26 Rainy Day Activities for Kids
Are your kids bored and anxious for something to do when the weather is wet?
The editors of My Kids’ Adventures have searched the web for fun ways your family can make the most of a rainy day together.
In this article I’ll share our 26 favorite rainy day activities for you and your kids to celebrate a rainy day. With silver linings from A-Z, you’re sure to find a fun way to bring some sunshine to the gloom.
Why Play on a Rainy Day?
There are lots of adventures you can have with your kids, even when the weather is bad.
Rainy weather lets you experience the world in new ways from every one of your senses and discover a whole list of things you can only find in stormy weather, like rainbows and lightning, umbrellas and puddles. We’ve found activities to help your family explore them all: the sights, sounds, smells, feelings, and yes, even some rainy-day–specific foods to taste!
Next time it rains, use this list to find something fun to do before your cooped-up kids start complaining about being bored.
Author Vivian Greene once said that “life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain,” and we agree.
You’ll find Dancing in the Rain and 25 other ideas from A to Z below.
We hope this list will help make rainy days something to look forward to, something special and unique, something to celebrate with your family.
A: Art Projects
Art projects featuring rainy-day icons like umbrellas, rainbows and clouds abound on the Internet. Try this rainy-day mobile presented by Natalie on Tiny and Little that features several different media and techniques. We thought it was pretty special and would keep the kids happily creating for a while.
And here’s a bonus art project, just because we liked them both!
Aleacia from Dilly-Dali Art shared a simple Rainbow Pour Painting technique that your family can follow to make colorful flowerpots—somewhere to put those May flowers that come from the April showers, perhaps?
B: Boots (Duct Tape Boots)
These boots may not be pretty to look at, but the cool factor alone makes them a great project for your kids.
Make the duct tape boots with your family and leave a comment to let us know how dry they keep your feet. We’re dying to know!
C: Cloud in a Jar
Check out this incredible cloud that artist Berndnaut Smilde created inside a room.
This indoor cloud took a lot of planning and coordination of moisture, temperature and other conditions, but you and your kids can create a more simple miniature cloud of your own at your house.
Your cloud in a jar may not have the dramatic impact of Smilde’s indoor cloud, but it’s a great way to bring some of the outdoors inside for a hands-on demonstration of how weather works and your kids will think it’s awesome.
D: Density Experiment: Make a Liquid Rainbow
This is the most colorful science experiment we’ve seen! Create a liquid rainbow with your family to demonstrate the fact that different densities don’t mix, they stack.
Steve Spangler shared this cool science trick with us on My Kids’ Adventures. Check out the article to learn a secret technique for making the stripes sharp and clear. Then watch your kids’ eyes light up when they’re able to stack liquids themselves and make their own rainbows.
E: Earthworm Habitat
Did you ever notice that after it rains, the sidewalks are covered with worms? Time for a worm rescue!
Have your kids gather a few of the squirmy critters that have escaped from their flooded abodes below ground and make them a new habitat.
F: Fruit Rainbow
Make this easy edible art that any kid (or grownup) would be happy to have for a snack.
We especially love the baseball game you play with water balloons. That’s sure to make a splash!
H: Homemade Rain Gauge
Ever wonder how much rain has fallen? You and your kids can make a homemade rain gauge out of a 2-liter bottle to find out how much water each shower brings.
Anna at The Imagination Tree shared the quick and easy rainy-day project. Use your rain gauge to keep track of the rainfall all year long and see if you get the same number as the weather reports on the news.
I: Indoor Camping
Have you ever been camping in the rain? It’s certainly an experience to remember! If your family is into all things extreme, pitch your tent and go camping in the rain. Have a great time!
For the rest of us who’d like to stay warm and dry through the night, give indoor camping a try.
In this article on My Kids’ Adventures, Holly Chessman shows you how to make a tent with your kids, tell campfire stories and even toast marshmallows from the wilderness known as your living room! It’s a fun way to bring an outdoor activity inside when the weather won’t cooperate.
J: Jumping in Puddles
Jumping in puddles is a classic rainy-day activity that kids have loved for generations.
Your kids will have a blast splashing in the water the rain leaves behind. It really doesn’t require any explanation, but in her post on Go Explore Nature, Debi gives some fun variations and games you can play while jumping in puddles outdoors.
Surprise your kids when you put on your own boots and splash right along with them. They’ll remember that for a long time!
Not in the mood to get cold and wet? No time to manage the wet laundry and warm baths that a day of puddle-jumping requires? Or maybe there’s no rain in the forecast.
Give this adorable game of indoor puddle jumping a try. Your kids will be all smiles when they don their raincoats and boots for this fun twist on puddle jumping that Valerie Deneen shared on Melissa and Doug.
Nothing is more cozy on a blustery day than a wooly knitted sweater or scarf, and it’s oh-so-rewarding to make one yourself.
L: Lightning Experiment
M: Make Mud Pies
Did you ever make mud pies as a kid? When the world is wet after a storm, it’s the perfect time to share the tradition with your own children and encourage them to get their hands dirty by playing in the mud, sand or dirt.
Jenny at Let the Children Play lists tools and kitchen gadgets that will help spark your kids’ creativity as they play and create with nature’s play dough—the mud left behind on a rainy day. Let them enjoy the squishy, sensory fun and be sure to enjoy a slice when it’s offered!
