The weather is getting colder and the days shorter, which means you’ll need to stock up on fun rainy day activities for kids to keep your munchkins entertained on days when playing outside isn’t an option.
From baking to decorating rocks, these activities are inexpensive, easy, and most important of all – entertaining! After all, what use is an activity that takes hours to plan but makes your kiddos even more bored?
As I’m sure you’re short on time, I made sure to include ideas that are simple to put into action and that don’t require you to run to the crafts store to get supplies.
You’ll even find cool science experiments you can do using only a few ingredients you already have in your pantry, and they’re a great opportunity to introduce your little ones to the world of science.
I hope your kids enjoy these activities and have the best rainy day ever!
Baking and other types of cooking activities are great if you have slightly older kids who already know their way around a kitchen or can be entrusted with measuring cups and mixing ingredients. From cookies and cupcakes to brownies, there’s no limit to what your merry little baking company can make!
Your kids will love it because a) they get to eat super delicious treats afterward and b) they’ll feel like a grownup while helping you mix ingredients and decorate the finished treats.
Since I like to use every opportunity for a little teaching moment with the kids, you can talk to them about basic kitchen safety so they feel more comfortable with learning how to make their own meals in the future.
I definitely recommend giving lemon cookies a try, but who says you can’t rely on a good old baking mix from the store? There’s no shame in taking the easy road, mama! As long as you have fun, it’s all that matters.
2. Dance Party
Putting together a little living room dance party is a great way for the kids to burn off energy indoors! Plus, this is one of my favorite rainy day activities with toddlers since there’s no age limit for enjoying music.
As it’s bound to get a little crazy, make sure to clear the floor of any stray toys and create space by moving coffee tables away so that everyone has enough room to dance. If you’re already subscribed to a music streaming service, you can look up dozens of kid-friendly playlists or you can take turns playing different songs.
All that jumping and dancing around is bound to make the kiddos thirsty and hungry, so prepare some snacks and a juice box or two to avoid spills. Here’s another tip – draw the curtains and get some string lights to create a fun party atmosphere.
All in all, this is one of the best indoor activities for kids on a rainy day that will never get old!
3. Playing Dress-Up
Remember those Halloween costumes you bought last year and threw in the back of your closet, never to wear them again? It’s time to get them out!
Playing dress-up is one of my top rainy day activities for kids because there’s nothing more exciting for little ones than turning into someone else for the day. Besides, imaginative play is so important for kids’ development and they’ll love the fact that mom or dad is also joining in on the fun.
If you don’t have any old costumes lying around or if the kids have grown out of them, why not let them get dressed up in some of your old clothing?
There’s no limit to their imagination, so don’t be surprised if your 4-year-old wears one of your old T-shirts while pretending to be a wizard.
4. Science Experiments
You might think I’m crazy for suggesting indoor science experiments as a rainy day activity, but just trust me on this. With the right prep, you can have tons of fun without ruining your furniture.
The best part about doing experiments at home is that you don’t need any fancy equipment. In fact, there are many experiments you can do with a few simple household items, like shaving cream!
Remind your kids not to eat anything that’s being used in the experiment – just because it looks delicious, doesn’t mean it actually is.
Here’s what you’ll need for what I like to call the clouds in a glass experiment:
- shaving cream;
- food coloring;
- a clear glass or cup.
Fill the cup with cold water a little over halfway. Spray the top of the glass with the shaving cream then add a couple of drops of the food coloring. As it travels from the cream to the bottom of the glass, it will look like there’s a tiny rainstorm in the glass.
Another fun way to use shaving cream is to spray it in a plastic container, then add baby powder, mix and watch as the cream changes its texture to one you can play with and mold into different figures.
If you don’t have any shaving cream at home, worry not! There are other ingredients that you definitely have in your pantry that you can use to do experiments, such as this one where you can make a homemade lava lamp.
Here’s what you’ll need to create a lava lamp:
- a clear glass or cup;
- food coloring;
- vegetable oil.
Fill the glass a little more than halfway with water. Squeeze 4-5 drops of food coloring into the glass, then pour a small amount of vegetable oil. Finally, add a few sprinkles of salt and that’s it – your homemade lava lamp is ready!
