Rainy day activities
Age: toddler, child
Skill for Bub: Just for fun
Lots of great indoor activities to keep the kids out of trouble on a rainy day.
It’s raining outside and the kids are bored. Don’t let the thought of an entire day indoors terrify you; it’s a great chance to have loads of fun with the kids and maybe even factor in a few minutes for yourself. A good approach is to fill the morning with some of these activities, have a nice lunch and then let the kids watch a video in the afternoon at ‘rest time’ so you get a break as well.
We have put together a list of activities that you can easily do with the kids at home. Most of the materials we talk about can be found around the house and not one of these activities needs batteries. You’ll be surprised at just how much fun you will have too.
Have a look at our Rainy Day Box feature as well. If you out one of these together and add to it over time you will find it quick and easy to get started on all the creative ideas below. Remember to grab some Huggies Disposable Change Mats. These make perfect craft mats as they protect the surface, absorb water, paint, glue etc and best of all they have a non slip base so they stay put while your child gets creative.
Get creative with a cardboard box. The ones they give away at most fruit shops are best. They are large and sturdy and of course FREE. Help the kids paint and decorate the box. There is no end to what they can create by adding materials such as paper plates, pipe cleaners, paint, crayons, crepe paper, paper towels, bottle tops, match boxes, cup cake cases, straws etc… Some ideas include:
- A race car
- A doll house
- A puppet theatre
- A shop counter
- A cave
- A dolls bed
- A mountain with a volcano on top
- A dog or pet box for their favourite stuffed toy.
Create a collage. This is a great activity for kids of all ages. Collect all the things you will need first. The basics include glue (pots of Clag from the supermarket are perfect and very cheap), scissors, stickers, old magazines you have finished reading as well as pencils, crayons or textas for the older kids. Help your child cut out pictures they like from the magazines and arrange them on a page. This helps them develop basic planning skills while they have fun. You can give them a photo of themselves or their family to place at the centre of the page and decorate the rest of the page themselves. The older children can make an alphabet book over time where each page represents a new letter. You could also have a colour theme for each page so their crayons, pictures etc.. all follow the theme.
Create an indoor treasure hunt. Kids love a challenge so tell them all the materials they need to draw a picture have been hidden around the house. They can then go find the hidden paper, pencils, crayons etc…and once they find them they can do their drawing. You could also hide craft materials for a project or just a random list of objects for them to find. Make sure you tell them what they are looking for up front or they may turn the house upside down!
Make some sock puppets. Gather up some tired looking socks and sew on a few buttons for the nose and eyes and stitch a little smile. If you are pressed for time use stickers for the eyes, nose and smile. If you are feeling adventurous then you can help the kids create a puppet theatre as described above of just move the lounge forward and have the kids hide behind it. Most lounges are a good height for a puppet theatre.
Me, me, me does this sound familiar? Instead of groaning when you hear it maybe try exploring it a little more. Ask you child to lie down on a large piece of paper. Trace around them with a crayon and help them write their name at the top. Help them decorate themselves with all the things they love. They can use picture from magazines, old photos, draw their favourite things, use colours they love even draw on the clothes they like or sports equipment they use. On a smaller scale (or if you only have small sheets of paper) the help them trace around their hands, feet or heads. The girls will love painting their nails, adding rings and bracelets etc…All kids will love drawing in their faces, adding hats, helmets, hair and more.
Let’s get stamping. If the thought of letting the kids explore their creativity with paints inside the house is a bit much for you them maybe stamping is the answer. It’s like painting but on a smaller scale. You can buy ready made stamps from stamping, craft or discount stores. Even Toys R Us sell these at very reasonable prices. These are usually mounted on wood and are quite easy for little hands to grip. Give the kids a stamp pad and some paper and they can create beautiful pictures without making too much of a mess. There are some stamp pads especially made for kids but you can also use any you have around the house as long as they are non toxic.
Create a simple memory game. Lay down a few different objects on the floor. Use 2 or 3 for younger children and up to 5 or 6 for the older ones. Ask your child to have a good look at all the things on the floor for around 30 seconds. Ask them to close their eyes and take one item away. When they open their eyes they can try and guess which one you have removed. Take turns doing this so they feel like they are in control too.
Make a family portrait. This is really easy, loads of fun and makes a great Christmas gift for the grandparents. Using the kids’ paints place everyone hand or foot prints onto a sheet of paper. Add each persons name and age and the date at the bottom of the page. You can make a few at a time, frame them and save them to give away as Christmas gifts. The kids love watching you get paint all over your hands with them!
Make some jewellery like a necklace or a crown. All of us have some pasta in our pantry. Next time the kids need a quick activity gather some pasta tubes and string or knotting wool together and help the kids thread a necklace. If you have more time then ask the kids to paint and decorate the pasta tubes first, wait for them to try and then thread them for a more colourful creation. The other wonderful material that is always in the pantry is aluminium foil. It is easy to bend and manoeuvre and can be mage into wonderful shapes like rings, flat pieces and more. If you cut out a basic crown using cardboard the kids can stick their foil and pasta shapes onto it making a very special crown or head piece.
