Although it is lovely to be blessed with God-given rain, there are times when another afternoon spent indoors is likely to challenge even the best of us! Delighting in helping children live life to the full, Heather Keys, has some great ideas for those long wet afternoons at home . . .

It seems quite appropriate that I should be writing this column on such a rainy day. Many homes have all the electronic game consoles—both fixed and handheld, and of course there’s generally a TV or three lurking somewhere in the house. Many kids tend to gravitate to these options when it is raining, but I have a few ideas to help you get the kids off those and onto some rewarding at-home activities.

 

Marble run

They may need to work in the carport, garage or rumpus room. You need:

• Nails

• Hammer

• Small pieces of wood—long, narrow, curved, old blocks,

anything will do

• Large back board (any size of particle board you may have)

• Paint (optional)

Lay the large back board on the ground and begin to place the thinner pieces of wood onto the board. The kids may want to paint these pieces before placement and assembly begins. Nail a few pieces into position, starting at the top. After every few pieces of wood have been nailed, stand the board up and test out the marbles—see how they run and adjust if needed. Continue to nail pieces into position til the whole board is covered. Then watch the kids have a blast watching the marbles run on their own creation.

My son made his marble run when he was eight years old; he and his friends still enjoy playing with it at age 13.

 

Plan a Special Meal

Get the kids to plan a meal, decorate the table, create a special atmosphere with decorations and candles and cook, serve and enjoy with the whole family. They may want to invite some special guests to come too.

Parents can supervise the process, but basically, you allow them to experience the joy of creating a special meal for everyone to enjoy. Watch them discover recipes, find ingredients, put it all together, decorate the room and set the table. Provide crepe paper, flowers and candles, any other decorations you have lying around and see what happens. You could be in for anything from pizza to steak, or fairy bread to baked potatoes. We’ve had lots of these occasions—themes are popular. I remember the girls creating a whole meal that was pink! Yep, they even made us eat pink mashed potatoes. That was freaky!

 

Prepare for a garage sale

A great way to have a tidy up is to get the kids to help clean out all their old toys and clothes they no longer use or wear. If you tell the kids they can have the proceeds from the garage sale they will be really motivated to help. Get them to sort out the stuff and agree on a price for things. They need to be able to sell their wares under your supervision. They can make and place advertisement notices on the street and letter box. Let them sell to their hearts’ content. Then, they’ll have some pocket money to spend the next time you go to the shops. In the process they will learn the benefits of cleaning up, sorting, organising, selling and being responsible.

 

Photos/Collage

If the kids are having a Lego or Building Blocks day, or a castle or dolls house making day, get them to take photos of their creations and help them to print them off on the computer and arrange them into scrapbooks or create a collage for their wall. They can decorate the pages with colours, scrapbooking materials, craft stuff or any other creative way. This activity will provide them with a product they can enjoy for many years to come. Include photos of the cat or dog or whatever pets you may have . . . see what amazing pictures they come up with to decorate their rooms.

There are many other cool ideas that the kids may have too…allow them to share their ideas with you and if at all possible, help them to get creative. Go with the flow and see how amazing your kids are. They will often surprise you: just provide the materials and space for them to have a go. CW

By Heather Keys