If all you have in your pantry is some purified water, then you can use it to make a mini ice tower!
For this experiment, you’ll need:
- a bottle of purified water (unopened);
- ice cubes.
Place the bottle of purified water in the freezer for around 3 hours. Then, get an ice cube or two and place it in a plastic container. Take the purified water out of the freezer and slowly pour it onto the ice cube, and watch as an ice tower begins to form.
5. Make Homemade Ice Cream
Tell your kids you’re about to make ice cream and watch as they descend on the kitchen like their life depended on it!
You don’t need a fancy ice cream maker to make homemade ice cream, although it would certainly make the process faster. Still, thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can find an easy recipe within minutes.
My favorite part about making my own ice cream is that I know exactly which ingredients go into it and I don’t have to worry about feeding my kids food with ingredients I can’t even pronounce.
6. Board Games
We’re all guilty of retreating to the comfort of our smart devices when the weather is terrible and there’s nothing else to do. Well, what about dusting off your old board games and settling in for a family fun night?
Depending on how old your kids are, it might be difficult for the whole family to participate, but you can always make parent-child teams and help your little one win! Just make sure not to get too competitive – this is supposed to be fun for your kiddos.
7. Make Cotton Ball Rainbows
When it comes to rainy day activities for kids, you can never go wrong with arts and crafts! Making a rainbow using cotton balls is a fun art project and is one of my favorite toddler activities since even younger kids can participate.
You’ll need some construction paper, paint, and of course, cotton balls. You can choose to follow the rainbow color pattern to a T, or you can come up with your own, depending on the paint colors you have available.
Squeeze the individual paints onto a hard surface (even a paper plate will do) and dip a cotton ball into the color before pressing it onto the construction paper. Repeat as needed until you get your very own rainbow!
To help with the dipping, you can give your kids a couple of clothespins to grab the cotton balls. This is great for the development of their fine motor skills, too!
8. Bowling With Toilet Paper Rolls
There’s no reason to throw your toilet paper rolls in the trash – stash them so you can later repurpose them into bowling pins! It’s super simple and a great activity for your little ones.
You’ll need 10 rolls and white and red paint. Depending on how old your kids are, you can let them paint the rolls on their own or you can assist. Paint the entire roll white, then add two red stripes to make the rolls look like actual bowling pins.
Leave them to dry and find a smallish-sized ball that will act as a bowling ball.
Once the toilet paper rolls are all dried, arrange them like pins in a bowling alley and let your kids have at it! Trust me, this is a great indoor activity that does wonders when the kiddos have cabin fever.
If you don’t have any toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls will do just as well.
9. Play Freeze Dance Or Musical Chairs
Remember freeze dance? Now you get to play it with your kids! Just play some music and when it stops, you need to stop dancing. The last one to stop dancing is out!
Musical chairs is another classic game to play, especially if your kids seem like they have a lot of energy to burn. Simply arrange chairs in a circle in an empty space (the bigger the space, the better). If 5 of you are playing, then there should be only 4 chairs.
When the music stops, each person must find a seat. The person left standing is out, and you’ll have to remove another chair.
Here’s a tip: During the first round, let the music play for a little longer since this will make the game more exciting.
10. Write Letters To Family Members And Loved Ones
There’s something special about getting a handwritten letter in the mail – people just don’t send them anymore! Still, it’s a fun thing to do with school-aged kids to help them practice writing and spelling.
Perhaps you have a relative or a loved one living out of state you haven’t been in touch with for a while, so this is a perfect opportunity to reconnect. Even if everyone you know lives in the same town, I’m sure grandma and grandpa will love receiving a handwritten letter from their grandkids.
You never know, maybe you’ll start a new tradition!
11. Indoor Hide And Seek
As far as summer activities in the outdoors go, the classic game of hide and seek will always be a home run with little ones. But on a rainy day when no one wants to leave the comfort of their home, there’s no reason why you couldn’t play it indoors!
Of course, make sure to set some ground rules first so the game is safe for everyone involved – you can even mark certain rooms as off limits.
