Thursday, May 21, 2015

Banish boredom with a rainy day box

One of the best things that I've done for my classroom is to put together a rainy day box.  This is a fairly large tub of games, activities, and art supplies that only come out on rainy days.  Now, when I say rainy days, I don't necessarily mean days that are literally rainy (although sometimes I do bring it out when it's raining - are you confused yet?), this box is for those days that everyone is just grumpy, or days when the activities I have planned just aren't working out, sometimes I use it on days when I'm feeling crummy - just to lighten the mood in the classroom.

Putting together a box of "special fun stuff" that the children only get to use a few times all year makes days that would otherwise drag on forever a lot more fun.  THe best thing is that young children are easily impressed, so as long as I'm excited about the materials in the box, the children think they are the best toys in the world.  You can pick up materials at garage sales and discount store to fill your box, here are some of the things that I include in mine:
  • Character puzzles.  My students do puzzles all the time, but I usually only have the generic numbers, letters, fruits and vegetables, and transportation puzzles from school supply stores. When I pull out the Disney or Nick Jr. puzzles from the dollar bin my students go nuts!
  • Special art supplies.  We use art supplies everyday, so I define special art supplies as any materials that aren't typically bought for back to school, like Crayola Twistables Glitter Markers, and Model Magic
  • Beads. Beads are a great fine motor activity, and they tend to keep my kiddos busy for quite a while, so these are a perfect rainy day activity.  When choosing beads for the rainy day box I make sure add a set that has enough beads to keep a large group busy, and something just a little fun, like these Glitter Alphabet Beads  or these Pop Beads.
  • Matchbox cars. These are always a hit, but I try to make sure I include a variety of vehicle types and colors, otherwise everyone ends up arguing over the same car. I always encourage my students to use things in the classroom to build roads and tracks for their cars, which usually turns into a consuming project. 
  • Colored plastic cups.  This sounds silly, but these are the best for building towers and castles.  They are also just as much fun to knock down because they make a loud, satisfying crash, without risk of hurting any bystanders.  I buy a new package at Sam's club and put the entire pack in my rainy day box - it's hard to say "I don't have enough" when there are over 100 cups to share. 
  • Balloons. If my students had to pick there favorite thing from the box they would all pick balloons. It is a special treat to blow up some balloons and throw them around the classroom, and it makes my kiddos squeal with delight, which is an instant mood-booster. 
Every so often we have one of those days where we just need to forget the lesson plan and have a little fun, this box has made that possible.  It saves my sanity, and then the next day we get back on track in a much better mood.  

I'd love to know what kind of activities you have in your back pocket for these kind of days, share them in the comments!


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