While the farmers are rejoicing in the much-needed moisture, rainy days for stay-at-home parents bring an instant sinking feeling in your gut! You’re going to be cooped up inside, all day, with your bored brood, and if you don’t find some fun rainy day activities quick, you are all gonna go cray cray! Don’t stress. Grab a coffee, and sit back. We have gathered the 45 best rainy day activities to keep your crew entertained all gloomy-day long. We have scavenger hunts, DIY art, science experiments, and much more. Our list includes activities for kids of all ages too. Let’s get to it!
The Perfect Rainy-Day Activity Book
For a whole slew of in-home activities, snag Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition. This interactive book is loaded with challenges for every day of the year. It’s expertly crafted to include 50+ exciting adventures for the entire family. Each task is hidden beneath a scratchable coating, and a helpful key can help you pick the perfect page to start scratching. Grab your copy before the doldrums strike again!
Rainy-Day Activities for the Whole Family
1. Convert your home to a scavenger hunting ground!
At Let’s Roam, we love a scavenger hunt, and our experts create the best out there! Check out our Indoor Family Scavenger Hunts for hunts specifically designed for kids of all ages and various interests. We have “Global Geographers,” to help kiddos learn all about our great globe and cultures, “Math Masters” uses challenges and trivia to improve the math skills of counting kids, and “Advanced Adventurers,” for kids above the age of ten!
Our hunts are designed in conjunction with school teachers and development experts to ensure age-appropriate fun and a little learning too. Download our scavenger hunt app today, and fill your rainy days with our amazing adventures!
2. Create your own masterpieces.
Brighten up the gloomy day with a little art! Turn your living room into your very own art gallery. Grab a couple of thumb tacks and some twine. String up two or three swags and clip on the art with close pins. Bring out the crayons, watercolors, and markers. If you are really brave, pull out the glitter and glue. Never mind… don’t do that. This is just a rainy day, it’s not the apocalypse, no reason to get crazy.
Check out our list of “Fun Summer Art Projects to Keep Your Kids Entertained” for some specific art ideas that are sure to be a big hit!
3. Throw a dance party!
Create a playlist of your favorite old songs (the ones that you are cool with kids hearing that is). Heck, go way back and bring in some swing dancing, disco, and jive. Turn on youtube and search for tutorials on old dances. If you really want to go all out, have each child choose an era and see if you can create a costume for your dance party from what have at home.
4. Head to the trampoline park.
Inside doesn’t have to mean inside your house. Hop in the car and head for the local trampoline park! Let your kiddos get out some energy without destroying the sofa or requiring you to clean up paint.
5. Build an obstacle course.
One of the most fun activities for preschoolers is competing in an obstacle course. They are very easy to build from what you have at home, especially for little bodies. Plus, they are a great learning-while-playing opportunity. Walking across a balance beam made of books, crawling under dining chairs, hopping on one foot down the hall, and jumping over pillow walls are all fun ways to increase agility and work on problem-solving. Make sure to record your adventures, as you will definitely want to look back on them later.
6. Take an online cooking class.
Your house is going to be a mess by the end of a rainy day anyway, so you might as well get a tasty treat out of it. Gather the kids in the kitchen, and sign up for a class on Outsource. They have hundreds of cooking classes for kids of all ages!
Alternatively, if you are a master chef yourself, then today is the perfect day to teach them your favorite recipe, or a family heirloom one. Make great-grandma’s chocolate cake, and be sure to send her a photo while you’re at it! To waste a little more time, you can have older children search online for a recipe that they would like to make. Hit up the grocery store, and then create! Why not? You’ve got all day, right?
7. Escape Room
If you have a crew of older kids, sign up for an escape room! There are many popping up throughout the world, and each adventure is unique. The premise is that you’re trapped, using your noggins to decipher clues and observe what’s around you and how to use it, you need to figure out how to escape! It’s a great way to spend a couple of hours with the kids to see how well you can handle the unexpected together.
8. Grocery Store Treasure Hunt
If your kids are old enough to be trusted (semi) alone in the grocery store, give each a list and a small basket, and send them on a wild-goose chase. Not only do you get your grocery shopping done, but you kill a little time too. If setting your kids loose in the store is too much adventure for you, then just do it aisle by aisle. As you enter an aisle, send each child on a treasure hunt for items you need in that aisle. You gotta get food, might as well make it fun.
