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Childminding: Rainy Day Ideas

2012 January 5

Childminding can bring some challenging times, especially on those days when evacuating to the garden or local park is not an option.  Childminders will often be responsible for children of different age groups, so it is vital to have some ideas up your sleeve to help keep them occupied (and to avoid going stir crazy!).

On that note, here are a few suggestions of activities do engage the children in whilst childminding that can be easily adapted to different age groups.


Play Dough

Home made play dough is quick and easy to make, completely non-toxic and a joy to play with.  I challenge you to think of one child (or indeed, an adult) you’ve met who doesn’t enjoy a good dough squishing session!


There are many different recipes you can use to make play dough for use while childminding, with varying levels of success.  The following recipe is pretty reliable and makes a large amount of dough. You could even split the mixture and make two different colours!


You will need:

  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1.5 cups salt
  • 6 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 3 tablespoons oil (any cooking oil will do)
  • Food colouring (you’ll need more than you think to get a vivid shade)


Simply combine the dry ingredients (sieving the flour first), before adding plenty of food colouring to the water & oil mixture.  Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients gradually, stirring throughout.  Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and takes on a nice doughy texture.


This play dough will keep for a long time if stored in an airtight tub in the fridge. Try adding rice or lentils for an interesting texture for little ones, or even throw in some glitter!  Older children will enjoy making the dough with you, or you can easily make it the night before for ease’s sake.


Finger Painting

Everybody loves finger painting.  Very young ones adore the feel of the paint on their hands, and older ones can get creative and make beautiful pictures to take home with them. Finger painting is messy, though, so it may be a good idea for childminders to pre-warn parents that they plan to do it, so they can provide old clothes for the children to change into for the activity.  Putting newspaper down is a very good idea, too.  Messy play can be a bit of a challenge for the adult in charge, but it’s well worth it for the learning experience that the children will get.


Indoor Picnic

You’d be hard pushed to find a child who doesn’t love picnicking.  Picnics in the garden are lovely, but if the weather isn’t accommodating, bring the picnic inside!  Make a finger-food lunch together with the older children – sandwiches, breadsticks, houmous with vegetable dippers, crisps, cut up apples and cupcakes are all good choices – and take the plates of food to a blanket on the floor.  The children will love helping themselves to their lunch, and the novelty of eating on the ground can be enough to convince even the fussiest of eaters to dig in.  For extra fun, make a canopy with a sheet laid over the back of some chairs.

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