Does it feel to you like it’s been raining for 3 months? Are the children in your program ready to climb the walls? Are you ready to climb the walls, too? When it’s a little wet outside or sprinkling, we should go outside anyway, if only for five minutes. But when we can’t, everyone can start to get a little stir crazy! Many programs do not have an indoor space where children can run, jump and slide. So, what do we do when we can’t go outside and the children still have energy to get out?
If you’re stuck indoors because of severe weather, let go of inhibitions. Be silly. Dance with the children. Bend the rules a bit in the classroom. Push the furniture to the walls and give the children space to move freely. Talk to the children about changing the rules for extenuating circumstances. Yes, you can use the word “extenuating” with young children! Talk to the children about how long it’s been raining and how you still want them to have the opportunity to be active. Play upbeat music. While in a program the other day I heard the children’s version of “Mambo Number Five.” They were so excited to hear upbeat music! They danced all over the room with wrist ribbons their teacher provided.
Bring balls of different sizes, textures and shapes (like knobby) into the classroom. Put some laundry baskets in the room for children to throw the balls in to. If you do not have balls, take pairs of socks, fold them into a ball and allow the children to toss them in the room.
Allow the children to climb. If there is not a climber in the room, create things for the children to climb. Diaper boxes are great for this. They are a bit more sturdy than regular cardboard boxes. You can also take boxes and either fill them with crumbled newspaper or insert one box into another box to make them sturdier. Children can climb on them or in them. Once the boxes are destroyed, ask parents to bring in some more or take some from the supplies ordered at your program (paper towel boxes work well). One program I visited recently allowed the children to climb inside a shelf!
With all of these activities, a caregiver is honoring the desire for children to be active. A responsive caregiver would understand the children’s need to practice gross motor skills and offer opportunities for children to do so. Hopefully the rain will end soon. In the meantime, I hope the above suggestions are helpful. Have fun and enjoy the time you have with your children!