the kitchen to the bookshelf, the clue could read something like this: “My walls contain worlds of words and stories of places mysterious and unknown.”
Stash a prize at the final destination for the kiddos to enjoy as a reward for their hard work. Get creative and have fun!
It is a great thing to get your kids enjoying the outdoors even when the weather is less than sunny! Help them embrace inclement weather through having fun in the mud! Fair warning: you cannot be afraid to get a little dirty with this activity! Keep a warm bucket of water outside the door to help your little ones rinse off before coming back inside. This will keep the floor clean and you happy as well.
You can prepare this activity beforehand or just wait until it starts raining to get to it. You will need a small trowel and a small bucket or bowl that can get dirty. Simply go outside and collect dirt and mud from different parts of the yard, neighborhood, or park to get different hues of brown. Additionally, you can add some food coloring to the mud to get a higher diversity of colors. Set out the bowls of mud and allow the kids to draw with the mud on their bodies, the sidewalk, or even the pavement of the driveway. This can also be a sunny day activity, in which case you can even use the mud to paint on paper! Warning that food coloring will dye skin, but is completely harmless.
I like to use all-natural mud—no dyes added—from different places around town with different colors. I then add some water to get a smooth but not too watery consistency to make great paint. My favorite body art to do is hand prints on my legs, arms, and face. A fun follow-up activity is to play make believe with your new body art!
- white paper (printer paper or water coloring paper)
- washable markers
Draw dots of different colors randomly around your piece of paper. You can also draw circles made up of rings of primary colors. For instance: draw a circle with yellow, then draw a ring of blue around it. Alternate drawing rings of each color until the page is filled. Other good colors to do this with are red and blue or red and yellow. Place the piece of paper out in the rain and see what magic happens when water makes the colors bleed together! Blue and yellow make green. Red and yellow make orange, and red and blue make purple! This activity is a great way to start teaching your children the primary colors.
- Water color paints
- Paint brushes
- Water color paper
- A cup of water (To really build some nature connection into this craft, you can put out a cup in the rain until it is filled and then use the rainwater in your painting!)
This activity is simple. Place newspaper on the table so as to prevent messes and spills. Set up the paints, water cup, paper, brushes, and pencils and invite your child (or yourself!) to be inspired by the rainy weather outside. Water colors are exceptionally good for painting the many colors of storm clouds, or the drops of water as they fall down the leaves of trees. Let the inspiration lead you and your children will follow suit.
Rainy days are excellent opportunities to either help your child(ren) be unafraid of getting messy in the outdoors or have some relaxed, intimate time with them in the home. Whatever you do, make sure to have fun!