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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

18 Fun Activities for Kids to Do on a Rainy Day

18 Fun Activities for Kids to Do on a Rainy Day

For energetic and restless kids, being cooped up inside can be a damper. The same toys and books can get boring quickly. It may be tempting and easy to resort to screen time to keep your kids entertained but there are so many other activities that are much more beneficial for their development and creativity.

These activities don’t have to involve expensive materials or a complicated set-up. Using many things that you already have in a new and innovative way will keep your kids happy AND keep their minds engaged, away from the screens.

1. Create a cardboard town

Do you have an abundance of cardboard boxes laying around that need to be recycled? Encourage your kids to use them to build a cardboard town.

By using different sized boxes, the town can include a bridge, a park and train tracks. Incorporate toys that you already have on hand, such as blocks, trucks and toy animals. The structures can be decorated with markers and stickers to truly make it their own.

2. Start a family band

Do your kids love banging on their musical instrument toys and making a ruckus? Get the whole family involved and play music together. You can use real instruments that you own like a keyboard or guitar.

Don’t forget to incorporate household items such as pots and pans, wooden spoons and anything else that makes noise![1]

3. Make something yummy

Help your kids get comfortable in the kitchen at an early age by allowing them to help with age-appropriate tasks when making something that they love to eat:[2]

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    Baking is a great group activity where the kids can help with measuring and mixing. Tacos, pizzas and stir fries can also be very kid-friendly.

    Look for recipes that you and your kids will enjoy: Master Chef-To-Be: 40 Easy Recipes To Cook With Kids

    4. Listen to a podcast

    Podcasts are becoming a very popular platform for storytelling, comedy, news and so much more. Chances are, you already have a list of podcasts that you love to listen do.

    Did you know that there are podcasts made for kids too? On Fatherly, they have some interesting podcasts for kids here.

    Round up your family and spend time listening together. Have a laugh, hear a great story or learn something new.

    5. Race paper airplanes

    Folding and racing paper airplanes is a game that never goes out of style. See how far each child can make their paper airplane go, using their own innovative folding technique. Then, try out different designs and see which one is the most aerodynamic. The results may be surprising!

    Here’re some airplanes ideas from John Collins, the Paper Airplane Guy:

    6. Make handmade cards

    Is there a holiday or birthday coming up? Use this time to make unique, thoughtful cards for grandparents or aunts and uncles.

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    Bring out the glitter, paint, stickers and other art materials to let your kids’ imaginations go wild! This will make a wonderful surprise for your relatives to receive in the mail.

    7. Science experiments

    What better way to teach kids about how the world works while entertaining them at the same time? Choose an age-appropriate activity for older kids and help them set it up using common household materials. From invisible ink to a marshmallow catapult, there are endless possibilities for a day of science fun!

    8. Learn how to fold origamI

    Origami is the art of folding paper into a shape that represents an object. It’s amazing how a few simple folds can transform a piece of paper into something completely different!

    Using origami or printer paper, show your kids how to fold a few different simple origami patterns. Once your kids have mastered those, move on to more challenging designs.

    9. Make indoor s’mores

    S’mores doesn’t have to be an outdoor-only treat! Capture the magic of sitting around a campfire by bringing the best part indoors.

    Use your fireplace or stove to roast marshmallows or pop the assembled s’mores into the oven for a ready-to-eat dessert. Tell ghost stories or sing campfire songs to make it a truly authentic experience.

    10. Talent show

    Everyone has a talent they can show off. Whether it’s playing a musical instrument, doing an imitation or hula hooping, no talent is too trivial to share in the family talent show.

    Use props, costumes and other members of the family to perform your act. Give out prizes in various categories to all of the participants. Record a video of the show and have a family viewing later.

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    11. Sing-a-long

    Do your family members like to sing in the shower, in the car and pretty much all the time? Put on a song that everyone knows or take turns belting out your favorite tunes. Don’t worry if you or your kids can’t carry a tune. The only requirement is being enthusiastic and having fun.

    12. Board game

    A great way for you and your kids to bond while having fun is to play a board game together. Your kids may not want to pull out Candy Land for the hundredth time, but how about trying some new board games? From families that love Disney, drawing, singing or building, there is sure to be a board game that will get everyone excited.

    Here’re some interesting board games you can try with your kids.

    13. Fashion show

    Dressing up is so much better when kids are allowed to use Mom and Dad’s clothes.

