Toddler Play Idea for a Rainy Day: Treasure Hunt

toddler in raincoat

Location: Indoors

Promotes: Cognitive and motor skill development

Toddler play doesn’t need to take a rain check on a drizzly day. Use the time stuck at home to your advantage with a rainy-day treasure chest hunt.

What to play
Toddler development -- both cognitive skills and motor development -- can benefit from a rainy-day treasure chest hunt. First, decorate a spare storage bin with stickers and fill it with age-appropriate toys for your toddler. You can throw in puzzles, which will help your child with shape recognition and hand-eye coordination, as well as playthings that encourage your tot to use his imagination (e.g., toy figurines and pretend food). Finally, toss in some items connecting with reading, such as alphabet letters, books, and even some catalogs he can flip through. Then, send your toddler on a treasure hunt -- under your supervision -- to find the specially decorated box.

Tricks and tips
Provide easy-to-follow clues for your child on pieces of colorful paper. Don’t make the clues too complicated -- your toddler isn't quite able to follow long or detailed instructions. Instead, opt for pictures instead of words. If you hide the treasure chest in his room, draw a picture of his bed; if it’s in the bathroom, draw a picture of the potty and let him find his way to the hidden treasure.

After your toddler plays with what's in the box, put it away and out of your child’s reach, and don’t take it out again until the next rainy day. This will help make the contents seem very special. Dreary, wet days may even become something he looks forward to!

Learning and growing
Use the treasure hunt to help promote problem-solving skills, a key part of toddler development. If your toddler is having trouble finding the box, talk through the problem with him instead of just providing the answer (e.g.,“This is a picture of a potty. Do you know where in the house you can find the potty?”).

What you’ll need
A medium-sized storage bin, fun stickers, and a few small toys to encourage toddler play, such as blocks, books, puzzles, dress-up clothes, and soft animals.

This indoor game can be so much fun, you might find your child longing for rain to come, not to go away!

Photo by ???????? Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

by Katie Murray