How to keep the little ones entertained when it’s raining outside.
The summer holidays have arrived, and the UK seems to have welcomed the 6-week break from school with torrential downpour after torrential downpour. So, what can we do to entertain the kids when the heavens open? Well, we’ve rounded up a bunch of rainy-day activities for kids that are sure to spark some inspiration.
We all know how wonderful it can be when the kids are playing together nicely. And when they’re exercising their imagination it’s great too. But, we are also well aware that this only ever lasts so long. And that’s when having some rainy day activities and ideas up your sleeve comes in handy.
So, on our mission to give you (and ourselves) a helping hand keeping the kids occupied during those inevitable rainy days we’ve come up with a list of activities that are super easy to do. Not only that, in the current cost of living crisis we’re all facing, these activities are also budget-friendly. And many of them incorporate things you are highly likely to have at home already.
20 things to do on a rainy day with kids
Scroll on to explore our 20 favourite rainy day activities for kids. No matter the age of your little ones, you’re sure to find something in this list to keep them occupied for a few hours!
1. Build a den
Cast your mind back to rainy days when you were young and think about what you enjoyed doing on rainy days… We bet building a den was one of them!
And the best bit about building a den is that there are no rules about what to use during the construction process. Sofa or sofa bed cushions, dining chairs, or even your dining table all make a fantastic starting point. Next, drape a bunch of blankets, duvets or even bath towels over your preferred structure. Finally, assemble anything soft to create a snuggly space inside your den – pillows, soft toys or scatter cushions will all do the trick – and voila, you have a kids’ den assembled in minutes. And in exchange, you’ll get hours of peace and quiet while the kids enjoy this classic rainy day activity!
Another great tip (especially for those with little ones that are into their gadgets) is to arm them with a battery powered light or torch for inside the den. This will stop your kids from taking matters into their own hands and equipping their dens with lamps and other light sources which have the potential to present certain health and safety issues.
2. Create an indoor treasure or scavenger hunt
When you’re stuck indoors due to the torrential downpour, having fun is as simple as thinking creatively. Create a treasure hunt adventure or a scavenger hunt. All you’ll have to do is come up with clues or craft a treasure map and free indoor fun for the kids awaits.
Simply arm your little ones with their instructions or maps (it might be best to work in a team if you have little ones that can’t read properly - or at all - yet) and send them off into the depths of your home. Remember to give them a bag or something similar to collect their items in. And just like that, your kids will be off on their mission to find the secret treasure.
3. Organise their bedrooms
While this initially sounds like a chore (and don’t get us wrong – it totally is) your kids are sure to enjoy the task as they begin to uncover toys and games they haven’t seen for a while.
Getting the kid in on the tidying will help them to understand the need for organisation. For starters, it’ll help them to know where to go to find the toy they’re looking for! And it’ll also help you understand their bedroom furniture situation and how/if their storage needs have changed too.
4. Play games
Another classic rainy day activity you’ll remember from being little yourself is playing games. And board or card games specifically. Plus, it’s a great way to spend time as a family and teach your kids some valuable life skills (taking turns, playing by the rules, and the importance of patience).
So, whether you take on a mammoth game like Monopoly, or you teach your kids how to play Pontoon (aka 21 or Black Jack), there’s plenty of family fun to be had on a rainy day indoors.
5. Have a duvet day
When the weather has forecast rain for an entire day, there’s nothing better to do than declare a duvet day! From a movie marathon to endless snuggles on the sofa, there’s no end to the opportunities for some valuable family time. And grab some more inspiration on how to spend a duvet day here.
6. Get crafting
Kids of all ages love crafting and there are so many ideas available online, it’d almost be rude not to join in! From making paper airplanes and hosting a “who’s flies the furthest?” competition to egg-crate monsters and beyond, the only limit to what crafting can achieve is your kids’ imaginations!
And so, a wise investment ahead of your next rainy day is an inexpensive supply of crafting paraphernalia! All you really need is card or paper, some glue, a pile of colouring pencils and your imagination. But pipe cleaners and googly eyes are usually an affordable addition that will delight the kids. And remember to save sticks off ice lollies and empty cardboard boxes too. These sorts of things always come in handy when crafting is the activity of choice for a rainy day kids’ activity.
7. Pop the search term “How to draw…” in your browser
Search “How to draw…” and you’ll find a ton of online tutorials and how-to videos which the kids will adore. And the beauty of this rainy day activity is that you can look up whatever your kid wants to drawer. So, whether it’s dinosaurs, fairies, characters from their favourite TV shows, or even their favourite footballer they’re sure to be enthusiastic about this one. And all you’ll need is a pile of blank sheets of paper.
8. Bake a cake
The thought of baking alone is enough to get the majority of kids excited. Plus, with the promise of a tasty treat at the end, they’ll all want to get involved with this rainy day activity.
But remember, baking is not just about the eating. Getting the kids involved in the kitchen from an early age is also an awesome way to introduce them to new flavours and different foods. It even opens their eyes to the math and science that is part and parcel of baking and cooking.
9. Have an indoor picnic
Generally, kids love picnics. But persistent rain often puts a stop to this outdoor activity. Well, don’t let it! An indoor picnic can also be much comfier than an outdoor one given that you have easy access to pillows and duvets – all the things that enhance our sleep comfort can also enhance out comfort while we eat too! Simply spread a picnic blanket or duvet on the floor, set out their plates piled high with snacks, grab a cushion or pillow for under each bum and dive into your indoor picnic! And, if you’d like a few additional guests, round up your child’s favourite cuddly toys or dolls.
