Stuck inside on a rainy day with restless kids and nothing to do? Never fear, because Will and Sam are here to offer up a list of 21 awesome activities to keep your kids entertained. Here they are:
1 – Read a book
Reading is our favorite choice for a rainy afternoon. Nothing beats snuggling up on the couch under a blanket with the kids, sipping hot chocolate, and reading about the Magic Tree House or Green Eggs and Ham.
2 – Color a Picture
Coloring is a great creative outlet for kids when they cooped up inside. If you don’t have coloring books laying around, never fear – some our favorite artwork from Junior and Addy are pictures they’ve drawn of our family or our house on blank sheets of printer paper.
If you want to feel really good about your artistic abilities, join in the fun. Every time I draw with Junior and Addy, they gush about what an amazing artist I am (even though my artistic skills are stuck at about a fourth-grade level).
3 – Build a Blanket Fort
We love blanket forts! Not only are they fun to play in with the kids, they can also provide a good distraction for them if you need to get something done. With only ten or twenty minutes of effort, you can make a fort that will entertain your kids for hours. The key is taking a little bit of extra time at the beginning to build a large, sturdy fort that won’t require frequent parental repairs.
4 – Have a Dance Party
Crank up the tunes and dance. Kids love spinning, jumping, and dancing to songs. Our kids will dance and spin until they’re so dizzy that they fall over. While our kids will dance to anything that’s upbeat and peppy, they especially love “Let it Go” (of course), “It’s Raining Tacos,” and “That’s What Makes You Beautiful.”
5 – Tell Stories from Your Past
Time to pull out the photo albums and tell your kids stories about everything from high school to how you met your spouse to your wedding day. Our kids especially love hearing their own birthing stories: even though they can repeat the details by heart, they eat it up every time.
6 – Make up a Story
Make up a story about a brave couple who conquer some big feat, fall in love, and get married. Give the kids a lot of opportunities to make up details like information about the heroes (are they people, horses, dragons, dinosaurs, etc.) the problems they face, and the solutions they have to those problems. To make the story last a little longer, have the kids add really specific details about things like the hair and eye color of the main characters, what clothes they wear, what their shoes look like, what sports they like to play, whether they have pets, etc. The more details the kids provide, the more the story will feel like their own and the more they’ll love it.
7 – Play Hide and Seek
Our kids love hide and seek. Even though they aren’t master hiders yet, we prolong the game by pretending we can’t find them anywhere. Our kids laugh hysterically as we walked right by their hiding place and say things like, “Hmmmmm, I wish I could find those kids” or “I wonder where Junior and Addy are.”
8 – Play the Hot and Cold Game
Similar to hide and seek, the hot and cold game is an all-time favorite. Take an object like a stuffed animal and hide it in a room while your kids aren’t looking. Then use, “You’re getting colder” or “You’re getting hotter” prompts to guide your kids to the object’s hiding place. Junior especially likes this game – he’ll play it for an hour or more if we’re willing to play along.
9 – Solve a Puzzle
Puzzles are a favorite at our house. For kids three and under like Addy, look for puzzles with around 20 pieces (Melissa and Doug have a lot of great options). For four and five-year-olds like Junior, you can start venturing into 50 or 100 piece puzzles. They may need some help as they transition to more pieces, but the more they practice the better they’ll get.
10 – Blow Bubbles
What kid doesn’t love bubbles? There’s something magical about them, both in the way they look and the way they pop when you touch them. So get out that wand and start blowing. Better yet, get a bubble blowing machine that will do the work for you.
11 – Have a “Snowball” Fight
Use fluffy white pompoms or crumpled-up newspapers as “snowballs” and have an indoor snowball fight with your kids. They will absolutely love it. For an added twist, play the game while listening to “Frozen” songs. Periodically stop the music and have the kids pause when the music stops.
12 – Play “Basketball”
Once you’re done with your snowball fight, convert the snowballs into basketballs. Set up an empty trash can or laundry hamper across the room and have competitions to see who can make the most baskets.
13 – Have a Fashion Show
Pick out a few outfits from the dress-up bin or the kid’s closets and lay them out for the kids. Tell them what a fashion show is (“It’s a place where you get to show everyone your cool clothes”), set up a makeshift catwalk in your living room, and show them how to model their outfits for you. Then turn on some music, sit back, and relax (well, mostly relax, you may have to help with a few buttons and zippers) as you watch you kids strut their stuff. Just be sure to have your camera around so you can capture the inevitable adorable moments.
14 – Make Cookies
Making cookies is a great baking activity to get the kids involved. When the kids are younger, you can put them in charge of mixing duty. As they get older, you can start having them crack eggs, measure ingredients, and scoop the cookies onto the cookie sheets. Your kids will love feeling involved and they’ll love the cookies at the end even more.
15 – Make Playdough
Play dough is super easy to make (here’s a recipe from PBS kids) and it provides endless entertainment for kids. Plus if you make it yourself, you get to choose your own colors or add things like sparkles to the dough.
16 – Put on a Puppet Show
Make brown paper bag puppets with your kids and then put on a puppet show. You can act out a familiar story (like a favorite Disney show or a story about your family) or you can make a story up. Either way, between designing and coloring the puppets, coming up with a story to act out, and actually doing the performance, a puppet show will provide plenty of entertainment for the kiddos.
17 – Play “Spin Out”
“Spin Out” is a game Junior invented. It’s played with two people, each one with a Hot Wheels car, sitting across from each other on a hard surface (like a hardwood floor). One person counts to three and then both players push their cars toward each other. If the cars collide, at least one of them usually goes spinning off to the side (hence the game’s name). The players then yell, “Spin out!” After the collision, the players recover their cars and go again.
I particularly enjoy this game because it requires relatively little energy on my part and Junior thinks it’s quite possibly the best game ever. He laughs and laughs while exclaiming, “Spin out!” each time the cars crash into each other.
18 – Do a Blanket Burrito Roll Up
In this game, you lay a blanket out on the floor, lay down at one end of the blanket, grab the side, and roll toward the other side, encasing your body in a “Blanket Burrito.” I’m not sure why, but our kids think this game is the greatest thing ever.
Speaking of blankets . . .
19 – Give Blanket Rides
Lay a blanket out on the floor, announce, “All aboard,” and wait for the kids to hop on. Once they’re on, drag them around the room or take them up and down the hall. Blanket rides do take a lot of work, but I guarantee your kids will love it.
20 – Give Crab Rides
If you’re really looking for a workout, crab rides are the way to go. To give a crab ride, lay on your back and have your kids sit on your belly facing your feet. Once they sitting down, go up on your hands and feet and crab walk around the room. Like I said, it is quite the workout, but kids think it’s amazing.
21 – Do Kid’s Yoga
Last but not least on our list is kid’s yoga. Kids enjoy it and it gives parents a chance to loosen up and get a decent workout in as well.
What things do you and your kids do when you’re stuck inside all day?