Rain got you cooped up inside again? Looking for activities for the kids? Here are 50 fun, easy and cheap rainy day activities for kids, to keep them (and you!) from climbing the walls!
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It’s great when the kids are playing together or occupied with their own imagination and some toys at home, but there’s no doubt that having some ideas up your sleeve for entertainment is a good ideas. And even more so if it’s raining outside, boredom is setting in and tempers are fraying!
Our pick of fun rainy day activities are easy to do, budget-friendly and use things you most likely have around the house. You can also download our rainy day activities checklist for FREE so that you’re never short of things to do!
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Rainy Day Activities the Kids Will Love!
#1. Create a Town in a Cardboard Box
If you have a giant cardboard box, why not draw a town on the bottom of the box, with roads, tracks, bridges, parks, car-parks, etc. Add some wooden building blocks, cars, trains and some wooden/plastic animals. Then let your child’s imagination run wild. Older kids could help with decorating/creating the scene.
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#2. Build a Fort with Blankets and Pillows
Build a den out of the sofa cushions, chairs, clothes rack with a blanket draped over or create a fort out of a big cardboard box with packing tape to hold the sides together.
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#3. Visit the Library
Your local library is a great resource on a rainy day. Many of the libraries run pre-school story time during school hours, and often run classes/activities for school kids during holidays.
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#4. Hold an Indoor Treasure Hunt
Confined to the house? You can still have a fun treasure hunt adventure, and our free indoor treasure hunt sheet has a selection of things to do, ideas for things to find and fun activities to help pass the time!
All you have to do is provide each child with their printed treasure hunt and a small box, bag or basket to collect their items.
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#5. Make Some Music
Get all your instruments out or make some homemade versions, using kitchen utensils (most popular in our house are pots, wooden spoons, tins, spatula) and make some “music” – check out our tips here.
#6. Tidy Out the Playroom
This might sound like a chore to start, but as the kids start to find toys they haven’t seen for a while, they will get in on the fun!
The only precaution is be prepared to finish the tidying on your own, as they go off to play with some “long-lost” toy…
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#7. Play Board Games
The classics are always the best, and playing some board games together is a great way to pass a rainy day.
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#8. Make a Home Cinema
Set up a home cinema and settle down to watch some fun family movies together. We’ve got lots of suggestions here for movie night:
- 101 Terrific Tween Movies The Whole Family Will Enjoy
- The Best ’80s Family Movies To Watch With Your Kids
- 50 of the Best Family Movies of All Time
- 39 Great Family Christmas Movies Picked by Parents
- 6 of the Best Easter Movies for Kids
Or why not make your own movies with How to Make Stop Motion Movies – The Beginners Guide?
#9. Make Shadow Shapes
Turn off the lights, close the curtains, and with the help of a torch, take turns making shadow shapes on the walls, with your hands. See who can make the best shape.
#10. Google “How to draw…”
Google “How to draw…”, selecting whatever your kid wants, such as dinosaur, racing car, fairies, princess, animals etc. Get some blank sheets and let them loose.
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#11. Play Cards
Remember the card games you used to play as a child, and how much fun that was? Why not teach your kids how to play the same great card games and see if you have a little card shark on your hands! If you need a refresher on the rules, here are 15 fun card games for kids that are great for getting started.
Most kids love to bake, particularly with the promise of a sweet treat at the end! And getting kids involved in the kitchen from an early age is a great way to introduce them to everything from new flavours and foods, to the math and science of baking and cooking.
What about trying baked berry squares, some easy cookie recipes to make with kids, vegan chocolate chip cookies, and more easy peasy baking recipes, We also have lots more recipe ideas in our Food and Recipes section, if you’re looking for inspiration.
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#13. Put on a Play or Show
Have the children put on a play or show of their own creation. Show them what they can use for costumes and props – and don’t forget to film the final production!
#14. Make Paper Airplanes
All you need to make paper airplanes is paper – and pens if you want to decorate it.
First fold your paper airplane and then the kids can draw the pilots at the front and the passengers looking out of the windows. Then have a race and see whose plane gets furthest!
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#15. Make Special Cards or Write a Letter
Everyone loves to receive a personal letter/card in the post these days, as it is such a rarity! This would be a special treat for Grandparents, friends or cousins.
Use stamps, glitter, paints and create a card to send or give – it’s a great opportunity for older children to practice their handwriting too!