9. Old-Fashioned Card Games
Playing cards is a timeless activity that never gets old. Cards don’t take up much space. They are easy to clean up, and there are literally hundreds of games you can play with a regular deck of cards. Not to mention, old maid, Uno, Exploding kittens, and a million other specially-made games. Play matching games with preschoolers. Teach your older kids how to play Texas Hold’em, or grab some utensils and compete in a rousing game of Spoons.
10. Have a Movie Marathon.
When older kids are stuck at home, pop some popcorn and settle in for a movie marathon. Pick a theme, like movies with “rain” in the title, and snuggle up. It’s simple, keeps the house clean, and allows you to spend quality snuggle time with your bigs.
11. Visit your local history museums.
If you live in a city with great museums, they make the perfect rainy day escape. Join one of the guided tours, a special exhibit, or just set out on your own self-guided tour. It’s a wonderful chance to let your kids explore in a contained space and teach them to use a map. Like the grocery store, natural history museums are also a great place for kids to do a treasure hunt. Hop online before your trip and make a list of things that are in the museum. Then, when you enter the room, give each child something to find. Once they find it, give them a trivia question to answer about the item!
12. Virtual Smithsonian Tour
If you don’t live anywhere near an awesome museum, you can still play along. The Smithsonian Institute now has virtual tours of most of their museums, and they are an awesome way to explore a new world from the comfort of your couch…. or rainy day pillow fort!
13. Nostalgia at the Skating Rink
How long has it been since you strapped on a pair of roller skates? Remember school skate nights and chasing your first crush around the rink. Introduce your kiddos to a bit of nostalgia with a skating day! You come home banged up and bruised, but they will learn a new skill, and you might just find that you are still pretty good.
14. Visit an art gallery.
If making your own living room art gallery sounded like a nightmare to you, then leave the art up to the professionals and introduce your kids to the real deal. You can use it as an educational day, or as a chance for them to increase their skills. We recommend perusing the museum and letting your kids pick their favorite piece. Then, grab a spot on a bench with the college art students and let your kiddos create their own rendition of the professional work.
15. Karaoke Contest
Got a karaoke machine collecting dust somewhere? Today is the day to revive it! If you don’t have one, that’s fine too. Just grab your little princess’s sparkly microphone and turn Youtube on the TV. Youtube has hundreds of karaoke playlists with lyrics that you can all jam out to for hours. It takes little to no planning, and you will likely create some pretty funny memories. Get into it. Show off your best moves. Dress up for the occasion. If you are into it, they will be too!
16. Pop a tent.
Ever been camping in the rain? It’s terrible, but indoor camping, on a rainy day, is loads of fun! Pop a tent in the living room. Make smores on the stove. Roll out the sleeping bags. Tell stories with “weird flashlight face.” (Yep, you know the one!) Let them bring in their own decorations and toys. Have a picnic lunch in your tent, and then transition right into nap time.
17. Take them bowling.
Bowling is one of those activities that we for some reason just forget about, but it is always fun. It’s easy, usually fairly cheap, and offers a little friendly competition. Follow it up with drive-thru ice cream, and you’ve just built the perfect day out.
18. Put on a show.
If your kids have a flair for the dramatic, put it to good use. Have them write their own story if they are able, or make their own rendition of a favorite fairy tale. Create your best costumes, and you might even make a few props. Record their performance for friends and family. You might be really surprised with how creative they get, and seeing them beam with pride while putting on their own show is worth all the effort.
For more adventures on the creative side, check out our new guide “12 Activities That Promote Creativity in Kids.”
19. Get brainy with a science experiment.
Make a volcano, a cannonball launcher, or homemade playdough. You might be surprised what you can make with what you have in the cabinet. Science is fun!
20. Make your own jewelry.
Most little ones are just as happy in a pasta shell necklace as the fanciest real pieces. Making jewelry is pretty easy. You can use string, beads, pasta, rubber bands, yarn, or whatever you have on hand. If you aren’t very creative, you can certainly stock up on a few jewelry-making kits from Amazon to have around for a rainy day.
21. Lava Floor
You remember this one right? The floor is lava, and you can’t touch it! If you are a loose parent who doesn’t mind a little jumping on the couch, then turn the floor into lava, and let the fun ensue. See if you can make it all the way through the house with fall into the lava pit!
22. Keep it Up
Another staple in childhood fun-don’t let the balloon hit the ground. It is a little less of an adventure than lava floor, but the same premise. Blow up some balloons. Turn on some music, and see how long you can go without letting it hit the floor. For an extra challenge try keeping up several balloons at one time. You could also use a beach ball if you don’t have any balloons around.