N: Nature Painting
When your work is dry, the author shows you how to add a paper doll and a poem to the art to make it so much more than a quick little craft project. Your kids will be true artists when this rainy-day project is complete.
O: Obstacle Course
A warm rainy day is the perfect time to set up a wet and wonderful obstacle course for your kids. This backyard water park article by Sarah Shipley has several ideas to get you started. Use your imagination (and ask your kids to use theirs) to create obstacles and challenges of your own—no lawn sprinkler required on a rainy day!
Take advantage of the falling rain for filling challenges. Use the slippery grass or play equipment for sliding challenges. Use puddles or flowing gutters as obstacles to go over, around or through. The sky’s the limit for these wet water games—literally.
P: Prism Rainbows
It’s fascinating to observe the many shapes and colors created when light passes through the cut glass of a prism to make a rainbow. Bern on Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas explains how prisms work and how to make prism rainbows with your kids any time of year.
Just for laughs (and an extra challenge) ask your kids to predict what the rainbows from differently shaped prisms will look like before you put them in the light. Will they be long or short? Will there be one big rainbow or several little ones?
Q: Quiet… Listen to the Rain
It can be very relaxing to listen to nature’s music during a rainstorm.
Enjoy the quiet. Listen to the soothing sounds of the rain. Does the rain where you are sound like this?
Turn off all machines, toys, electronics and other distractions in your house; dim the lights and encourage your family to appreciate the quiet pitter-patter of raindrops, the boom of thunder, the crash of lightning and the blowing of the wind.
R: Rain Stick
Recreate the gentle sounds of the falling rain with a rain stick you make yourself. This rain stick tutorial from Anna at The Imagination Tree shows you how to use a cardboard tube, dry beans, rice and other common household items to mimic the calming cadence of the rain even when the sun is shining.
Be sure to use your rain sticks to create some music that will brighten the fair-weather day (or any day).
S: Singing in the Rain
Gene Kelly did it best. Share this classic movie scene with your kids, then go outside to sing and dance in the rain yourselves. You could make your own movie and post it to YouTube to share with friends and family.
Sing and dance in the rain just like Gene Kelly.
Let your kids get wet, just this once. They’re guaranteed to have a wonderful time singing in the rain and splashing to their hearts’ content. You should give it a try yourself! Then go inside and enjoy some dry clothes and hot chocolate.
T: Tent Made From an Umbrella
Some kids’ activities stand the test of time. Kids will always love to make tents and forts from blankets and other things they find around the house.
You create the roof and structure of this tent with an umbrella. We thought that was really cool in any century.
U: Umbrella With Raindrops
This cute and clever rainy-day umbrella craft project from Jennifer at Mama Jenn becomes more realistic when it’s hung. Watch the “raindrops” drip down the paper and off the curves of the umbrella, just like the real thing.
The raindrops made of white glue look wet even as they dry, leaving clear, shiny spots. Good thing you’ve got an umbrella! Make this umbrella with your kids and stay dry in the storm.
V: Veggie Rainbow
Send your kids to school on a rainy day with this adorable and cheerful lunch featuring a delicious vegetable rainbow from Candy Girl at Bent On Better Lunches. It’s sure to brighten their day in a healthy way.
W: Weather Station
Meteorology is a fascinating and important science full of fun experiments kids love. In her article, How to Make a Weather Station, Cathy James from Nurture Store shares several interesting ways to explore the climate and track what the weather is doing.
We love the printable charts and easy instructions she provides so your kids can track the rain and clouds, observe weather patterns and even advise everyone in your family what to wear based on the weather they predict.
X: X-plore the Wet World
Catch a raindrop on your tongue. Look at your reflection in a puddle. Bury your feet in mud. Watch where the rainwater goes. Do the colors outside change when they’re wet?
We love her suggestions for ways to embrace your children’s curiosity and explore the way things look, feel, smell, taste, sound and work on a rainy day.
Y: Yummy Cloud Parfait
What better way to find the silver lining of a dreary day than to make a delicious and colorful dessert that mimics the sky outside?
Z: Zzzz… Take a Nap
There’s a good reason that rain is a common sound in white noise machines. The soothing pitter-patter of raindrops combined with the mottled light of a cloudy day just beg you to cuddle up with your kids in a warm blanket and take a nap.
The great Ella Fitzgerald will soothe you to sleep with a song about a rainy day…
Barnes and Noble has a list of over 350 books about rain for kids. Read your kids a stormy story and then catch some Zzzs.
Some Final Thoughts…
You can’t fight Mother Nature, so embrace the inclement weather. Instead of complaining about the rain or watching movie after movie on a gloomy day, celebrate the change by doing something fun together.
What do you think? Do you have any rainy-day traditions in your family? What’s your favorite memory about playing in the rain as a kid? Which activity will you share with your children? We’d love to hear about it! Please post a comment or photo below.
Image from iStockPhoto.
Jennifer Ballard is the associate editor for My Kids’ Adventures where her past experience as a Cubmaster, birthday party entrepreneur, marketing writer and mom of two boys fits together and finds relevance. Other posts by Jennifer Ballard »