Spring weather is a topsy-turvy affair. It rains one moment and shines with brilliant sunshine the next. What can you plan to keep the grandkids happy when the day is dark and dripping? You can always get out tried and true board games.
But when you’re looking for something fresh and new try one of these ten mini-projects to delight the younger set and keep them busy until they can get back outside to run and play.
Plan an Indoor Treasure Hunt
Write some numbered clues that lead the children from one place to another. Make them as easy or complicated as you believe they can solve. You might want to write them in rhyme. When they find the “treasure” make it something the whole group can enjoy. Maybe a ticket to a home movie with popcorn or a yummy dessert to enjoy after dinner.
Make a Scrapbook
Gather paper, old photos, magazines, wallpaper, cardboard and anything else that might help the kids put together a scrapbook. Let each child decide on their own theme: animals, sports, movies, favorite foods, whatever they like. Cut and glue on pictures and add some captions.
Play the Storytelling Game, “Yes, and”.
Sit down together to tell a very long story. The first player chooses a topic and adds a fact such as The dinosaur is green. The next player says, “Yes, the dinosaur is green and has four legs. Each player repeats the previous facts and adds one more. Play until there is a mistake and then the second player can begin a new story.
Let them Create a Fashion Show
Be brave. Open up your closets and allow the children to create a fashion show. Lay the ground rules and give them some categories to help them plan. You might have them put together outfits that are most mismatched, most gorgeous, most old-fashioned or most trendy. Another way to go is by decades. What can they wear to look like the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s 80’s or 90’s?
Create Musical Instruments
Gather art supplies, scissors, glue and tape plus rubber bands, jars with beans inside, sticks, boxes, canning rings, and anything else that can make a noise. Include a kazoo and when the instruments are ready go ahead and put on a concert. If you wish, play some background music and add the rhythms with your instruments. You’ll be surprised at the great sounds you’ll create. Great indoor fun.
Make Paper Bag Puppets and Put on a Show
Brown paper lunch bags are the perfect size to use for making simple puppets. Draw on a face, then add some hair or horns or ears. Stuff with paper, or fabric and tie at the bottom. You might decide on the characters from a favorite story, play or television show to help pave the way for the dialogue to come when the characters are ready. Enjoy the show!
Cardboard Box Creations
Go to a warehouse or furniture store and ask for a large cardboard box. Turn it into a castle, a spaceship, a store, an airplane, a doctor’s office or a post office. Color the walls, add some windows, then gather whatever is around the house to complete the pretend play. Children will happily spend hours decorating and playing with their cardboard creation.
Make Someone Happy
Make greeting cards for your local nursing center, rehabilitation center, care homes or assisted living communities. The simplest pictures and well-wishes will make someone smile.
Paint a Masterpiece
Use muffin tins to hold paints and cotton balls held with wooden clothespins as brushes. Create beautiful landscapes, still lifes or other works of art.
Find some paper, then raid your kitchen cupboards for a variety of pasta products—spaghetti, curly noodles, bow ties, shells and stars. Glue them onto the paper and watch the creativity explode.
Bonus idea: Challenge your grandkids to create newspaper clothing: formal gowns, tuxedos, crowns and robes, sports uniforms and more. All you need is newspaper and tape. Let the fun begin.