Wet weather days are for snuggling up with a blanket and a book. Unless you have children, and there is no school. Then wet weather days are for trying to stop small, terrifyingly energetic human beings from going stir-crazy and driving you, and their siblings up the wall. Television is the obvious solution, but after a while, children get sick of Peppa Pig (you’ll get sick of Peppa Pig.)
Thankfully, there is a lot of fun to be found on rainy days. Sometimes, with a little bit of magic, cabin fever can not only be avoided but turned into ‘the best day ever!’ As Britain descends into a showery autumn it’s good to be prepared.
Build a blanket fort
Get ready to turn your home completely upside down. The blanket fort is known by many names. Perhaps you have heard of a pillow fort, or more traditionally, a den. The fort can be as simple as draping a sheet over a few chairs to a complex structure that utilises everything but the kitchen sink - bookcases, backs of sofas and the dining table all included. The beauty of a blanket fort is that it is multi-purpose. The construction process takes time and doesn’t necessarily involve any adult assistance. (Children will start doing it without you telling them too, so you might as well sanction it.) And once it is constructed the possibilities are endless. Lunch is so much more fun in a fort, so is colouring in. Finally, a blanket fort can be anything, a tent in the Sahara desert, or a castle in Scotland. Imaginative play runs wild with a den to assist it.
Put on a play
Did you know that your blanket fort/Mongolian yurt/safari tent is also a theatre? Putting on a play can be a full day affair. After all a play needs to be created, rehearsed, advertised and how will you get in without tickets? Have fun with it. Create characters and raid the dressing up box for costumes, make posters and cut your own tickets. An end product isn’t even necessary, but if one does appear, be proud. Apparently, most Oscar winners started this way; you may have the next Spielberg performing or directing for you.
This activity ends in food which is never a bad thing. Fun, delicious, and fantastic when it comes to developing counting and fine motor skills. Fair warning, with children involved the kitchen is likely to get covered in a snowfall of flour, and butter will end up in the oddest of places. But it’s good to be reminded of the need to do a thorough clean up every now and then.
Make a mess
A terrifying thought I know but bear with me. Children have a habit of forgetting what they already have. Find a room, or a rug to pour a box of toys on to the floor and then let the children play. A little background music does wonders to help keep them occupied too. The mess is going to get worse before it gets better but let it continue. With one box empty, they will feel encouraged to empty another. Your neatly organised Legos will quickly be cross-contaminated with barbies, who will be forming fun friendships with meccano structures, who will invite them round to dinner in the wooden block houses. A micro-universe will be created, one complex enough that it will probably be the setting for Pixar’s next award-winning animation. Luckily tidy up time does not have to be miserable for you or the children; it can easily become a competition, or a game of ‘get the toy in the bucket.’
Because in the end why should you actually have to be stuck inside? Put on jumpers, raincoats, and your wellies (wellington boots, or by their even duller name, rain boots) and brave the weather. There is something rather satisfying about jumping in puddles, hitting the ground with a strong thump, while rain water splashes in all directions. Go for a wander and if you come across any ducks it is very important that you look at them and say, “Lovely weather for ducks.” A trip out into the wet world is always best finished with a hot chocolate. (Drunk in the blanket fort of course.)