50 Creative Things to Do on a Rainy Day

parenting on a rainy day

Rainy day, need something fun to do

Yesterday the weather where I live was cold and wet, in what I hope was the last gasp of winter. The drab view through my rain-streaked windows got me thinking about what we would have done on a day like that when my four wiggly little boys needed a day of play indoors.

Rainy days are perfect opportunities to pack those extra hours with out-of-the-ordinary activities. Some of the best fun my boys ever had was on those open-ended play days when they had time to explore ideas and create imaginary worlds.

To get your creative juices flowing, here is my list of fifty fun and creative things to do on a rainy day:

1–bake something tasty
2–have an indoor picnic or tea party with the tasty thing you baked
3–snack time art: on a paper plate, use chunks of fruits or veggies, and pieces of bread or crackers, whipped cream, etc. to draw pictures or make faces – then eat it all up!
4–make a big batch of homemade modeling dough – add toothpicks, straws, etc. for extra sculpting items
5–kitchen table playtime with food items and safe utensils
6–kitchen sink playtime with water and plastic bowls, measuring cups, etc.

Parenting in the Sweet Spot at art time

Aluminum foil sculpture

7–window painting: make easy-to-clean-up paint and get creative on windows or glass jars
8–stamping: cut potatoes or apples in half, carve a design, use paint to stamp your designs
9–collage: cut photos, words and letters out of old magazines, then arrange creatively and glue them down – practice spelling words with the letters; learn colors, shapes; etc.
10–drawing / painting with paper and markers / crayons / colored pencils / paint
11–foil sculpture: make animals, people, superheroes and more out of aluminum foil
12–fold and fly paper airplanes – decorating them is fun, too
13–play “Art Gallery” with your own artwork – create, display, have a fancy “opening”

14–play hide-and-go-seek
15–scavenger hunt with a surprise to find at the end
16–board games
17–card games
18–make your own tic-tac-toe or checkerboard set with paper, lids, etc. – giant size is fun!
19–make your own bowling alley with rolled-up socks and paper towel / TP tubes
20–sock glide: with socks on and shoes off, go skating on a smooth floor
21–stair slide: pile pillows and blankets on stairs to make a smooth soft surface for sliding

Parenting in the Sweet Spot at game time

Don’t touch the floor because it’s Hot Lava!

22–paper plate frisbees
23–rubber band target practice
24–splash around in a scented bubble bath
25–build a blanket fort, or set up a dome tent inside
26–play dress-up with Mom’s heels and Dad’s ties, etc.
27–snuggle with your dog, or play with your cat, or give your pet a good brushing
28–Hot Lava game: get across the room without touching the floor because the floor is HOT LAVA! Pillows are safe stepping stones
29–silliness with toilet paper: mummy wrap, roll a room, mark a trail

30–read out loud – take turns and make it dramatic! – or read silently
31–look through baby pictures; watch old family videos
32–tell stories about your ancestors; show old photos
33–movie time with popcorn, snacks and snuggles
34–write a play, gather costumes and props, make and “sell” tickets, record it in a video
35–decorate old socks or paper bags to have silly faces, and put on a puppet show

36–dance to the music: put on peppy tunes for kids to get moving and use up energy
37–music listening: play quiet music just for listening; select music styles your kids haven’t heard yet
38–make your own instruments: turn metal pans and spoons into a drum set, make shakers with plastic cups filled with rice / pennies / paper clips, empty canister becomes a drum, make a panpipe out of different straw lengths, etc.
39–whistle a happy tune
40–make up a melody to sing using your favorite poem, or write your own song with lyrics and a tune

Parenting in the Sweet Spot at science time

Baking soda + vinegar + food coloring + plastic dinosaurs = VOLCANO!

41–play with magnets and paper clips or other small metal objects (and some items that can’t be picked up with a magnet, so your child learns more about how magnets work)
42–how high can you stack your shoes (or books, or boxes, or …) before they fall over?
43–create a “volcano” with baking soda and vinegar
44–make your own groovy lava lamp with oil, water and salt (and glitter and food coloring)
45–experiment with static electricity using balloons, wool fabric, your hair, and a tin can

46–get unexpected items out of storage – Christmas in July, Valentine’s Day in September, an Easter egg hunt in October, a January trip to the “beach” with swimsuits and sunglasses – play with “sand” (oatmeal / cereal / other food item), etc.
47–figure out how many new ways you can play with ordinary items such as: laundry basket, stuffed animals, shoelaces, scarves, etc.
48–rediscover forgotten toys (secret code for “clean out the toybox”, but don’t tell them that)
49–play Store, pretending to be shopkeeper(s) and shopper(s) – choose products, set up displays, create your own currency, set prices, etc.
50–build a pretend town with Duplos, Legos, or other building sets

This list is just to get you started with finding fresh ideas about how to inspire many happy hours of play. And of course, all these ideas are just as nifty for long weekends, summer days, snow days, school holidays, afterschooling, and homeschool.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then dreary weather is the father of figuring out how to fill long days with fun and worthwhile activities. Encourage your children to think creatively along with you. Switch your rainy days from boring to epic, and give your family some of their brightest memories ever!