While rain is always welcome in the Bay Area because of our tendency to be in a drought, it makes outdoor play more challenging and can lead to kids feeling cooped up and parents feeling frustrated with everyone wanting to release some energy. Below are some tips to help make your household items function more like the playground.
- Build a tunnel: Take your dining chairs and place them back to back, throw a sheet on top and it becomes a tunnel! Encourage kids to crawl through, roll or kick a ball, or place some pillows on the floor and have them crawl on top for an added challenge. Crawling, even for older kids, works the core and can help to calm the nervous system, particularly when crawling through resistant surfaces, such as pillows. Here are posts about using a tunnel for some core strengthening or making a lycra tunnel!
- Make a balance beam: Use masking tape or painters tape to make a line on the floor. Encourage kids to walk on the line without falling off. For younger kids, make two lines and encourage them to keep their feet in between them. For older kids, try curved or zig-zag lines to make it a bit harder. If you want a balance beam that’s off the floor, try rolling up a yoga mat or a bath towel. Tape around the outside and tape either end to the floor, so that it stays in place. Check out these ideas for more ways to play with a balance beam!
- Build an obstacle course: Have kids walk or crawl across couch cushions on the floor, step up and down (or jump off) a step stool or go up and down the stairs. To add additional obstacles, place towels or pool noodles on the floor to step over or jump over. Change the levels that they are navigating so that sometimes they have to crawl under and sometimes they have to step over obstacles. You can also add the tunnel and balance beams described above. Building an obstacle course is a great way to get the kids involved. Decide how many steps you’d like (usually 3 or 4) and have the kids help you pick what the steps are. Check out this old post for some ideas or check out our obstacle course cards to help you build your own!
For more ideas check out our Activity Round-Up with tons of ideas!