#16. Do Some Colouring
Take out the colouring books or print off some free colouring pages, get out all the pens and crayons, and set up a colouring station at the kitchen table.
Then set up an Art Gallery once the fabulous pictures are finished to show them off!
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#16. Make a Magazine
Set up a family News Desk at the kitchen table! Decide on what stories are going to go in the magazine. It could be a profile of someone in the family, maybe an interview with a grandparent. Will someone take photos or draw pictures? Maybe there could be a fun corner with a puzzle or a joke in it.
Decide on what story or item will go on what page, maybe write down a mini magazine plan on a sheet of paper. Gather together the materials you’ll need to make up the magazine: paper, pens, photos, any other materials to decorate the magazine. Then have fun putting the magazine together!
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#17. Decorating Cupcakes
This is one activity that does need some advance planning, so why not keep your baking cupboard stocked with some decorating basics, such as selection of sprinkles and stars, hearts, mini marshmallows, candy, chocolate, as well as cupcake cases.
Bake your cupcakes and leave them to cool (that’s the hard part!). Once cooled, you can add buttercream or icing, or just melt some chocolate and drizzle over the top. Now it’s time to let the kids loose on decorating – enjoy sampling all the mini masterpieces!
#18. Have a Readathon
This is a great activity for older kids. Set a challenge to see how many books/chapters can be read during the day. And if you need some inspiration for books to read, we’ve got plenty!
- Goodnight Moon and More Marvellous Moon-Themed Books for Kids
- 20 Top Dinosaur Books for Your Dino-Mad Kid
- Discover the Top 10 Kid’s Books from the USA Today Bestseller List
- 23 Fantastic Books Like Harry Potter Your Child Might Enjoy
- 30 Amazing Books for Kids Who Love David Walliams
- 20 Brilliant books to Celebrate Bold Girls
- Abracadabra! 12 Magic Books Your Young Magician Will Love
- 35 Exciting Books for Curious Kids to Learn about Nature
- 25 Books for Teens Guaranteed to Keep Their Nose Buried In the Book
#19. Tea Party or Indoor Picnic
Spread out the picnic blanket/kids table and set out little plates with snacks and drinks and napkins, then enjoy an indoor picnic! Cuddly toys and dolls also make great guests.
#20. LEGO-Building Contest
Why not spend a rainy day having a LEGO-building contest? You could pick a theme e.g. vehicles, single coloured blocks, etc. and then see what everyone comes up with. Alternatively, try our LEGO challenge, which has 30 days worth of ideas!
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#21. Micro Treasure Hunt
Everyone gets a matchbox to fill, and ten minutes to find and fit into their matchbox as many tiny whole objects as they can. Tiny things that would fit in the matchbox could include:
- a paper clip
- a safety pin
- a pea
- a button
- a piece of LEGO
- a bead
#22. Make a Playlist and Have a Disco
Create your own playlists of your favourite songs. Why not pick 5 songs each that you all like, to add to your playlist, then put it on shuffle and have a disco in the house?
Move back the furniture, and get moving! It’s a great way to get some physical exercise in on a rainy day, and you could also use your playlist for some limbo dancing, musical statues, best and worst dancer competitions, and lots more!
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#23. Hold an Indoor Scavenger Hunt
Make up a list of items that can be found throughout the house, then the children must find and photograph each item on the list! Come up with your own ideas, or use our indoor scavenger hunt list.
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#24. Photo Albums & Photos
Kids love looking at old photos and hearing stories, so find those old photo albums and have a look at the past.
A real winner in our house is to give each child their own photo album, and let them choose their own photos for it – this is a great entertainer on a rainy day! They can get creative with their own albums, decorating the covers and pages.
#25. Make a Collage
Do you have a stack of old magazines? Get them out, along with some paper, glue and other art supplies and have a collage-making session.
#26. Make a Flippy Book/Moving Story
This is an ideal craft for an older kid – all you need is a drawing pad, and pencil. Explain how the book works: that you draw an image in the same corner of the book on each page, and that each image changes only slightly. A traditional ‘stickman’ is a good starting point, in different poses. Then you flip through the pages and watch their character “move”.
#27. Play Dress-Up
You can let the kids use their own dress-up things, if they have them, but more fun is to let them loose in your closet! Ideally drag out some of your older clothes (not your favourites!) and some costume jewellery or accessories – your little one will love running around in them!
