Bad weather: how do I keep my small child occupied inside?

It is not just adults who get depressed by dismal weather—children struggle with it too. It can quickly get boring for them being stuck inside, especially when they would much rather be frolicking around outside. In keeping with the maxim ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable toys’, find out here how you can keep small children occupied on rainy days.

The most important tip first: very young children in particular tend to reflect the moods of their parents. Even if you are fed up with the bad weather yourself, try not to show it; stay laid-back and cheerful. This is the best basis for a relaxed day spent playing inside.

Variety is the spice of life

But what kinds of toys do small children like playing with the most? Anything that engages their senses in a variety of ways. Providing a range of different stimuli will also help your child’s development. Running around and conquering new spaces through physical play is important, but playing quietly also serves a purpose. It enhances fine motor skills and your child’s ability to concentrate.

Here are a few examples:

  • Interactive books and books that promote motor skill development encourage interaction between parent and child
  • Musical instruments and items that make sounds train hearing and coordination
  • Toys that can be pushed or pulled help the child to move more securely
  • Building blocks, cuboids, spheres and triangles stimulate structural thinking in the child
  • Jigsaw puzzles and items that can be pushed into shaped slots improve memory and the ability to concentrate
wooden picture book vehicles
wooden xylophone baby children musico
wooden push along toy dragon tattolo

You should also let your child play quietly on their own. Start off with the two of you and give your child time to get into the flow of playing. Move away as soon as you realise that the game can be played without your intervention. But avoid intervening right away if something doesn’t work immediately. This way your child will learn to tolerate unpleasant feelings as they play, and will gain confidence in their own strengths.

You should, however, stay within earshot, so that your child can test out their own independence and at the same time feel safe.

Parents can also expect their child to get bored sometimes

Parents are not their children’s full-time entertainers. Children who play alone get to know themselves better. They discover their inner nature as well as their own imagination, and in the process come up with stories that they become absorbed in acting out. Some children, however, need a little time to work out how to play by themselves. Ignore their whining, and don’t succumb to the temptation to provide short-term entertainment with computer games or television.

Plan ahead—there are bound to be other rainy days soon

One option is not to offer your child the same toys every day. Children love variety. Put the toys away for a time; then they can be rediscovered after a while and become interesting again.

wooden colour learning game threading octopus ottokar

You might also be interested in:

Why don’t babies sleep through the night?

How wonderful it would be if babies slept through the night. But infants rarely rest for more than three or four hours at a stretch. It is only from the sixth month that their night-time sleep phases grow longer. Read on to find out how you can gently encourage your baby to fall, and stay, [...]

How picture books can make bookworms even out of babies

Books allow people to immerse themselves in different settings for a short period of time. In the process, they help in the understanding of different perspectives and in gathering new experiences. Here we explain how babies from as young as six months old can discover the world through colourful picture books. Baby’s first picture book: [...]

When do babies start doing what?

Your little charge makes huge developmental steps in the first months. Your child will never again learn anything as fast as at the start of their life. What are the stages of this learning process? And what are the most significant monthly milestones? Every baby has their own speed In their first year babies develop [...]