Save It for a Rainy Day

This post contains so many things that I enjoy. I enjoy a cool, rainy day.

I enjoy seizing the moment.

And I enjoy creating new experiences for my children.

Tuesday morning, it was rainy. It was an early morning rain that flooded our senses in all of the best ways: the distant rumble of thunder, the earthy aroma of fresh-falling rain onto dry fields, and a calm, cool wind touching our skin. Even though today it is back to being warm and sunny, it was the kind of rain that came as a reminder that summer is turning around the bend, and fall is nipping at its tail.

After I took my oldest son to school, my little one and I returned home, with a whole day ahead of us and no major plans. I decided to take the opportunity to let him really experience the rain. We sat outside and dipped our bare toes in puddles forming on the porch floor. We listened to the wind against the trees, and we watched the branches sway back and forth. We listened to the rain pouring on the grass below and on the roof above. I mimicked the sounds. My little one “oohed” and “ahhed” (literally). I sang to him softly some songs about rain: “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” and “Rain, Rain, Go Away.”

When he started to get sleepy, we came back inside, and I laid him down for his morning nap. While he napped, I threw in a load of laundry, and then I began creating a couple of rainy day sensory activities for the afternoon.

I made a “thunder drum” out of an empty formula can, some rocks, a photo of dark clouds from a National Geographic magazine, tape, and a pair of scissors. This is so simple to make and there are a variety of ways that you can play with it. My son is very much into reaching for and “beating” on things that he can reach, so we turned it right side up for him to beat like a drum. I shook it slowly back and forth to make a “thunderous” sound. During tummy time, I put it on its side in front of him, and because it was weighted by the rocks, it didn’t roll away from him when he reached for it. If you have a crawler, you can make it without the rocks and it will roll away from him, so that he can chase after it. If you have a toddler, you can put in less rocks and use it as a musical “thunder” shaker. I love projects that can be so versatile, don’t you? ๐Ÿ™‚

How to make a thunder drum:
1) Wash, rinse, and dry an empty formula can and lid.

2) Put rocks inside it (or not) and seal the lid shut. There is a bit of a sharp edge on the inside of these cans, so even if you aren’t using rocks (careful, because they are a choking hazard for the little ones!), it’s still a good idea to super-glue the lid shut.

3) Place tape around the outside of the can and on the lid, and cut your rainy picture to fit the can and lid (you can draw a rainy scene on paper if you don’t have a magazine photo available. If you have toddlers or preschoolers, let them make the picture!).

4) If you want to keep the little ones from ripping the picture off of the can, you can use contact paper or clear packing tape over the pictures. This isn’t baby-proof, because kiddos are clever and will still get the pictures off. However, the picture will last a bit longer if you do this step.

Anotherย sensory activity that I created for my little one on our rainy day was to put some water in a plastic bowl (or a water table for older babies or toddlers) and add a couple drops of blue food coloring. I only needed two drops for our little bit of water, and it didn’t stain our hands or clothing, but make sure you test that first! Water + babies usually = a splash-fest and you never know where that water is going to land! The food coloring made it a beautiful blue color, and I added a blue sponge and a blue cup for different textures for him to explore. He loved it!

We read a book with beautiful rainy illustrations, and although the story itself wasn’t about the rain, I pointed to and talked about the rainy elements of the illustrations. “Oh, look! It’s raining on the Mama and Baby Bear.” “What are they wearing in the rain?” “Are they wearing raincoats to stay dry?” “Look at that blue umbrella!”

Embracing the rain made our day so enjoyable. What do you like to do on a rainy day?

**I’m linking this post up with the weekly Kid’s Co-Op again. I always find some really fun ideas here, so if you have children (infant to school-age) give it a look!**

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9 Comments on “Save It for a Rainy Day”

  1. Wow! How touching and wonderful to find a Mom who plays and teaches her babies. It can be too often left as something we simply can’t find ideas for. I know many parents who for some unknown reason leave all the teaching to the teachers. These kids really don’t keep up as well, they aren’t as settled when learning, and worst of all they miss out on sharing the joy of learning alongside their parent and enjoying the connection it brings. How sad! Great ideas here, well done Mum! p.s. Your Baby Boy is Beautiiful! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you for the wonderful compliments! I love doing fun things like this, especially when they are so little and EVERYTHING is interesting to them. They are so curious, and they really do long to explore. I like coming up with new ways to allow them to do that. That’s the main reason I started linking up with the Kid’s Co-Op, because there are a lot of creative moms out there who do the same!

  2. The activities you have chosen for you little peach are wonderful. I am a former infant educator (you did not know they existed, right?). Your choices provide open ended learning and are user friendly. Good work. Here is a link to an infant program I have been associated with for years. There may be useful books or resources you may enjoy. http://www.rie.org/

    • Thank you so much for the resource. I am always looking for new and up-to-date info on best practices for children and encouraging their development. I hadn’t come across the RIE website yet, so thank you for sending it my way! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d love to hear more if you have any other sources you’ve used and liked!
      You’re not going to believe what a small world this is… but I was an infant teacher for nine years before I decided to stay home and take care of my own babies instead. I enjoyed it so much though.
      Do you think you would go back to doing that? Have you thought about what you will do if/when you get back into the working world? Just curious! I will be in the same boat in a few years. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Well, who knew? My education is in Early Childhood, but my specialty is Infants and Toddlers. I am still uncertain if I want to return to Early Childhood Ed. There is so much I love about it, but am not sure if that is what I want to do again. I was a toddler teacher for years, then a Child Development Center Director. I struggle with the concept of center based care for infants and toddlers. I am in the process of becoming an Infant/Toddler Educator, but not sure what I will do when I have completed my training. Check my gravatar for my email address and we can chat more. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Heather says:

    This is beautiful, and the kind of thing I wish more babies experienced It’s so simple, the way it should be, when many babies are being bombarded by blinking lights and sounds. Some of my favorite moments have just been looking, listening and holding with my babies.

    • I agree! Some of that kind of stimulation is okay, but it is often over-used or used in place of a good book or just quiet moment of play. Babies will always have a big place in my heart. They are so eager to explore and learn, and they pick up on things more easily than most people would imagine. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. christinamorley says:

    Great post! I found you through the No Rules blog hop. I’ve liked you on FB with my personal profile so that it counts. I’ve also tweeted and shared this post on Google+

    Here’s my FB page at https://www.facebook.com/abooksandmore?ref=hl
    And my parenting blog at http://abooksandmore.blogspot.com


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