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At-Home Crafts For A Rainy Summer Day

Summer showers may not happen very often where you live, but when the sky does open up and your kids can't play outside, then it's time to get creative. For those days when the sun hides and the thunder roars, try some crafty activities to enjoy while waiting out the storm in a dry environment and in an extremely worthwhile way.
Drawing Self Portraits
Drawing on rainy day
Photo Credit Thinkstock

Materials needed: Drawing paper, crayons
Appropriate ages: 3 years and up

Artistically gifted or not, everyone can have a good time making fun of his or her own self, at least on paper. Have your entire clan draw what they think they look like on that very day, without checking the mirror first. Then do the whole thing all over again after a quick peak in the mirror, so that family member can get a glimpse of his or her own special style on that particular rainy day. A third option would be to create pictures of one other and then see how each of these portraits line up against each other. Who knows? Maybe one or even a few will end up framed and working a wall in your very own abode.

Assembling Jigsaw Puzzles
Photo Credit Thinkstock

Materials needed: A jigsaw puzzle, a flat surface
Appropriate ages: 3 years and up

Sometimes bonding happens when everyone in the family does the same thing at the same time. That's what jigsaw puzzle making is all about in some families, while others like to put together their masterpieces a piece at a time when the mood strikes. Since these boxes that contain dozens of pieces of pictures come in all sorts of subjects and sizes, it's nice to have a selection picked and ready to construct before the rain pours. So, why not make that shopping expedition a family outing? Just remember, during these kinds of puzzling times when not everyone agrees on what's best for the group, go with majority rules. It's safer that way.

Building A Fort
Building a Fort
Photo Credit Thinkstock

Materials needed: Blankets, pieces of furniture, every day items
Appropriate ages: 3 years and up

Cabin fever sets in very quickly when the little ones can't get out and stretch their limbs. Redirect that energy into a project that will mean the kids in your clan will have a new place to mess up––their own, not-so-secret fort. This new environment can be built with anything and everything you have lying around the house, up to and including the living room furniture. Rearranged couches can serve as the perimeter of the new digs while blankets can be draped over the top for more privacy, using brooms and mops as anchors. Inside, pile on the pillows and blankets, making things cozy and inviting a much needed nap for all involved.

Putting On A Show
Dress Up
Photo Credit Thinkstock

Materials needed: Your imagination, access to every family member's closet
Appropriate ages: No restrictions

It can take a village to mount a stage play that is good enough to charge admission, but with just the family on the boards, there's no need to consider finances. Instead, put your imagination to work and let the kids go wild. Have them pick a theme and then talk about the storyline. Tell them costumes always help and offer the contents of your closet. Say music can only compliment a stage production and then pull out all their instruments that otherwise probably won't see the light of day until summer is over and practicing is on the agenda. Then leave the room, only to return as the avid and appreciative audience to whatever the kids have cooked up. Talk about a free-for-all.

Constructing Origami
Photo Credit Thinkstock

Materials needed: Square pieces of paper, instruction sheet
Appropriate ages: 4 years and up

After you explain to the littles one just what origami is, encourage your kids to pick a design by Googling the word for Japanese paper art. Everyone should try something different, whether that be a sail boat, a water lilly, a bird or a box. In fact, it's always best to have a couple of different options printed out and ready to make. Since many sets of instructions for origami come in the form of step-by-step picture diagrams, that means that even the littlest member of your family who doesn't even read yet can try his or her hand at this Asian art form. And remember, it's always a good idea to help these particular mini-artists choose the simplest configuration in order to aim for success. Whether or not the end product looks like the picture that was taken off the Internet really doesn't matter, because flaws are fun, too. When all the folding ceases as all the pretty things are finished, hold an art show and give everyone blue ribbons for being good sports when it comes to learning new skills while the rain spills on a cloudy summer day.

Writing a Poem
Photo Credit Thinkstock

Materials needed: Paper, pens or pencils
Appropriate ages: 5 years and up

Not everyone has a way with words, but after practicing new ways of expression, we can all be poets before we know it. So try this form of writing where anything goes. Haiku is fun if your family isn't very chatty and rhyming verse can even turn into a songwriting session of sorts. To be sure, there are ways for everyone to express how they're feeling on a gloomy day when each of these struggling poets really want to go outdoors to play. And hey, this can even be a way to get a grip on your feelings without paying to see a shrink! Only (half) kidding.

Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist. Check out her articles on

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