The mums and dads of Melbourne were pulling their hair out this week as they battled days and days of driving rain. Kids were bouncing off the walls and quite literally turning their bedrooms upside down. I've found there are some activities that are worth their weight in gold, invest now and stash in a special rain day cupboard - you never know when the next rainy day is going to hit!
1. Kinetic sand
I'm always amazed at how absorbed my three year old becomes when I pull the kinetic sand out. We keep it stored in a wide flat plastic tub with some little bull dozers and trucks. Every time I pull the kinetic sand out I am guaranteed 1.5 hours to myself. Our favourite is Sand In Motion.
2. Paint with water
When I found a paint with water activity book at my local newsagent I got so excited, I couldn't believe they still existed - I loved them when I was a kid and so does my son. Easy to set up, no mess, and great for fine motor skill development. Win, win, win.
3. Play dough
I'm never without a can of Cream of Tartar these days. I'm not sure what else it's used for, but having it there ensures I can whip up a batch of play dough within minutes. We don't bother with colour, instead we use yummy smells like cinnamon or lavender. Hot tip: make sure you use the more expensive flour - the discount brands make the play dough dry and crumbly.
Cost: $15 - $45
The more the merrier with puzzles. I hide them away and at the first sign of a wall bounce I pull them out. Immediate quiet descends. Ravensburger have an excellent collection for all ages. And our most recent acquisition, a giant floor puzzle, is a lot of fun to do in pairs.
5. Duplo / Lego
Cost: how long is a piece of string?
Yes, this one seems obvious, but to any new mums and dads out there I'd say this - start investing in Duplo now. It really does keep my son amused for hours (and I can say the same for my niece). It's brilliant for hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, learning colours and counting. And the imagination just blows your mind - I'm building a wall and my son is building a fantasy train with floating boats and a flower tower. Duplo really is a fantastic toy and you just can't have too much of the stuff. It's pricey though, so best to chip away at your collection slowly but surely.