Rain need not stop play! You can make your own fun inside or take advantage of the many educational places in Sussex by searching for a leisure centre, museum or library using these links:
For more adventures why not check out one of these sites. They list family-friendly attractions across the UK, including discount vouchers, events listings and competitions. Search by county using the interactive maps.
To make your own fun:
Here are some fun ideas for rainy days. Or put on your waterproofs and go and race around in the rain, jump in the puddles, dance and sing in the rain. Without the rain our food would not grow, farm animals and wild animals would go thirsty and the trees and plants around us would die. So be thankful the rains have arrived!
- Writing supplies
How well do you know your children? How well do they know you? Here’s a guessing game that will help you find out.
The essence of this game is the “Food Test,” which your child creates with ten questions. What’s your favourite vegetable? Which fruit do you think has the most seeds? What breakfast food is Aunt Betsy’s speciality? And so on.
To play, your child writes down his or her predictions about how you’ll answer the Food Test questions. Then your child quizzes you, so he or she can see how well the predictions panned out.
If your younger child needs help coming up with the questions for the “Food Test,” give him or her a hand. But keep your answers to yourself until your child makes his or her best guesses.
Who knows? You might find out that your kids really do like broccoli and cauliflower. Those sounds they make whenever you serve them are just expressions of joy!
- Pictures of animals and favourite things
- Glue and scissors
- Felt markers
Cut out the pictures of people, animals, and favourite things. Paste them onto squares or shapes of cardboard. On separate cards, write the names of each picture that you’ve glued to a card: dog, apple, house, duck. The object of the activity is to teach your child to match the word cards with the picture cards. It is often easier for children to remember words when they are looking at and naming familiar people, places, and things. While your child is watching, turn one picture card face-down and ask, “Who’s hiding under here?” Your child then tries to guess by placing the matching word card where he thinks it belongs. Once you have the idea of the game, try putting three or more picture cards down at a time.
- Deck of playing cards
- Up to thirteen players can play this game, but it works best with three to six.
- Assemble four cards of the same number for each player.
- Shuffle the cards and deal four to each player.
- Each player looks at his cards to see if he has four of a kind (of the same number). If nobody does, each player passes one unwanted card face down to the player on his left.
- The players look at their cards again. If nobody has four of a kind, the players pass again until someone has four of a kind.
- When someone has four of a kind, instead of passing a card he quietly makes a pig snout by pushing up the tip of his nose with his finger.
- As the other players notice the player making a pig snout, they stop passing and do the same.
- The last player to make a pig snout must deal the cards for the next game.
Donkey: The first player with four of a kind quietly lays his cards on the table but continues passing cards. As each player notices, he does the same. The last player to notice gets a D. Play until one child gets D-O-N-K-E-Y.
Spoons: In the middle of the table place a pile of spoons (one spoon fewer than the number of players). When one player gets four of a kind, he grabs a spoon. As the other players notice, they quickly grab spoons, too. The player left without a spoon deals the cards for the next game.
Indoor Obstacle Course
As you design your obstacle course, keep in mind the ages, abilities, and number of children involved as well as the space you have. Make the course simple at first and change the stations as they’re mastered. If you like, time the kids to see who can complete the course fastest. Below are a few ideas to get you started. Ten stations is a good number for most kids.
- Crawl under or over a row of chairs.
- Crawl under a string stretched between two chair legs.
- Jump into and out of a Hula-Hoop five times.
- Walk on a balance board.
- Throw a beanbag into a laundry basket.
- Run while balancing a beanbag on your head.
- Do a ring toss.
- Play one hole of Newspaper Golf.
- Ride a tricycle along a predetermined route.
- Somersault from one point to another.
- Do a handstand.
- Skip in place while reciting a jump rope rhyme.
- Do ten jumping jacks.
- No link with nature and wildlife, but relevant this year!
- onion bag balls
- wrapping paper tube
The Olympics, the pinnacle of sports achievement, right in your living room! You can stage your own indoor Olympics by putting together an assortment of simple sports challenges for your kids. To get your children into the spirit of the games, have them put together their own Olympic uniforms (T-shirts, pj’s, sweats, etc.) and start off with these indoor sporting events:
Slither race. Contestants slither along the length of the room on their stomachs, without using their arms or hands.
Balance beam. Athletes walk on a piece of string on the floor.
Weight lifting. Make two mesh onion bags filled with wadded-up newspaper and held closed with a rubber band or knotted string. Crumple the newspapers loosely so that they fill up the onion bag. Tie onion-bag balls to a wrapping paper tube for a pretend weight-lifting competition.
Triathlon. Combine three simple activities for a triathlon event.
