Home and Dry: Ten activities & things to do on a rainy day
'Drip drip drop little April showers!' The 'rainy season' is upon us so parents everywhere are already stockpiling ideas for rainy day activities. Really though, why do we kid ourselves? We live in the UK! Every day's a rainy day except for the one glorious week every year where we all get dodgy tan - or rather, burn - lines and sit on soggy grass. As residents of the British Isles, we have to accept our fate and ultimately grow webbed feet. It’s the only practical solution.
While we wait for evolution to sort that out, let’s get busy with a list of our top 10 things to do on a rainy day. From strutting down a catwalk to painting pebbles, we’ve been brainstorming the very best ways to keep kids entertained indoors when the weather outside is rotten. We’ve also tried to keep clutter to a minimum with these ideas, but you never can trust toddlers when it comes to creating inordinate amounts of mess!
Turn those frowns upside down and take a look at our top 10 things to do on a rainy day.
Put on a fashion showWhen it’s rainy outside, why not recreate a sleepover inside? Out of all the things to do when it’s raining this is perhaps the most glamorous! Pull out your dressing-up box or empty your own wardrobe and get the kids picking and choosing their outfits, high fashion or otherwise... While they get ready, you can lay a sheet on the floor and even find the old Christmas lights to put around the edge to create a cutting-edge catwalk. Then with the music turned UP they can strut their stuff.
ScrapbookingThis is another sleepover special and ideal for what to do when it’s raining. You could use a notepad or A3 sheets of paper as your canvas, as well as scissors, glue, photos, a stack of magazines, any extra material you can find (recycling packets or wrapping paper work well) and lots of paint and glitter for decorating - they’re then free to tell whatever story they want. Kids could create their own personality page with pictures of the stuff they love and a list of wishes, or tell the story of their last day out. You might even be tempted to make one yourself so check out our guide right here.
Flour funWe know we promised to keep the mess to a minimum but we couldn’t resist these. Flour is seriously versatile and not something you would initially grab when planning rainy day activities. However, with a few bags of the stuff (it’s cheap so stock up) you could fill a plastic tub with flour and hey presto! You’ve got your very own sandpit. Add a little water for flour-castle building or follow this recipe for easy playdough:
- 250g of plain flour
- 50g of salt
- 140 ml of water
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
- A few drops of food colouring (optional)
Build a fortSome ideas are classics for a reason, and you could build a pretty serviceable fort with just a few sheets. Lay them over the top of a table so that underneath is a secret den and create special signs to tape to the entrance, like a skull and crossbones or ‘No grown-ups allowed!’ There are all sorts of extras you could throw in too like snacks to have behind the curtain or making up secret handshakes so no one without the password can get inside. Then, if you’ve used any sofa cushions or pillows for your fort, you could tear it all apart and build an obstacle course in the living room.
Pottery cafe at homeYou don’t always have to brave the elements to have a day out; set up your very own pottery cafe in your kitchen with a selection of plant pots and pebbles in place of mugs and plates. You could have different positions along the table, like the painting point or the sparkle station, and let your aspiring artists get creative. Another benefit of having your own studio at home? You can have as many cups of tea as you like and could even combine a hot chocolate making masterclass into the bargain. Take a look at our top tips for pottery painting here.
Family portraitsKids generally love to draw but sometimes it’s wise to give them an actual task so they don’t run out of steam too soon, and this one always serves up hilarious results. Depending on how many family members or friends you have round on a rainy day, give each person a name from a hat (they can be in the room or someone they know from school) and everyone has to paint a portrait of their chosen muse. Try not to be offended if your portrait is just a blue squiggle - we promise you don’t actually look like that in real life!
Bookmark peopleYou can use anything for this: strips of paper or card, ice lolly sticks - basically whatever you have in the house that’s around an inch wide and 5 inches long. When you have your base, use pens and colour pencils to create a little rectangle person - some of the best ones we’ve seen have included little sequin buttons or even ribbon dresses. These are then seriously cute bookmarks and will hopefully inspire your littluns to pick up their books every now and then (we’ve even written a blog on the subject). Failing that, they also work as funny little puppets so you could have a performance behind the sofa.
Masking tape race trackYou know how you usually tell the kids not to get anything sticky on the furniture? Forget that! For this activity, all you need is masking tape and some toy cars, both of which can usually be found in a family home. With the masking tape, you can create two parallel lines that run here, there and everywhere all over the house, and your tiny tots can chase their cars between the tracks. Vroom! When looking for things to do on a rainy day, the normal rules go out of the window so simply have fun and worry about peeling all that tape up later.
Letter writingLetter writing is a bit retro but that’s what makes it special. It’s also something you don’t usually get round to unless you’re looking for rainy day activities, so embrace the gloom and put pen to paper!. Get your gang to write a letter to their loved ones, like grandparents, aunties - you name it. It could include what they’ve done at school, a drawing and even a few stickers if they feel like sharing. Then when the sun finally comes out, you can make it your mission to find a postbox and post it off together.
Go puddle jumping!We can’t be flawless parents all the time and sometimes it’s just easier to fob it all off and go out for a spot of puddle jumping. Get your mac and wellies on and as a family, step out into the drizzle. Splashing, stomping and sometimes even singing in the rain is masses of fun and, at the right time of year and if you can get to a park, you might even spy frogs enjoying the wet weather too.
Hopefully that list of things to do on a rainy day should make a wet weekend a little sunnier, especially when the summer holidays roll around and the clouds refuse to leave! As a little extra, check out the blogs from our tried and tested parents who have experienced more than a few rainy days.