Rainy Day Activities

Rainy days with children can definitely instill a feeling of panic. Gone are thoughts of going to the park or playing in the backyard. So, what’s a mom or dad to do? Here’s a list of places and activities that can ease your mind on cold and wet days — and hopefully keep your little ones from crawling the walls.

And remember, UrbanSitter is always available to rescue you when you just can’t take another game of CandyLand. Book a sitter and let her take the reigns!

MUSEUMS

SF MOMA

Yes, the art is sophisticated, but the colors are also brilliant and the sculptural installations (not all art is on walls?) are amazing for little eyes to behold. It’s a chance to teach your children to respect art (no touching) and other people (no yelling or running), but for those who can handle it, a museum such as this can spark a lifetime love of all things beautiful. Don’t miss the cafe and gift shop on the first floor.

Exploratorium

It’s been around for decades, but  this SF institution still offers amazing exhibits specifically for kids. Try the shadow box, echo chamber, or one of the many hands-on activities meant to be touched and tinkered with.

Lawrence Hall of Science

High up in the Berkeley hills, this museum offers much to touch and see, including an insect zoo, a 3-D projection of the planet where actual real-time weather patterns can be observed, and a room full of building blocks, ramps, and vehicles.

RETAIL STORES

toy store

Pair this one with a trip to the food court for lunch and your day is looking up. Of course, after your child man-handles the train table or doll stroller, you may want to buy something. Perhaps a new book, lunch box, or birthday gift? As long as your children are respectful, the staff is pleasant (and sympathetic).

book store

Same as above. There’s usually a train table as well as kid-sized tables and chairs where you can sit and enjoy the latest Olivia or David book with your little one. You can even grab a coffee or treat before (or bribe your child with it in order to leave) at the cafe inside.

pet store

Who doesn’t love gazing at rats, tropical fish, and lizards? If you get lucky, perhaps an employee will let your children “help” feed such a beast. Sometimes, too, there is a “Beauty Salon” on the premises where you can watch the animals get a good scrubbing and blow-out.

PLAY SPACES

Playland

Lots of jumpy houses, ride-on cars, arts and crafts, and a little counter that sells snacks: What could be better? Located in Sausalito, Playland is really easy to find and offers just what every kid (and parent) wants, for a fee that’s reasonable.

Studio Grow

With soft ramps, blocks, and tunnels, as well as arts and crafts and open spaces to run and jump, Studio Grow (several locations in the e.bay) is an oasis of cushy fun on a stormy day. Snacks and coffee are available.

U-ME

In Menlo Park, this is truly a kid wonderland with the usual soft spaces and climbing structures, but also a kid-size stage, art and reading room, and trampoline. Get a $5 printable coupon when you visit the website.

IN THE KITCHEN

play dough

If you just can’t bring yourself to lug out the umbrellas and rain boots and brave the elements, stay home and entertain your children with a new recipe or project. How about home-made play dough?  Yes, you can buy it, but the process is half the fun…right?

muffins

Your little one will love helping with these Apple Stuffin’ Muffins, and when they sneak a little apple sauce along the way, you won’t mind. It’s a great healthy snack for a rainy day.

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