It’s raining, it’s pouring, and you might like to be snoring. You have your children for parenting time, though, so what to do? To begin, turn off the television. Now what? Here’s what, from low-key to rough-housing!

Read with Your Children

From toddlers to teens, read with, to, and in front of your children. Avoid censoring, too — let them read anime books, comic novels, bodice-ripping romances (age-appropriate, of course), vampire serials, and cereal boxes.

Reading improves brain power in at least seven ways, say experts at The Best Brain Possible. From very little children pretending to read (by exercising their memories) to teenagers struggling with non-fiction, reading hones memory, expands vocabulary, reduces tension, and more.

For small children, Dad’s lap is the place to be. Pre-readers will thrill to see how books work and will enjoy the sound of your voice. Read with emotion and meaning, and never rush the words. The time will pass all too fast, anyway.

For independent readers, gather in one homey spot and let everybody read as they like. For older readers, the seclusion of a bedroom may be ideal. Trust your children and let them enjoy escaping into their own reading worlds.

Board and Card Games

A single rainy day is nothing compared to the perpetual indoor existence of a child stricken by polio. Candy Land, says the National Museum of Play, was invented to distract pint-sized polio patients. If a board game can hold a child’s attention through years of indoor life, it can keep your child busy for an afternoon.

Here are five familiar and not-so-familiar board games to consider:

  • Sequence
  • Monopoly and its legions of variations
  • Catan
  • Pandemic
  • Candy Land

Sitting at the dining table watching the rain come down is good for about 20 seconds. After that, break out the Uno deck, or one of these great card games for kids:

  1. Codenames
  2. Sushi Go!
  3. Zeus on the Loose
  4. Face Off!

Some board and card games to avoid include Life, Cranium, Hangman, Cards Against Humanity and most knock-off discount games from outlet stores. Some of these “games,” says Slate, pedal outdated notions. Others are cheaply made, often inappropriate for children, and generate frustration instead of family fun.

Invented Your Own Games

A popular movement against the tide of lawnmower and helicopter parents is to return to a time when children sorted situations out for themselves. Encourage your children to invent games, using on-hand materials. This puts them in a position to establish rules, determine sequences, internalize fairness and equity, and be creative.

Writers at Parent24 advise having some game basics on hand for the Great Game:

  • Posterboard
  • Dice
  • Markers
  • Golf tees or other game pieces
  • Blank index cards
  • Gift box to hold the finished product

Guide them a little at first, says Parent24:

  • Identify a theme
  • Pick a type of board game (strategy, roll and move, roll-playing)
  • Determine characters
  • Build a prototype
  • Test it (that’s called play)
  • Refine it
  • Decorate it

KP Duty

Virginia men in the military will instantly recognize KP Duty as Kitchen Patrol. Invite the kids into the kitchen. Whether you are a master chef or have a Doctorate in Defrosting, cooking with the kids is a great way to pass the day.

Try some tasty recipes courtesy of The Firm For Men, or turn to the internet for plenty of healthy, easy concoctions.

Another route: let the kids come up with their own recipes for imaginary (not to be eaten!) meals. Supervise every step to avoid them actually eating a mustard and pickle pie, but let them have some messy fun.

Finish by instilling some responsiblity: everybody helps clean up.

Garage Gym

If you have as little as one car space in the garage, you and the kids can play Four Square, hopscotch, age-appropriate weightlifting, and more.

Sweep and tidy first, and secure any fragile items before play. All Pro Dad has plenty of other ideas for indoors and out.

And of Course, Play in the Rain

If the temperatures and amount of rain allow for outside time, go outside! If you have raingear, spare clothes, access to towels and a washing machine, rain should not stop activity.

MotherNatured recommends all sorts of fun and messy things to do:

  • Make mud angels
  • Search for frogs, snails, worms, and other soggy creatures
  • Fill containers to learn a bit about capacity and volume
  • Bring the bathtub toys outside
  • Older kids may enjoy touch football, soccer, or wrestling in the mud
  • Jump in, around and through puddles
  • Take a nature walk in the wetness

Being a Virginia Dad can be rewarding and fun. It is also never easy. Turn to The Firm For Men for continued, professional legal help for all family law matters. Contact us online or telephone our offices at 757-383-9184.