Have you ever noticed how many kids songs there are about rain? “Rain, rain, go away, come again another day”. Then there’s the one that goes, “Drip, drop, drip, drop rain is falling down.” On the one hand rain can be an enormous opportunity for fun. Gum boots! Raincoats! Umbrellas! Jumping in puddles! Splashing! Mud! Glorious mud! It’s almost like the perfect plaything! When I was a kid, growing up in the big droughts of the 1980s, rain was almost always exciting. For the first five minutes, anyway.
But then the novelty wears off. I don’t think there’d be a parent in Sydney this week that wouldn’t be tearing their hair out right now! Spending one entire day indoors is a challenge. But after a week or two of rain everybody starts getting a little bit stir-crazy, including Mum. For one thing, it makes so much more mess if you play inside all the time. Secondly, you have to keep thinking of new activities to do.
In the past week, I’ve come to realize how much I rely on going outside and on trips to the park to entertain my daughter. Now that we can’t do that, it’s a lot more effort to try to think of things to do. There’s only so much playdough, cooking and sticking a grown-up can take. My fall-back wet weather activity is the ‘make a cubby house inside’ trick. All you need are a couple of chairs, a blanket and a few heavy-duty rubber bands. It’s can provide hours of entertainment. I noticed when I picked Birdy up from my sisters’ house this week that she’d also reverted to the indoor cubby house option. Way to go.
But no matter how hard we work at keeping our children occupied, and no matter how many creative ideas we employ, there’s no way around the fact that little kids need fresh air, space and exercise. Actually, we all need it, but as adults we get used to going without it. Kids are just more vocal when their needs aren’t met. Keep a two or three-year-old cooped up inside for a couple of days and you’ll soon find that most of your house been destroyed as the energy that’s bottled up inside makes its way out.
I know I can’t be the only one who finds it difficult to keep my little one occupied in the wet weather. We have a new shopping centre near our house, which has a really cool playground in it. So hubby and I took Birdy down there one rainy afternoon only to discover that the playground was temporarily closed. We soon noticed large numbers of zombie-like parents and children aimlessly wandering around the shopping centre, looking for something to do. I guess like us, they also felt the need to get out of the house, but unfortunately there aren’t too many places you can take a toddler who just needs to burn off some energy. Maybe there needs to be a temporary moratorium on the universal ‘no jumping on the bed’ rule while the wet weather lasts.
Do you have trouble occupying your kids in the rain? Where do you take them on rainy days? Do you have a favourite wet-weather activity that always works a treat?