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Seven Activities for Summer Showers

Ni4kids’ Beth Mason shares some ideas to keep the kids entertained when the weather is less than perfect  

It’s true, there’s no better place to be than Northern Ireland when the sun is shining, but I don’t need to consult the weather forecast to know that the summer holidays will be sprinkled with rainy days. To avoid full days sitting on tablets or listening to “I’m bored” on repeat, here is our ultimate guide to keeping kids entertained on rainy days, while also creating memories, and reducing the chance of dysregulation. 


1. Host your very own Bake Off 

Baking is a go-to activity for an afternoon indoors, but take it one step further and make a competition out of it. Choose a theme and get siblings to plan out, shop for (within a budget), and execute their best sweet treats for scrutiny by a panel of experts, otherwise known as any family members you have available. The winner gets out of helping with the washing up. If you are more of a savoury family, hosting a Come Dine with Me challenge is always fun and enables kids to get more involved in the preparation and planning of the evening meal; meaning they are more likely to eat it. 


 2. Get Active

Being stuck in the house can lead to lots of pent-up energy so fire up YouTube and find a kid-friendly exercise video. Whether your kids are into dancing, musical statues, yoga, karate, or even strength training, you can guarantee there’ll be an age-appropriate video to follow.  If following a YouTube exercise tutorial provides you with unwelcome lockdown throwbacks, you could always organise your very own hallway sports day complete with ‘bouncy ball and spoon’, and ‘balloon between the knees’ races as a twist on the classic games. Top tip, if there’s not enough room for children to race alongside each other in the hallway, use the stopwatch on your phone to record each one individually and compare timings at the end. 


3. Build a den 

Why is everything better in a fort? Grab some dining table chairs, throws, and cushions to fashion your very own den. It can be as complicated or as simple as you like, and older children can get involved in the crafting of the space. Use the den to play games, read books, and have a picnic lunch. You’ll be surprised how much an exciting new space will bring a new lease of life to everyday activities. If the kids are really engaged, they may even give you enough time to enjoy a cup of tea while they play independently. 


4. Indoor Scavenger Hunt 

There are two ways to do this; either hide some trinkets around the house and give the kids clues or, for older children, riddles on where to find them. Or, ask the kids to bring you certain items, for example, a red scarf, a tennis ball etc, and the first one to arrive with the item wins that round. This can be played by individual children too, and the addition of a timer will add a sense of competitive tension to the game. 


5. Day at the Museum 

Rainy days are made for museums and Northern Ireland is full of them. Every region boasts a number of attractions filled with exhibits, and activities aimed at under 10’s, many of which are free to enter. Belfast’s Ulster Museum provides a great day out but there are also county museums peppered across the country showcasing a wide array of exhibits with local historical significance.  


6. Nature Walk 

If you can’t beat the weather, join it! If it’s been raining for days and the kids are climbing the walls, sometimes there’s nothing else to do but get out. Grab your waterproofs and your wellies and embrace the weather. Splash in puddles, dance in the rain, and be as silly as you like. Forest walks will actually shade a lot of the heavy downpour and being in nature has shown to reduce cortisol stress levels and soothe anxiety making it a great circuit breaker for those dreary days. 


7. Lego Adventure 

If you’ve picked up the latest issue of NI4Kids then you’ll know that Scientist and the brains behind The Science Room, Dr Karen Mooney, is a huge advocate for the benefits of using Lego to harness fine motor skills and encourage creativity. Block out some time and challenge the kids to create something they wouldn’t usually do, whether that be a complicated design they’ve been meaning to work on, or even something as simple as a tower as tall as them. This can be a minimally supervised activity, depending on the age of your children, but if you have the time to join in the fun, kids will love working alongside you and will benefit from your direction and problem-solving skills. Working together as a team will provide opportunities for chat and comradery and strengthen interpersonal family bonds so it’s a win-win.  

To find out more on why Lego is the ultimate rainy-day activity check out the latest issue of NI4Kids here.