We came home early from our vacation in Maine because we were all waterlogged and had exhausted our inventory of rainy day games. If your vacation is still ahead of you, and if the Summer Games in Beijing aren’t enough, here are a few ideas for how to entertain your kids when the weather isn’t cooperating.
Cool Whip Treasure Hunt. Buy a few drums of Cool Whip — one for every participant — and mix in some healthy bounty like strawberries or apple slices (5-10 slices is a good number). The kids race to see who can find all the pieces first — without using their hands! It’s messy and sugary but the kids had an absolute blast.
Marshmallow Stuffing. No, this isn’t about ‘smores, it’s a fresh take on the Blue Man scene where one actor tosses about 30 marshmallows to another actor who catches every single one in his mouth. We let the kids stuff as many marshmallows as they could into their own mouths. Our champion fit 6.
Fitness + Fun. Many seasoned parents would say that vacation is more exhausting than the school year, and we try to bring along someone to look after the kids now and again. You gotta be able to go out to dinner with your wife, right? We had a wonderful babysitter with us who liked to work out every day, which made this game possible. Throw a kid on her back and see how many push-ups she can do!
Minature Shipyard. Our little guy has a real penchant for Legos, Hot Wheels, and Thomas the Tank Engine, which I am convinced is driven by birth order. The fourth child simply cannot compete for attention with the older ones, and that results in a lot more independence and self-sufficiency. Not bad traits to have. We bought him a $10 ship building kit and he spent hours, yes hours, creating his own pirate ship. Not a pretend pirate ship, but a real one. If you’re on the east cost in August steer clear of the 10-gun frigate with the multi-colored hull. It might be Red Beard.
Camp Skits. If you’ve been to camp you know there are lots of great skits that are good for some good laughs. Remember the heffalump? Kiddackle, kiddackle? We revived the one where one person hides under a sheet with her arms wrapped around the the other person, whose arms are tucked behind her and inside the sheet. This creates the appearance of one person who, inexplicably, is totally uncoordinated. They entertained us with a “morning routine” of tooth brushing, hair brushing, shaving, eating cereal, even applying make-up. Belly laughs and great photos guaranteed.
Mudding. Have lemons, make lemonade. Have rain, go mudding! This is not for the faint of heart. Grab a few friends and go to the local baseball field which is sure to be full of puddles and soft mud. If your kids are game, they can strip down to their skivvies, though that’s not essential. What is essential is that they roll in the mud, throw mud at each other, and dance in the rain. It’s amazing what kids will do to entertain themselves.
So there you have it: My family’s best ideas for rainy day entertainment. If we ever see the sun again, I may be able to share some ideas for fun in the sun.