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Rainy Day? Time to Play!

Rainy Day?  Time to Play!

 

By: Beth McKay

Let’s face it, as parents, the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof rarely means an afternoon of relaxation. When sending kids outside to play is not an option, we scramble to keep them occupied indoors. At times, loading up the van and finding an activity around town takes less effort and energy than staying home. Next time the rain traps your family indoors, consider some of these options for an entertaining escape.

Museums

The most obvious destination on a rainy day in the Jackson-Metro area contains the word “children” in its name. Yes, the wonderful Mississippi Children’s Museum is everything you want on a rainy day. Basically, MCM is like a huge backyard — your kids will have never ending adventures here. After two or more hours, you will drag your kids to the car and enjoy a peaceful ride home: they will be so worn out from playing they will probably be asleep before you merge onto I-55. MCM is not the only museum option. Others include the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, Mississippi Museum of Art, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Museum. Consider checking websites or social media for special activities or programs. The Ag Museum offers Story Time with Uncle Story on the first Tuesday of the month, and the Art Museum schedules Look and Learn with Hoot once a month. If a rainy day coincides with a scheduled event, consider it fate.

Libraries & Bookstores

I know what you are thinking: I can’t keep my kids quiet enough to take them there. Wrong. You don’t have to! These places have designated kid zones. Hopefully, they are isolated enough to prevent the inevitable noise and distractions from disturbing the childless patrons. These areas allow kids to explore various literary genres and develop a love of reading. You may even be lucky enough to find a train table, puzzles or computers with games for extended entertainment.

Bowling Alleys

Yes, they still exist, and they are still fun. For older kids, initiating a love for the lanes could prove to be a rainy-day win. A little friendly family competition passes the time while also giving families an opportunity to bond.

Movie Theaters

This is heaven: over two hours of sitting (minus the mid-movie restroom trip). Seriously, movie theater is perhaps the best rainy-day option for school-aged children. And if it rains on a ticket discount day, even better — cheap tickets!

Restaurants

No, you do not actually have to eat there to enjoy the play area! A small purchase like a drink or ice cream can get your kids access to the play area at McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Burger King and Backyard Burger. Most of the time we eat fast food because we want it to be fast, but imagine the glory one might have by eating fast food when it does not have to be fast. You don’t have to deny your children the play land, or drag them kicking and screaming out the door. They can literally play until they beg to leave, and you can enjoy every minute staying dry and warm under Chick-fil-A’s roof. Really, this option is borderline perfection.

Fun Favorites

Places like Chuck E. Cheese’s and Party Safari offer hours of fun, but the longer you stay the more money it will cost. We all agree that our sanity remains priceless, right? So just make sure to grab the rainy-day jar when you go to either of these places. Another similar option, trampoline parks, proves to be a popular attraction with kids of all ages. High Heaven will keep your little ones active long enough to give you a break. But if you want to go above and beyond, this rainy-day destination is perfect for adults to join in the fun. Just make sure you stretch first.

For kids, rainy day usually means a boring day stuck in the house, but that does not have to be the case. Next time the forecast calls for rain, you may decide to stay home mourning the weather and singing “Rain, rain, go away,” but if not, consider an entertaining escape.

Beth McKay, English teacher and Hinds adjunct, is a Rankin County native and mother of three, who spends rainy days searching for her sanity while her kids enjoy exploring the city.

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