12. Indoor Scavenger Hunt
Another terrific play idea is to put together an indoor scavenger hunt and let the kids run loose as they collect (or take pictures of) all the items on their list. It will help them burn off energy and keep them busy, so it’s a win-win situation.
Of course, there’s nothing like a scavenger hunt in the outdoors, but that doesn’t mean that an indoor one can’t be just as fun. The possibilities are endless when it comes to putting together the list of items for the hunt.
For example, you can draw circles in different colors on a piece of paper and the kids need to find an item in each color.
Alternatively, you can put together an actual list of items they need to find, or items that start with a particular letter. But if you’re short on time, head on over to good ol’ Google and look up ready-to-print scavenger hunt ideas.
13. Go Camping In Your Living Room
There’s no better outdoor activity than camping. But don’t be fooled – you don’t need to leave your home in order to experience all the joys and excitement it brings.
Whether you have a full set of camping equipment in your garage or just a couple of sleeping bags for the occasional sleepover, set it up in your living room.
Roasting marshmallows and making s’mores by the campfire is a staple of every camping trip, but you don’t need to light a fire in your living room to enjoy this delicious treat.
Simply pop the marshmallows in the microwave for a couple of seconds until it puffs up, then sandwich it between crackers and chocolate. Voila, your s’more is ready to eat!
14. Have A Movie Day
Watching movies on a rainy day, all snuggled up with your little munchkins, sounds like the perfect way to spend a rainy day with the kids. Sure, you’ll probably have to pause the movie several times because one of the kids always happens to have the smallest bladder in the world, but overall, this is a really fun activity for the whole family.
We always like to cover the floor of the living room with blankets and pillows – you can even make a blanket fort – and dim the lights for a special experience. Pop some popcorn, have some drinks ready, and enjoy your home movie theater!
15. Make A Sensory Bin
Looking for something that will keep your preschooler entertained for hours? Then a sensory bin is the perfect option for you.
Sensory bins are usually used by occupational therapists to help kids that are uncomfortable with different textures, but they’re a fantastic playtime tool for all kids, whether they have sensory processing issues or not.
Making a DIY sensory bin for your little one can be as easy as getting a large plastic container and filling it with dry rice, then adding a few toys to the mix. If you have a sand scooping kit with little shovels, buckets, and rakes, that’s even better.
Make sure to place the container on a large sheet or blanket to prevent the rice from getting everywhere and to make clean up easier.
16. Make Paper Airplanes
Paper airplanes are an inexpensive yet immersive toy for kids that allow them to learn new skills and have fun at the same time.
For kids, one of the best parts about making paper airplanes is getting to color and decorate them with different stickers, and of course, to race and see whose plane can fly the fastest or farthest.
Depending on the age of your kids, you can show them how to fold paper planes and assist when necessary, or you can make them and let the kids take over when it comes to coloring and decorating.
I think this is a terrific activity for school-aged kids because it teaches them how to be creative and follow instructions, but also how to be okay with trial and error – not every project can turn out perfectly every time!
Have no idea how to make a paper plane? Head on over to YouTube where there are dozens of tutorials to help you get started.
17. Get Creative With Play Dough
If you’re looking for rainy day activities for kids that will also develop their fine motor skills at the same time, you need look no further than play dough.
Your kids can make their favorite cartoon characters like the minions, or a whole zoo of animals. If your little one is old enough, you can even let them cut out shapes from the play dough with cookie cutters – just make sure the make-believe cookie doesn’t end up in their mouth!
Play dough can also be a great addition to a sensory bin.
18. Make A Race Track
With a bit of masking tape, you can transform your kid’s room into an incredible race track they’ll play with for hours!
Make sure to use the masking tape against rugs only as you’ll probably find it difficult to remove from hardwood floors but it should come off other textures relatively easily and quickly.
Your kiddos can get creative and set up different buildings surrounding the race track, such as a gas station, a convenience store, a drive-thru restaurant… Let their imagination run wild and you might just be surprised by all the ways they manage to play with their race track!
As an activity, coloring is incredibly beneficial for both kids and adults. It can reduce stress, help you sleep better, and improve your focus – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Even if you don’t have any extra coloring books lying around, you can always print some off the internet and use crayons and colorful pens to bring them to life.
