20 ideas for Rainy Day Play

Rainy Day ideas

It’s the middle of the summer holidays, the kids are driving us mad and so of course the weather has turned and it’s raining pretty much non-stop!!!
As much as a bit of rain never spoilt a day out – it’s all about bad clothes, not bad weather!
However sometimes you just want to stay indoors rather than getting like a drowned rat! But you don’t want the kids on their screens all day. So if you are having a rainy day at home here are some ideas of imaginative fun and play ideas to keep you and your children entertained whilst getting them off their screens!
Here are 10 ideas to get you busy and having some rainy day fun!

1/ Face painting

Often face painting is associated with being at a family attraction, however you can pick up a face painting kit fairly cheaply and bring up some fairly simple designs on the internet and the kids love having their face painted! If you are feeling especially brave or chilled you could also let them paint your face!! The kids LOVE it!!!

2/ Play board games

Board games don’t have to be saved for Christmas and don’t have to mean monopoly or Cluedo. There are lots of board games that can involve all ages and even be non – competitive, like Escape Board game. And there are some interesting ones that are great for helping children with strategy, maths, reading and help them with their learning whilst having fun! Some of our favourites are Carcassonne, Settlers, and Ticket to Ride.

3/  Make up a quiz

Give the kids a time limit, decide on a top / theme or series of topics (maybe give a different topic to each child) and they have to go away and create a quiz / game to host for everyone.

A great online quiz tool is Kahoot. and is brilliant for creating bespoke quizzes and games for the family which you can all do live!

4/ Do some baking

Depending on the age of your kids you can simply decorate some rich tea biscuits (simple icing, some sprinkles and smarties and they will be busy for hours!! ) or you can do cupcakes, easy no bake tray cakes, or go all out with some bread or a cake! It’s a great way to teach them passion about food and what we put in our bodies as well as fun to do together (plus if you are clever about what you make you can have tea covered off!)

5/ Make a volcano

This is a super easy science experiment, with very little materials needed and maximum fun and impact for the kids!

Easy instructions here –

  1. Pour warm water into the volcano until it is 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full.
  2. Add several drops of food coloring.
  3. Add a squirt of detergent. …
  4. Add a couple of spoonfuls of baking soda.
  5. When you are ready to start the eruption, pour vinegar into yourvolcano.
  6. You can recharge thevolcano with more baking soda and vinegar.

6/ Make messy play from cheap food items

Obviously messy play isn’t everyone’s cup of tea at home because of the mess, but if you contain it in an area and in containers and give the children rules about where they keep it, it can keep them busy for ages! And for little one especially, sensory play is so beneficial.

Our favourites are dried rice, divided and coloured into different colours; shaving foam coloured with gel colour (this is great in the bath!) spaghetti or pasta shapes.

mess play ideas

7/ Do an indoor scavenger hunt

Create a list like below and give it to the children to find each one of the items. If they are too young to read go with them and read it out to them or create it as a picture or colour list.

Try a list like –

find something red

find something fuzzy

find something round

find something with wheels

find something with eyes

find something with 4 legs

find something mutli- coloured

find something that roars

Obviously this can be tailored to the ages of your kids

Or you can do a pre-prepared indoor treasure hunt like here

treasure hunts for kids

8/Make slime

What kid doesn’t like making slime?! Here is a great recipe and method on the video by Daisy Days here – don’t forget to subscribe to her channel for more fun and creative ideas….

9/ Make Sand Foam

Make sand foam- super easy, simply mix sand with shaving foam and you won’t believe the amazing texture it creates! It isn’t even that messy once it has been combined and the kids LOVE it!!

10/ Make ice cream playdough

This is a super easy version of making your own playdough, is edible and smells amazing; what’s not to like!!

You need –

Pre made frosting mixture – any flavours you like

3 cups Icing mixture/sugar

Step 1

Pour your frosting flavour into a mixer

Step 2

Slowly add 3 cups of the icing mixture to the frosting on a slow speed

Step 3

Once combined pour out onto grease proof paper and let the kids have some fun!

11/ Make traditional play dough

This is by far the best recipe I have come across for playdough.

