As a parent, I've learned to fear the weather report when it calls for continual rain over a long period. Besides the wet shoes, muddy footprints and other rain-related hassles, there is also the dreaded, 'I’m bored' that your child is bound to utter. Of course, they often say that when it’s not raining as well, but your options have become a bit limited due to the outpouring from Mother Nature.
What is a parent to do? How about trying some of these ideas to vent that energy and have fun!
Bowling – Here is a little secret — kids love to knock over stuff. OK, so it’s not a big secret, but boy is it true. Bowling is a great way to let them go crazy with that urge. Call a few other parents, get a group together, and head down to the lanes for a few hours. Bonus - the kids can be as loud as they want. opens daily at 10 a.m. and has great prices.
Cal Skate – This is one of the best ways to burn off excess energy on a rainy day. Slap on some skates and let those kids race around the rink for a few hours. For newer skaters, there is plenty of room to practice (parents can walk in shoes on the rink with their kids during Tiny Tots). If the mood hits you can take a spin yourself!
The Library – I was so happy when the new Rohnert Park-Cotati Regional Library opened up. The facilities are just fantastic with a great area for children. With multiple computers to play educational games, ample child-sized seating and row upon row of books and magazines, it is truly a great way to spend a few hours exercising the mind. For the smaller kiddos there is space to toddle along with small toys and blocks to use. Plus they have lots of special events like Pajama Reading Time.
Movie Time – Even if the rain is pouring, once you get inside a theater that is an afterthought. With Summer Movies already in and decent matinee prices, getting the kids to a movie is a great idea.
Escape! – Escape has paintball and lazertag at their all indoor facility. This is one activity that can really run a kids motor down. Call up some friends and make a party out of it. The kids can play while the parents kick back and socialize. Or you can jump on in and have fun to!
Expedition Island – Climbing, running, playing, and just plain fun! Expedition Island is just a great place for a party or dropping in and having an awesome time. Bring your family and even grab some friends and go adventure!
Theme Day – This one takes a bit of effort and planning but can be very fun for everyone. Pick a theme for the day (pirate, princess, cowboy, etc) and arrange activities around that. Dress up your child(ren) as well as yourself and turn your house into an adventure. Attack the pirates that have turned your couch into a fort, rescue the princess that the dragon (dog) is guarding in its’ lair (garage). Maybe for lunch serve up some special Pirate Goulash or other fun meal.
Rotating Play Dates – This idea requires a few other parents but works out great for all involved. Set up a schedule to host a play date for one or two of your child’s friends for a few hours. As most parents learn it is usually as easy or easier to handle two or three kids that entertain one bored kid. They next day another parent will host the kids and the day after it rotates again. This way the kids get a change of venue as well as toys and the parents get some free time. It usually works out well for everyone.
Nature Walk – Yes it is wet and cold outside so what better time for a walk. No, I’m not crazy. With a little preparation, walking in the rain is a piece of cake. First set up your ‘wet area’ where you will put all the wet rain gear upon return (garage works great) and have some clean towels ready as well as warm clothes. Next dress up in some warm clothes covered with ran jackets and boots, grab an umbrella and explore! There are lots of things to see and talk about that children may not have experienced yet and of course splashing in puddles is mandatory.
Museums – For kid friendly museums, one of the best in the area is the Charles Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa. They have a lot of kid-oriented programs and watching Peanuts short movies in the tiny movie theater is really fun.
Sometimes the rain just won’t go away so it’s always nice to have places to get out to.