Rainy Day Activities: Science Fun for Toddlers

If you have ever been stranded inside with one or more children for hours (or days) on end, you know the great importance of having a decent arsenal of Rainy Day Activities at your fingertips. We are going to check out a few easy and fun science based activities to help you stay sane and keep thinking creatively!
  1. Ice cube painting can be a fun science and art project. Simply, freeze water with different colored food coloring into an ice cube tray. The cubes can then be used by kids to paint their masterpieces. You can explore color mixing by combining different color cubes in the same bag. Kids will quickly discover that when they melt the blue and yellow cube together, they will get yellow.
  2. Sinking and floating is always a favorite science activity. It has the potential to keep kids busy for hours, and should not cause too large of a mess. Simply fill a tub (bathtub or other) with water. Let your kids collect various water safe toys and household items and toss them in the tub. For older kids, a floating vs. sinking prediction chart could be made. To help eliminate some of the mess factor, put a couple of towels down underneath and around the tub to soak up the inevitable splashes.
  3. Build a bridge. What preschooler does not love building? Grab a bag of miniature marshmallows and toothpicks, and let them go wild! There is a lot of room for variation with this activity. You can challenge them to see how tall, how long, or how strong they can build their structure. If you do not have marshmallows on hand or don't want to give your preschooler toothpicks, feel free to use whatever materials you have laying around, such as, straws, duct tape, newspaper, paper cups, and cardboard boxes.
  4. Feed the friendly animals. Kids love making bird feeders, and what better activity to do while dreaming of sunnier skies? First, choose a base. Pine cones, toasted bread, and crackers all work great. Next, choose something sticky. Nut butters are an easily, and readily available material. Finally, decorate the feeders. You can use things such as, cheerios, sunflower seeds, and dried fruits. When the rain clouds clear, and the sun starts shining, your feathered friends will thank you, and the kids will have fun watching their craft get consumed!
  5. Have a shadow puppet party! This is a great opportunity to talk about light and how shadows are made. Use hands, feet, bodies, and household items to make neat shadows. All you really need is a source of light and your imagination!
  6. Make a trail mix. You can use anything you have in your kitchen to make a fun and tasty trail mix! It can be as healthy or as sugary as you choose. Encourage kids to do their own measuring. This is an easy and exciting way to introduce volume measurements to kids. After the trail mix is done, build a tent out of blankets and enjoy camping indoors!
  7. Get communicating! Make a tin can phone and talk about how sound travels. Just poke a hole in the bottom of two empty tin cans, attach a string, and prepare for fun. Kids love talking with each other while in different rooms.
  8. Make some play-dough fossils. Most kids love play dough. Encourage them to press different objects (such as body parts and toys) into the dough. Dinosaur enthusiasts will love this project because you can talk about fossils while you make your own! Store bought dough works fine. If you want to make your own, there are countless quick and easy recipes out there. Here is one link with several good recipes.http://fun.familyeducation.com/sculpting/recipes
  9. Plant a garden! April showers bring May flowers, right? Kids love to watch things grow. This activity takes slightly more supplies than some of the others, but is well worth it. Small flower pots, paper cups, and egg cartons all work great as planting containers. Kids can have loads of fun decorating their pots before planting time. Drop in the seeds, water, and wait. Take this time to talk about what plants need to grow.
  10. If it's warm outside, take advantage of the rainy day and do some rain painting! Use some very heavy duty paper or cardboard. Let kids put good size globs of paint on the paper. Go outside and let the rain drops do your work. You will get some very neat splatter patterns and can also explore color combinations.
Have fun experimenting and exploring, and do your best to embrace the rainy days!
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