23. Make some sensory bins.
Sensory bins are a great rainy day activity. You are probably looking for something soothing right about now. Fill a few large Tupperware bins with beads, flour, sugar, rocks, colored water, and shaving cream. Get as messy as you want, or stick to clean things. It’s totally up to you.
24. Show off your gaming skills.
If you have older kids who disappear to their rooms for hours playing video games, you might as well join them. Bust out the old Nintendo or Sega and challenge your bigs to a real game! They might just find out mom is way cooler than they thought.
25. Test your engineering skills.
This one is fun! Challenge your crew to create a basket out of only paper, tape, and glue. The objective is to build something strong enough to protect an egg from a tall fall. Once your crew has created their masterpieces, set up a ladder (standing on the countertop works too) in the garage or another hard-surfaced floor. Let each child take their turn dropping their eggs to see who’s basket is built the best.
26. Get some new books.
Spend your rainy day in the public library collecting new books. Many libraries have activities throughout the day for children anyway, so it takes some of the pressure to entertain off of you. You can sit back and watch your kiddos engage with the story in an environment just for them.
27. Write a letter to grandma.
In this day and age, proper writing seems to be a fading art. Take a day inside to teach your kids to write a proper letter. Write to grandma, a distant aunt, or one of their friends. Let littles include some of their own artwork if they want. Then, teach them about postage, and let them drop it in the drive-through mailbox at the post office. It’s the gift that keeps giving, as the recipient is sure to write back, and there is nothing more exciting for a little kid than getting something in the mail!
28. Make mini vision boards.
It’s never too early to teach kids to dream and plan to reach their goals. Vision boards are a great way to help children build their own bucket lists. You just need a cardboard box or a small foam board. Pull out some magazines or print things online that your kids want to include on their vision boards. Have them include places they want to go, a new toy they want to work towards, or a new hobby they would like to learn. The sky is the limit. After the boards are complete, take some time to talk about their goals and make a few plans to help them get there.
29. Lego Competition
Legos are a staple in most households, and there’s a reason for that. Not only are they great for working on fine motor skills and creativity, but they’re just one of those fun things that never seem to go out of style! Have each child choose something they want to build from legos. Then you all try to build your own version of it. It’s interesting to see what each person comes up with, given the exact same directive!
30. Bust out the photo albums.
Children love to look at their own baby photos and hear stories “from when they were little.” Relive some of your happy moments with your kiddos. Tell them stories from your childhood if you have your old albums. Compare baby pictures. You could even consider making a little scrapbook together.
31. Storytime in the attic.
I don’t know about you, but the attic was always a place of wonder and mystery to me as a kid. Plan a picnic in the attic, if you have a safe, floored space. Your kids will love getting to explore the junk up there, and it is the best place in the house to listen to the rain! Bring pillows and blankets. Build a fort. Read some books, and just enjoy being in an unexplored space together. You might even take the time to look through all your old stuff and do some cleaning out.
32. Do your hair and makeup.
Playing dress-up never seems to get old with small children. If you are stuck indoors, bring out your fancy dresses. Do each other’s makeup and hair. Paint fingernails and toenails. Then, have a little mother/daughter photoshoot.
33. Teach a new skill.
Today would be a great day to teach your little ones how to plant an herb or vegetable, learn to fix their own ponytail, fold the towels properly, or even tie their shoes. If you have a toddler, today’s a good day to focus solely on potty training. For older kids, consider showing them how to balance a checkbook or create a budget. Whatever it is that you are skilled in, pass it down!
34. Hallway Hopscotch
A little masking tape and a small rock are all you need to create hours of hallway fun! Don’t remember how to play? You toss the rock onto square one, then you hop over that square and through the rest of the squares and back. You then toss the rock on the next square and go again. You can do it all on one foot, or have segments where you transition to two feet.
35. Dining Table Tennis
Clear off the dining table. Move the chairs out of the way. Grab a couple of paddles (or spatulas if you’re fancy) and whatever little ball you can find. Use the table crack as your net and get some energy out! It takes almost no setup. It’s free, and it’s a lot of fun.
36. Learn about the water cycle.
What better day to learn about the water cycle than a day full of rain showers? NASA’s Climate Kids program has tons of great information and activities to help kids understand the details. Learn about Earth’s water cycle, and then create your own Ocean Ecosystem!
37. Exercise together.
There are hundreds of free exercise routines, even some for kids, that are easily accessible on Youtube. Put on a few videos and let your kids sweat out that energy, while you burn a few calories too. It’s never too early to teach good health habits, and you might as well have a little family fun during the torture session.
