Suck It, Sandy (12 Rainy Day Activities For Hurricane Hostages)

This is the evacuation map for our neck of the woods. Normally I love me some aqua, but not when it describes a flood zone in which we are solidly situated.  I won’t go into the ominous details but I could do without phrases like “hundred year flood” and “unprecidented storm surge.”  Cutting to the chase, we pulled out of our driveway this afternoon with a family room that  looks like this:

We’ve hunkered down at my mother-in-law’s house far far away from high tides and sump pumps and FEMA regulations.  (Rest assured, there’s plenty of red wine to go around.) All signs indicate that we’ll need to come up with some rainy day activities and fast.  Oh, and without the benefit of a craft closet or a playroom.

So I’m going rogue here, folks, and relying on my own teacher/ craft/ childhood arsenal for some rainy day activities that don’t require venturing outside in your rain gear.  Also means fewer photos as I haven’t done some of these with my kids yet.

1. Take an old sheet, throw it over a table… bibbity bobbity boo: a fort is made.  I’ve taken a Sharpie and scissors to the sides to add some flair like windows, doors, shutters, etc.

2. Sensory exploration.  (Translation: making a mess with your kids.)  Raid your kitchen for random ingredients that might be interesting for your child to touch: e.g. flour, beans, rice, jello, cooked spaghetti, popcorn kernels.

3. You know all those non perishable items you diligently stocked up on at your friendly grocery store?  Why not bust them out and build a castle?  Boxes as blocks and cans as columns!  (I might wait until we get back home on this one… probably not the best way to weather the houseguest storm over here!)

4. Get your maze on.  Find some tape (I used painters tape, but masking works fine) and tape out a design on the rug/ floor.  I made a road for our car fiend, but older children might love a maze or obstacle course (hello, gross motor skills and balance!).

5. I told a little white lie as this takes supplies, but if you happen to have a spray bottle or a water gun, you’re good to go.  Cover a wall with white paper or newspaper and add a little food coloring and water to your spray bottle.  Unleash your hidden artiste.  If mess is a concern, they can do this while standing in the bathtub!

6. Shaving cream anywhere.  See this post for further explanation… it cleans up well and the kids love it.  Kitchen table, bathroom, glass door somewhere… endless fun.  (If not endless, at least 15 minutes.)

7. Shadows.  My kids have just discovered shadows and think they’re fascinating.  Take advantage of the dark rainy weather if you’re in Sandy Land and make some shadow puppet shows.  When you’ve exhausted your hand muscles making the talking horse, set up some interesting shapes and help your child trace the shadow onto a piece of paper.

8. As we discovered here, vinegar + baking soda = very very cool.  (Think back to the old volcano science projects of your youth.)  Well most of us have baking soda tucked away in our fridge making us feel better about how rarely we actually clean that joint out.  (Oh, that’s just me?!)  Well, get that baking soda out, sprinkle it onto a cookie sheet, and let your child use a medicine dropper to drip white vinegar on top.  Add some food coloring to the vinegar for an added little delight.

9.  I did this when I was a guidance counselor and it was one of the kids’ favorites.  Grab a balloon.  Again, this may not be something you have on hand during the hurricane, but you could improvise with zip lock bags, paper bags, latex gloves… anything you can blow up.  (That’s what she said… c’mon, we’re evacuated- I’m allowed a little levity, right??)  Write or draw a secret message for your child and have them do the same for you  (for younger children, you can introduce a rebus).  Roll up your note nice and tight and stick it into the deflated balloon.  Blow up the balloon and let your child pop it to uncover your secret message.

10. For anyone with pumpkins still kicking around, let your kids decorate them: painting, drawing faces, gluing tissue paper, adding a monogram… we did this last week and it was a hit.

11. Remember paper mache?  Well it’s easy.  Messy, but easy.  Mix equal parts flour and water.  Cut some newspaper into small little strips.  Find a bowl or a balloon; it’s best if you find something malleable so it’s easier to get your paper mache off the mold when you’re finished.  Dip each strip into the flour mixture and slap onto your mold. Give it 2 or 3 layers.   It takes a day or two for the piece to completely dry so just the right amount of time if you start at the beginning of the storm.

12. This is the one I think we’re going to try tomorrow: invisible ink.  Get some lemon juice.  Use a Q-tip or a toothpick or a paint brush and let your child draw on a piece of white paper.  When they’re finished, get a hair dryer and heat it up.  The heat reacts with the lemon juice (from what I’ve read) and turns the previously invisible message brown.

Stay tuned…have boots will travel.




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