We’ve all been there— the rainy day with cooped up kids.
I’ve found that when the kids are driving you nuts the best thing to do is take some time to give to them my full attention, even if it’s just for a short amount of time.
Here are some suggestions for brightening a rainy day.
Indoor (and Outdoor) Toddler Activities
1. Tea party
Make some herbal tea, add some honey. Get out the little teacups. Serve with a few crackers, cookies, or sliced fruit. Invite the girls to dress up and make it seem special and fancy.
2. Blanket Fort
All you need is 4 chairs and a few big blankets and a few flashlights. Read books, let them play with toys, and teach them to make finger shadows.
3. Nail Salon
Tell your girls you are starting a fancy nail salon. Turn on the diffuser and some spa music. Set out the nail polishes on the table, lay out a towel you don’t mind getting paint on, and have them pick their color and have you do their nails.
4. Freeze Dance
Turn on some dance music loud, have kids rock out, tell them that when you turn the music off the need to freeze. This is a great one to do if you are really tired because your only role is to sit on the couch and turn the music on and off!
5. Listen to a Story Podcast – While Doing a Craft or Build Legos
Find a good quality, age-appropriate story podcast and let it roll! This gives the kids something to listen to while they build Legos or do crafts. It can help them immerse a little more and stick with the activity better.
6. Popcorn and Movie
Sometimes if life is just getting rough it helps to pop popcorn and watch a movie.
7. Read Books
Reading books is such a good alternative to screen time.
Make a practice of getting books from the library so you don’t get bored of your own collection. Try to pick out good books with high-quality, engaging art and funny, relatable story lines.
8. Organize Toys
This can be an activity to benefit mom in disguise.
Tell them it’s the day to organize their toys.
If their toys don’t fit in the bins anymore, tell them they need to choose their least favorites to give to the thrift store. Tell them they can have a treat, or lunch, or a fun craft afterwards to keep them going.
9. Splash in the Puddles
Put on those boots and raincoats and find some puddles! Sometimes on a rainy day, it’s nice to go out, breathe fresh air, and embrace the season.
10. Feed the Birds
Buy bird seed, sprinkle it in your yard or hang a bird feeder in front of a window.
Now encourage your kids to watch the birds come!
This is a simple activity that will help heighten your kids’ appreciation for nature without having to step outside.
11. Have a picnic
…in the living room!
Spread a blanket, make some sandwiches (or a similar lunch that is not drippy), pour some drinks in covered cups, and tell your kids it’s a picnic! They will love eating in a different place.
12. Hide and Seek
This is a classic rainy day game that your kids probably already know.
Spice it up with different rules or play sardines, where everyone packs in with the person hiding when they find him.
13. Have a Pots and Pans Band
Just a warning mom: kids will love this but you might need ear protection. It gets loud. Pull out your pots, pans, and spoons and let the kids go crazy.
14. Paint Rocks
This is a fun twist on a normal paint-on-paper craft session.
Go outside, find a few rocks, then bring them inside, wash and dry them, and paint them!
Help older kids see how the rocks might be shaped like an animal or another object, and for younger kids, just let them make a multicolored creation!
15. Play with Pompoms
Next time you’re at the Dollar Tree, pick up some pompoms.
Trust me, it will be money well-spent. Your kids will love sorting them by color, making patterns on the ground, and picking them up with tongs.
This is a great springboard to independent, creative play.
16. Hot Wheels
Get out that Hot Wheels collection, line them all up and see how many you have, then make creative tracks with boards or half a PVC pipe, lay them on your stairs, and you have hours of play right there. Bonus: they might even get tired out by running up and down the stairs!
17.Play with Coins
Time to get out your coins!
Make a pile on the floor and invite your kids to join. As you organize them, see if you have any foreign coins. This can also be a really great way to teach math to your kids as you count by 5’s and 10’s.
18. Rubber Band Battle
Grab some rubber bands, teach your kids to shoot them (you might regret doing this though!), and have a battle!
19. Look in Your Couch for Treasures
My kids are always thrilled to find long-lost pencils and Legos and small toys that have been hiding under the couch cushions!
Let the kids do the finding and stand by with a vacuum to get the crumbs! Everyone wins- the kids get “new” toys and mom gets a clean couch!
2o. Play Animal Charades
Pretend to be animals and have people guess what you are. This can be a really cute game and bring a lot of laughter.
Hope that gets you started with some good rainy day ideas!