    Use this opportunity to gather up clothes, shoes and accessories that need to be de-cluttered and let your kids have free reign. Create a runway for the models to walk down and showcase their fashionable and on trend outfits.

    14. Indoor obstacle course

    Are your kids full of energy? Design an indoor obstacle course using items such as chairs, hula hoops, and pillows.[3]

      Use a timer to see who can complete it the fastest with no cheating! See if your kids can improve upon their time or figure out more efficient ways of completing the course.

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      15. Create a TV show

      Urge your kids write and produce their very own TV show. It could be a comedy, a mystery, a talk show or a game show. After they come up with a script or plot, record the show for them and do some basic video editing or add special effects. Have a screening with the whole family!

      16. Make ice cream

      Making ice cream at home is a great way to combine a science lesson with a delicious treat! You only need a few ingredients and basic materials to make your very own ice cream: How to Make Ice Cream At Home Without An Ice Cream Making Machine

      Let your kids take charge in doing all of the shaking and check to see if it’s ready after a couple of minutes. Ice cream DOES taste better when you make it yourself.

      17. Plan a garage sale

      You can teach your kids many valuable lessons by helping them sort their own clothes and toys for an upcoming garage sale.

      Help them decide which items they have outgrown and how much they should charge for each. You can also talk to them about what they are going to buy with their profits or encourage them to donate it to a good cause.

      18. Treasure hunt

      Create a list of things for your kids to find around the house. Use riddles if your kids are old enough to add an additional challenging element to the hunt. Design the hunt so that each clue leads to the next one. Have your kids work together to read and figure out each clue. Don’t forget the prize at the end!

        A dreary, rainy day does not have to result in a group of unhappy and bored kids, cooped up inside. There are countless things that can keep them entertained and engaged that doesn’t involve staring at a screen for hours at a time. Use these ideas to show your kids that creativity and enthusiasm can go a long way.

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

        Reference

        [1] Red Tricycle: 14 Handmade Instruments That Actually Play Music
        [2] Thirty Hand Made Days: Kids Cooking Camp at Home
        [3] Family Education: indoor obstacle course

        More by this author

        Katie Lemons

        Parenting Blogger and Full-Time Working Mom

        Reading for Kids: 17 Reasons Why It’s Important and Where to Start 13 Ways Working Moms Can Balance Work and Family (And Be Happy) 18 Fun Activities for Kids to Do on a Rainy Day These 18 Smart Kids Apps Will Make You Rethink Learning and Education 14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

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        Last Updated on January 12, 2021

        Signs of Depression in Children (And How to Help Them to Overcome It)

        Signs of Depression in Children (And How to Help Them to Overcome It)

        Children, just like adults, can be depressed. Sometimes seemingly normal children with no major life issues can become depressed. It is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes clinical depression to occur. There are specific signs that you should recognize in your child if they are depressed. Getting them help and treatment is crucial to their mental wellness.

        In this article, we will look into the signs of depression in children and how parents can help them to overcome it.

        Signs of depression in children

        The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder) is the widely accepted instruction guide that professionals utilize for diagnosing mental disorders. The DSM characterizes a Major Depressive Episode as depressed behaviors that consistently last for two weeks or longer. Therefore, if your child has been “down in the dumps”, feeling hopeless or having sadness for more than two weeks, it should be cause for concern and investigated.

        Below are signs of depression according to the DSM manual. The individual must have at least five of these behaviors present for a period of two weeks or longer to be officially diagnosed as having MDD (Major Depressive Disorder). Below is a summary/generalization from the DSM manual:

        • Feelings of deep sadness or depressed mood that last most of the day (for two weeks or more). For children they can present as irritable rather than sad.
        • Diminished interest in activities (again majority of the day or all the time).
        • Significant weight loss (not through dieting), or a decrease in appetite. In children, they fail to make expected weight gains while growing.
        • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia).
        • Either a slowing of psychomotor abilities/actions or an apparent agitation of these psychomotor abilities. This means that they either have moments that lack purpose and seem to be done because of agitation and tension or there is a significant slowness/retardation of their speech and physical actions.
        • Fatigue and loss of energy.
        • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt every day.
        • Difficulty thinking, making decisions, or concentrating every day. This may be reflected in their grades.
        • Preoccupation with death and dying or suicidal thoughts.

        Please note that if your child is suffering from the loss of a loved one and is processing through the stages of grief, it is normal to have these signs of depression. If they seem to be stuck in the depression stage, then it is time to pursue grief counseling to help them along in the grieving process.

