One of the sure fire ways to send fear into the heart of any parent, is that pitter patter of rain on a window pain. I’m always on the lookout for plenty of rainy day activities for kids to fall on when this happens. Any parent knows that children are just happier, calmer individuals when they’ve had plenty of time throughout the day to run and play outside in the fresh air. In fact nothing makes me feel calmer as a parent, than watching my little’s play happily in the fresh air. Whether it’s running around a park or splashing in a paddling pool in my garden while I can relax in the sunshine with my favourite drink, or chase them round in a game or tag and listen to them giggling away happily as the sun shines. Add in the smell of a barbecue or sea air and you’ve really found the way to my heart!)
However living in the UK, waking up to a rained off day is more often than not a weekly occurrence. Add in a pandemic and a lockdown (I am writing this during March of 2021), and it’s time to start climbing the walls. However, fear not! Having had a lot of practice in this area I have developed an easy and simple go to list for rainy day activities for kids. These save me on a regular basis from tantrums and bedtime battles and cues of “Mum, what can I dooooooo?”
Here are my Top 10 go to rainy day activities for kids, save this, pin it on your fridge. You can thank me later.
1. Keep a rainy day box!
Kids can get used to having certain toys around the house, keep a box tucked away that only comes out on those rainy days you get stuck at home. This will differ for each child, its useful when over run with new toys and gifts at birthdays and Christmas to keep a few hanging back to bring out at times like this. Yours could include some or all of the following:
A couple of board games.
A favorite movie.
Colouring and sticker books.
A craft set.
Dressing up clothes.
New Lego set.
You can rotate things as they get used, its such a novelty for them to only get to use this special box on a rainy day. If you pack it right – it can include a good couple of hours of activities.
This is a bonus as you get to eat the end result. It pays to always have some basic biscuit recipe ingredients stashed in the cupboard. Keep some icing sugar and different sprinkles in your pantry, and some fun biscuit shape cutters too. My go too recipe is this butter cookie version from Nigella. I always make double and freeze half for another day. Kids get to have lots of fun creating them (and making a mess of course, but just go with it.) Many happy memories can be made baking, decorating and mixing while the rain hammers on the window. They’ll completely forget about the rain, and your house will smell delicious!
Make an awesome den.
It’s time to grab all those old sheets and pegs and make an awesome den. Turn your house upside down with cushions and blankets and win fun mum points as they pretend to be a knight or a queen or a dinosaur hunter / explorer or whatever their little heart desires while you can grab a sneaky cup of coffee.
Make a Treasure Hunt
This may take some forward planning and stashing a way for future, but a fun treasure hunt can always kill an hour. Kids love this rainy day activity. This can be made by you and designed for your specific house, or printed online (find something you eat that’s green, and so on). You can keep some sweets or small toy stashed away as a prize and they’ll think it’s the best day ever.
Turn your lounge into a soft play area.
This is almost a daily occurrence in my house. If your little’s need to burn off a bit of steam, a great rainy day activity for toddlers is to create a kind of soft play assault course. Throw all your large sofa cushions over the living room, put some of their favorite music on and you’ve got yourself a soft play area minus the germs. Remember to cover anything they might bump their heads on!
Bust out some snacks and get messy on the kitchen table. Kids love to get into craft making but it’s an activity that’s sometimes avoided in the attempt to keep things tidy. Keep a special box on hand full paper, card, paints, old magazines and cards, stickers, glitter and glue. Check out craft stores or online stores for craft making kits and keep them tucked away for days like this. They could make pictures for friends or family, cards for special upcoming events or celebrations. Have an explore on pinterest for kids craft ideas. You’ll find plenty of ideas on how to make fun craft items with things you probably have laying around the house – repurposed loo roll anyone?
This one takes care of the dinner making, make some fun pizzas from scratch. Kids love to get involved in cooking, it’s a fab way to introduce them to new foods too. You can make your own pizza dough (I make twice as much as I need and freeze half) or you could use shop brought bases. You can even use bases made out of tortillas and pitta bread for a healthy yummy alternative. Just top with some passata and oregano and get them to pick out their cheeses and toppings. They’ll have a great time playing little chefs, and you won’t be trying to keep them occupied while you try and cook dinner later!
When all the den making, cushion rearranging and biscuit making has exhausted everyone – there’s no harm in getting cosy in front of the TV. Grab your favorite blankets and cushions and bring the cinema to you. I always keep pop kernels on hand to make fresh buttery popcorn whenever we feel like. Kids love to watch excited for them to start popping and then stir in a little melted butter. We like to add different toppers like our local cinema and add in favorite sweets and chocolate at the end. Top 5 kids movies in our house include:
Wreck it Ralph
Toy Story 4
Hide & Seek
If you want five minutes of quiet when being indoors is getting cramped, indulge in a little hide and seek. Take a breather while you hide behind a shower curtain, no one will know. I have never met a child that does not love hide and seek. This is also hilarious when playing with very small children and watching them attempt to “hide” in the same spot over and over again whilst showing everyone where they are hiding.
Get them in the bath!
I once read that if your children need to let off some steam, or if you spot the signs that they are starting to get a little cranky – put them in air or water! So if outdoor exercise and play is rained off, they’ll love the novelty of a midday bath! Put in some extra bubbles and grab some of their favourite bath safe toys and let them have some fun. I find this always calms down my toddlers. Not only will this save you time nearer bedtime, it will come on handy after all the baking and crafts and your kids are now covered in flour and paint!
I hope you find some of these ideas useful, next time you wake up to the rain hammering against the windows – let go of the notion of a tidy house for a few hours and break out some of these rainy day activities for kids. What are your favourite rainy day activities? Comment below for some extra inspiration.