Rainy days are the one thing parents do not need during the holidays, but they happen. We have great ideas for free or low cost rainy day activities when the kids must play indoors.
In a perfect world, every school holiday would be filled with blue skies and sunny days, but unfortunately that’s not always the case.
It’s a good idea to have some inside activities up your sleeve for those ‘stuck indoors’ times. If you happen to strike a week of bad weather – you may even need more than a few!
We’ve put together our favourite rainy day ideas for you to have on hand, just in case.
Let’s Get Physical
Just because you’re stuck inside, doesn’t mean the kids have to blob out and do nothing. In fact if one rainy day rolls into the next, they’ll be itching to move about and use up some energy. Try some of these ideas to get active while you’re stuck indoors:
- Make your own Ten Pin bowling alley by using plastic soft drink bottles and a rubber ball. Put a cup of sand or gravel in the bottom of each bottle to give them a bit of weight, and then arrange the ‘pins’ into a triangle shape at the end of the hallway. Children stand at the other end of the hall and take turns to bowl.Use your Ten Pin alley to fill in half an hour here and there, or arrange a whole tournament to take place amongst your children and their friends.
- Create an obstacle course that traipses through the whole house. I know it sounds like a nightmare to clean up, but it will keep the kids occupied for ages. Not only do they get to create the course, they then get to do it over and over. They can time each other to see who can do it the fastest, or experiment running the course backwards, blindfolded, or with their hands behind their backs. You’ll need to make sure the course is safe, so check it out before they launch into their races.
- Dancing is a great way to burn off some energy, so turn on some music and start moving that body. If you have a house full of kids, you could play musical games like statues or musical chairs.
Create your own Board Games
Board games are a great way to while away a few hours, but if your children are tired of the games you have at home, why not get them to make their own. Give them a large sheet of poster card, some felt pens, old magazines, scissors and glue, and let them go to it.
They’ll need to create their own rules, cards, counters and dice, and trust me – you’ll be amazed by what they come up with. The whole family can take turns playing each other’s games.
Oh so beautiful
Rummage through your makeup drawer to find some bits and pieces you’re happy to let go, and then set up a beauty salon for your children. You can be the stylist, or let them take turns putting on make-up, nail polish, and doing each other’s hair. Before you know it they will have created a whole game complete with a receptionist and a diary for bookings.
Out and about
There are plenty of places you can visit on a rainy day, and most are advertised in the newspaper leading up to the holiday break. Rainy days are a good chance to check out Indoor Playgrounds, Ten Pin Bowling Alleys, Hot Pools, Museums, and of course – the movies!
Make a hut
Children of all ages love making huts, and the older they get, the more elaborate they become. Pull out sheets and blankets from the linen cupboard, and let them use the kitchen table, lounge furniture or a clothes horse as a base. Once the hut is made, they can spend time inside playing games, reading, or just hanging out.
Bake a cake or some biscuits
Go through your recipe books and make something you haven’t baked for ages, or see how clever you can be at creating something straight out of your head. Find out more about baking with kids here.
What a puzzle?!
Find-a-words, crosswords, word jumbles, mazes, connect-the-dots – they’re all things that keep kids entertained, so it doesn’t hurt to have a few puzzle books on hand for a rainy day.
Better still, have your child create their own puzzle book by downloading puzzle sheets off the internet, or cutting out puzzles from magazines. If they’re feeling really inspired, they could create their own puzzles for the rest of the family to solve.
Rainy days are a great time to get stuck in and clean out the kids bedrooms. I know it doesn’t sound like much fun, but it has to be done, so you might as well enjoy it. Tempt the kids to get involved by letting them decide what happens to the stuff they no longer want.
Maybe you could have a garage sale or list the items on an auction site to make a few dollars. They may also choose to donate some items to charity.
Any day is a good day to get creative, but rainy days are perfect. Pull out the paint, felt pens, scissors, glue and crafty scraps, and then let your child use their imagination. You could work on a specific project, or just go wild.
Write a letter
Grandparents love getting letters! Have your child write a letter to Gran and Grandad, or even a friend from school. If you have friends or family in another town, you could set up a pen pal system, so that writing letters becomes something your child does every rainy day.
Go puddle jumping
Just because it’s raining, doesn’t mean you have to stay inside. Wrap up in coats and gumboots, and head out into the rain. You could count raindrops in puddles, catch drops on your tongue, or see who can make the biggest splash. Why not leave a tin can outside and measure how much rain falls overnight?