        However, if they are not suffering from a bereavement or a medical condition that would cause the above symptoms, then they should be taken to a professional for possible diagnosis and treatment of MDD (Major Depressive Disorder).

        How to help your child with depression

        Depression is not to be taken lightly. Especially if suicidal thoughts are present. The child’s feelings and emotions are real and must be taken seriously. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), suicide is the number two cause of death for individuals between the ages of 10 and 34.[1]

        Professional help is recommended if you believe your child fits the criterion for MDD (Major Depressive Disorder). You can take your child to their paediatrician for an evaluation and referral. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, they may benefit from medication such as anti-depressants.

        Most professionals do not dispense medication as the first remedy for depression. Instead therapy is the first line of defense against depression, with medication being paired with therapy if the therapy is not enough or the symptoms are severe enough.

        Testing

        There are assessment tools that professionals can utilize to help in properly determining whether your child is depressed. The three tools used in assessing depression in children are:

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        • The Children’s Depression Rating Scale (CDRS)
        • Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI)
        • Clinical Global Impression (CGI)

        Taking your child to a professional mental health counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist can help ensure proper testing and assessment occurs.

        Therapy

        There are many types of therapy available today. It is important to find a professional that specializes in childhood depression and the treatment of such.

        Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the leading therapy methods in treating childhood depression. For younger children, play therapy is useful in treating childhood depression as children are often able to better communicate through play than conversation alone.

        What parents can do at home to help their depressed child

        Besides seeking for professional help, there are a couple of things that parents can do at home to help their depressed child:

        1. Talk with your child about their feelings in a compassionate and empathetic manner.

        It can feel high pressure to sit face to face and ask your child about their feelings. However, going on a walk, playing a board game or playing alongside your child (chose whichever is age appropriate for your child) can allow them to relax and open up about their feelings.

        Ask your child open ended questions that require more than a simple yes or no to engage in more meaningful conversations. Never judge while they are being open and honest with you because it will inevitably cause them to shut down and move away from being open with you.

        It is okay to allow for periods of silence during the conversations because sometimes the child is processing their thoughts and emotions during your time together. You don’t have to fill the space and entire time with talking as silence at times is helpful.

        2. Provide activities that help them relax and de-stress.

        For smaller children, there are simple ways to help them relax.

        Provide play opportunities that they find relaxing such as coloring, painting, working with Play-do or clay, or playing with sand and sand toys. Again, find activities that interest your child and are age appropriate are helpful in making them relaxed.

        3. Limit screen time.

        Technology is not helpful in making your child less depressed. It can often be an escape that keeps them from further opening up about their feelings and emotions.

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        Limit time in front of the TV, laptop, smart phone, video games and tablets, etc. Any electronics that seem to prevent your child from face to face interactions should be limited. Ask Dr. Sears cites that researchers have found kids who have higher levels of screen time are at greater risk for anxiety and depression.[2]

        Provide alternate activities to replace the screen time such as hiking, crafting, drawing, constructing, biking and playing outside, etc. Some children may be so dependent on their screen time as their source for entertainment that they may need you to participate in alternate activities alongside them in order to get engaged in the activities.

        You can’t simply tell your child to go outside to play if they are suffering from depression, lack friends and are used to sitting down and playing video games each day after school. Go outside with your child and do a nature hike or take your child to a playground and have fun together to get them engaged in these alternate activities.

        4. Promote outdoor time and physical activities.

        Encourage your children to take part in activities that especially involve nature such as nature hikes. Do these activities with them to help them engage in the activities. Again this is an opportunity for open conversations to occur and quality time to take place.

        5. Help your child when problems and difficult tasks arise.

        Assist them by helping them break down the task into smaller and more manageable parts. Children with depression often have difficulty taking on large problems and tasks and find them overwhelming. Helping them by breaking down the task into smaller and more manageable tasks will assist in helping raise their confidence when the small tasks are mastered.

        Small tasks mastered lead to bigger tasks being mastered over time. It is a process over time, patience and a willingness to work alongside your child. This does not mean doing the task or taking on the problem solely yourself. Many times all the child needs is for you to break down the larger task into smaller more manageable tasks and for you to patiently talk your child through the completion of these smaller tasks.

        6. Help your child reduce life stress.

        When children are depressed, they have greater difficulty handling life activities in general. Cut back on activities that cause stress to increase and look for ways to help reduce stress in your child’s life.

