Rainy day play with a ten month old

This will come as no surprise but apparently it’s been the wettest June ‘since records began’ (er, hang on, wasn’t that last year… and the year before… and the year before that…?) In classic British summertime style, instead of long lazy sunny days filled with trips to the beach, picnics in the park and backgarden barbeques, we’ve been treated to grey skies and seemingly endless rain. This is depressing enough for anyone but if you’re a parent at home with a super active ten month old like BabyGirl, then being stuck in the house all week can start to send you a little stir crazy.

Rainy day play for babies

Here are some of the activities I’ve come up with to keep BabyGirl amused when the rain is pouring outside.

1. Whip out the treasure baskets

If you haven’t heard of treasure baskets, these are great for littlies once they can sit up. Simply fill a basket with all kinds of everyday items from around your house and pop it in front of them to explore. The idea is that you sit back and let them poke around in the basket for themselves for a while to see what ‘treasures’ they are drawn to. What you put in your treasure basket is entirely up to you: the basket can be themed (for example, a wood basket) or a whole mixture of objects of different textures, shapes, sizes. I have one with stuff from the kitchen, including a baby spoon, a large plastic spoon, the ring from a bottle, a bottle lid, a squidgy cupcake case and a linen napkin. I did have a few wooden utensils in there as well but BabyGirl managed to bite a whole chunk off one of the spoons… So now I only include things I don’t mind her chewing on as I hate to constantly be taking them away from her when she puts them in her mouth!

My second basket is kind of themed around the five senses with items including a soft ball that rattles, a plastic bouncy ball with glittery liquid inside, a few lengths of ribbon of various materials, a small plastic ring set with a little duck on the top and a couple of pieces of fabric, one with shimmery sequins and the other a lovely soft floaty chiffon. I keep both baskets for ‘emergency play’ only, so that BabyGirl doesn’t get too used to them and they work like a charm when she is getting grumpy and fed up of her other toys. This can buy me half an hour to an hour of playtime, which is a godsend some days!

2. Make your own soft play centre

BabyGirl loves nothing more than being chased around the living room and playing hide and seek behind the arm of our chair. To mix it up a bit, though, I’ll add a few new objects to the room to make our chase games a bit more interesting. Our clothes airer with a throw over the top becomes an exciting tunnel to crawl through. Cushions scattered around the living room floor are obstacles to scramble over. I sometimes even take the large seat cushions from our sofa, which are, apparently, fascinating. It’s lots of giggly fun and I consider it to be a bit of a mini workout too – bonus!

3. Take a house tour

BabyGirl has been round and round our living room so many times now that I think she must know it like the back of her hand already. When all else fails, we take a trip around the house. I think because she doesn’t spend as much time in rooms like the kitchen or our spare bedroom, they have a novelty factor appeal which can magically put a stop to a grumpy tantrum for a while. I just talk to her about the things we can see in each room. She particularly loves looking at all the bookcases in our spare room and inside her wardrobe or the kitchen cupboards. Now she’s more mobile, I can pop her down as well and help her walk round the rooms, which provides even more added interest!

4. Do the laundry

I have discovered that BabyGirl loves to ‘help’ me fold up the laundry. If I set the laundry basket down in front of her, she will spend a good ten minutes or so industriously pulling out the clothes for me to fold. She might then find an item that she decides she wants to keep – usually a sock, for some reason she has a real fixation on socks! – which she then crawls round with for a while. This is a good way of killing two birds with one stone: I can get on and actually do something productive while BabyGirl is happily engaged in her new favourite activity of taking things out of, and putting them back in, a basket. It gets a little tricky when I want to put the neatly folded clothes back in the basket… and of course the whole process takes about ten times longer than if I was doing it without BabyGirl’s input… but anything that gives me another half an hour or so of entertainment is a good thing. If I don’t have any laundry to fold, I just put a few tea towels, cot sheets and socks in the basket and leave her to it!

5. Create your own book

My parents sent BabyGirl a lovely postcard with a donkey, goat and cow on the front which she just loves. We have it up on our bookcase and she likes to look up at it every day, waving and smiling at the donkey. This gave me the idea to make a ‘book’ for her with lots of animal pictures. The Husband printed some photographs we’d taken years ago on a visit to a wildlife park and I filled a small photo album that I had knocking around. BabyGirl is fascinated by the pictures and we can spend a good twenty minutes looking through the album. I go through each animal in turn and she’ll then flick through the pages herself for a while looking, I think, for the monkeys as she’s particularly fond of them! There are a few pages left in the album so I can add to it in the future. BabyGirl really enjoys reading her books but, as with her toys, sometimes it feels like they can get a bit stale, so her animal album has been a good one to keep back and bring out when she’s getting a bit fidgety.

6. Get out!

Of course, sometimes even the most entertaining indoor activity will pale. At this point, there’s just nothing else to do except get out of the house. Yes, it may be tipping it down outside but I find that there comes a point when, for the sake of my sanity, I have to brave the wind and rain and meet with friends or head to the soft play centre for a change of scene.

So that’s my small list of rainy day play activities that help to keep us going when the sun is staying firmly behind the rainclouds. What things do you do to keep your little one entertained on these dull days?

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