Skip to content

Putting together a rainy day box

A rainy day box is a collection of items that your child does not see or play with every day. Because children can’t play with these items all the time, the rainy day box becomes a special thing to play with. You could use a rainy day box when your child needs something different to do.

You can add anything to a rainy day box. You could add a collection of small toys and books. You could make sensory bottles as part of your rainy day box. You could use a shoe box, kete, or pillowcase to store your rainy day items in.

Treasure baskets

A tamariki sitting with a treasure basket of everyday items.

You might like to make more of a treasure basket of real world items with lots of different textures and materials.

Babies, toddlers, and young children will often play and learn using the same things in different ways. Some items will be safer or more interesting for babies or for older children. Always take care to select safe and suitable materials for young children that they will not choke or hurt themselves on.

There are many benefits to using real life items for play:

  • Real world items give babies and young children a sensory experience with a variety of weights, shapes, sizes, feelings, smells and temperatures.
  • There is no right or wrong way to play, meaning children use their decision-making, creative thinking, and own ideas.
  • Everyday items around your home are simple to find, and inexpensive. It’s great to repurpose things like boxes, tubes, and containers. Op-shops are another great place to find interesting items.

Infants may enjoy exploring different textures through touch and mouthing objects. They may like to move an object from hand to hand.

Toddlers may enjoy moving objects from place to place, putting them inside other objects, or throwing and rolling things.

Older children may enjoy making patterns, counting, sorting or playing make-believe with items.

Some ideas for items you could add:

  • Soft items such as a velvet scrunchy, a makeup brush or pompoms.
  • Items of different weights, temperatures, and textures such as jam jar lids, ornamental spoons, metal tins, wooden spoon, curtain rings, silicone bakeware.
  • Items from nature such as smooth shells, driftwood, pumice, harakeke balls, loofahs, and coconut shells.
  • Interesting items that spark curiosity such as solid bangles, an egg timer, a book, or small ornaments.
  • Things to carry, hide or put things in such as an old purse, kete, ice cream containers, chocolate boxes, formula scoops, pots and pans, cups, a paper bag, or empty tissue boxes.

Always ensure items are safe for your child and not a choking hazard. The Plunket website has information on toy safety. 

 A child sucks on a metal ring with a scarf tied to it from a treasure basket.

Te reo Māori words and phrases for rainy day boxes

Titiro ki ēnei Look at these

He pukapuka A book

E hia? How many?

Mōhanihani Smooth