As Hurricane Sandy barrels toward the East Coast, my guess is that many of you are expecting (or right in the middle of!) a stretch of rainy weather this week. Living in Seattle, rainy days are the norm here through the winter and spring. Unlike most other parts of the country, for a few months every year (okay…eight), we expect rain every day and are thoroughly surprised when it’s dry or – gasp – sunny!
With all this gloom, Seattle moms quickly learn how to keep both baby entertained, and mama staying sane when the days feel long and dreary. If the rain is light, grab and umbrella and pack up the car, and head out to explore some great indoor spots in your city. And if the rain is heavy and scary (like hurricane rain!) stay safe indoors while you build a fort or bake cookies with your little ones. Don’t let the rain make you feel too crazy. The sun always comes out again eventually – even in Seattle!
Here are 12 things to do with a baby on a rainy day:
1. Visit the aquarium or zoo
Aquariums are a great place to burn off energy and do something fun on a rainy day. Don’t rule out the zoo either! While the animals are probably hanging out indoors, many zoos have indoor space for families too. The Seattle zoo has a big building called Zoomasium – a giant indoor gymnasium and play space, filled with fun animal statues and trivia.
2. Build a fort at home
If you don’t feel like braving the elements, there are plenty of ways to stay entertained at home too. Grab a giant box or a bunch of old sheets. Let the living room be messy today, and turn your space into a giant fort. Older babies will love coming in and out – playing peek-a-boo!
3. Check out the children’s museum
Isn’t this one of those things you always claim you’re “saving for a rainy day?” Now is the time to actually do it. Check online for coupon codes or discounts before going!
4. Indoor play space
We probably have more of these than most other cities, since Seattle tends to be so dreary. But many community centers and YMCAs have family fun areas – toys, games, and space to play. See if there is one in your neighborhood!
5. Take a swim inside
Summer isn’t the only season for swimming – look for an indoor pool or aquatic center near your house. We have a huge indoor pool near us, complete with a warmer baby/infant splash zone.
6. Visit the local library
If you’re sick of being cooped up and reading the same books over and over again, head down to the neighborhood library. Let your baby browse through the books, and take a few home so you have something fresh to read for a few weeks!
7. Schedule a play date
If it’s raining outside, chances are you aren’t the only restless mama stuck at home. Misery loves company – invite a few other moms and babies over for a play date. The moms can talk and snack while the babies interact and make noises at each other. Added bonus – babies are always more tired and ready to nap after play dates!
8. Tackle your errands
If being indoors is a necessity, you might as well check off a few of those pesky errands that have been sitting on your to-do list for too long. Hit up the post office, return any unwanted items to stores, and fill up on groceries. Might as well make a rainy day productive if you can!
9. Video chat with loved ones
If it’s too rainy or gross outside to leave, find entertainment in your home. Do a video chat with someone far away! Cullen loves seeing his aunts and grandparents on the computer screen!
10. Look for a local story time
This is one of our favorite things to do here – rainy day or not. Many libraries and bookstores have free storytimes each day. Grab a spot on the floor and let your baby listen to the stories and songs. Get there early – rainy days tend to be the most crowded!
11. Cook together
Baking is a requirement on a gloomy day, right? If your baby is still little, strap on your favorite babywearing sling or wrap, and let him watch you get to work in the kitchen. Too old for babywearing? Get him involved! Hand him a few spatulas and a metal bowl, and let him bang and mix on the kitchen floor while you get cookies into the oven.
12. Have a photoshoot
When all else fails, grab the camera. I love doing photoshoots with Cullen. Pick some fun outfits and props, and try different locations around the house. Making him laugh with silly songs and faces, and savor the memories for a long time to come.