5 Things to Play on a Cold Wet Day


Whether your kids have a cold or it is cold, heart-pounding playtime — the good kind — isn’t always possible outdoors during inclement weather.

In the winter months, moms like me can have a tough time keeping their busy kids from getting bored, especially when said kids are used to living it up covered in mud.

Too wet to go out
And too cold to play ball.
So we sat in the house.
We did nothing at all.
Dr. Seuss

Rather than just sitting there wishing for something to do, here are some out-of-the-box ideas for your Thing One and Thing Two:

1. Blanket Forts

Best made in low-traffic areas and avoiding blockading the entrance ways (because neither rain nor snow will keep the mailman away), blanket forts create a secret world within familiar walls. Simply connect sturdy pieces of furniture, such as chairs, by draping blankets over them.  Flashlights, goldfish crackers, a good stack of library books and secret knocks make fort living even more fun.

2. Roller Skating

With groovy music playing, turn your concrete basement floor into a roller skating rink. You know your kids like to run in circles through the kitchen, living room and dining room. Wheels will wear them out even quicker! If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can dust off your own skates and teach them hot numbers such as Disco Duck and the Hokey Pokey.  (Shh…. I never used headgear and knee pads when we used to do this as kids, but you may want to strongly consider it to reduce the injury factor. Remember : Potty emergency or not, absolutely NO skates on the steps!)

3. Bathtub Snow

Fresh, beautiful snow is an insult to injury for kids who are stuck indoors recovering from the flu. A solution? Bring the snow to them! It will take a little bit of work on your part, but, using a five gallon bucket, scoop up several loads of snow. Leaving the drain open, on that off chance it just might get covered and you have to be the one to open it when playtime is over, dump the snow into the bathtub. Break out the beach toys so that your kids can carve sculptures and cities out of snow. Sand molds work beautifully with this medium. If you care at all about your bathroom floor, you may choose to put down some towels as knee cushions, topped with a waterproof painter’s tarp. Hot chocolate with marshmallows is the afterward preferred treat.

4. Swinging Indoors

Baby swings are often hung in interior thresholds, but older children can safely swing so long as the frame of the door has thick, wooden support (not plaster!) and the swing is very securely bolted into place. (Admittedly, I am stealing this idea from my dad. He installed a swing for us kids in the threshold of our kitchen. I can still remember watching the snow falling outside of our windows as the sun went down, while listening to the Carpenter’s Christmas album.)  Be sure there is plenty of room in front and behind the reach of the swings.  Hallways are perfect.

5. Nerf War

Slightly safer than rubber band guns and way more fun, playing with Nerf Guns is one of my favorite ways to roughhouse without leaving a mark… from getting shot, at least. Best of all, starting an all-out, sweaty, indoor war is easy. Simply start shooting squishy foam darts (mine glow in the dark) at your kids while they’re trying to play video games. Bring it!

I hope you enjoy these ideas, and look forward to hearing some of your own!

One last thing — All of these activities are a million times more fun when performed costumed in items from your post-Halloween raid of the dollar store combined with the clothes mommy and daddy used to wear in their former lives.

Follow author Sarah Joy on Twitter here: @mrsalbrecht
17 Responses to “5 Things to Play on a Cold Wet Day”
  1. Lisa

    Thanks for the great ideas Sarah. On cold, rainy days, we also do obstacle courses in the house. Ten or so different stations with things like tossing bean bags into a bucket, crawling through a tunnel, doing somersaults on a yoga mat, egg and spoon races, or hopscotch — it definitely wears out my kids and they have a lot of fun.

    • Egg and spoon races indoors?

      I’m in awe. =)

    • Lisa,

      We love somersaults, too! Not to mention seeing how long we can do headstands/handstands! Basically, rainy days are a great time to challenge each other to “stupid human tricks”. (Yes, my five year old inherited my ability to touch my tongue to my nose ;) )

      As long as they’re hard-boiled, egg races sound like fun :)

      Thanks for the ideas!!

      SJA

  2. Thanks for the ideas, SJ! I’m all for trying out the nerf war, but it might have to wait till dad comes home ;-)

    • Julie,

      Hooray for Nerf wars!

      One other cool thing is that many of the Nerf guns take the same size of dart — so you can get bigger packs and share amongst the guns.

      Good luck ;)

      SJA

  3. Elissa Moker

    Thank you! It’s raining like crazy here and I’m going to let my daughters pick their favorite one each day!

    • Elissa,

      Let me know which ones you end up doing? :)

      SJA

  4. Phil Gaetano

    Goldfish crackers and blanket forts. Oh the memories!

    • Mine involve applesauce and whole wheat bread. More LHOTP than I’d typically like to admit. Cracks me up that this is the post you commented on. Love it.

      Thanks, too, Sarah!

  5. Henriette Honeyestewa

    My mom gave us leeway to dig in the snow as we pleased. I guess we looked after each other enough to avoid pneumonia but some fun stuff indors might have been much safer!

    • Henriette,

      Sounds like you have a great mom! We, too, spent hours out in deep snow building forts, sledding and getting so cold that we could no longer feel our fingers :) (Hot chocolate never tasted so good as it after playing in the snow!)

      Sadly, I seemed to get pneumonia annually after a serious bout when I was five. My dear mother would have to find ways to keep me occupied while I was sick. She’s a creative lady! :)

      Thanks for the comment :D

      SJA

  6. LOVE the bathtub snow idea! How fun.

  7. I suddenly missed the wonderful, carefree days of childhood. Your post brought back memories that I’ve dreamed of sharing to my future kids over and over, until they get bored. LOL!

    And I thought it was only in our household we had that a lot, drove my Mom insane at some points. Got things around the house really messed up, even left some items broken or near that.

    One thing though, swinging indoors? How come my father didn’t introduce that to us? Mom must have threatened him. LOL.

    This is really all fun, Sarah. Reminds me of priceless fun of childhood and family. As if the scar on my shin from trying to skate on stairs ain’t enough! LOL!

  8. BTW — this came up Twitter :D — if you would prefer not to bring in so much snow, you can still have great fun with just a little.

    Here is a picture of my son Thomas, then two, playing with snow in a baking dish : http://bit.ly/hq8xcv

    Enjoy! :)

  9. Sounds great! There are some very cold and rainy days ahead in our forecast. I have a 12yo, a 9yo, and a 6yo. The snow idea looks great, but alas, we are too far south. I may bring out the paints and baking, as many of your suggestions won’t work in our family. I would be willing to do nerf wars if only I can convince DH to let them have them.

    Cheers!

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