Indoor activities for kids can be tricky to get right. But, when the weather's a little too wet, icy or cold to be venturing out here are a few ideas to keep everyone happy.
And top tip; to get the kids involved, just casually leave the idea/activity there for them to do themselves. Setting it up and 'forcing the fun' just sees resistance. i.e. Try leaving a board game open with some pieces out on the dining table. It's more likely to pique their interest than parents sitting down and setting it all up for them.
Indoor activities for kids:
1. Tie-dye t-shirts
There's a whole host of kids arts and crafts to try indoors when the weather turns. Why not experiment with some colour and learn how to tie dye t-shirts with your little one?
Kids love rainbows and this fun activity will enable them to create a one-of-a-kind design that they can proudly show off to friends.
2. Make some bath bombs
Take bath-time to the next level by helping your kids make bath bombs from scratch.
Little ones will love splashing around in the colourful water. While adults alike will appreciate taking a moment to relax with scented oils after a stressful day.
Cheaper than splashing out on a fancy one, you can make one with some kitchen equipment and a few scented supplies, or pick up an easy how-to set.
3. Rainbow crafts
Kids adore colour and catching rainbows on those rare weather days.
Why not set up a craft station and focus on rainbow crafts, like a rainbow wand or these rainbow decorations.
Of course an assortment of coloured card is a must for this indoor activity. So be sure to pick some up or raid the craft box first.
4. Make a lava lamp
Brighten up the gloomy day with a homemade lava lamp they can keep in their bedroom. Easy and cheap to do - you'll find most of the ingredients are readily available kitchen items too.
Lava lamps are a great sensory stimulus for little ones. They’ll also show big kids the science behind the cool chemical reactions.
5. Make scrunchies
Older girls will certainly view an afternoon learning how to make hair scrunchies as time well spent.
Start by hunting around the house for old patterned fabrics that could do with a new lease of life. Then follow our tutorial, before encouraging them to add their own customisation.
6. Family dinner
Share your cooking knowledge and passion for food by having them join you in the kitchen.
You can keep it as simple and as safe as you like - think washing the salad, peeling eggs or stirring the pan.
Or why not try one of our kid-friendly recipes that lets them do most of the method themselves:
- 10 best recipes for kids aged 3-6 years old
- 10 best recipes for kids aged 7-11 years old
- 10 best recipes for kids aged 12 and over
7. Make a pen pot
Add a little organisation to your kids desk with these bunny pen pots are extra cute and functional too - being able to hold most of their school stationary supplies.
Learn how to make a pen pot from just a plastic bottle, some paint and a black felt tip marker. This is one craft that is sure to keep them busy for at least an afternoon.
8. Make a mug cake
A microwave mug cake recipe is a great trick to have up your sleeve on a rainy day.
Easy to do and ready in minutes, kids will love making a quick chocolate treat that they can tuck into after.
9. Painted masterpieces
Encourage your kids to be creative and make a bit of mess - break out the paper and paints and cover your table with newspaper before you start to protect it.
Poster paint is probably the best to use to start with. Make sure you have a jar filled with water to hand, so your kids can rinse out their brushes when they swap colours.
And you don't just have to use brushes - try using some different things to make pictures. If you have really young children, finger painting is great fun. Or why not slice some potatoes in half, cut out faces or other patterns and then dip them in paint and do some vegetable printing instead.
10. Stage a talent show
Have your budding ballerina or small soprano show off their skills in a family talent show in the living room. Read a Talent Show book together for inspiration, then help them get dressed up in costume and manage any recorded music they might need. Then sit back and watch your little stars shine.
11. Make pancakes have a flip-off contest
Recreate the fun of pancake day in one of our tastiest indoor activities for kids suggestions.
And of course, the best bit is having some delicious pancakes to tuck into after!
12. Make a memory box
A memory box is one of the easiest indoor craft activities for kids to try on a rainy day. Requiring just a cardboard box and a little imagination.
Have them gather some of their favourites memories together - be that postcards, photos, their old favourite teddy. Add them to the box, then decorate the lid with glitter, paper and whatever else they can get their hands on.
When finished, it might be nice to sit down as a family and reminisce on their favourite moments together. A bit like a school show-and-tell.
13. Make dreamcatchers
Another one of our crafty indoor activities to keep kids happy is a DIY dreamcatcher.
Little ones - especially those who suffer from nightmares - will love the idea behind these. Plus they're sure to take pride of place in their bedrooms thanks to the crazy colours and beads they can decorate with them.
