There’s no doubt we have been blessed with an active, spirited toddler. He has an extraordinary lust for life and an unfailing energy that never ceases to amaze us. Up most days at 5:30am, he’s usually climbing the walls and tearing the place apart by 8:00am. Since 10 months of age we have had to “exercise” him both morning and afternoon…come rain, hail or shine. Oh how I grew to fear inclement weather. Some mornings I would tremble at the sound of rain pattering against the window! Our son is now 2 1/2 years old and we have developed resources for wet weather days. With another bout of miserable Sydney weather upon us, I thought I’d post my Top 10 ‘out & about’ activities for active toddlers on rainy days:
1) Business as usual (or If you can’t beat it, join it)
Invest in a good quality rain outfit and proceed outdoors as usual. Toddlers will love jumping in the puddles and roaming around with the park to themselves. The rain can completely transform a park you visit regularly into something new and exciting. Small confession…my husband gets most of the credit for this. His tips are:
Dress appropriately yourself.
Have multiple pairs of gumboots as they will fill with water and need to be rotated (however they dry very quickly on the dashboard of your car).
Once your out there it’s fun, even though the prospect may seem incredibly daunting at the time.
2) The Australian Museum
This place is great. There are large spaces to run plus a fabulous kid’s play area/education centre with teepees, toys, costumes, scientific equipment and activities.
3) The Powerhouse Museum
This museum has really large spaces to run. There is so much to explore, large structures and vehicles suspended from the ceiling, a train and a spaceship to climb in plus a whole kids’ construction area downstairs (also two nice cafes).
4) Play centres / play cafes
These provide a large dry space for exercising a toddler on pouring days. They can be a little expensive but are good for exhausting the kiddos. I have learnt from bitter experience not to go on weekends or during school holidays.
5) Indoor heated swimming pools
My mum who had six children always said there’s nothing like water to exhaust a child.
6) Big op-shops
There are a couple of super-sized Salvos stores in my area. They provide large indoor spaces to explore and plenty of toys and books to rummage through.
Sounds strange but Ikea stores are generally huge and the children’s display rooms are set up so invitingly with toys and furniture. There’s a cafe with kiddy meals and plenty of space to roam and explore.
Many people frequent the library on rainy days with toddler in tow and these provide lots of distractions for an inquisitive toddler, particularly libraries with a toy lending area. I must admit I find the space a little restrictive for my son, but it’s another option when you’re desperate.
9) Westfield Shopping Centre
Most Westfields have lots of space for walking and there’s usually 1-2 small designated play areas with climbing equipment. Sure it’s noisy and crowded but it can be a real life saver if you have exhausted all other options. Bunnings stores also provide a play area with climbing equipment and lots to look at, including miniature shopping trolleys they can push around the store.
We are members of Playgroups NSW and frequent various different groups regularly. Some playgroups have large indoor play spaces for rainy weather. (Unfortunately most playgroups are on only in the morning and during school term.)
If all else fails…stay at home. Once in a while it’s fun to transform your living area. Put a bed sheet over the table and make it a cave, spend 20 minutes jumping and wrestling on the bed, create an awesome obstacle course. Get that tub of rotational emergency toys out of the shed and bring them into the house. Have a stash of play doh and a roll of butchers paper hidden for day’s like this.
With all this wild weather upon us, what are your fail-safe options for rainy days?