Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rainy Day Activities

It's been raining for a month of Sundays, and there's nothing but rain in this week's forecast. And next week's forecast. To top it off, Peter's last day of school is today, his regular babysitter is out of town, and I'm not wanting to do a lot of public outings with a newborn.

Ordinarily, this would have me in sheer terror. Peter too, because never in his life has this child been content to stay indoors all day!

Yet we both seem to be taking this in stride. He no longer expects that we are going out, and with some recent maturation in his imagination, enjoys his toys more than ever. His cars don't just roll. They go places. To Mimi's, to Belks, to the Hospital. It cracks me up to sit and listen to him play.

Nevertheless, I've found that giving him a special activity sometime during the morning prevents monotony. Here are some of our tricks:

1) Rice Play. Pour a bag of rice into a roasting pan. Throw in some spoons, cups, scoops, even a funnel. Let him have at it. Hint: Put this on the floor on top of a blanket. This way, when he's finished, you can shake the blanket over the garbage to clean up stray rice.

2) Make Play-Dough. Yes, yes, I know: play-doh can be cheaply bought just about anywhere. But making it at home brings new life to an old activity. The internet has tons of recipes. I'd share my own, but I discovered that it molds upon storing.

3) New Toys. What mother introduces new toys right before Christmas? Yet giving Peter the $20 train track I happened to see on sale at Target is The. Best. Decision. I've. Ever. Made.

4) Build a Car Track on the floor using painter's tape. (Thanks, Keriann!)

5) Build a Fort. Retailers will try to convince you that your child needs a $50 indoor tent in the shape of Thomas the Train or a giant frog's mouth. True, kids like small places. But I remember too well the joys of fort-building not to give my child the opportunity. Peter's too small to do this on his own, but he's learning from an expert.

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