Our simple tutorial requires just some paper plates, string and a little imagination.
14. Paper mache
A balloon and some glue is all you need to entertain the kids on a wet afternoon. With our paper mache recipe giving you detailed steps on how to create the gooey mixture that's perfect for abstract craft creations.
One educational idea is to make a paper mache globe, then adding and learning about the countries that make it up.
15. Make some fresh pasta
The Italian staple is often a firm favourite with kids. But have you ever tried making fresh pasta with them and had them get their hands dirty with dough?
Our handy guide shows you how to make classics like spaghetti, linguini, ravioli, and fusilli from three simple ingredients.
You can readily pick up pasta flour from most supermarkets. Plus you might already have some flour and a carton of eggs already in the house ready to go.
Pasta is also a great introduction to the world of cooking for children. So what are you waiting for?
16. Make a paper hat
Got an old newspaper lying around that could be transformed into a fun toy?
Have your kids learn how to make a paper hat in a few easy steps.
We're sure that the accessory will be enough to inspire some good old-fashioned playtime. Doubling up as a pirate hat or helmet for a make-believe soldier or astronaut.
17. Get baking
Get the kids in the kitchen and trying their hand at easy kids baking recipes like cakes, cookies, biscuits and bread.
Not only will you be teaching them the art of baking, but they'll also be improving their number skills when weighing out the ingredients and learning how to follow instructions by using the recipe.
Just make sure they're wearing an apron, they wash their hands properly before and after and steer clear of any knives.
18. Pamper afternoon
It's not just adults who can benefit from a little R&R.
Why not rope in the little ones for a face mask or chance to paint their nails? This mini spa is an easy option.
Younger kids also love 'playing hairdressers' on family members, so why not left them loose with a brush and a few clips on mum and dad?
19. Put on a comedy show
Lighten up an otherwise gloomy day with a little children's stand up.
Have your little ones brush up on some of the best knock-knock jokes for kids. Then have them perform a short routine to the family. Maybe even throw in a few dad jokes to really play up to the audience.
Kids will love the confidence boost that comes from making adults laugh. And you never know - it might reveal a budding comedian-in-the-making.
20. Do a jigsaw
Challenge older kids to ones with over 1,000 pieces. And be on hand to help younger ones as they muddle through.
21. Go on a treasure hunt
This one takes a bit of time and effort on your part, but your kids will really appreciate it.
The treasure needs to be hidden somewhere in the house, preferably where it cannot be found by accident. Then you just have to write some clues and hide them around the house - they will lead from one to the other, until the final one shows you the location of the prize.
The age of your kids will depend on how difficult or easy your clues are and be careful of any clues near valuable or dangerous items. If you're being really inventive, you could always make pretend pirate maps, get your kids to dress up and make it a realistic hunt for 'buried' treasure.
22. Dress up
Kids love to dress up. And this is most certainly one of our favourite indoor activities for kids on rainy days, as it can make even the shyest child come alive.
If you haven't already got a dressing-up box, now's the time to start one. Have a rummage through the loft or the bottom drawer for some old clothes and other accessories that you or your partner no longer wear or use. These can be anything from old glasses (without the lenses), belts, gloves, bags, coats, fancy-dress outfits, scarves... you name it, you can use it.
Now get dressing up! Try to invent some stories to go with the clothes, or even get your kids to put on a performance for you and your partner.
If you haven't yet got enough clothes, see if you have still got any old baby clothes and get your kids to dress up their teddies or other toy animals.
23. Learn a language
One of our more educational indoor activities with kids to try on a rainy day. Learning a language is a skill that will set many children up for life.
Luckily there's plenty of kid-friendly language apps that they can download and start learning from their phone.
24. Create a music video
Kids love performing in front of cameras. So why not have them create their very own music video to their favourite tune.
Teach them a few moves, help them mime the words and dress them in their best party-wear so they feel like the real deal.
Don't forget it's videos like these that are essential viewing on their 18th birthday.
25. Read a book
Wet weather is a perfect opportunity for young book worms to curl up with a book and teleport into a different world. Plus it's an opportunity for little ones to develop key reading skills too.
26. Learn to knit
Do you believe your child could be a dab hand with knitting needles?
Work with them to create a scarf, hat or even a pair of gloves that they can put to later use.
Learning how to knit can also help develop key motor skills and is a nice quiet activity parents can benefit from!
