11 Reader-Approved Rainy Day Activities

Enjoy these creative, reader-approved activities to keep your kids busy on rainy days.

By Today's Parent staff
11 Reader-Approved Rainy Day Activities

When those clouds gather and the rain taps on your window, that's your cue to whip out the creativity and have indoor fun.

Need help with what to do? Here are some reader-approved rainy-day activities to keep your kids entertained.

Pitch a tent

kids playing in a tent inside iStock

"My four-year-old loves to set up a tent in the basement and pretend that we're camping. I make snacks and treats and, of course, hot chocolate with marshmallows. We sit inside the tent, read books and play games. It really turns a rainy day into an adventure."

— Iwona Frost, Oakville, Ont.

If that upcoming rainstorm messes with your camping plans, why not camp indoors instead?

Make a tent spot in the basement, get some snacks ready, and have a blast with books, games, and maybe some spooky tales with the little ones. It'll be just like camping, minus the bugs and unpredictable weather.


Pull out the stored gifts

kids opening gifts iStock

"We break out those overlooked craft and science kits that the kids got for Christmas."

— Jennifer Cox-McCaughey, Barrie, Ont.

You know those crafty gifts the kids got for Christmas but never opened? Well, rainy days are perfect for finally cracking them open!

Not only will they keep the little ones entertained, but it's also a great opportunity to show some love to grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins who gave them.

Create a large canvas

child colouring on a piece of paper on a table iStock

"We cover the table with brown paper so the kids have a huge canvas to colour, play games, and use playdough. If they make a mess, we crumple the paper up and throw it away."

— Chantelle Rantucci, Leduc, Alta.

DIY crafts and art are a real game-changer when you need to keep the kids entertained. But forget the predictable colouring books ‒ hand them a large canvas for endless creativity and enjoyment.

Another cool idea is to use a draw-on tablecloth for even more artistic mayhem. Your kids will be thrilled that you let them get creative and messy!

Mix it up

three kids in the kitchen baking iStock

“We aim for a mix of energy-burning games like hide-and-seek and balloon pong, and quiet activities like baking or drawing. There’s usually a lot of dress-up and active imagination play, too.” — Jenn Richardson, Peterborough, Ont. 

Even if you've already exhausted your go-to rainy-day activities, don't hesitate to add new ideas to keep your little ones happy. Mixing it up not only keeps things fun but might spark some cool new ideas too.


Go fishing

kids playing with a toy fishing set iStock

"I bought a magnetic fishing set from the dollar store; we fill up the bathtub and fish!"

— Andrea Linthorne Mugford, Makinsons, Nfld.

This 'fishing indoors' idea is just too adorable to pass up with your kids! Just fill up the tub, grab a magnetic fishing set, and get ready to dive into some fishy fun together.

But it's not just all about fun and giggles – this game can actually boost hand-eye coordination and focus, making it educational too!


mother and young son jumping outside in a puddle on a rainy day iStock

"We pull out the umbrellas, raincoats and rubber boots, and go splash in the puddles. If there is thunder and lightning, we'll watch the show and try to catch the strikes on my camera."

— Karla Montgrand, Turnor Lake, Sask.

If your kids don't mind getting a little wet, how about rounding up the whole family and stepping outside to enjoy some rainy day fun together?

You can jump in puddles and stroll in the rain, and if it's warm enough, why not have a water balloon fight to beat the heat?

Watching thunder and lightning can also be quite a thrilling show. Plus, the best part is that no screens are needed! To add to the excitement, whip up some snacks like popcorn or hot cocoa while watching the storm.

Have a free-for-all!

child in a messy playroom playing with lots of toys iStock

"It's a free-for-all! We descend upon the playroom, and every single toy makes it out of the bins. We make forts and tunnels, and pull out the crayons and painting supplies."

— Jen Ozga, Ottawa

Kids can get a bit antsy cooped up inside on rainy days. So, if you're homebound, why spice things up by transforming each room of the house into a thrilling adventure zone?

You can create blanket forts, DIY obstacle courses, cardboard box tunnels, arts and crafts. And don't forget to get the toys from the toy chest's bottom out for some serious playtime.

Oh, and the mess? How about a little treat for the cleanup hero in the family?


Find a play centre

three kids playing at a play place iStock

"Ikea and Ontario Early Years Centres are big saviours."

— Amber Whatley Rohal, Burlington, Ont.

Do you know what's great about those rainy days? Play centers! They have spaces where the kids can run wild and burn off energy.

And if you think about it, everyone wins—kids play and stay active for hours, while parents can join in on the fun, too.

Have a toy car wash

bowl of soapy water and toy cars iStock

"We take my sons' toy cars and put them through the "car wash." We fill a big plastic bin with soapy water and use a sponge to clean them. It keeps the kids entertained for a long time, and their toys get a wash."

— Candice Botelho, Toronto, Ont.

Feeling like you're stuck in a loop with the same old activities every time it rains? How about breaking the monotony and treating the kids to a splash of excitement?

Just grab a plastic bin, some soap, and a sponge, and voilà, you've got your own DIY car wash! It's not only a blast but also a sneaky way to get all those toys sparkling clean.

Shoot hoops

young boy holding a basketball inside iStock

"We've put a little basketball net in the basement so our toddler can shoot hoops indoors."

— Rachel Bentley, Cambridge, Ont.

If your kiddo one is bursting with energy, turn your basement into a mini basketball court. Just find a spot to hang up a net and let them shoot some hoops as much as they want.

BTW: This activity is a great way to beat the boredom on rainy days and keep them active. Plus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that little ones aged 3 to 5 stay active throughout the day, so this setup is a win-win for having fun and keeping them healthy!


Go with the flow

young girl standing outside on a rainy day wearing a yellow rain jacket and holding an umbrella iStock

"The same thing we do every other day. We live in Vancouver; if we stayed in when it rained, we'd never get out!"

— Lisa Rhonin, Vancouver

When it's pouring rain, and your original plans seem like a no-go, the trick is to just go with the flow and don't let the weather hold you back.

There's a whole lot of fun to be had indoors and outside of your home – you've got your pick of museums, bowling, indoor play centers, and movie theatres. And if you're not in the mood to spend money, why not take the little ones to the library or find a mall with a play space inside?

This article was originally published on Sep 29, 2014

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