5 Fun (and educational) rainy day play ideas

It’s said that into every life a little rain must fall… but some months (that’s you, April) seem to dole out more than their fair share! Can such a soggy month be as much fun as the rest? Absolutely!

Rainy day play

With a little imagination and some key play-time supplies, you can weather any springtime storm and be the hero of your playroom.

Contributed by Beth Hester, Melissa & Doug

(Slightly) wild pretend-play landscape

Kids playing dress-up

Create your own sunny day and give imaginations room to roam! All it takes is an open space and a few inspiring play pieces. Whether you give over a whole room or lay out a blanket to mark the boundaries, focus your energies on life-size role play or mini pretend-play figures, your space will be filled with creativity in no time.

Get imaginations started with a set of play figures, vehicles or a cool costume. Then help children dig through the art supplies, costume chest and (clean) recyclables to add decorations, props and more! Keep the ideas rolling all day long by declaring “rainy day rules” in the realm — bend the rules about cleaning up before snack, lift the ban on shouting indoors and let the kids go a little bit wild in the name of imagination. They’ll look forward to the next gloomy day!

All-day art studio

When it looks like the weather will keep you in all day, give them the art supplies they need to capture a day’s worth of creativity and make a cool keepsake, too! An easel is an ideal headquarters for this on-again, off-again art project, but a tabletop paper roll is another great option — or even just a pad of plain paper.

Let the kids know they’ll have lots of creative challenges during the day, and that whenever they hear a special signal (a bell, triangle, tambourine or other noisemaker of your choice) they’ll have to drop everything and hurry to the “studio”!

With every challenge, each child should get one sheet of paper and a single challenge to complete. Here are some ideas to get your studio started:

  • Draw a picture of your favorite animal.
  • Draw your family.
  • Cut and paste your favorite pictures from a magazine.
  • Listen to a piece of music and draw what it sounds like to you.
  • Make a self-portrait.
  • Draw as many shapes on this page as you can before time runs out.

At the end of the day, staple all the pages together to make an art book!

Inspiration: This Rainy Day Fun Pinterest board gathers up some easy arts and crafts that will easily brighten a gloomy, rainy day (without breaking the bank)!

Weather measure

Rain bucket

Be a rain scientist! Place a plastic cup or bucket outside in the rain (you may want to put a rock inside it to keep it from blowing over.) Then give each child an identical container (with a rock inside it to match, if you wish), and let them fill their cups to guess how much water will be collected outside by the end of the day.

Partway through the day, you can bring the outside container in to make observations, compare the containers and allow the scientists to adjust their hypotheses. Then place it outside again to keep collecting!

Indoor scavenger hunt

It’s the treasure hunt with nothing to hide! Simply arm the kids with a notebook, pencil and a list of questions, and send them all over the house in search of information. To kick off their fact-finding mission, offer one or two questions, and ask the kids to come up with a few more. For example:

  • How many windows are in the house?
  • Are there more windows upstairs or downstairs?
  • Which room of the house has the most windows?

Talk first about different ways to gather this information, then help children make a chart to gather their observations. Be sure to write in everyone’s guesses for what the answers will be! Then regroup after the hunt to check the results.

Play tip: Here’s a puzzle scavenger hunt activity that also helps kids learn to count by 10s!

Eyes on dinner

Give your day focus by making dinner a team effort. It’s never too early to start — your little ones can be working on menus, placemats, centerpieces and place cards all day long. Or use their creativity to transform the dining room into a fabulous restaurant destination you can use all day for lunch and snacks. Kids can help with food preparation, too — using real food or cooking along with Mom in a pretend-play kitchen. Then enjoy a very special dinner time in the setting you’ve created together!

What are your favorite ways to enjoy the indoors on a rainy day? For more inspiration, check out the “Playtime Press” — our blog that’s packed with arts and crafts ideas, activities and more! Also join Melissa & Doug on Facebook to see what our fans are sharing!

More rainy day fun

Pinterest to the rainy day rescue
Outdoor activities with an indoor twist
How to create a rainy day activity box