Knee races. Have the competitors kneel on the rug for this race.
Ducky Rubber-Neck Dance
While facing your child, identify all the parts of the face and neck that can move: wiggle your nose, raise your eyebrows, stretch your neck, and stick out your tongue. Now sit in front of a mirror with some rhythmic music on and suggest how a face can dance by moving features in time with the music. Experiment with repeated facial expressions; from smile to frown in rhythm. Move your head from side to side stretching and turning the neck. Even hair can dance with a little help from little fingers.
Practice this activity with your child until you both perfect it. Squat on your heels and balance. Put the palms of your hands on the floor. How long can you balance there? Help by holding your child’s hips up. Take small hops forward keeping the arms touching the inner knees or thighs. Avoid putting stress on the knees.
Arts and Crafts
- Round or square plastic or strong cardboard lid
- Nails of different sizes
The idea is to mount the nails close together so that when the wind blows the chimes, they jangle against each other.
- Tie a piece of string to the top of one nail.
- With the tip of the scissors, poke a hole through the lid and pull the string through the hole, then poke another hole and put the string back through the lid to tie to another nail.
- When all the nails have been added, tie three or four pieces of string spaced evenly around the edges of the lid and tie them together at the top to hang.
- Hang from a tree branch, over a doorway, or any place the wind will hit them.
Design your very own magazine
Dig out old magazines and help your child cut out their favourite adverts, images and features. They can mount them in a new magazine all of their own and use the images as a basis for creative stories, quizzes and fun activities. Another idea is to use different eye/face/hair/body cut outs and mix them up to create some comical looking collages.
Energy from the Sun
- 3 used cans with the labels removed
- White water-based paint
- Black water-based paint
Paint the outside of two of the cans one with white paint, one with black paint. Fill each can with the same amount of water, use a measuring jug. Place the cans on a sunny window ledge or in the sun somewhere. Let them sit for about three hours. Now take the temperature of the water in each can. Which can has the warmest water? Why was this so? Explain to your child the principle of solar energy and its benefits.
Effects of Acid Rain
- 20 seeds
- 2 plastic bags
- 2 paper towels
- Fold the paper towels so that they fit inside the plastic bags.
- Moisten one towel with water and the other one with a dilute solution of vinegar and water.
- Count ten seeds and place them between the layers of towel.
- Slide the towels and seeds into the plastic bags.
- Label the bags “Water” and “Vinegar.”
- Every two days, inspect your seeds and moisten the paper towels with the appropriate solution if they start to dry out.
- What do you notice after eight to ten days? This experiment will show you the effects of acid rain on growing seeds. You may want to research the acid rain problem and start writing letters expressing your concerns.
Fruit and Veggie Plants
- Lemon, orange, grapefruit, pumpkins or maybe squash seeds
- Potting compost (peat free) or earth from the garden
- Recycled plastic bag and rubber band
- Recycled yoghurt pots
- Soak the seeds in water overnight.
- Have your child fill a yoghurt pot about half full with soil or earth.
- Poke the seeds about a half-inch into the soil.
- Cover the container with a recycled plastic wrap secured with a rubber band.
- Place the container on top of your refrigerator. In about three weeks, plants will sprout.
- Have your child fill a large bucket about halfway with soil or earth.
- Lay two small potatoes on the soil and cover them with about one more inch of soil.
- Water the soil until it’s slightly damp, then place the bucket in a warm, sunny place.
- Leaves will sprout in a week or so, then purple flowers, then maybe even tiny potatoes beneath the soil. (Caution: Potato plants can be poisonous if handled improperly. Keep your plant away from small children and animals. Keep your potatoes away from light by covering them with plenty of dirt and storing them in a dark place. Never eat a potato with green spots.)
Because growing requirements vary among herbs, be sure to read each seed packet before you begin.
- Marker pen
- Ice cream sticks
- Empty yoghurt pot or other leak-proof containers
- Potting soil
- Herb seeds, such as basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage, marjoram, oregano, dill, cilantro, mint, or chives
- Spray bottle full of water
- Help your child write the name of each herb on an ice cream stick.
- Fill each container two-thirds full of potting soil. Plant the seeds according to the instructions on the packets, using a different container for each herb.
- Mark each container with the appropriate ice cream stick.
- Spray each container with water until the surface of the soil is completely damp.
- Place the containers by a sunny window.
- Spray the containers regularly to keep the soil damp but not wet.
- Seedlings will appear in two to four weeks, depending on the herb.
- Let the plants grow for several weeks.
- Use the leaves for cooking and freeze or dry any surplus.
- You can freeze herbs by chopping them, mixing them with a bit of water, and freezing them in ice cube trays.
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