Rainy day play
As the days get colder and wetter, more indoor activities will be needed for your little one. Visions of cabin fever may be springing to mind right now, but don’t fret – indoor play doesn’t need to be monotonous. There are lots of ways to keep your toddler entertained (and dry!) while helping to support their natural learning too.
The following ideas are just some of the ways that can help your child learn through play based on the different patterns of play they are already exploring. If you’re not sure which play patterns your child is experimenting with, or are wondering if they are beginning to explore a new pattern, take the Clever Play quiz.
Children with an interest in Transporting, love to move things from one place to another. Give your toddler a small wooden box with wheels to transport different objects around the house. Maybe there are new and interesting toys or objects they’ve never played with before. Pull those out and see where they are taken. Building forts are great for little ones exploring this pattern of play too, however the focus is more in the making of the fort rather than playing inside it.
Children learning through Trajectory patterns of play have a fascination with things that move through space. Try placing couch cushions on the floor and playing ‘leap frog’ from one cushion to the next. Folded up socks and balloons make great indoor balls and won’t damage the house, and newspaper can be used to shred up and throw around the room (easy to clean up, too). During bathtime give your little one cups to pour water between.
Children exploring Transforming, love to watch things change colour, take different shapes or otherwise change. This pattern of play lends itself to indoor play really well. Baking cookies, muffins or scones is a great transformative activity to do with your toddler. They’ll enjoy adding ingredients to the mixture and watching it change, not to mention seeing how they change again when placed in the oven. Body paint is fun for your little one to put on and change their appearance. Then they can explore how the paint washes off in the bath, transforming them again. Bath bombs have wonderful transformative properties for children who are exploring this pattern of play too.
Children with Enclosing/Enveloping urges tend to build structures or cover things with different materials to form boundaries and enclosures. Set up a cardboard box for your little one to sit in and cut out holes to make windows and doors for them to peer out of. Get creative making huts and forts with blankets, chairs and cushions. Bring in soft toys for a tea party, story time or even a sleepover.
This pattern of play is pretty self explanatory and works well within indoor environments. Give your little one balls of rope, rubber bands or crepe paper to undo, or provide materials, toys and objects that can be joined together. Get creative by making an ‘indoor train’ by lining chairs up and connecting them with string on either side. Plastic cups can be stacked to make towers and taken apart.
Children with Ordering fascinations love to arrange toys, objects, food, etc by size, shape, theme or colour. This play pattern doesn’t change much between indoor and outdoor play, so it’s a good idea to keep a few things that are special for indoor play days – just to keep things fresh. Play dough can be made into different shapes, sizes or colours and grouped together. Games with lots of pieces, such as Dominoes, and sets of toy animals are great for children with this fascination.
Children exploring Rotation, show a strong interest in anything that turns, twists, spins, or is circular or curved. Spirograph drawing sets are great for toddlers during the cold and rainy months. Baking is a fun task to do with your little one, stirring mixtures in circles and rolling cookies into round mounds to put on a baking tray. Put golf balls in trays of paint and let your little one use them to transfer paint to paper. They will delight in using the ball to roll and draw circles. It can get a little messy, so use a table cover to catch any spills.
Now that you’re armed with new ideas on how to make indoor play fun and a learning experience for your little one, who’s excited for the next rainy day? For more detailed information on each of the different play patterns children often explore, check out our other articles.
Have fun playing and learning together!