Often when it rains, my thoughts travel back to the days when my daughters were small and the great lengths I’d go to in order to keep them entertained inside; those long-ago days when children’s television shows were broadcast during early morning or late afternoon hours and there was no DVR for replays, computers were not a ubiquitous part of life, and video games were just an idea looming on the horizon.
On those seemingly endless rainy days when I was a stay-at-home mom, I would reach way back into what was once a walk-in closet and take out the special “Rainy Day Box.” In this box, were the raw materials for creating all kinds of amazing things with a little imagination and a lot of rainy-day time.
Thankfully, long-term memory is the last to go and when my first granddaughter was a toddler, I thought back to the special craft box and all its varied contents that had been such a treat for my children. Some ideas are timeless. What worked for my daughters was sure to work for my granddaughter.
There are many items that can be used to fill a Rainy Day Box. Markers, Elmer’s Glue, crayons, colored paper, and watercolor paints are key ingredients. Toss in some seashells, plastic bottle caps, paper clips, bits of wool, wiggle eyes, and buttons, and you have the makings for hours of creative fun.
One day last winter, May entered our living room as “Robot Boy’ wearing a Reynolds Wrap covered box with two pipe cleaner antennae protruding from its top and two circles cut out for her eyes. It was a creation that she and her Aunt Jessica made out of materials lying around the basement. As she paraded around the room, she altered her voice to speak in a clipped manner, giving her best interpretation of how a robot would speak. Carrying her new role one step further, she developed a mini skit around her latest persona. A simple box led to all sorts of opportunities for language development and creative play to be enjoyed and stored in all of our memory banks.
I continue to scout for unusual items that can be put into our Rainy Day Box. Items such as caps from plastic drinking bottles make excellent checkers when mini stickers are placed upon them and packing noodles when painted, are ideal for creating a colorful object d’art. With the plethora of plastic, cardboard, and packing materials that are indigenous to today’s world, I find that what once filled a shoebox now requires a fairly large-sized crate. Whatever the size of the container, the contents are what will unleash a child’s imagination and provide hours of sunshine on inclement days.
Rainy days pass by quickly when there is a goal-directed activity and a Rainy Day Box filled with interesting odds and ends which serve as tools for attaining that goal. It worked for me when my children were small. It worked for me during my teaching career. And it works for me now in my role as grandmother.