        7. Foster a positive home atmosphere.

        Reduce or eliminate negative attitudes, language and conversations. Also avoid raised voices, passive aggressive behaviors and any form of physical violence in the home.

        Make your home a safe haven for your child instead of an atmosphere that is ever volatile (in words, emotions or physically). Make it a calm environment that makes your child feel safe and secure mentally, emotionally and physically.

        8. Help your child see the positive in life situations.

        Point out the positives in a situation rather than the negatives. Help them see the bright side of any situation.

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        Be a model of seeing the positive in life by speaking words that are uplifting, encouraging and positive. Resist the temptation to voice negative thoughts that come to mind as your child can feed off your emotions and words.

        9. Believe your child when they talk about how they are feeling.

        Listen to them patiently and take their words seriously. Do not discount or minimize their feelings. Express empathy and compassion when they do open up about their feelings. Help them utilize “I feel” statements in expressing their emotions.

        10. Keep watch for suicidal behaviors.

        Such behaviors include your child/teen researching this topic online, them giving away their possessions and a preoccupation with death.

        Seek professional help immediately with the presentation of suicidal behaviors or thoughts. Keep this number on hand and use it when in doubt: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number 1-800-273-8255.

        11. Keep all prescriptions, alcohol, drugs and weapons locked and away from children and teens.

        This is a given for all children, but even more imperative for children who are depressed as they have an increased likelihood to abuse drugs and alcohol. They also have an increased likelihood to attempt suicide. So keep weapons and tools such as ropes and knives that can used for suicide out of the child’s ability to use.

        12. Spend quality one-on-one time with your child.

        Make the time during your day, every day, to spend quality time with your child. You may have limited time and cannot provide an hour or more a day to dedicate to one-on-one time with your child, but you should provide a minimum of 20 minutes a day with your child spending quality one-on-one time together. Try the suggested activities listed in point #3.

        13. Be an encouragement and supporter of your child.

        Show love and not frustration or anger because of the situation and your child’s condition. Help keep your attitude positive so your child can also see the positive.

        Provide daily words of affirmation that are not based on end results (such as a grade or a win) but instead praise the effort they put forth. If you praise the outcome, they will be disappointed when their efforts don’t pan out. If they are praised for their efforts regardless of the outcome, their confidence is built based upon something that they can control (the effort they put into things).

        14. Help your child to live a healthy lifestyle.

        Sleep is a very important factor in your child’s mood. Not getting enough sleep can cause an entire day to be upset. According to Sleep Aid Resource, children between the ages of 3 and 18 need between 8 and 12 hours of sleep each night:[3]

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          Ensure your child is eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting physical activity/exercise daily and plenty of sleep time.

          15. Help your child foster positive relationships and friendships with their peers.

          Set up play dates for your younger child and encourage older children to invite friends over to your home.

          16. Talk about bullying.

          It can be one of the causes of your child’s depression, so discuss their life outside of home and their interactions with their peers. Help them recognize bullying and discuss how to handle bullying properly.

          17. Help your child follow the treatment plan outlined by their doctor, counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist.

          Make sure you know the treatment plan that your child’s health care professional has outlined for child. This may include counseling session recommendations, medications and recommendations to follow through with in the home. Completing the plan will help provide optimal results for your child in the long run. A plan doesn’t work unless it is followed.

          18. Recognize that professional treatment takes time to show results.

          Don’t expect results for the first few weeks. It may take a month or longer, so be patient and understanding with your child.

          Depression in children is curable

          Depression in children can happen for a variety of reasons. It is quite treatable.

          Professional help is recommended if your child can possibly be diagnosed with a depressive episode. There are interventions that can be implemented in a professional setting, at home and at school. The key is having a plan of action to help your child.

          Ignoring the problem or hoping the depression will just go away is not a good plan. Treatment is imperative to curing depression in children.

          The first step is talking to your child’s paediatrician to get the ball rolling. He or she will refer you to specialists in your area that can help your child overcome and conquer their depression one day at a time. With you by their side, each step of the way you will get through it together and it is quite possible for your relationship with your child to be strengthened in the process as well. That can be your silver lining or positive outlook on the situation at hand.

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] National Institute of Mental Health: Suicide
          [2] Ask Dr. Sears: It’s a Virtual World: Setting Practical Screen Time Limits
          [3] Sleep Aid Resource: Sleep Chart

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