Coloring is also a great way for your kids to develop their fine motor skills and creativity.
20. Make Sock Puppets
When it comes to making sock puppets, some families like to go all out with googly eyes, glitter, and other accessories you can get at different craft stores.
But I’m aware that not all moms are craft queens and have a limited amount of accessories at their disposal, so I’m here to suggest a few simple alternatives. If you don’t have googly eyes, just use buttons from an old coat, for example.
If you have an old shirt lying around, you can cut out different shapes (mouth, nose) and glue them onto the sock puppet.
Yarn is a great choice to add hair to your puppet, too.
What makes this a great indoor activity is the fact that if you have older kids, they can learn how to use a needle and thread (under parental supervision, of course!) while younger ones can rely on glue.
21. Play With Cards
Your toddler might be too young to play Rummy, but who says they can’t try to make a house of cards? This was one of my favorite activities to do on a gloomy day when I was a little girl, and even when my house of cards came crashing down, I’d jump right into making a new one.
With older kids, you can play card games such as Go Fish or even Rummy. Remember to be patient as they work through the rules and offer a helping hand if they get stuck.
An alternative to card games is chess – this is a great way to have some one-on-one time with your youngin and bond while teaching them how to play.
22. Play With Cardboard Boxes
There’s something about cardboard boxes that just draws kids in, plus they’re a terrific, inexpensive way of entertaining your little ones when going outside isn’t an option.
What’s great about cardboard boxes is that you definitely have a few lying around in your garage and there’s a seemingly endless number of ways you could play with them.
Turning a box into a car or an airplane is a fantastic way to spend a rainy afternoon with the kiddos. Use paper plates for wheels or cut out the box flaps and turn them into airplane wings.
If you have extra aluminum foil, why not let your child become a robot? Just cut out holes for the arms and cover the rest with foil.
You can also make a mini theatre for your little one to put on a puppet show for the whole family!
So, as you can see, there are quite a few ways to reuse your cardboard boxes. Maybe your kids will even come up with their very own way of playing with the box – after all, their imaginations are endless!
23. Introduce Your Kids To Yoga
Did you know that baby yoga is a thing? So, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t introduce your kids to this activity that nourishes both the mind and spirit, all while giving an amazing workout. It helps the kids feel more relaxed and focused, and builds their strength.
You don’t need to be an experienced yogi to take part in this really fun activity. Thanks to the internet, you can find plenty of free kids yoga videos that will give your munchkins something to do and burn off some of their energy at the same time.
24. Play With Dominoes
This is one of my favorite rainy day activities for kids that they can do on their own (if they’re old enough) so you can have some time to yourself.
Just show the kiddos how much fun it is to line up dominoes and let them fall on top of one another, and they’ll spend hours engrossed in play!
25. Decorate And Paint Rocks
This was one of my favorite activities to do as a little girl. Even though it might be rainy, let your kids pop outside for a minute to find a couple of rocks. It’s best to go for those with a flatter surface, but any rock will do, as long as it’s big enough to paint on.
Your kids can either use crayons or paint to decorate the rocks, although I prefer crayons since they’re less messy and great even for toddlers.
There’s nothing like repeated cries of “Mom, I’m bored!” to send you into a Googling frenzy for the best rainy day activities for kids before your kiddos start getting major cabin fever.
And as someone who’s gone through this experience more times than I can count, I can definitely empathize.
Depending on how old your kids are, you’re going to need to see which activities are best for their age group. For toddlers, I certainly recommend making a sensory box, giving them a few toys, and watching as they lose themselves in play.
Older kids will enjoy learning how to play different card games or even chess, but you can also introduce them to the wonders of baking and have them assist you in the kitchen as you make brownies, cookies, or whatever else satisfies their sweet tooth.
Science experiments can be great for all age groups, but just make sure none of the ingredients get ingested. However, if you just want to have a lazy day in, there’s nothing like a family movie night.
Board games and arts and crafts are also terrific ideas to entertain your kiddos when the weather gets cold and rainy, so don’t forget to give them a try, too!
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