You had a day playing outdoors on the cards and now heavy rain has put paid to your plans. Here's how to create a rainy day box with Lucy Corkhill

In case of rainy day eventualities, it pays to have a list of activities ranging from stimulating to calming, and boxes of materials – from crafting bits to dressing up clothes – all ready to go. It might sound like way too much pre-planning, but pulling some pre-packed rainy day boxes can be a game changer. 

Spontaneity is always the name of the game for kids, so there’s no need to be prescriptive with the boxes. No doubt objects will move between the boxes, and children will call them by different names or reinvent them altogether. The idea is more to group like things together to spark fun and creativity, and offer a way for the fun to progress through imaginative play.

There’s also no need to spend loads of money on expensive items. I remember the feeling from my own childhood, when well-meaning relatives gave me those ‘make your own jewellery box’ kind of gifts. Everything you needed to replicate the item on the packaging was inside, and I always felt frustrated that there was no room for designing and creating your own unique item. There are even more of those kinds of gifts on offer today: a kind of creativity by numbers. But I do feel (and maybe I’m on my own on this one) that they don’t spark imaginations and lead to explorative learning in the same way a box of random bits and bobs does.