When you can’t take your little ones outside to play, the day can be long indeed. With more (much-needed) rainy days ahead in our local forecast, I needed a reminder of what I can do with my kiddos besides plugging them into the computer screen. Here are some of the things I love to do with my 3-year-old and 18-month-old on a rainy day. Nothing on this list requires screen time or electronic devices. I hope you find something you can enjoy with your children next time it rains!
A warm bath is tons of fun on a cold day. Throw in some containers and waterproof toys to play with. If you really want to make things exciting, whip up some of these simple homemade bath paints.
- Color pictures
Grab some scratch paper and crayons, markers, or pens and be artists.
- Wash windows/walls
My kiddos really enjoy helping me wash windows, doorframes, baseboards, and walls. We just use washcloths and water, no chemicals necessary.
- Ring Around the Rosies
This is one way I participate in active play with the kids indoors. Yes, I’m aware of the history of this tune. It’s still a fun game. Also, there is a second verse to get everyone up off of the floor. It goes like this “Cows in the meadow, eating buttercups. Thunder, lightning, we all jump up!” Everyone stomps their hands on the floor as you say the words, then everyone jumps back up to repeat the game. This continues until mom gets too dizzy…
If you have a balloon, you can provide endless entertainment by blowing it up and letting it go (don’t tie it off). When you get tired of blowing up the balloon over and over again, tie it off and play a game of “keep the balloon in the air” by bouncing it up and chasing it.
- Peanut Butter Playdough
Make a batch of peanut butter playdough for the kids to sculpt and enjoy.
- Bake Something Together
My kids love to help me make things in the kitchen, like bread or cookies. Plus, baked goods make the house smell great, and are warm and comforting on a stormy day. I let the kids help put the ingredients into the mixer as I measure them. When daddy gets home from work, my son loves to share the goodies and talk about how he made them himself.
- Read books
Curl up on the couch or bed and enjoy some stories together.
- Call a Friend
My children love when I dial a grandparent, aunt, or uncle, then hand them the phone.
- Go to the library
When I have a car, my kids love a trip to the library. It’s free and in addition to fun books, our public library has fish tanks to watch and toys to play with.
- Fast Food Playplace
Occasionally for a special treat, I’ll take my kids to a fast food establishment with a playplace for some rainy day fun. I buy them something small like fries or a parfait (they’re always more interested in playing than eating anyway), and let them enjoy themselves. I consider the price of the food their “admission” to the playplace.
- Cut up paper
A pair of kiddie scissors and a piece of paper provide pretty solid entertainment for my pre-schooler. My daughter is just as content to rip paper into pieces.
- Play in the rain
Why not enjoy the elements instead of hiding from them? Some of my best childhood memories are of playing and even washing my hair in the rain with my siblings. Of course, that was in Florida and Puerto Rico, and it’s a little more enjoyable to play in 80*F rain than 40*F. Still, there’s nothing wrong with bundling up and letting the kiddos experience nature. It’s really me that wants to stay in out of the rain, not the kids!
- Do Hair
Pull out some brushes and hair accessories and “fix” each other’s hair. At age 3, my son finds this just as entertaining as my daughter. He’s totally game for having a pink bow in his curly hair.
Storm or no, dancing with children is always a blast and a great way to be active indoors. If you want some suggestions, take a look at my “Dance Party Top Picks” posts. Just be warned that our tastes may be a little out of the norm.
- Blanket Architecture
Get out your stash of blankets, quilts, and sheets and use them to make tents or caves by draping them over furniture.
- Edible Finger Paint
To make edible finger paint, all you need is a package of instant vanilla pudding, milk, and some food coloring. Prepare the pudding as directed, then divide it into separate bowls and dye each bowl a different color with the food dye. Give each kid a baking sheet with some pudding colors in the corner, and let them create artwork with their fingers, and eat it too.
Splash in the Puddles
When the rain stops, don’t miss the chance to take everyone out for a romp in the puddles. Then you can repeat bathtime.
What are your favorite activities for rainy days? How do you keep your children happy and busy when they’re stuck in the house together?
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