Rainy days and Mondays
With half term approaching and the British weather being what it is, it's always a good idea to be prepared and plan some activities to avoid finding yourself with a house full of grumpy bored faces.
So here are my top favourite 'rainy day' activities purloined from the Perform Book Of Brilliant Things To Do. Some of them might seem a bit sketchy but they've all been tried and tested and anyway the simplest ideas are often the best. Quite a few involve music so have an ipod/ CD player and a few different CDs to hand.
All children love playing with water and I'm sure that yours are no exception. This activity needs close supervision but can be a lot of fun and great for stimulating imaginations.
Tell your children that you are all going to be magicians who have to make up some magic potions. Get together some clear plastic tumblers, put them in a washing up bowl and put them on a table your children can sit at. First of all, you have to make sure that all the equipment is really clean so show them how to wash and dry everything up beautifully (also useful for the future!).
Now part-fill the tumblers with water and put a drop of different coloured food colouring (the stuff you use for icing cakes) in each. Now challenge them to make up different potions according to their own recipes. It's amazing how much they love adding the different colours to see what happens. For every potion they create, they must give it a name and say what it is for.
Walking in different environments
This game is a really good way of helping children letting off steam (especially good if you can't get out because of the rain!).
Ask your children to walk around the room as if they are walking in mud. Then ask them to walk around the room as if they are walking on the moon. When they have got the hang of this, turn on a piece of music (upbeat classical is the best) and get them to do it again in different environments. Some of my favourites are: deep snow, quicksand, hot coals, a bath of slugs, a blizzard, on crocodile heads, a bouncy castle. You can chop and change environments as much as you like which is also great for encouraging concentration and listening. Eventually, you can get them to make up their own environments, the crazier the better.
Home Obstacle Course
Empty your biggest room as much as you can. Tell your children that they have one minute to go and fetch some ?obstacles'. (Cushions, bean bags, chairs, blanket etc).
With these obstacles make your very own obstacle course and help them design a route to complete. You can keep a running commentary going to really inspire their imaginations.
If you want to make it even more exciting, play some "adventure"-type film music while this is going on. Mission Impossible, Indiana Jones, Jaws etc. all work well.
Have about six different tracks of music at hand for this. The music should be variously slow, fast, poppy, classical etc. Just as long as there are lots of different moods and feels.
Ask your children to close their eyes and play about 20 seconds of your first piece of music to them. Stop the track and tell them that you are going to play it again, but this time they must get up and move to the music in ANY WAY they wish. So, if it is a sad piece of music, you might find them doing slow walks or movements around the room. If it is a happy piece of music, they might run around doing high fives etc.Repeat with different tracks.
The important thing is for them to just move in the way that they feel the music tells them to and everything is acceptable.
Give your children boxes, loo rolls, newspapers, magazines, off cuts of wrapping paper etc. and get their creative juices flowing by setting them the challenge of creating their own fashion masterpiece to wear.
Once they've done this, set up a catwalk using lengths of ribbon/ masking tape on the floor. Get some pop music to play for when your models start showing off their designs. Hand out big sunglasses for any spectators and there you have your very own fashion show. Your role is, of course, chief photographer.
Set up a themed "restaurant" in your kitchen/dining room. For example, you could establish an Italian restaurant called "Mamma Mia's". Let your children decorate signs and colour in flags. Make a chef hat from cylinders of white card and white tissue paper. Facepaint moustaches and let them create their own pizza using small nan breads, passata, and bowls of ingredients like ham, tuna and olives.
Create a cinema in your sitting room. Choose a favourite DVD or a new one for a film premiere. Get the kids to divide microwave popcorn into small bags and fill your living room with cushions or bean bags if you have them. Close the curtains for atmosphere. Sit back and relax! For follow on activities have colouring in sheets that relate to the film or costumes for them to dress up like the characters.
I know this might not be very helpful advice right now, but after my childrens' birthdays, I tend to squirrel a bunch of presents away after they've been opened. They get SO many gifts that they don't notice if a few disappear and they're perfect to bring out on a rainy day when you need some fresh material!!
So that's it from me. Please let me know your ?rainy day' activities.