When Mother Nature sends everyone running for cover, this collection of indoor space designs can save the day!
Kids are just starting to venture back outdoors in droves. Not to say that lots of outdoor winter playtime hasn’t occurred, but there is something to the settling in of spring that brings a return of shouts and laughter echoing throughout the neighborhood for hours on end. Just as kids are getting their spring legs back, Mother Nature is notorious for throwing a curve ball or two. We need those April showers to bring the May flowers or a summer storm or two to cool the earth and hydrate all things green and floral. But we also need some tricks up our sleeves for keeping the I’m bored! mantras that go along with rainy days at bay.
Yes, we have dedicated play areas in our home where all the toys and tools of childhood reside, but when the usage of these spaces is a requirement, they suddenly become much more lackluster. When a little zest is added to indoor spaces, it can do a lot for squelching that yearning for the climbing, digging, and all things sunshine that are unavailable on rainy days. We have 3 go-to spaces for days when staying indoors is a must, but they also got their fair share of usage even when the weather doesn’t dictate it.
Our Top 3 Indoor Spaces
My kids are lovers of blankets, even the full-grown one that heads off to work each day. When the collective hoard of blankets is gathered in one place, it makes for quite an impressive pile. Adding some ottomans, chairs, and a few sturdy books and chip clips for corner holding and seam closing makes for fort building of epic proportions. Whether it’s a mansion or more of a lean-to, kids love crawling into homemade spaces. Blankets with different designs and logos can be transformed into different rooms or activity centers within a complex fort.
This is a great way to allow imaginations to take over, and the gathering of all things blanket can also allow for a spring refresh with a transfer to the laundry room when demolition occurs.
The obsession with boxes, as opposed to their contents, is strong. (Maybe I unknowingly contribute to it with my stockpile of boxes to be reused when a non-Prime delivery need arises. I’m still trying to determine that perfect size because without fail, the item in need of mailing is never quite the right fit for the ones I have on hand.)
Our most recent boon of a big box find came with the chest freezer we purchased over the holidays. Add a door and a couple windows, and imagination takes over from there. This structure-of-many-uses has been a house, a school, a hide-and-seek retreat, a game center, a police station, an animal hospital, and the current addition of some scary spikes (made from a stockpiled box of unfit proportions) has transformed it into a haunted house. Sometimes the markers come out and some new designs are added directly to the box or on papers taped to it. Should this one probably hit the recycle bin soon? Sure. But then we might miss out on entering an ice cream shop or a fire station or a dragon’s lair. It can also fold flat and be housed in a variety of locations. If no big box purchases are in your future, ask around or post an ISO on a neighborhood or community sale group. Big boxes equal big imaginations for unscripted play.
Going tribal or going camping are two perfect rainy day options. Our teepee is often used for a powwow of all things stuffed. When the Little Tykes grill gets wheeled over to the tent, a full blown camping experience can play out over the course of the day. Grabbing a few orange cones at the Dollar Store and gathering some additional obstacle course items like a hula hoop, painter’s tape, broom, etc. lets kids set up an engaging activity challenge for all the campers. This is perfect practice for partaking in the real thing. Blankets and pillows are top additions during play, and these pre-fab structures often become welcome places to simply relax with books or host a good round of storytelling. To make indoor dwellings really magical, a strand or two of fairy lights can be transformational and add to the inviting allure of the space.
One of the greatest things about the outdoors is that there is no script for it. There are so many things kids can do and create in their imaginations. With indoor play, we often turn to more scripted activities that may not let our kids’ imaginations soar. By designing or offering the tools of design for constructing engaging indoor spaces, we let our kids get lost in imaginative play when Mother Nature isn’t being cooperative.
On days when the forecast is only rain though, nothing says smiling faces like grabbing the rainy day armor and letting kids run, splash, play, and create a lasting memory by spending a little time signing in the rain!