15 of the Very Best Rainy Day Activities for Kids

Updated: November 4, 2021
Stuck inside on a rainy day? Our parenting experts have pulled together a list (plus a free printable) of the top rainy day activities for toddlers, pre-schoolers and elementary students... They'll even appeal to the big kid side of you, too!
Rainy Day

If rainy weather is keeping you cooped up inside, don't fret. We've put together the ultimate list of rainy day activities for kids of all ages.

If you're like me, with two toddlers at home, a rainy day is enough to send you into a tailspin. No playground. No park. No bike rides. What fun things can we come up with to occupy the time while trapped indoors?

More: 10 Toddler Art Projects to do This Weekend

Before you go totally off the deep end, take a breath. We at FamilyEducation have compiled our tested-and-approved rainy day activities for kids.

Toddler and Preschool Activities

Make Blanket Fort

Rainy Day_Blanket Fort

All toys are better when they're inside a blanket fort, trust me. When the next rainy day comes around, pop-up your fort in the living room, and suddenly the room takes on a whole new feel. My kids will stay busy for hours coloring with crayons, reading books, or playing with their LEGOS all while under their “secret” living room fort. For some reason, boring old toys take on a new life when under the roof of a blanket.

Play Hide and Seek

Rainy Day_Hide and Seek

Yeah, I know this one is kind of simple, but little kids LOVE simple. Use the whole house, and get creative with the rules of the game. For example, kids have to recite the alphabet instead of counting to ten.

Your kids won't be too difficult to find. Mine usually pop out of their hiding spots as soon as I enter the room, or demand to hide in the spot they just found me in. Play it up a bit, and pretend your kids are impossible to find. When my son is having an especially hard time finding me, we call out funny sounds. He gets so excited when he hears a whistle and knows he’s getting close.

Have a Dance Party

Rainy Day_Dance Party

When it comes to indoor activities, a good old-fashioned dance party is a classic. Help release some of their seemingly endless energy with some loud music. Dancing around the house will help you burn off pent-up energy and get some exercise.

Parenting tip: Sure, you can do this with kids’ songs, but try a playlist that includes pop and dance songs (clean kid-friendly ones), too. My kids love all kinds of music, and the heavier the beat the better!

Indoor Scavenger Hunt

Rainy Day_Scavenger Hunt

Set up a basic or intricate scavenger hunt for your kids. For little ones with cabin fever, a quick DIY scavenger hunt will send them racing around looking for items. You can leave clues for your older kids or pictures for your younger kids. You can keep it super basic and have them look for general items (something soft, something red, something with wheels, etc.) or specific items. If you really want to get your kid’s competitive spirit up, set a timer and see who can gather items the quickest!

Indoor Obstacle Course

Rainy Day_Obstacle Course

Particularly if you are looking for toddler activities, an obstacle course is a great way to get some wiggles out. Practice balancing, jumping, walking backward, hopping, skipping, and so much more. Your little ones will love navigating their way through an obstacle course, and you can easily create it with anything you have on hand, no special materials or supplies needed!

Make Homemade Playdough

Rainy Day_Playdough

Playdough is a great rainy day boredom buster, especially when it involves making it from scratch. There are all kinds of recipes that involve ingredients you probably already have at home. Letting your kids be hands-on in the kitchen and make playdough will help them develop pride, a sense of ownership, and a sense of belonging. You will be working on math, science, and sensory all at once.

Once the playdough is ready, give your kiddos some cookie cutters and a rolling pin, and they will be immersed in making playdough for hours! Store your playdough in plastic wrap and inside of an air-tight container or Ziploc bag for up to six months of fun! It will be ready to go on the next rainy day.

Play Dress Up

Dress Up

Little kids love to dress up, and this is one of the best rainy day activities. If you don’t have kids’ costumes, grab winter gear, dad’s t-shirts, mom’s costume jewelry, and some fun hats. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be fun!

Bust out a Sensory Bin

Sensory Bin

Busy Toddler is one of my go-to’s for toddler sensory bin ideas. Susie has a ton of ideas of what to keep on hand for when you need a sensory bin to help keep your little ones occupied. While they might be geared towards toddlers and preschoolers, older kids are known to want to join in and have fun as well.

