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Parent Helpers

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Rainy Days

A little creativity goes a long way on gray days. When the walls are closing in and the kids are climbing them, try these tips.

  1. Host a read-a-thon.

    While reading shouldn't be relegated only to rainy days, it can be an extra special event when you're stuck inside. Make a cozy tent out of blankets and chairs and read your favorite books together as a family. Or invite several friends over and have them bring their favorite books. You might offer prizes or treats for the most pages or books read.

  2. Mix it up.

    With the help of a kid-friendly cookbook, invite your child to plan the day's menu. Younger kids can play the role of assistant chef. Older kids can be master chef. Set up a make-believe restaurant to give meals an extra-special flair.

  3. Plan a toy exchange.

    Murphy's Law says that the toys your child has aren't the toys he wants to play with. This is especially true on rainy days. Instead of running out to the store, hook up with a friend and swap a few toys for the day. Your child will enjoy the fresh fun and you'll enjoy the fact that you didn't waste the money.

  4. Work together.

    Tackle a daunting household project, like organizing a messy desk. Younger kids will enjoy the challenge of sorting things like paper clips, rubber bands and pens. Older kids can help you plan more complex organization approaches, like alphabetizing files or labeling containers.

  5. Keep a rainy-day folder.

    Your brightest ideas may not come on overcast days. Arm yourself beforehand by clipping and saving quiet games, easy-to-make recipes, or simple crafts. Online printables -- from PBS and other favorite websites -- are a great way to quickly and inexpensively fill your folder. Include your child in the planning, and she may look forward to the next rainy day.

  6. Get wet.

    Grab your galoshes and go on a rainy day expedition. Search for the deepest puddles in your neighborhood and have a splash competition; take a nature walk and study the raindrops on the plants and flowers; or spite the rain with a silly activity -- like picnicking under an umbrella or running through the sprinklers.

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