You will need –

  • Cups of Flour

2 Tbsp of Oil (any oil will do, coconut oil, vegetable oil, even olive oil)

1/2 Cup of Salt

2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar

1 1/2 Cup Boiling Water

How to make playdough

  1. Pour 2 cups of  flour into a bowl.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of salt.
  3. Mix in 2 tbsp Cream of Tartar. (You can find this in the spice section of just about any grocery store.)
  4. Add 2 tbsp of oil. For this recipe I used vegetable oil, but you can use any oil, and as long as it’s a kitchen oil, your playdough will be non-toxic and safe if a little one takes a tiny taste.  The sodium level is very high, so we don’t encourage this to double as a snack.
  5. Pour in the boiling water. Be VERY careful because this makes the dough HOT!
  6. Mix all the ingredients together until they form the dough. At this point, if you don’t want to add any food dye to your playdough, you’re finished!
  7. After it’s cooled, to make several different colors of playdough, separate the dough into equal parts and roll it up into balls.
  8. Now, punch out the middle of the ball to leave a little bowl for you to pour your gel food dye into.
  9. Drip your gel dye into the bowls. This is a great time to mix dye colors if you want to make another color.
  • Knead the dough until the dye is thoroughly mixed. This is VERY messy! If you don’t want to stain your hands, use gloves, and make sure to put something down so you don’t stain your counter (like I did).

12/  Make a magazine collage

A great way to use up old magazines and newspapers – give the children a theme and get them to make a picture made out of what they can find in the magazines!

13/ Listen to an audio book

You might want the children to take a break from screens and I bet they don’t actually spend that much time purely listening to a story unless you are reading it to them, as they are usually watching something on the television or device. Getting them to sit and listen to an audio story has an amazing calming effect on a lot of children and they love the ability to sit and let their imagination run along with the story as they hear it.

Download and listen to the Wondersldie World audio book for FREE here 

14/ Make a music video

Again another way to use their devices in a creative and alternative way. Get the children to choose a music track and ask them to plan out creating a music video. Encourage them to do the planning before they actually pick up the device to do the filming. They should draw out storyboards and create a visual script; who should be doing what and where. They can costumes and visuals.  Once they have filmed it they can use a free editing tool like imovie to edit it and share it with the family at your own premiere!

15/ Play hide and seek

The most simple game is often still the most asked for in our house!!

16/  Paint rocks

and when it stops raining you can take them outside to hide them! See a video here on rock painting…



17/ Sumo Wrestling

Get dads short out, stuff it will pillows or cushions, put a soft surface down and have some fun. Obviously this needs to be supervised as can get a bit excitable!

18/ Build a road

A roll of masking tape is perfect for creating streets, roads and motorways all over the home and then cars and vehicles can have a real adventure! Did you know that vehicles are the most popular interest in pre school children? This is a great way to get them using their vehicles in a new way!

19/ Give them a big pile of cupboard boxes!

Kids have the most fun with a pile of random cardboard boxes – plus some strong tape, felt tips and scissors – they can do what they want with.

Space rockets, boats, bridges, trains, teddy hospitals, castles, smugglers’ caves, bomb shelters….chances are you will be impressed with what they come up with!

Have you seen this amazing video of the cardboard arcade games boy? Its well worth a watch…..

20/ The final one is our favourite…. LOVE BOMB YOUR KIDS!!

What is a love bomb?

Basically it involves spending a nice chunk of one-on-one time with your kid, showering them with love and affection—and most importantly, letting your child call all the shots. So on a rainy day ask them what they want to do, switch off your phone, your laptop, the radio, the lot. For an hour. Solid. And cuddle them. Listen to them. Read to them. Play any game they want. Basically give them undivided attention for that hour.

Then leave them alone.

Now of course they’ll come back for top-up attention, but this is one of the best things you can do to teach them to entertain themselves, as counterintuitive as it sounds, giving them the undivided attention, re-sets them and allows them to go and entertain themselves afterward!

Hopefully some of these activities help you to stay sane in the rain (while inside anyway!!)

And if all else fails, get them suited and booted and go out puddle splashing!!!



You might also like 15 ideas for awesome childrens summer holiday activities/

Read 5 imaginative outdoor activities to do with children

11 ways to encourage creative play in your child

Have you heard about The Elf Advent Challenge? 24 days of elf fun tasks in December? Learn more and enrol your child here

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