April showers will be here soon! Here's some cool stuff to do.

There are so many simple pleasure in life to enjoy with your children, and dreary weather outside provides an opportunity to re-discover some of them.

Whether you decide to make it a lazy day with popcorn and a movie, a more productive one organizing the playroom, or on one of the ideas below, don't forget to squeeze in a little dance in the rain.

1. Bake up a storm in the storm!
Let a cloudy day inspire you to make magic in the kitchen. Can't decide on gooey cookies or fancy cupcakes? Make both. You can always freeze extras to throw in school lunches. If they can read, let the kids recite the recipe to you and allow them to do the measuring for excellent math practice. Remember you don't need fancy pans or equipment to whip up culinary masterpieces-a wooden spoon and a mixing bowl will serve you well.

2. Think indoor picnic lunch.
Make sandwiches, spread celery sticks with peanut butter, and dream up a yummy dessert. Lay out a quilt on the family room floor and play a board game or two. Since indoor Frisbee is probably out of the question, think about balloon volleyball instead. If your kids have not volleyed with balloons in the past, you may be surprised at how long this dreamily quiet activity will keep them engaged. BONUS: no ants, itchy grass, or perishable mayonnaise to worry about on this picnic.

3. Dance party.
Forget inside voices! Crank up the tunes. Kids never seem to tire of the freeze dance game. You control the CD player or radio, and they dance until you silence it at which time they freeze and hold their position until the music starts again.

4. Outdoor photo shoot.
There's no such thing as too many photos of the kids, and overcast skies can be great weather for taking great ones. If there's no lightning and it won't damage your camera, consider capturing some splish-splashing Kodak moments. The cuteness factor of kids in rubber boots? Hard to beat.

5. Indoor fantasy photo shoot.
Instead of forcing the kids into uncomfortable clothes and asking them to say "stinky feet," make it truly fun. Help them dress up in creative costumes, braid or spike their hair, and maybe pull out some face paint if you have it. Ask them to make funny faces and make sure to get at least one shot with you in it. (Huddle together, hold the camera high and away, and point the lens downward. Click!)

6. Head to the shopping mall.
Go to the one with the indoor play area so you can supervise and maybe even skim a magazine. Be sure to bring healthy snacks or indulge and treat them to one of those enormous decadent sticky cinnamon rolls.

7. Fashion show.
First, they will need to select their wardrobe. Encourage them to be as flamboyant and crazy as possible (offer them sports jerseys, pantyhose, purses, pumps and hats). Tape off a catwalk with masking tape and play some energetic music before they strut their stuff for the paparazzi-you!

8. Build memories and a special fort.
There's nothing like a tent for climbing in and dreaming, playing Legos, reading books, or taking a snooze. With sheets, blankets, and clothespins (or duct tape!) help them construct a cozy fort to chill out in. They will never forget days like these.

Michele Ranard is a professional counselor, academic counselor, and freelancer. You can read her cheeky blog at www.cheekychicmama.blogspot.com.