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Ideas of places to take kids of various ages in bad weather?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I'm trying to think of more ideas of places to take my kids (2 and 9) to get their wiggles out when the weather is too bad to play outside.  We're finally coming out of winter but we'll have tons of rain now.  And physically active places.  The library by us had a play room although it's more suited for the 2-year-old than the 9-year-old, and the museum has a good space.  There's McD's play place but the food is so icky.  Any other ideas?

post #2 of 19

the mall - our go to place in bad weather. hot or cold.

 

grocery store (at 2 that was dd's favourite place to be, sometimes chosen even over the park)

 

 

post #3 of 19

 

That age range is a little challenging. 

 

When my kids were small, I would take them to an indoor farmer's market on rainy or cold days. There were about a half-dozen rides located randomly around the building - rocking horses etc. - where you put in a dime (this was a dozen years ago, it's probably $1 each now) and they could ride for a minute or 2. They would get free samples from the cheese stall and the fruit vendors. I would do my shopping and it would be a fun way to spend an hour or two. If you have something similar near you, then the 2 y.o could have fun on the rides and if the 9 y.o. likes cooking, maybe s/he would like to choose a couple of recipes to try and help with the shopping. When you get home, the prep and cooking will keep them occupied for a little while longer, and you'll have something yummy to enjoy afterward! 

 

Is there a Y or a family recreation centre where you can swim or use some sporting equipment or play pick-up basketball or volleyball or floor hockey? The indoor skating rinks are still open for a couple of weeks here. 

 

There are some community art groups that have studio space available to the public. There's also a pottery studio that my dc have been to once in a while, although not in a long time. Anything like that near you? 

 

Finally, even if the weather is bad, it can be fun just to go with it. Put on some warm layers and some good rainwear and go for a good hike. Splash in the puddles. No one else will be out, so you'll have the parks to yourselves. I don't mind when it rains (too much) because that's when I can give the dog a good off-leash run without worrying about anyone else complaining. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #4 of 19

Ikea. I can get some shopping done, and the kids are perfectly happy to go to their indoor play area.


 

post #5 of 19

My children don't mind playing at home.   So, we set up an area in the garage with a small-ish (~4' across) trampoline, a disk swing that hangs from the ceiling, and they also ride their scooters around the garage.  We do not have a huge garage so it is tight but enough room to move around.  

 

They also do things inside that are somewhat physical.  A recent favorite is hitting a balloon back and forth with their tennis rackets.  The rule is no rackets hitting furniture and the balloon is harmless.  (When they were younger, I would get velum balloons resulting in a week of fun and safe for a two year old.)  They build forts and run around the house too.  Set up is often more fun than the play - setting up for a play or show can be physical and fun.   Last week they built a pulley system from upstairs to the main floor so they can give their stuffed animals rides.

 

Check with your local churches.  A large church near our house has an indoor play area (similar to those at a fast food restaurant).  It is available and free to anyone. 

 

Not a location to run wild, but my children like shopping at the antique stores in town.  They really enjoyed it around age three and still enjoy it now at six (your two-year old might be a little young still.).  We have several and one is pretty large, we would walk through and they could take their time looking at anything they wanted to look at - but no touching.  We usually pick up something small at the shop or we stop into a nearby bakery and get a treat after-wards. 

 

I have the advantage of two children the same age.   Some of these suggestions might be a little more difficult with a 2 and 9 yo.  

post #6 of 19



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

Finally, even if the weather is bad, it can be fun just to go with it. Put on some warm layers and some good rainwear and go for a good hike. Splash in the puddles. No one else will be out, so you'll have the parks to yourselves. I don't mind when it rains (too much) because that's when I can give the dog a good off-leash run without worrying about anyone else complaining. 

 



yeahthat.gif  A walk around the block with umbrellas is also fun.  Like the OP, we live in the midwest and as long as there is no lightening, my children are allowed out to play. 

 

post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

Finally, even if the weather is bad, it can be fun just to go with it. Put on some warm layers and some good rainwear and go for a good hike. Splash in the puddles. No one else will be out, so you'll have the parks to yourselves. I don't mind when it rains (too much) because that's when I can give the dog a good off-leash run without worrying about anyone else complaining. 


I was going to post the same thing.  My sitter has a 3.5 year old and when the weather is bad the one thing that gets them both going to to head to the beach, the park, or even our own backyard. Dress 'em in messy clothes and let them at those mud puddles!  Wet slides are twice as fast as dry ones. If it is windy and cold you can still fly a kite. The key is too embrace it.  They may grumble at first but once out they usually will have some fun.

 

With that big of an age difference its going to be hard to find something that is FREE that they can both really enjoy (at least around here).  Our mall play area (free) has limits on kids over a certain height/age and the mall arcade is $$ and geared to olders kids with nothing really for a 2 year old. 

 

My 9 year old would not be caught dead in the Ikea play area but maybe they are different in different locations? 

 

They both love those clay places but that doesn't really get their wiggles out and can be pretty $$.

 

 

 

post #8 of 19
You could find ways to get them moving inside the house too. Lead them in yoga poses or get a couple of fun kid's exercise videos if you're not opposed to TV... put on some music and have a dance party... make an obstacle course throughout your house... things like that.

I struggle too with this, though, because we prefer to be out, hate being stuck inside, and DS isn't very tolerant of cold/wet weather (he's OK with warm/wet though, so the summer should be better!) We do occasionally just walk around Target or the mall but I'm not a big fan of shopping or just being in stores. We spend a ton of time at the library but DS isn't crazy active like most toddlers are. The Y near us has a family activity center but we can't afford a membership... I wish there were indoor playgrounds around here (well, there are one or two but they are pricey and overstimulating...) A few of the gymnastics places around here have open gym which would be great if we could afford it... haha I guess there are lots of options but only if you have money to spare!! For the most part, we just have playdates with friends, stuff like that.
post #9 of 19

Is there an indoor pool in your area?  Great for both ages!

post #10 of 19

What's your house set up like? My kids rollerblade indoors --we have a 'circuit' that goes from the living room into the kitchen, into the hall, and back into the living room. If I ever buy another house, it's got to have a set up where kids can do this. They've also ridden air mattresses down the stairs, and run laps in the house.