#28. Make Scrapbooks
Give your child some old photographs they love to make special scrapbook pages you can add to your own scrapbooks. Supplies needed include old pictures, craft paper, glue, glitter, stickers, or whatever else you have.
#29. Paint Faces
Most kids love getting their faces painted, so it’s worth having some good face paint in the house. We use ours for school dress up days, holidays, Halloween, game days and lots more!
Use your rainy days as a great practice to try new patterns and styles – you never know when you might need a back up activity for a playdate or an at-home birthday party!
#30. Get Crafty
Over time, collect bits and pieces that could be added to an arts & crafts box for rainy days. Different colours paper, glue, glitter, stickers, cardboard tubes, pompoms, string, wool, felt, material, ribbon, thread spools, pipe cleaners, tissue paper ….they all make great crafts and give your child plenty of scope to get creative.
If your child doesn’t know what they want to make, you could gently suggest a theme or idea. And we have lots of great ideas for inspiration:
- 10 Fun Fabric Scrap Crafts and Activities for Kids
- 15 Easy Paper Flowers Crafts For Toddlers, Preschoolers and Bigger Kids
- 12 Fun & Easy Homemade Bookmarks That Kids Can Make
- Quick Craft Projects for Kids: How to Make a Pom Pom
- Get Creative! 12 Funky Crafts for Kids aged 8-12 yrs
- 10 No-Glue Crafts for Preschoolers
- 15 Egg Carton Crafts The Kids Will Be Eager To Make
- 10 of the Cutest Popsicle Stick Crafts for Kids to Make
- 14 Perfect Panda Craft Ideas for Kids to Make
- 10 of the Cutest Fluffiest Cotton Wool Craft Ideas for Kids
- 12 Fun and Creative Dinosaur Craft Ideas For Your Little Dino Fans
- Crafty Kids: 12 MORE Funky Crafts for Kids Aged 8-12 Years
- 20 Supersonic Super Fun Space Crafts for Kids to Make
- 15 Easy And Eye-Catching Leaf Craft Ideas For Kids
#31. Expand an Image
Cut a picture from a magazine article, and glue it to a blank sheet of paper with plenty of space around it. Now get the kids to finish the picture – will an alien fly overhead, or a dinosaur appear behind the castle? Who knows!
#32. Go Camping in the Great Indoors!
What child doesn’t love building a castle or a fortress indoors? Pick a room in the house that you don’t mind being rearranged for a few hours, and use sheets and blankets and lots of pegs to secure them as a roof between tables, sofas and chairs. Let them decorate, bring in their toys, books, and perhaps even enjoy a picnic lunch in their camp.
If you’re feeling brave, they could even sleep in their tent for the night!
#33. Indoor Obstacle Course
Create an indoor obstacle course with plenty of climbing, crawling, hopping, jumping, falling on cushions/mattresses and let the kids go mad and try to beat each other’s times round the course.
#34. Set Up a Racing Track
Using some masking tape, create a racing track or roads for toy cars to drive around, like this version from Be a Fun Mum.
Believe me, this is a HUGE success with all ages….adults included!
#35. Have a Jigsaw Afternoon
Jigsaws are an activity the whole family can do, and one that can work well between differently aged siblings. Set each member of the family up with a puzzle to suit their skill level, all helping each other finish, or create teams to work on a large puzzle together.
#36. Make Jewellery
If you don’t have jewellery crafts at home, you can use everyday items, like pasta, noodles, beads, paint, string, wool, bottle tops, shells and lots more to make some really fun jewellery.
#37. Make Sock Puppets
Gather up some of your old socks (you know those ones whose pair has gone missing from laundry day…?), and then find some household items that can be used for eyes, mouth, and nose. You could use buttons for eyes, pieces of fabric for noses, and things like string, wool, ribbon, or even cotton wool for hair.
If your kids can sew, they can add the decorations with needle and thread, but for younger kids use glue.
Once the puppets have been made, leave them to dry. At this point, if the kids are still engaged, you could create a puppet theatre with a cardboard box and let the kids put on a puppet show for you.
#38. Make Play Dough
Children will adore making play dough and they will have fun exploring different food colourings to give the dough that lovely vibrant colour. Non-toxic, cheap and easy – perfect!
