Rainy day activities (or snowy day activities, if it’s cold enough where you live) are a great way to chase away the winter blues. They are also a pretty great way to encourage positive family vibes, no matter the weather.
19 Rainy Day Activities for Families & Au Pairs
Parents and Au Pairs can use these activities to bond with their children, or to do all together. Kids will love to show off what they know and learn something new, too.
Working parents want to come home to happy kids at the end of a hard day’s work. Turn your kids from cranky, cooped-up monsters into giggling bubbles of joy in moments with these clever ideas for rainy day activities.
Active Indoor Activities That Develop Gross Motor Skills
These indoor rainy day activities will help your kids develop gross motor skills. This is a great opportunity to play together.
1. Cushion & blanket fort fun
Kids love to take the cushions off the couch, use blankets or sheets to create forts. As a mom, I want my pillows in the right places, but when I get inside the kids’ fort, we all forget about that for a while. Rainy day activities are a fun break for adults, too.
2. Pretend play
Not all children have imaginary friends. Mine never did. But all kids have an imagination that needs feeding. When children see adults pretending, they don’t need much more prompting. You could even have them pretend to be Mommy and help with laundry, dusting or cleaning. Just don’t expect perfection!
3. Puppet show
The perfect way to show off what they did with their rainy day, kids will love putting on a puppet show for their adults. Does it have to be perfect? Of course not. Kids can hide under the kitchen table or behind the island while the adults enjoy the show!
4. Talent show
No rainy day would be complete without a talent show. Everyone does have a talent, whether it be singing, dancing, or comedy. Kids and adults might be the judge (or videographer) for each other.
Hands-on Rainy Day Activities for Fine Motor Skills
You can also help your kids develop fine motor skills on a rainy day. Here are some activities that are fun for the whole family.
5. Board games, checkers or chess
With the number of board games available on the market today, kids will never be bored! You might find that today’s kids don’t even know how to play the classics, like Chutes & Ladders, since they have been using tablets practically since birth. Board games are a perfect rainy day activity in my book.
6. Crafts to decorate for the season
Leaf-rubbings, snowflakes, paper chains…the list goes on. If you have paper, scissors and tape or glue, you have a rainy day activity waiting to happen.
7. Card or dice games
From very simple Go Fish to complicated mathematical games, cards and dice provide endless hours of new games to learn. Don’t know any? Google probably does!
8. Cook something healthy together
What better to do as a rainy day activity than to make some delicious food? Everyone eats, right? Kids love helping in the kitchen. Here is a great opportunity to talk about balanced diet, food choices and even safety!
9. Homemade playdough or slime
You probably have the ingredients for this messy-but-fun rainy day activity. A little flour or cornstarch, a quick search for an easy recipe, and you are on your way!
10. Handmade puppets
Get rid of those unmatched socks once and for all! Grab the glue gun and craft bin for a fun and easy rainy day activity. Make the puppets in the morning, let them dry while the kids have lunch and a snack. By dinner, they will be ready for the next event.
11. Vision board or collage
Older kids can create a rainy day activity to keep for a long time. Talk to your young teen about where they see their life in a year, five years, ten years. Help them envision what life could be, and also a realistic path to get there. This can be done with words and pictures cut from magazines or printed, just like younger children might make a collage of what they want to be when they grow up.
Quiet, Relaxing Rainy Day Activities
Rainy days are the perfect time to relax, cuddle, and enjoy each other’s company. Here are some fun activities to help the kids wind down toward the end of the day.
12. Read by flashlight
After you make your fort, grab a good book and read together. Take turns reading. Au Pairs can teach their host children new words while your children share their native language like experts. Families with Au Pairs will love to hear their kids saying new words in Spanish or Mandarin. The kids won’t even know they are learning!
13. Tell ghost stories (maybe not for little ones)
After dark, especially on a rainy day, telling spooky stories is a great activity. Not only is story-telling a creative mind activity, but it will also benefit Au Pairs who are trying to perfect their conversational English. If the kiddos in your care are little, though, keep it lighthearted and silly so they don’t wake up with nightmares!
14. Go online…and search for simple recipes (or game rules to a new game you’re learning)
Yes, I said go online. The internet can be a fantastic tool for learning. Here is a chance for adults and kids to do a search together…the adults will probably learn a lot, too.
15. Coloring or drawing
Some kids love quiet rainy day activities. I know I do too. Coloring or drawing can be fantastic ways to spend some time together. Kids tend to see adults as perfect at everything, which, of course, we’re not. Drawing is a great way for kids to see their own strengths.
16. Make popcorn & watch a movie
We still have an old air popper from the 1980s and it works! My kids (and my husband) love when we make fresh-popped popcorn and put on a family movie. There are so many different streaming options, you should be able to find something that will make you all laugh.
17. Splash in the puddles (if it’s safe)
As long as there isn’t too much lightning, your kids will have tons of fun splashing in the puddles. Encourage them to put on rain boots and take their umbrellas outside for some rainy day fun! If it’s cold, dress your kids in waterproof rain or snow pants, and make sure they bundle up. This will help them get out all that pent-up energy, and it might even give you a moment to relax, too.
18. Drink hot cocoa & sit by the fire
After the kids come inside, they can wind down with a cup of hot cocoa. If you have a fireplace, you can all warm up by the fire afterward. The kids might get a kick out of putting on fuzzy socks and sitting in comfy chairs together. This might even be a good moment to take a photo together!
Pro Tip: Especially for little kids, be sure everyone is safe around the fireplace. You can also put 2-3 ice cubes in the hot cocoa so it’s warm but not hot enough to burn the kids’ tongues.
19. Listen to the thunder together
This is a good activity if there’s too much lightning to play in the rain. Sometimes it’s fun to just sit an listen to the thunder and watch lightning flash. Plus, if your kids are afraid of thunder, this is a good time to teach them to appreciate a cool light show instead of being scared.
Why not just let kids play alone or on their devices?
Families find rainy day activities are perfect for helping calm the home and create simple bonding time. Studies have found that children who have supportive adults in their daily life are less likely to skip school or get into trouble.
Use these rainy day activities as a way to connect with kids. There will always be time for video games or binge-watching. Host Families want their kids engaged and Au Pairs want to engage kids. Choose one activity and try it for a half-hour every day.
Do you like our list? Share this post with your family or Au Pair!
Rainy day activities are for kids of all ages. When the weather keeps everyone indoors, pairing older kids with younger ones or make teams (boys vs girls, older vs younger, kids vs adults) makes the fun a little fairer.
These activities are not just for rainy days, either. Since the days are short as it is, outdoor fun can only last so long, even on sunny days. Try making a list of after-dark activities to do with your kids!