Author note: When I was a child my grandmother used to convince us to do Richard Simmons’ workouts with her. We thought they were hilarious and fun then, and they are some of the fondest memories my cousins and I have. We routinely belly-laugh about it to this day!
38. Put them to work.
Sure, no kid wants to do chores, but they have to be done. They might be more willing to help out if you let them do the fun and weird stuff. They definitely do not want to pick up their toys, but they may be more than willing to help clean under the bed, organize a random closet, or even clean out the fridge. A day stuck inside is the perfect day to get a few of those odd “spring cleaning” jobs done.
39. Create with wood.
Move out to the garage or workshop and spend your rainy afternoon creating something from wood. Birdhouses are a common project for kids, but get creative. Construct a castle. Engineer a bridge, or make a new cradle for your child’s dolls.
You can build your own masterpiece out of scrap wood, or of course, there are plenty of premade kits that you can purchase and keep hidden for such an occasion. Working with our hands is another skill that is becoming lost on the younger generations. You may find that both you and your kids enjoy getting your hands dirty every once in a while!
40. Reading Marathon
Challenge your older kids to a reading marathon. Set a goal for how many short stories, chapters in a chapter book, or words they can read for the day. If they achieve their goal, then treat them to a special treat like a trip for ice cream or a virtual game night with their friends! Who says you can’t bribe your kids to read? It’s perfectly acceptable in our book.
41. Write your own book.
Let your littles go wild with telling their own story. There is nothing funnier than the rambling and off-the-wall tales of a small child. Grab a pen and give your kiddos a start prompt, something like, “walking through the forest one day, I saw… ” Let them fill in the blank, and write down or record their responses. Then, let the next child fill in the next bit of the story, and so on.
You may need to help them along every now and then with prompts like, “well, what happened then,” or “what was it doing?” When you get to a place of boredom, finish up the story by asking them, “well, how did it end?” After your story has been written, read each page back to them and have the children illustrate their own work. Then, contact the publisher because we are sure they have probably just made millions.
42. Build a robot.
Don’t care who you are, robots are just cool! Cardboard boxes, nuts and bolts from the garage, pipe cleaners, and toilet paper rolls are all the supplies you need to create your very own robot. Most families will be able to find all kinds of supplies around the house that can be used to make arms, legs, buttons, and facial features. If you really want to get bonus points, help them construct the robot over a remote control car or truck so that it can move!
43. Ball Toss
Go really old school with a carnival or Bozo-style ball toss. Grab four or five buckets, mason jars, or pitchers from the kitchen. Line them up vertically, and put a masking tape line behind the first bucket. Start tossing the ball, aiming at the closest bucket first, and then moving one by one until you conquer the furthest one away. While an incredibly easy game to set up, it can be a challenging one to conquer!
44. Get twisted.
Twister is one of those quintessential games that should be part of every kid’s childhood. If you have a Twister board, then bring it out, but if you don’t, you can easily make your own. You need 4 colors or construction paper. Cut out 6 circles of each color and tape them to a hard floor. You should have four rows of 6 dots: 6 red dots, then six blue dots, and so on. Each family member stands on one side of the complete square, and the caller begins. “Right foot red.” “Left hand green.” You continue playing until only one person is left standing!
45. Jump in puddles
Forget it! Put on your rainboots and just resign to getting as wet and disgusting as possible. Twirl! Jump in puddles! Dance in the rain! Playing in the rain (as long as there is no lightning) is a magical experience for kids and a good reminder for parents to loosen up a little.
A crack of thunder doesn’t have to signal dread. Keep this little list handy and pull out one of these rainy day activities when you need to burn some time. Take a deep breath and resign yourself to a dirty house today. Kids aren’t little for long, might as well enjoy every rainy day with them to the fullest!
What is your favorite indoor activity for the family? Drop your ideas in the comments!
While you’re here, stick around for some of our other advice on family fun, travel, parenting, and more! We love to help people connect, and our articles are designed to help you through good times and bad. Check them out!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re stuck inside and in need of rainy-day activities, try an in-home scavenger hunt, creating your own obstacle course, taking a virtual museum tour, or any of the exciting tasks laid out in Adventures From Scratch.
Has the weather got your big kids down? Rely on some rainy day activities, like movie marathons, retro video game challenges with mom or dad, and virtual museum tours.
Head over to AdventureBook.com for rainy day activity ideas. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition, so you’re prepared for the next day of doldrums.