Well, today it is raining, which is GREAT for us and the drought; however, not great for the parents of an energetic toddler. So, today I must entertain my monkey with indoor activities, which are sometimes very hard to come up with for kids still young enough to eat whatever art items you might try out. The following activities are a good staple I have used on rainy days for him a few times already and they have worked quite well for me!
First, I will put clear wrap, tin foil, and contact paper on the kitchen floor with tape (in long strips, wide enough to walk on). Then, as we are playing or running around the house, we can explore the different feels and sounds of the different surfaces! He loves it, esp. the contact paper since it sticks to his feet and makes him laugh.
Second, I will put food color in some milk and dig out my paint brushes (paint brushes that have NOT been used for painting, only for food item things like this) and I will let him decorate 4 or 5 slices of bread to his hearts content. It makes a little mess, but so far everything I have washed the food color has come out of; however, be careful to put your child in clothes you don't care about. After he is done decorating, put the bread in the toaster, and voila! you have created painted toast that is super fun to eat for breakfast, snack, or even with dinner. You can even write messages in the toast as the kids get bigger and work on letters and numbers.
Third, I will get some pillows from the couch, beds, wherever and create a huge pile in the living room. Next, I will show Little Dude how to go run and throw himself on the pillows. By this point, he already anticipates what I'm doing as soon as I put one pillow down, so I no longer need to show him, but still jump in every so often. He will do this for a loooongggg time-and usually he is ready for a nap afterwards! It is a great way to run off energy inside without getting hurt or running the risk of breaking anything!
Fourth, I have to say that color wonder finger paints, markers and crayons have saved me many times. He is old enough to love it, but to young to realize what a horrible thing it would be to paint on Mommy and Dadddys newly painted walls...so as to not even risk the chance, the Crayola Color Wonder (you can find it at target and walmart) has passed many a minutes of fascination.
Fifth, PLAYDOUGH. There is nothing better and he loves to help mix things in. I will pull a chair up to the counter, and let him help me put all the ingredients in and stir. While we are mixing things, I boil the water needed. He loves to help and it is super quick. I usually already have a batch ready and cooled from the last rainy day, so I break that batch out and put the batch we made together in the fridge to cool and harden. (you must let it cool before you play, otherwise it is a sticky mess for awhile.) Here is one of the super easy, and EDIBLE play dough recipes I have collected over the years of teaching preschool. The Kool Aid will make it smell good and you guys can have fun sniffing the dough. Try not to let him/her eat any as that isn't a good habit for when they are playing with playdough that shouldn't be eaten, but with this recipe, there are no worries if some gets swallowed, unlike the store bought kind:
KOOL AID PLAYDOUGH -safe to eat, but you probably wont want to by the time your toddler is done with it.
1/2 c. sugar
1 sm. pkg. Kool Aid (you can also skip the kool aid if you don't have any and just add a lot of food coloring, but add it to the wet ingredients)
1 c. flour
2 tbsp. oil
1 c. boiling water
Mix dry ingredients together. Then add oil and water. The flavor of the Kool Aid determines the scent and color of the dough. Knead until smooth.
I find the easiest way to play with play dough is to use a rubber place mat on the table. I got some cute ones at target for a $1 after valentines. The play dough doesn't stick to it, and it keeps a nice smooth surface for your child to work on. We have a wooden table, so play dough ends up in little dimples in the wood, making it a pain to clean. The plastic place mats have been awesome.
You can also use all kinds of house hold items to make patterns on the play dough, like spoons, forks, cookie cutters, rolling pin, potato masher, straws, even markers when the kids are much older to draw on their creations! (though of course then the play dough is no longer edible)
Well, happy rainy day guys!