Rainy day activities for children
Even though we’re heading for summer, the Great British weather doesn’t always get the memo. You can never be sure when the next downpour is coming. So, having a stack of rainy day activities for kids up your sleeve is vital for keeping your household happy. In case you’re in need of some inspo after a year of lockdown and home-schooling, here are our top games, craft activities and family-friendly projects to do when it’s too wet to play outdoors…
Create your own gallery
Do you have any budding van Goghs or Rembrandts in your family? A rainy day is always a great excuse to create some masterpieces. Give the children as many different paints, colouring pencils and felt tips as possible, plus glitter and stickers to jazz up their pictures. Then let them create their very own gallery by helping them hang their finished artworks around the living room, and invite any other members of your household to the private view.
Top tip: Give them a theme to work to (family portraits, your garden, a superhero etc) or a painting by a famous artist to emulate. For something a little different, get them to paint an album cover for a made up band or a book cover for a story they love to read or would like to write.
Party Pieces recommends: Your kids might need a little assistance in getting their creative juices flowing, and that’s where our activity sheets, rainbow scratch art kit and animal felt picture kit come in. We’ve also got sets of high quality colouring pencils, such as this Colourful Creatures one.
Junk modelling is another safe bet when lining up rainy day indoor activities, with boat building being a top challenge! Empty ice cream and butter tubs are perfect for the main vessel. Lolly sticks can be added for the mast and then let their imaginations run wild with the extra adornments. They could also put Lego figures or other toys in the boat for its maiden voyage. Once the vessels are ready, get those waterproofs on and head out to find some deep puddles to try them in.
Top tip: If you can’t face the rain, just fill the bath or sink and see if the junk boats sink or swim!
Party Pieces recommends: If your kids want to get even more crafty, try them with our make your own cardboard bugs set, a knitting mushroom or this sew your own crocodile kit.
We’ve never met a kid who doesn’t love to build a den and, when the rain is hammering down, creating a cosy hideaway with duvets, blankets and cushions is just about the ideal activity to pass a good chunk of time. It may be that your children are master builders and you can leave them to get on with it, but you might need to be on call to supervise furniture shifting and the securing of den walls, roofs and doorways (bulldog clips and elastic bands come in handy here). Once built, let them decorate with fairy lights, then they can enjoy their new quarters with books, audiobooks or a card game.
Top tip: You could extend the game into the night by letting your children ‘camp out’ indoors. They could do star-gazing out the window and tuck into a midnight feast before settling down to sleep in their dens.
Party Pieces recommends: One way to really up the ante with this activity is to set up a Wild Wonders or In the Jungle teepee in their room. Both bestsellers with our customers and coming again soon!
Do your children love to put on a show? Why not get them to prepare for and then perform a talent show? Perhaps they can perform magic tricks or reel off some gags in a stand-up comedy routine. Singing, dancing and storytelling are all options, too.
Top tip: Make this one a proper rainy day family activity by doing a turn yourself. The kids will absolutely love it (or possibly cringe in embarrassment!) if the grown ups in the house take to the stage. Whatever your hidden talent, now’s your time to shine!
Party Pieces recommends: When the weather improves, host a repeat of the show outside so you can invite another household to enjoy it. For an authentic experience, your children can make and decorate ‘tickets’ then serve pic ‘n’ mix in these handy holders.
During the pandemic, the sale of jigsaw puzzles jumped massively as people looked for things to do to keep them occupied while stuck indoors, and they remain a trusty option for rainy day entertainment. You could make your jigsaw session competitive by doing a race. Either time your kids’ attempts at making the same jigsaw – the fastest completion time wins – or let them go head-to-head making different jigsaws, with the first to finish crowned the winner.
Top tip: If you’re feeling creative, you could get your kids to have a go at making their own puzzles – here’s a handy guide to DIY jigsaws.
Party Pieces recommends: Little ones will love this set of transport puzzles, while, for a proper challenge, we’ve got a 1,000-piece countryside morning jigsaw. There’s also Wild Wonders long puzzle and, for something a little different, give them this Rubik’s Cube-style unicorn puzzle.
When all else fails, bake! They make it look easy on Great British Bake Off, right? Biscuits, scones and cupcakes are good go-to options and there are lots of simple baking recipes out there. Your children will love getting involved in all the measuring, mixing and decorating (and licking the spoon, of course!) Once the bake is done, you could do some deliveries to friends in your street, or just scoff them yourselves. Need a little inspo for your rainy day bake off? Checkout our top hacks for baking cupcakes.
Top tip: Once you have picked your recipe, why not see if a loved one fancies joining you on Zoom for a bake-a-long session. Little children can often find sitting chatting to grandparents over the computer difficult, but doing an activity like baking can work better to keep them online and engaged.
Party Pieces recommends: It might be raining outside, but bring the sunshine in by serving up your bakes on one of our colourful cake stands, large platters and plates.
Have a clear-out
A rainy day is a great opportunity to have a sort-out of those cupboards packed with old and barely played-with toys and games. Turn this tidy-up into an activity that the children want to take part in by getting them to plan out the making of a shop to sell off the unwanted stuff outside your home to friends, neighbours and passers-by. The kids can pick a charity to raise money for, create signs and price labels, and you can drum up business by posting about it the local WhatsApp or Facebook groups. Then, when the sun is shining they can get out there and set up shop!
Top tip: Your kids might suddenly decide they get attached to something they haven’t played with in years. Don’t upset them by forcing them to sell something. They’ll forget about it in a few days and you can send whatever it is to the charity shop at a later date.
Clear the kitchen table and have some messy fun with easy science experiments for kids. Make your own play dough with just a few basic ingredients, turn a yucky potion made from whatever you can find in the kitchen cupboard explosive by adding vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, and create dazzling ‘magic milk’ with just a shallow bowl of milk, some food colouring, washing up liquid and a toothpick.
Top tip: YouTube is full of ideas, inspiration and demonstrations for science experiments such as the ones above and more.
Party Pieces recommends: An experiments session wouldn’t be the same without slime. This rainbow slime comes in a flask and is as gooey as you’d expect it to be!
Chain reactions are perfect for a wet weather day – just grab a load of household objects, and then line them up so they fall or push into the next one, and so on and so on. Lining up books is perhaps the simplest chain reaction to set up, but older kids might want to get intricate, introducing ramps, balls, toy cars and other objects to the mix. Again, YouTube is packed with chain reaction ideas – and make sure you’ve got your mobile phone at the ready to capture the action in full flow.
Top tip: Get the kids to think carefully about how their chosen objects will behave – will they bounce, roll, spin or slide? Working this out will help them build a varied and successful chain reaction.
Plan out an indoors scavenger hunt to keep the kids busy on a rainy afternoon – give a list of household objects to tick off, or make it more creative by giving them a colour chart that they have to find items to match with. You could set up a Zoom call with cousins or friends, so your kids can play along with another household or two. For this version, shout out objects and the first person back to the screen with it wins a point.
Top tip: Set your challenges according to the ages of your children. For young kids, keep the stuff you want them to find quite general (something soft, something red etc.), and for older ones, be more specific and challenging (For example, a specific item from the kitchen cupboard, a certain type of book or a particular item of clothing.)
Party Piece recommends: The scavenger hunt may well kick off a games session, so stock up on some new ones to dig out this summer. This Truly Alice games mat is four games in one (draughts/chess, ludo, noughts and crosses, and snakes and ladders) and this magnetic fishing game is a treat for toddlers. Memory bingo is another winner, as is this Wild Wonders balance game.
Hoping for sunnier days? Go here to read our top 10 summer activities for kids.