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Dad's Rainy Day Activities

Dec 4, 2007
On a rainy day when you're home with the kids, you've got to do something structured before the fighting starts. My wife thinks its a great time to get everyone cleaning, but I prefer a more fun route.

Building a fort is a great activity for a rainy day. Although the dining table is usually the perfect size and an easy place to drape the blankets, my wife usually hates a mess in the dining room since forts tend to last a into at least one meal time. I've determined that removing the cushions and flipping the couch on its front (so the back of the couch is the roof) is a great fort beginning. The cushions make a great foundation for the walls, and we use a lot of blankets (mostly the cheap throws that we have so many of and blankets Grandma sends the kids). We have a chest in the family room where we keep these blankets so they are easily at hand when we're cold or need to build a small, indoor living space (also known as a fort). Bonus: keeping the blankets in a chest requires much less folding when it's time to clean up. We also use a lot of clothes pins to hold blankets together, keep a flap open for a door or window, or keep the "door" closed. Clothes pins are cheap, easy to store, and very versatile for fort building.

When you can't take the thought of building (or constantly fixing) a blanket fort, try a puzzle or two. Depending on the age of your children, you could spend a few minutes doing wooden puzzles or an entire weekend putting together 1000 pieces. Either way, doing puzzles together helps each of you learn patience, problem solving skills, and cooperation while fostering a great opportunity for meaningful conversation. Older kids will really open up as you sit with your heads down and your hands busy. Let them talk, and answer their questions honestly and openly.

Another fun activity on a cold, rainy day is cooking together. I don't do a lot of cooking, but I have found soup is pretty easy, and the kids love to help chop the veggies and do a lot of stirring. If soup is too daunting, try a roll of refrigerated cookie dough or biscuits. The house will smell good and you will enjoy time spent with the kids. They'll even stick around for the clean up if you give them the responsibility they are ready for.

When it's too cold to go out, I enjoy turning on the fire and curling up on the couch with a stack of books and my pre-schoolers. With my older kids, I can occasionally talk them into starting a chapter book with me. We take turns reading and enjoy being close. Even though we rarely finish the book together, we do usually both finish it and have the bond of a shared story.

I hope whatever you decide to do on a rainy day when the whole family is stuck inside, you'll remember to take it easy and have fun. You may start a new tradition, or just add to your stockpile of happy memories; either way, you won't regret spending time with the kids and sharing a part of yourself with them.
About the Author
Jeremy is experienced in the use and installation of trailer hitches and uses lighted hitch covers to set his SUV apart from the rest.
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