Rainy Days: The Indoor Safari

rainydayWe are having an extraordinarily wet spring where we live, and I’ve had to reach deep into my bag of Mommy Tricks to find ways to pass the rainy days.  A few weeks ago, my preschooler came up with an easy and fun game that we have discovered has many variations: the indoor safari.

Her original idea was to go on a “bug safari” inside our house.  We got out a bag of insect foamie stickers and each of us hid them all throughout the house.  Since our shovels and pails were suffering from inattention due to many days in a row of not being allowed outside, we decided they would be perfect for gathering the bugs we found on our safari.

Everything is a race these days for my four year old, so we counted backward from ten and set off to try to gather as many bugs as we could find.  I enlisted the help of my toddler for my team, and she was thrilled to add bugs to our bucket.  (Even more fun for her was taking them out to re-hide them!)  Once all the bugs were collected, we met in the living room, dumped the contents of our pails onto the floor, and admired our finds.

First we played with numbers by counting how many bugs each of us had captured.  Then we enjoyed some categorization by sorting the bugs into piles of same colors and then into piles of same creatures.  When we finished that part of the safari, both girls had fun placing some of their bugs onto pieces of construction paper to display the results of the morning’s safari.

This is a fun activity that can take lots of different directions.  You could

  • find exotic creatures online, print and color the pictures, and cut them out and go on safari to find them
  • hide stuffed animals from your child’s collection and search them out.  Older kids might like to classify them by the continent they live on or by what kind of ecosystem they call home
  • cover animals with blankets in one room and let babies play peek-a-boo as a safari alternative for your littlest ones

Okay, moms and dads of Simple Kids – let’s hear from you!  What is your favorite rainy day play?  Please share your idea here and you may find it featured in an upcoming edition of our Rainy Days series!

Photo by Flora

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  1. One of our favourite rainy day activities is to build forts. There is something about inclement weather that makes us want to curl up and be toasty warm. We gather all of our blankets and drape them on chairs and tables and make ourselves an indoor tent. Then we get some books and a flashlight and settle in for some fun.

    Jennifer’s last blog post..Happy Mother’s Day

    • @Jennifer, love it! My girls love build forts, too. Well, Little Sister mostly loves to destroy forts, so we we mostly spend our time in construction and re-construction. Thanks for sharing this great idea!

      Megan’s last blog post..Rainy Days: The Indoor Safari

  2. nothing beats a stuffed animal picnic in the front room, complete with homemade cookies and apple slices, but the boys still talk about having cotton ball races around the whole downstairs- now, that got some wiggles out!

    tif’s last blog post..my mothers day

  3. I bought a small blow-up baby pool and a giant bag of plastic balls at the end of the summer last year. During long stretches of cold or on rainy days, I pull them out of storage and let the kids have an indoor ball pit. There are balls everywhere! When the ball pit gets old, we turn it into a new game to see who can collect the most balls and put them back into the bag.

    katydid6’s last blog post..Wrap Today Up In A Giant Bow

    • @katydid6, those are so fun, aren’t they? The girls got one for Christmas. PERFECT inside activity, and I’m sure we’ll make good use of it outside when the ground finally dries up again.

      Megan’s last blog post..Rainy Days: The Indoor Safari

  4. We like to take masking tape and use it on our hardwood floors to make roads, parking lots, etc for driving our matchbox cars on. This has been a huge hit (& my three also like taking the tape off afterward!)


    steadymom.com’s last blog post..What I Want for Mother’s Day

  5. We love to bake on rainy days- and we make everything in miniature! That way we can eat more, and the dollies can be served, too 🙂

    Kyrie’s last blog post..Views from Mother’s Day.

  6. We love to build forts too. Actually when I read the first comment I wondered if I had already commented since it sounded like something I would write and my name is Jennifer. LOL.

    We also like to do dress up. We have some store bought and home made costumes that we keep for rainy day “treats”.

    Jenn @ Beautiful Calling’s last blog post..See Chloe in See Kai Run (+ GIVEAWAY)

  7. We love board games at our house – Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Hi-Ho Cherrio, and Sequence for Kids get pulled out often. (most of them with “modified” rules to make them shorter!!!) My 3 yo daughter loves to play and have my full attention – and recently we’ve started learning Spanish numbers and colors as we play!

    Kristi_runwatch’s last blog post..The power of His Word

  8. My kids love an indoor scavenger hunt. They either collect the items in bags, or take the digital camera and snap pictures. We also have Hippity Hops that are for indoor use only, so they can have races down the hallway.

    Casey’s last blog post..Things that are making me happy right now

  9. These are all great ideas! My daughter loves crafting, so she usually begs me for an art project when she can’t go outside. In fact, she’ll be engrossed happily forever with a pair of safety scissors and some paper. Or even just crayons and blank paper. She’s recently showed an interest in my sewing, so I think the next rainy day, I may whip out my machine and let her “help” me make a simple pillowcase or something.

  10. Our youngest is a HUGE fan of dress-ups on a rainy day. It keeps her going for hours as once she is in costume she totally becomes the character and we role play for the rest of the day. Our son loves to get a long piece of butchers paper, lie down on it, have me trace his body and then decorate the whole thing with crayons and craft supplies. It takes a good couple of hours to get the whole thing decorated and then they stick it up on their walls to admire. Puppets is another favourite craft activity of his and I like it because once they have made and decorated their paper puppets we cook up a batch of popcorn and have a live puppet show from behind the couch.

    Sandra @ {mum space}’s last blog post..I spy with my little eye :: a mixed bag of treats

  11. We use homemade play dough and make new creatures to bake. This provides a cheap set of ‘little people’ if you will-a new toy for the day.

    Or, we go perusing at the local thrift shop and find a new toy or book for under a $1. This passes the time and we come home an inexpensive thing that keeps us occupied until daddy comes home and the world is right again.

    Nicole’s last blog post..The Truth is a River

  12. We open up the table to as big as it can go and cover the whole thing in lining paper. We draw roads and parks and trees, make buildings out of blocks and paper (I love the toymaker website for print outs and inspiration.) and create people, animals and lots of other things in between for our little world. It can stay like that for days at a time, with us moving just enough to eat our meals around.

    There is some thing very surreal and fun about eating our lunch with a minature zoo one one side and a cardboard castle on the other side!

    Kellyi’s last blog post..The head of house is away. Again.

  13. I’m a little late, I know, but just “refound” your blog.

    We use Matchbox diggers and dump trucks in playdoh to make roads and dumps and construction sites.
    My older son (4) will spend hours making lego “robots” and then building block forts for them to live in.
    We lay out a vinyl tablecloth on the floor and I pull out a bin of “play rice”. Each boy gets a long, flat plastic container full or rice, a scoop or ladle, a plastic yogurt container, and anything else we can think of (funnels, spoons, measuring cups) to transfer rice back and forth between bins. We have also hid miniature dinosaurs in the rice to excavate with spoons and paintbrushes or used our Matchbox construction toys to push the rice around, too. The important rule for this one is that you can’t dump the rice off the tablecloth or it all goes away immediately.

    jill’s last blog post..Haircut


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