Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Indoor Activities for Kids in Rio de Janeiro

There is NOTHING to do in Rio de Janeiro when it rains. As I mentioned before, Cariocas (Rio de Janeiro locals) are cat-like in their preference to stay out of the rain.

This goes double with children. Besides the mall and the movies, there is not much to do on a yucky day in this city.  On long stretches of crap weather you end up spending a lot of time inside your place.

And let me tell you, being stuck inside with children on a rainy day in Rio de Janeiro is an art form.  We are talking serious survival skills if you want to make sure that everyone in your party will come out alive at the end of the day.

Just imagine hours and hours with active kids trapped in a space of about 130 m² (1399.308 ft²).  That would even challenge our annoying friend Barney.

So without further ado: Rachel's Rant's version of Rainy Day Activities!

 1. Pull all my folded clothes out of my closet organizer. When in a pinch, my toddler will do this for an entire half an hour. So fun for Mommy. If patience is running thick, we make an activity out of folding and putting them back.

2. Painting. We paint pictures, cardboard, old toys, and anything else paint will stick to without lowering the value of my apartment.

3. Baking. Rainy days are not a time to worry about weight or nutrition. Comfort food, kid help, and a big mess is just what the doctor ordered. I like to let them enjoy the flour and them make them clean it up afterward. This is a long activity and may be best in the evening with a bottle of wine for Mommy.

4. TV. This has never been "restricted" in my house but on a rainy day it's usage has got to be controlled to maximize distraction. Turn it off during the above mentioned activities and then bust out the favorite movie at an unexpected time works great. I like to use it after lunch because they are stuffed and have slowed down momentarily. It works doubly well if you rent or download a new movie they want to see. Not that I ever download.

5. Run up and down the apartment. Small apartments limit this cardiovascular activity but you still feel that you are being somewhat active. A couple laps around and you'll all feel that you deserve a snack.

6. Snack time. Anytime you can get them to sit down. Let's plump ourselves up for winter.

7. Puddle hopping.  Now this isn't as pleasant as normal in Rio de Janeiro because you don't know the percentage of rain water to sewage in the puddles. Makes a Mom cringe. I try to take them to spots where it would be harder for leaking sewer systems to contaminate the childhood pastime.

8. Paint nails. I have boys and in a pinch I will paint their nails. Hell, I'd dye their hair, give them a tattoo, and teach them to apply mascara if  they were enjoying themselves and it made time pass quicker.

9. Prank phone calls. This is not only a way to enjoy yourself at another's expense, it is also a great way to practice Portuguese.

10. Go to someone else's rainy day prison. It's amazing how a change of scenery will help both yours and your children's sanity. That and your children get master the art of destruction somewhere other than your home. 

Good luck! May we all survive this rainy week!

What do you do on a rainy day?


  1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA....8 and 9....I love it!

  2. You forgot about fort building!
    We lived in Germany as kids.... many an indoor day. My parents invested in Legos.

  3. Well, we are lucky to have a covered patio, though that does get wet when the wind blows the rain sideways.

    Also my boys are older. So, Legos. Lots of legos. And play dough. And painting, but I think you said that. And hot chocolate. I just heat up milk on the stove and use regular chocolate milk powder. And movies, but again, you said that. Drat. Oh, I know -- games. Board games, and video games, and computer games, and random "come play this game I made up, mommy!" games. Except I try and limit those last ones, because the rules are too confusing.

    But let's face it, aside from mall & movies, and then the handful of decent parks, there's not much to do with kids at all anyway. -sigh-

    Oh - one more. Add pillows to your race route, makes an obstacle course. Expends more energy, tires them out more for that tv watching after. Great fun, that.

  4. Legos are awesome! My oldest loves them but they just piss off my youngest. Same goes for boardgames.

  5. Board games: the key is, let him make the rules. Then try to follow along. Then it pisses you off, instead, so fill your wine glass first. ;-)

  6. How about drinking games? It might get them down for a nap a little earlier.

    (sorry... not a parent)

  7. Reader- My youngest is 2 yrs old so that's a bit out of reach still. What we've been doing is giving him his own piece and letting him feel like he's a part of the game as he dances it across the board.

    Jim- I was going to mention offering them a glass of wine but thought that people may miss the sarcasm. Hard thing about preschooler/toddler drinking games is that they really can't hang. This makes even more work for Mommy as cleaning up vomit is not all that fun

  8. Rachel, I keep forgetting your little one is that little. So, in a few years, then. :-)

    Jim, Rachel - I am laughing my rear end off at that exchange. Particularly the "cleaning up vomit" aspect. yea, not fun. Save the alcohol for mom, and then she/you won't care if they are screaming at each other.

    And, how could we ever miss the sarcasm coming from you, Rachel? LOL!

  9. I take my 3 year old to the huge bookstore in Shopping Leblon. It has a large kids area with seats/tables/puffs, so it's comfy to spend a while there.

    There are also kids play zones in Rio Design and Shopping Leblon if you don't mind dropping a few reais to tire them out ;-)

    One of my friend knows the indoor shopping strips in Ipanema really well, so she lets her toddler run around there, I guess it would be like bringing your kid to a mall. I miss those free play areas in malls in the US. As well as kick ass public libraries!