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#39. Make Tie-Dye Clothes
If your child is tired of their boring white socks or you have some old t-shirts to hand, why not have a tie-dye day? You will need white clothing, a bucket or basin, water, various dyes, rubber bands, and rubber gloves to protect your hands. How you fold the fabric and secure it with rubber bands, helps determine the eventual tie-dye pattern.
It’s best to start with the lightest colour, if using more than one, and follow dye instructions carefully. You’ll find more great tips here
#40. Science Fun
Why not while away a few hours with some science fun? Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a scientist or have a ton of unusual supplies and equipment to be able to share the wonders of science with your kids. And we’ve got LOADS of science ideas to get you started:
- Fluffy, Rainbow and Glow in the Dark! 10 Easy Homemade Slime Recipes
- Simple Science Experiments for Kids to Try at Home
- 7 Simple Experiments to Get Kids Excited About Science
- 18 Easy Science Experiments Perfect for Preschoolers
- 5 Fun Halloween Science Experiments for Kids
- 5 Fun Science Experiments for Kids to Try at Home
Or try your hand at making some gooey, messy Oobleck – kids seems to love it!
#41. Play Shop
Set up a little grocery/mini supermarket with tins and packets. If you have a play till, set up a checkout table and they can take it in turns to be the checkout person or the shopper. The ironing board made a great checkout in my youth! Have some bags ready to put the “purchases” in.
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Cover the table with newspaper sheets and get out the poster paints or watercolours and some paper and have an art session.
Marble painting is also great fun – all you need is a plastic tray or square basin, add your sheet of paper, 2 or 3 colours of paint, and a marble. Allow the kids to move the box around, rolling the marble to create their unique designs.
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#43. Balloon Ping-Pong
All you need for this are some blown up balloons, and table-tennis bats (or make your own bats using paper plates and sticks for handles). Clear some space and off they go!
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#44. Play Some Outdoor Games, Indoors!
Not all outdoor games can move inside, and swingball is definitely best left outside, but we have lots of great ideas for indoor games you could try!
What about skittles in the hall, or hold hula-hoop competition? You could also set up indoor hopscotch using masking tape for the lines and a beanbag as your “stone”.
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#45. Measure Rainfall
Take a large jar or cut the top off a large plastic water bottle and put it outside in the rain. At regular intervals, or when the rain has stopped, measure the height of the rain that day (or hour) and make a chart of the rainfall over time.
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#46. Make a Life-Sized Drawing
You will need a large roll of paper and measure out a piece a little longer than your child. Then put the sheet of paper on the floor, have your child lie down and you draw their outline on the paper. They can then colour themselves in, adding features, clothes, etc. This is also a great winner at parties!
#47. Misfit Characters
Lay our a selection of old magazines or catalogues, and get your children to cut out pictures of heads, torso, legs and feet/shoes. They can then have some fun mixing them up, and glueing mismatched characters onto blank sheets of paper.
Older children may like to take this one step further and write a story about their unique characters.
#48. Make Homemade Pizza
With just a few simple ingredients, you can all enjoy making homemade pizza. And it doesn’t even matter if everyone likes different toppings, as you can all add whatever you like! If you don’t fancy making your own dough, you could use English muffins as the base and still have the same fun making your own individual lunches.
#49. Make Chef’s Hats
If you’re getting the kids in the kitchen, they’ll love their own chef’s hat to really look the part. All you need is a single use tablecloth from any big supermarket, as they are easy to cut, but also easy to stick with regular glue stick.
- Cut one strip for the bottom, twice as thick a you want the band to be, and slightly longer than the width of the intended child’s forehead. Fold it over, and put to one side.
- Cut out another strip as tall as you would like hat to be. This strip needs to be much longer than the width of the band.
- Fold it over itself on the bottom edge every couple of centimetres or so. Glue this bottom edge, slot it into the band, then glue them together.
- They are very easy to personalise, but learn from my mistakes and write the child’s name on the band BEFORE you glue it all together, it’s MUCH easier that way! – Helen M
#50. Head Outdoors
Sometimes, you have just got to get out of the house – even if it’s raining! And we have lots of ideas for entertaining the kids once they are out:
- Galoshingly Good Rainy Day Activities for Kids
- 12 Kids Rainy Day Games Outdoors
- 11 of the Best Outdoor Activities to Ensure Your Kids Stay Fit
- 20 of the Best Toddler Activities Outdoors
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Have you got any more suggestions for great rainy day activities? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!