Keri Matthews, a mom of two, has worked in the ASPCA’s licensing department for more than five years. She lives on Long Island with her husband, Tom, her children, Gabriella and Tommy, and their Greyhound, Clyde.
With autumn just around the corner, the warm and sunny days of summer are drawing to a close. While summer has likely been a time of frequent outdoor playtime for your kids and pets, here are some ideas for indoor activities to try during the cool and rainy days ahead:
Indoor water play: This is a favorite in our house. Our dog, Clyde, loves sitting in his pool. I set up a kiddie pool for Clyde with a bit of water inside, and another for my daughter, Gabriella. I also set out a few buckets, as Clyde likes to get a “bath” from Gabriella. If you have a waterproof indoor space, water play is sure to keep everyone busy for the afternoon!
Learning stations: Utilize stations to practice various tricks with your pups. You’ll need paper, markers, bath mats or towels and treats. Create signs to hang at each “command” station—such as Sit, Stay and Paw. We walk Clyde around to each station and repeat the command, and reward him with a treat once he performs the trick. You can also swap between verbal commands and hand-signal cues.
Homemade treats: If your kids love to help out in the kitchen, consider whipping up a batch of homemade dog or cat treats. Clyde’s favorites are peanut butter dog biscuits and canine carrot cookies.
Hide and Seek: To incorporate our dog into a classic game of Hide and Seek, we hide a few of his treats around the house. I limit the number of treats for this game so both Clyde and Gabriella know when the game is over. This can be done with your feline friends as well!
Grab a book: For the restful part of the day, Gabriella picks one or two books to read to Clyde. She loves to show him the pictures and make up stories. This is another activity that can be done with dogs and cats.
Playing indoors with can be a fun bonding experience for kids and their pets. But don’t forget, everyone still needs some outdoor time—even if only for a few minutes a day!