Today is an especial thrifty Thursday – We won’t be spending a dime. We had planned to go to the zoo this afternoon (saving money as a friend included us on her family pass so we would only be paying for “extra activities” such as the camel rides and zipline) and – well, it’s raining. While the aquarium and a few other exhibits are covered, with plenty to see and do indoors and we are certainly not afraid of a little water – being northwest natives – we have decided instead to make this a “rainy day”. This means the girls get to choose from projects or activities that I usually save for rainy days, such as play-dough, easel painting, puppet shows, blanket forts, etc. Puddle stomping is always an option if we decide to get a little wet. I will probably bust out a few special snacks too – maybe make some hot chocolate or smores. Rainy days give me motivation and excuse to go with the flow… and even get a little messy or wet in the process.
Here are a few of our favorite rainy day activities – what are yours? Please comment and share!
I completely underestimated how much the girls would enjoy playing with shadow puppets. Whenever something so simple makes them so happy, I can’t help but smile!! And this was SUPER simple. Added bonus — the perfect entertainment for whenever a power outage occurs.
Our little shadow puppet theater was made from an empty cardboard box with the bottom cut out, and replaced with two sheets of white tissue paper held in place with packaging tape.
As for the shadow puppets — you didn’t think I sat there and cut them all out by hand did you?? I am far too lazy for that!
Instead, we attached some fairy tale foam stickers to toothpicks with a bit of tape. Of course, just about any kind of foam sticker would work well for this, and they are available in so many different themes: Under The Sea, Dinosaurs, and Fairies to name a few. Very very easy, and the girls LOVED their shadow puppets! They could not wait to put on a show!!
A bit of styrofoam (recycled from some left over packaging) inside the box made it easy for them to position their puppets.
A blanket fort is fun to play in and easy to build. You can use a bunk bed, dining table, chairs, a flipped-over couch or other household items (with a parent’s permission). Put blankets over all of the open areas that let light in, and bring a torch/ flashlight in with you. Tell scary stories with friends late at night (or during the day if the blankets block enough light) you can even have a sleepover in it. Block extra holes by stuffing cushions, pillows, or crumpled-up blankets in the cracks,but make sure that they can hold up nice and strong. Have fun in your fort!
Ask your parents for permission. Let them know what items you’ll want to use for your fort. Be sure you have enough supplies before you begin. You can use couches, chairs, blankets, pillows, sheets, baskets (to make an entrance) or even a playmat to put on top of baskets. Large sections of cardboard can be super-useful to help strengthen the structure.
Choose an area that is out of the way of things that could make it a big mess. You may wish to keep your fort for several days or maybe just an hour, but still do not put it in the middle of a busy hallway, and don’t use items that somebody in the house might need to use before your fort is taken down.
Collect a few chairs and large sheets or lightweight blankets. You could also use the back of a sofa, tables, or any other furniture that is easy to use. Also there are small places that you can build a fort. At the end of your bed you can make a tent-looking thing. Basically look for places that can hold blankets well. Also don’t make your fort near an outlet, because of fire/electrocution danger. Using a flashlight is tons more fun and safer than setting up a lamp if you need light inside!
Place your chairs in a big circle. You don’t want them crashing down on you.
Use safety pins, elastics, pegs or paper clip clamps (the larger the better!) to connect sheets and blankets together to keep the sheets from falling down. Using rubber bands to tie blankets to chairs is also a good way to keep them suspended where you want them.
Drape the sheets and blankets over the top of the chairs. Don’t put the blankets on the edge of chairs or they’ll fall out. Use rubber bands or clothespins to keep the blankets on, if you need to. If it looks good enough, keep it as is.
Create a door. So that you can get in and out easily, without having to take it apart.
Leave an opening on the side of your fort for a door. If there is no room to leave an opening, you may have to make space for a door.
Leave an opening at the front and back of your fort for an entrance and an exit.
Place books or heavy objects along the edges of the sheets and blankets to hold them in place so they won’t tilt and fall.
Add a blanket and a few pillows inside to sit on. Grab a DVD player, an Mp3 Player, or anything fun to do and enjoy while enjoying the comfort of your fort.
Invite a friend to join you if your fort is large enough. Grab a few snacks and play a game. Have a sleepover. Use flashlights.
Make your fort as simple or elaborate as you like. Build a few different rooms, if you want. Furnish your fort. You can use kid-sized furniture if you have it or improvise with pillows and cardboard boxes.
Find an epic name for your fort (e.g “MOUNT OLYMPUS”)
Grab a snack to eat inside your fort. You never know how long you’ll stay in there.
Or you can make a fort with chairs and clothespins. You will also need a blanket. Put a blanket or quilt on the ground (Use a quilt because it’s softer to sit on). Then put a chair on each corner of the blanket. Put a blanket on the chairs. This is creating a roof for your fort. Then, get some clothespins and pin the blanket to the chairs.
If you want a fort with walls, take some small blankets and pin them on the roof blanket so they create a wall effect. Repeat for other walls.