A lot of parents correlate sensory bins with a mess, but I promise you it doesn’t have to lead to shaving cream on walls and other disasters. Pick and choose what you feel you and your kids can handle. The more exposure they have, the more they will know how to navigate and respect sensory bins without creating a huge mess.

Older Kid Activities

Read a Good Book

Rainy Day_Read a Book

Cuddle up in a blanket with her favorite book and read together — or start a series together like Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia. Take turns reading, or have the kids read to you to keep them focused and interested. If you made a blanket fort earlier, pull out some lanterns or flashlights and read under the fort for a more exciting and cozy experience.

Science Experiments

Science Experiment

Science is a great way to get brains turning, teach kids about cause and effect, and cause a lot of excitement. You can do a couple of quick searches for science experiment printables to follow along with, check out our science activities center, or just wing it. If you’re daring, try messy experiments like a baking soda and vinegar volcano or making your own slime. Or try a non-messy activity like dissolving marshmallows. As a bonus, a little marshmallow snack is always a sweet bonus!

Have a Paper Airplane Contest

Paper Airplane

Have your big kids design their very own paper airplane, and then compete to see whose design is able to fly the furthest. They’ll have to put their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) skills to the test. A little sense of competition will definitely get their ideas rolling.

This is a great rainy day activity that doesn’t require much prep time or materials. Provide sheets of paper, and the freedom to find materials around the house to make the very best airplane. Big kids and even tweens will have lots of fun designing, trialing, and adjusting their airplanes.

Create a Treasure Hunt

Treasure Hunt

Kids will love a good old-fashioned treasure hunt. Have your big kids set up the hunt, and put them to work creating a treasure map. If there are younger siblings they can try to follow the map to find the treasure! Or you can follow the map for a fun way to engage with your kids.

Change it up and set up a treasure hunt for your kids to follow. Make each stop on a map a small activity like indoor games, card games, trivia questions, exercises, chores, etc. Each stop leads them that much closer to the treasure. Treasure can be small prizes, bonus screen time, a special snack, or even a cash reward. Your kids will have fun playing, and you may even convince them to get a few household chores completed!

Fun for the Whole Family

Family Movie Day (or Night)

Rainy Day_Movie Night

What's better than cuddling up with your kids, a blanket, and a coffee table full of snacks for a family movie night? Not much. My kids love the opportunity to chow on munchies and watch a full-length movie.

On the next rainy day or night, turn the family room into your own personal theater. You may be stuck at home, but with a little bit of work, a special movie night can feel like a private getaway. Find a movie the whole family will like, settle in, and enjoy the show!

Family Game Day

Family Game Day

If you'd rather your family time was spent sans screen, try a classic board game. Whether you're snapping up real estate in Monopoly or resisting the tempting treats in Candy Land, playing board games is a great way to spend a leisurely day at home. You will love that your kids get a break from the screens, and your kids will enjoy having you engage and play with them. Depending on the age of your kids, team up in pairs or have your littlest ones play with you.

Cook Together

Rainy Day_Cook Together

As long as the kids are stuck indoors, why not spend the day together making a family-favorite recipe? Make cooking fun with your assistant chefs by assigning responsibilities. Whether mixing, slicing with supervision, or laying out the paper plates, there’s a job for kids of all ages. Not only will they feel important and useful, but they'll also be proud they helped make something.

Not ready to tackle cooking a meal? Try a box cupcake mix and have fun decorating. Or spread out a display of toppings and have ice cream sundaes for a special snack. It might seem simple, but this is a great activity for preschoolers who want to help in the kitchen.

Make a Cardboard Box Creation

Cardboard Box

Does Amazon visit your house frequently? Save those cardboard boxes for the next rainy day! Work together as a family to put together some truly creative masterpieces. A rocketship ready to outer space, an ice cream shop ready to serve up sundaes covered in sprinkles, a safari jeep headed out in search of animals.

Grab some packing tape, markers, glue, paper, crayons, you name it, and let the creativity start flowing. By working as a whole family kids will develop cooperation and problem-solving skills, and everyone can take pride in the end result.

Looking for more ideas? Check out our Ultimate List of 75 Activities for Kids Stuck at Home.