27. Try a science experiment
At-home science experiments are a great activity to occupy curious minds on rainy days, with kids fascinated by the magic of science and colourful potions. Safe, fun and educational - you can conjure up your own chemical reaction with objects or ingredients already found around the house.
Take for example, this clever magic milk experiment which requires cupboard basics like a cotton bud, washing up liquid and some milk from the fridge.
28. Teddy bear tea party
Bring the picnic indoors and help your little one host their own make-pretend tea party with furry friends.
You could use plastic foods from their play kitchen or bake some real afternoon tea classics for an authentic touch.
29. Puddle hunting
Let's face it, the weather's rotten a lot of the time in the UK. So sometimes you might as well just bite the bullet and go out in it.
Put on your waterproof coats, big coats and wellies and scope out some muddy puddles for kids to jump in.
When it's wet a lot of bugs come out too, which is great for avid bug hunters. Worms and snails love the rain. So you could take along some jam jars and collect the most interesting ones.
30. Play kids bingo
A lively game of bingo is one way to knacker the kids out on a wet day indoors.
They'll love the excitement and anticipation of the game and learning all the funny bingo names in the process too.
You can print off some ready-made kids bingo cards courtesy of MyFreeBingoCards and pull scrunched up paper with numbers on out of a bag.
31. Online escape room
Have the family come together and crack a number of clues, padlocks and puzzles in an at-home Escape Room.
Epic Escapes have created the perfect Escape Room In A Box package with three different games to sink your teeth into for just £99. Start off with the easy Crime Escape Room and work your way up to the special Hijack one. The boxes also include self-help hint cards for when you need a little assistance.
32. Party games
An activity that requires very little thought or prior planning are some good old-fashioned party games.
Stream some music on your phone and have them play musical statues. Simon says is another fun way to try and catch them out.
Whilst parents seeking some well-earnt quiet time should also consider the classic 'sleeping lion' game...
33. Make play dough
If you've got little kids then there's nothing nicer than an afternoon crafting creations from play dough. And theres no need to run out to the shops either. With our play dough recipe easy to make from bits already found in the kitchen.
It's a LOT easier than you might think and you can colour it however you like, depending on what your kids fancy making out of it. Our fool proof play dough recipe can be made in a matter of minutes and we've included plenty of ideas for what to make with it, too.
34. Zoom games for kids
Organise a virtual play date with friends and have them play a number of fun zoom games for kids.
From charades and hangman to pictionary - there's plenty of games in our round-up that will keep them entertained on the call.
35. Play with Lego
There's thousands of things kids can construct from these tiny multi-coloured bricks. And we're almost sure every house has their own stash.
If you're stuck for inspiration, be sure to check out Lego online who have lots of handy building instructions on how to make houses, vehicles and much more.
36. Family board game
It doesn't matter how many computer games or gaming consoles they have, sometimes you just can't beat a classic kids board game session around the dining room table.
Rope the whole family in and enjoy classics like Monopoly, Cluedo or Guess Who. Or crack out hungry hippos or jenga for younger kids. Basic card games, like Snap or Patience or also a good back-up if you're out of board games.
37. Work out
Get them up and moving about, with exercise one of the best indoor activities to do with kids.
Set up a mini exercise circuit, where they have to do a different move at each pit stop (jumping jacks, lunges or running on the spot). Or have the whole family compete in an indoor sports day with classics like the wheelbarrow and egg and spoon race.
If you'd rather have them engage in some independent exercise, why not find a Joe Wicks workout that they can get their teeth into whilst you see to chores?
38. Take a virtual tour
There's no need to venture out whilst the weather is grey and drizzly, with children able to learn heaps about history, science and the natural world through a number of exciting virtual tours of kids. One positive of the pandemic was that some of most famous museums and zoos in the world took their exhibitions online. And the good news is that they're still able to view completely free on your home computer today.
Sit down and explore the dinosaurs at London's National History Museum, the rhinos at London Zoo. Or watch a livestream of some of San Diego's zoo cheekiest inhabitants, thanks to live cameras installed in their penguin, elephant and panda enclosures.
39. Cosmic kids yoga
Yoga or stretching is one of the best indoor activities for soothing restless kids on rainy days.
Teach them classics like the downward dog or child's pose. Similarly, there are loads of child-orientated videos that make yoga fun for kids – using stories, characters and playfulness. With the most popular one being