10. Have a LEGO day
One of our personal favourite rainy day activities has to be LEGO. So, whether your little one has an unconstructed set in need of some assembly or you shake it up and set them to a freestyle building contest where anything goes, it’s sure to offer a fun time for all.
And, if you want to go one step further, you could challenge the kids to find their own online tutorial. There are loads of LEGO hacks available that will help encourage your little ones and older ones alike to learn new ways of building their favourite things entirely out of LEGO.
So, next time a rainy day keeps the kids’ indoors, embrace this fun and time-consuming activity.
11. Look though old photos
If there’s one thing that practically every kid adores, it’s looking at old photos and hearing the stories behind those photos. So, when the weather gives you rain, why not dig out those old photo albums and take a trip back in time.
12. Play dress-up
Another one of our favourite rain day activities is playing dress up. And this can be in their fancy dress costumes, their own clothes of choice, or why not let them raid your wardrobe too? If there’s any pieces you’re really fond of, make sure they’re well-hidden first of course!
Kids adore dressing up. And you’ll find that this activity will often naturally lead into a second one in the form of roleplaying! That’s two rainy day activities for the price of one.
Plus, it’ll give you the perfect opportunity to reorganise your wardrobe and think about the endless storage possibilities that would work better in your bedroom at the same time. Win-win!
13. Make scrapbooks
Unlike crafting, which grants your children full creative license, scrapbooking has an intention. Explain to your children the purpose of creating a scrapbook and preserving memories. And then, give your child a handful of old photographs they love.
You can instruct them to make a special scrapbook page to add to your scrapbook. Or, you can let them create their very own scrapbooks. All the supplies you’ll need are old photos and your crafting box so, this rainy day activity requires little to no monetary backing.
14. Arrange an impromptu sleepover
What child doesn’t love a surprise sleepover? Whether it’s a friend from school or nursery; or a cousin, your little ones are sure to appreciate you inviting someone new over for them to play with!
Plus, there’s plenty of fun to be had at a sleepover. Check out our sleepover solutions blog post for further inspiration on how to host a successful sleepover!
15. Set up an indoor obstacle course
One thing we can all agree on is that kids have seemingly unlimited energy. And, finding activities that allow them to burn off some of that energy on rainy days can be tough. And so, drastic times call for drastic measures! It’s time to create an indoor obstacle course.
Try to ensure that climbing, crawling, hopping, jumping and falling (onto a soft surface, of course) all feature in your obstacle course design. Cushions and mattresses are great for this. Then, let the kids go mad. They can try to beat each other’s times round the course and burn off some of that pent up energy in the process.
Note: we strongly advise against allowing kids to jump on mattresses. That is unless you’re planning to replace them in the near future. This is because jumping on mattresses damages the integrity of a mattress’ ability to properly support a person while they sleep and therefore reduces its life expectancy.
16. Do a jigsaw
Jigsaws are a great rainy day activity that the whole family can get involved in. From sorting the puzzle pieces into different colours to challenging each family member to a puzzle matched to their age and skillset and having a race to see who finishes fastest, there’s an endless array of ways to pass a rainy day where jigsaws are concerned.
Plus, jigsaws provide an opportunity to help with your child’s development. Not only do they help to develop finger strength and hand-eye coordination, but jigsaws also promote problem solving abilities and fine motor skills in kids of all ages (1).
17. Create sock puppets and host a puppet show
And all you’ll need is a few odd socks (yay – we’ve finally found a purpose for those socks whose other half have disappeared into that black hole in your home never to be seen again!), and the craft box. Or your sewing box. Buttons make great eyes. And string, wool, or ribbon achieves wonderful sock puppet hair too.
Once you’ve sourced the materials necessary, it’s time to let the kids get creative. If your kids can sew, or are at an age appropriate for learning this key life skill, allow them to add the decorations with needle and thread (with your guidance of course). And younger kids can use glue instead.
And once the sock puppets are ready assembled and raring to go, it’s time for the kids to put on a show. Let them create their storyline in advance or embrace their adlib abilities. All you’ll have to do as the parents is sit back and enjoy.
18. Have some tie-dye fun
And as the rain pours on and on, why not seize the opportunity to have a tie-dye day? Round up any white clothing that won’t be missed, grab a bucket, some water, a handful of rubber bands, and some protective gloves to prevent dying your hands. You will need some fabric dyes – if you don’t already have some – but these can be picked up quite affordably at online marketplaces with a quick search via your internet browser.
Remember, the key to tie-dying success lies in how you fold the fabric and secure it with rubber bands. This will determine how your tie-dye patterns turn out. And you also need to start with the lightest colour dye if you’re using more than one colour. You should also always follow the dye instructions as issued by the manufacturer very carefully.
19. Try your hand at making jewellery
Jewellery making is fun for all children. And it encourages creative thinking and fine motor skill development (2). If you don’t already have jewellery crafts at home, you can pick some up at a reasonable price online if you shop around. Or, why not use everyday items instead. Pasta, beads, paint, string, wool, bottle tops, shells and more are all household items that can be used to make some fun jewellery pieces with a little creative thinking.
20. Embrace science
And finally, we think that wiling away a few hours on science experiments and learning through discovery is one of the best rainy day activities for kids around. And you’ll be pleased to learn that there’s access to a huge range of scientific experiments for kids online. And few of them require anything you won’t already have at home!