Doctors and nurses is a great pretending game for kids. Take turns to play each role. You make already have a doctors set or you can use materials from around the house. Encourage your child to play doctors with their dolls or teddies so you don’t need to participate every time.
This one is mainly for the girls. Create a beauty salon or a hairdressing salon somewhere in the house. You may have a dressing table you can use or otherwise the bathroom is a great place for this one. Personally I like to create our salon in the lounge room with the TV on. This means they can play while I pretend to be the customer as I sit and watch TV for a few minutes. It’s a nice break! Gather together some brushes, elastics, a toy hair dryer and a few clips. Let the kids create a new hair do for you. For the beauty salon try some clear nail polish, lip balm, a cheap facial moisturiser and some basic hand cream. Keep the brightly coloured and more expensive stuff well out of reach.
Play shops and shop keepers. Most kids have a toy cash register. Dig it out and give the kids some coins from you wallet if they don’t have toy money. It’s also good fun to get the kids to draw their own paper money. Cut out some pieces of paper to use as basic notes and ask them to put different numbers on each one then divide the money up among all the players. Take turns playing shop keeper and customer. You can use this game to practise number recognition and basic counting.
Play some simple acting games. Write down a basic activity or thing on a few pieces of paper and place them on the floor. Take turns to pick one and act it out. The person watching can ask for some changes to the activity if they like. Eg If a child is pretending to be a monkey you can ask them to eat a banana or climb a tree etc…
Start the day by reading in bed. If you have no great plans for the day why not kick the day off by lying in bed with your child and reading some books together. You can each pick a few books and read them together under the covers. If you child still has a bottle first thing in the morning them let them enjoy that while you read to them.
Make a story book together. There are 2 ways you can approach this activity. Have a look at our interactive storybook in the fun and learning area. You can insert your child’s name as well as their siblings and friends names and print of a cute little book to read together. The other approach is to sit with you child and write a short story together. Let them lead the way. You can give them ideas like a recent holiday, a trip to the zoo, an afternoon in the park etc.. When the story is complete help your child decorate each page using pictures, drawings, magazine clippings etc.. You can laminate each page at the end and keep the little book.
Sit on the floor with your child and make up stories together. This is a good game to play in the car too especially if you are on a long trip. There is only so much eye spy that one person can play. You can select a theme or storyline or just start with the phrase ‘let’s pretend you are a ….’.The other good line to get started with is ‘what would happen if…’.
Try a game of indoor soccer, tennis or golf. A packet of balloons is a good investment for any parent or carer. You can quickly and easily blow up a pretend soccer, tennis or golf ball and get a game started. Blow up a balloon for each child. For soccer create a goal area. This can easily be done with a simple dining room chair. It is easy to move and small enough to be a bit of a challenge. For golf or tennis you can use 2 fly squatters and a smaller size balloon. To get the kids playing without you ask them to use their hands or feet to keep the balloon off the ground. Ask them to count how many times they hit the balloon before it touched the ground.
Create a game of target practice. You can use items such as laundry buckets, empty boxes or ice cream containers as targets. Give your child a selection of indoor balls. You can use balloons, tennis balls, soft plush balls or those annoying plastic balls that end up everywhere. The object is for the kids to stand at a distance and get as many balls as they can into the selected container. If it is to easy ask them to take 2 steps back. This is a good tactical game at pack up time. Play the same game to get the Lego back in the tub, the dress up costumes back in their box etc..
Don’t discount the old classics like the egg and spoon races. Obviously the real eggs are out, but use a large spoon and items like small bean bags or bean bag toys, golf balls, small potatoes or little plastic bags filled with some sand. Make sure the bags are well sealed before you use them. The kids can race or you can create an obstacle course around the house.
In the kitchen
Make lunch together. This is a very simple idea and it encourages independence and makes children feel like they are really helping. If you are making sandwiches let the kids butter the bread and add the fillings. While you tidy it up and cut it into pieces they can set the table for both of you. Even though it will take 3 times as long as it will take you alone the kids will love it.
Make some cup cakes or muffins together. There are some great recipes in our meal ideas section. The kids can help add some ingredients, mix things around in the bowl and decorate the cakes at the end. Make a milkshake or hot chocolate for everyone and sit down to an afternoon tea picnic on the floor.
Have an indoor tea party or picnic. If you don’t have time to attend then suggest that teddy and some dolls would like to come instead.
If your child is quite young rather than getting them to participate in the food preparation you can give them a few of your kitchen utensils so they can pretend to cook while you are getting dinner ready. A mixing bowl, wooden spoon, measuring cups, plastic storage containers and a whisk are always a hit with the kids.
If you are baking and have some dough left over give a small piece to the kids to play with. If you don’t have any cooking dough you can always go crazy with play dough. Look up our fun with play dough article for great activity ideas that will keep the kids entertained for hours. There is also a recipe to make play dough yourself if you like.