 

Are there any places near you with 'open gym' times? What about covered play areas?

 

If it's a light rain, my kids will sometimes go out in it. They'll also try to convince ME to go out in it ("it's just dripping from the trees!" is my son's favorite line.)

 

 

post #11 of 19

We go to the mall when it's crappy out 

 

The bigger mall near us has a merry-go-round that DD can ride once or twice, I get a coffee and a sweet and we walk around, go to the bookstore in the mall, or play in the kids area. If you have a Barnes and Noble or a small bookstore that does story time that's free and fun (we also sit and read after..) they sometimes do songs/crafts with the kids and it's an hour about. 

post #12 of 19

We live in a small house in Alaska. Barring windchill to -40 or winds over 50mph, we just bundle up and go out. Even a short walk tends to improve everyone's mood. 

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

We have a small house and do some active play indoors but space limits a whole lot, and I'd like a change of scenery.  And I do let them play outdoors in any weather (particularly the older one - she has free reign of the neighborhood barring really severe weather), but they don't get nearly as much outdoor play in rainy weather as nice weather.  My older child is outdoors practically sunup to sundown in nice weather.  But they don't seem to like to get wet much and want back inside quickly if it's raining.

 

There might be a place with "open gym" times.  I'll check that.

post #14 of 19

Huh. We try to avoid leaving the house in bad weather unless we have some place we specifically need to be. I guess maybe we have it easy because we have several large, fairly open rooms in our house and our kids can move around pretty well. We also do let our kids play outside in the rain, as long as there's no lightning. 

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 



I guess it depends on how you define "bad weather", but I mean "cold" or "snow" or "rain" - the things that make my kids not want to be outside much.  If I avoided going places in that kind of weather, we wouldn't leave the house for months on end, and I wouldn't be able to handle that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SubliminalDarkness View Post

Huh. We try to avoid leaving the house in bad weather unless we have some place we specifically need to be.

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post



I guess it depends on how you define "bad weather", but I mean "cold" or "snow" or "rain" - the things that make my kids not want to be outside much.  If I avoided going places in that kind of weather, we wouldn't leave the house for months on end, and I wouldn't be able to handle that.

Likewise. We have measurable precipitation more than 300 days a year. We'd be shut-ins if we didn't just put on appropriate clothing and head out.
 

 

post #17 of 19

Well, living in Siberia all my life, I know that the "bad weather" is a relative term. There is always "bad" weather where I lived: -30C from November through March, and then constant rain between April and June, and then unbearable heat in July-August and back to -30C in the end of October. We would've all went nuts if we stayed indoors (no matter if it is a library, church or a store) waiting for the "good weather". That's being said, my parents ALWAYS took us outside. The secret is to dress appropriately and just have fun. The rain, the mud, the snow and the puddles are the most wonderful  things, your children come to enjoy them if you let them.

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 

I let my kids out in bad weather, and they have fun for 15 minutes before they say they're uncomfortable and want inside.  In good weather they have fun for hours on end outside.  It isn't that I'm not taking my kids out or letting them play outside in the rain.  They just don't like it.  They like the snow better than the rain because they like to make snowmen and that kind of thing, but they still don't play outside for that long.  I'm not going to force my kids to play outside if they don't like it.

post #19 of 19
I think that really great rain clothes are key. I'm planning to get my kids puddle pants this Spring so I can let them roll in the mud and stamp through the puddles (which they love!) without having to change their clothes three times a day (which I do not love).

We also, on really yucky, cold days, will fill up my birth pool (really a deep kiddy pool) in the bathroom with warm water, move an indoor sand box into the bathroom, mix up smoothies with paper umbrellas in them, put on our bathing suits and have an indoor beach day. My kids love it! If we plan ahead, we can get a coconut to crack open or a pineapple for a snack to keep the theme going. I do have a little pump to empty the pool, but I have found we have much, much more fun bailing it out the bathroom window with the sandbox buckets.

Hmmm, it's snowing here today. Maybe we need to turn the tables on Mother Nature's April Fool's Day joke and pretend we are in Hawaii....we haven't done it in a while!

We sometimes go to an indoor play place. And there used to be a 'play cafe' in the area. It was great! Sophisticated coffee house feel for Mammas, and a great indoor play space for the kids....plus relatively healthy food for lunch (like Annie's Mac and whole wheat pizza. Not great, but not evil). Is there something like that around you? Those types of things are a bit pricey for us, but that is just why I have a 'rainy day' budget....we only do it occasionally.

What about making friends with another Mamma and agreeing to be one another's 'rainy day' friends...only get together in bad weather and the kids might just look forward to a rainy day if their special friends are coming over or you are going there. Or maybe a rainy day box of books and toys that only come out in yucky weather?

We have a covered pavilion at our local playground. When the kids were little, that was enough space to ride their big wheels around out of the rain and burn some energy.

What about an 'eye-spy' car ride? Snuggle them up in blankets with some hot cocoa in the car, get a children's book on CD from the library (our recent favourite has been "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon"), and drive around looking for signs of the season, red front doors, or whatever. That doesn't solve the burning energy thing, but if you bring a book.....well, then you can park by a pretty lake or something and listen to the rain on the roof and have a blessedly quiet hour to yourself reading something just for you while they nap!

HTH
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