Too wet to go out, too cold to play ball….

Flea in her tent It’s been a busy old week. I had a book deadline, plus a former client snark up (technical term) my websites. So I've been typing like mad, trying to rescue my website and attempting to disentangle myself from the client relationship with dignity intact and no bodies in the basement.

As of last night though, my website was finally unlocked, the client has been sent all the handover files, and I was looking forward to a few days off with Flea and the chap.

Except – torrential rain. Ugh.

Flea looked out of the curtains this morning as I lay in bed trying to convince her it wasn’t morning. “It’s a horrible, horrible day.” Pause. “Unless you have Wellingtons.”

So we’ll probably head out this morning for some puddle splashing but when that gets old (after about 10 minutes) we’ll be back indoors. Since Flea doesn’t watch television except for the odd movie, I’m sometimes a bit stuck for indoor activities when the weather’s bad.

Here are Flea’s top three indoor games, but I’d love your recommendations. I suspect my own childhood favourite game of “taking the mattress from Mum and Dad’s bed and riding it down the stairs” may fail 2009 health and safety standards….

Game 1: Camping.
Flea adores camping. This game involves putting lots of toys in to your backpack, and wandering round the house until you find your tent (£6, Ikea, complete bargain). Then you get into the tent and unpack your bag, and make a campfire feast. Mothers are permitted to bring sandwiches, of course.

Game 2: Drawing
Flea also likes drawing. When I say Flea likes drawing, of course what I really mean is “Flea likes to take out tubes of glitter and spread them over the dining table where, it turns out, they can only be removed by sandpaper”. Sometimes, for a change, it means "Flea likes to stick stickers to your newly sanded floorboards where they can only be removed with white spirit." I HATE drawing.

Game 3: Playmobil
Basically, Playmobil has saved my life. Flea adores Playmobil and can be entertained for an entire day by her little people. She particularly likes knights and pirates (obviously) but she also has a strange habit of taking out all the Playmobil children and one adult, and then making the adult tell every child they are very, very naughty, spanking them and sending them back to bed in the toy box. If a social worker ever sees this role play, I fear bad things might happen.


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 23rd July 2009 / 9:49 am

    I love Playmobil too: but I also love children’s telly, so at that parenting junction we must part company.
    Our last resort indoor activity is an afternoon bath. My theory is that since children often have to rush through a bedtime bath, giving your child an afternoon bubble bath for as long as they want can be a real treat. Plus you can take Playmobil (and Lego) into the bath too.

  2. Sally
    23rd July 2009 / 10:03 am

    Jo – that’s the strangest thing – I had completely forgotten we always used to take Playmobil into the bath as kids. Genius!
    What’s interesting with Flea and TV is that it’s not banned. We had no TV at all until she was 2 and a half, and she was to watch allowed occasional programmes after that.
    Now she very rarely asks for it to be on, and if she does she’s more likely to ask to watch a film than CBeebies, say.

  3. 23rd July 2009 / 10:23 am

    The big pirate ship is great in the bath, though it does take up most of the space. You can also get a motor, though that’s hardly essential unless your bath is the size of a swimming pool:
    One thing we also do on wet days is take a walk to the video shop, spend ages choosing (and arguing) over what to borrow, come home and watch it in the dark with popcorn (I tend to slope off to the computer to work at this point). You can easily put in most of the day like that.

  4. Just a Mum
    23rd July 2009 / 12:26 pm

    Baking is our rainy day standby – cupcakes, traybakes and muffins, or just mixing up packets of Greens if you’re feeling lazy!

  5. 23rd July 2009 / 2:31 pm

    LOL for the playmobil comment.
    Here is also raining but my girl still likes to watch the cartoons.
    When that doesn’t work anymore she likes for mommy to put some music and dance like if we are in a disco. 🙂

  6. 23rd July 2009 / 3:29 pm

    I can offer no suggestions. I’ve realised I’m pretty clueless in the children’s entertainment department. I’ve got Paula Yates’ book ‘The Fun Don’t Stop’ which is full of games to play with your children. Now if I could only find it…

  7. 23rd July 2009 / 8:13 pm

    Well, we have
    * PlayDoh – with the promise of awful punishment if any of it leaves the kitchen table, but really it washes out of stuff
    * computer games – the educational kind, but also the Aladdin kind, and then there’s Word, which keeps Jack busy all afternoon, playing with the settings and trying to write rude words
    * Playmobil, of course, but also Duplo
    * piece of paper, pair of scissors – at least an hour, sometimes also a piece of finger, live and learn
    * Nintendo – technically daddy’s. Makes it even more fun
    * any household task – does take longer that way, though
    * dress-up
    * nature videos, especially the ones where lions eat other animals
    Is it obvious I spend too much time with the kids? I could go on for hours. Sigh.

  8. 24th July 2009 / 12:19 pm

    Oh we used to do that with the single mattresses for visitors, putting them on the stairs to make a slide. Then threw pillows down them, or us. Bumping our heads on the bannisters was all part of the fun!
    I loved playdoh, particularly because we had a recipe to make it so it was cooking then a game afterwards.

  9. 24th July 2009 / 9:31 pm

    Oooh I love the tent from Ikea, must get one! S loves tents.
    My 2 love messy stuff but as a clean freak I don’t…so I leave that for playgroups…am I a really bad mother? x

  10. Sally
    24th July 2009 / 9:53 pm

    Yes Clareybabble, you are a bad mother.
    Come and join us…
    (ps – that tent is one of my all-time favourite purchases. REALLY great quality, and Flea loves it)