As a nanny of many, many years, I know how hard it is when the weather is poor and everyone is trapped indoors for the day. It’s hard on the kids who have too much energy to be trapped inside and it’s hard on the caregiver, who has to think of ideas to keep them busy and out of trouble. Luckily I have come up with a box that is filled with rainy day crafts for children that can combat any “I’mmmm boooored” comments that are sure to come your way!
This Christmas, for the family I watched, with a ten year old, eight year old, and twin two-year olds, I put together a box of random items and labeled it “Save It For a Rainy (or Snowy) Day”. After they opened it, the ever-entertaining ten-year old pointed out that it was “the most random box he had ever seen”. Which made us all laugh, because really, he was right. It was random. And it didn’t make much sense in the moment. But the randomness was intentional, and soon he would discover the reason behind his nanny’s madness. But, it would take a rainy day, trapped in the house for them to truly appreciate this box of rainy day crafts for children.
Included in the box were: markers, pipe cleaners, play dough, paints, paper, muffin mixes, cake mix, popcorn and glue sticks.
Some of the items in the box will complement one another. Some they will use individually. Some will take up a lot of time, while some will only burn a good thirty minutes. But all of it will inspire creativity. And all of it is something they can (mostly) do on their own (minus using the oven). My goal in any gift or activity I give to children is to foster creativity and spur autonomy. As a culture, I believe we do too much for our children. We have, in some cases, taken away their opportunity for original ideas. Personally, I make it a goal to encourage activities that allow children to act independently, because it is in those moments that they begin to form who they are and understand their limits. That is why I so strongly encourage every home to have a rainy day box. Pull it out, see what they can make. Give them an opportunity to show you who just who they are. Children, when allowed to do things independently always have a way of surprising themselves, as well as us.
As our friend the Cat in the Hat taught us: rainy days are not meant to get us down, but inspire us to play!