Indoor activities for kids: 40 amazing ideas for rainy days

It's raining, it's pouring but luckily there's fun to be had!

children looking out the window at a cold day

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.

Having a toolkit of things to do (opens in new tab) like family days out to London (opens in new tab) or a wander around a Gruffalo Trail (opens in new tab) is great, sometimes indoor activities is the best choice. 

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:

Make something

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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab).

How to make bath bombs

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 (opens in new tab) 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.

how to make rainbow wan

Credit: TI Media

4. Make a lava lamp

Brighten up the gloomy day with a homemade lava lamp (opens in new tab) 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.

how to make a lava lamp

Credit: Getty

5. Make scrunchies

Older girls will certainly view an afternoon learning how to make hair scrunchies (opens in new tab) 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.

How to make hair scrunchies

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:

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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) instead.

painting is one of our favourite indoor activities with kids

Credit: TI Media

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 (opens in new tab) 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.

Girl dancing as part of a talent show in the lounge on a rainy day

Credit: Getty

11. Make pancakes have a flip-off contest

Recreate the fun of pancake day in one of our tastiest indoor activities for kids suggestions.

Have the kids choose what pancake recipes (opens in new tab) and pancake toppings (opens in new tab) they'd like to try. Then set a challenge to see who can successfully flip the most pancakes in 30 seconds.

And of course, the best bit is having some delicious pancakes to tuck into after!

Father and son flipping pancakes

Credit: Getty
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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.

a young boy with a cardboard box

Credit: Getty
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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.

DIY dreamcatchers

Credit: TI Media

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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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.

making a paper hat is one of our favourite indoor activities with kids

Credit: TI Media

17. Get baking

Get the kids in the kitchen and trying their hand at easy kids baking recipes (opens in new tab) 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.

Do something

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 (opens in new tab) 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?

Mother and daughter in white bath towels on head and with slices of cucumber on their eyes. Woman has white facial mask on her skin.

Credit: Getty
(Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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 (opens in new tab). Then have them perform a short routine to the family. Maybe even throw in a few dad jokes (opens in new tab) 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.

taco joke

Credit: Canva

20. Do a jigsaw

Puzzles are a perfect rainy day activity that will also develop children's motor and concentration skills. Try this bright rainforest one (opens in new tab).

Challenge older kids to ones with over 1,000 pieces. And be on hand to help younger ones as they muddle through.

Boy solving jigsaw puzzle at home

Credit: Getty

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.

Little Boy dressing up as pirate sitting on log in park reading treasure map and holding saber in other hand
(Image credit: wundervisuals)

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.

World Book Day costume idea Felicity Wishes

Credit: TI Media

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.

Gus on the Go (opens in new tab) is a great one for introducing young ones to Spanish. Whilst Duolingo (opens in new tab) has plenty of interactive kids games available to try in 35 languages.

mum and daughter using a language learnign app

Credit: Getty

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.

Apps like TikTok and Triller (opens in new tab) are great for easy video editing and allows them to share their creation with friends online too.

Don't forget it's videos like these that are essential viewing on their 18th birthday.

making a music video is one of our indoor activities for kids to do during the rain

Credit: Getty

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.

From teen books (opens in new tab) to books for toddlers (opens in new tab) and even personalised books for kids (opens in new tab), this is one of those indoor activities that kids of all ages can benefit from.

kid reading a book on a rainy day

Credit: Getty

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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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.

Girl making volcano

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 (opens in new tab) for an authentic touch.

A young girl with a tiara on having a pretend tea party outdoors with her teddy bear.

Credit: Getty

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.

A toddler jumping in puddles

Credit: Getty

Play something

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 (opens in new tab) in the process too.

You can print off some ready-made kids bingo cards courtesy of MyFreeBingoCards (opens in new tab) and pull scrunched up paper with numbers on out of a bag.

downloadable bingo card

Credit: MyFreeBingoCards

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 (opens in new tab) 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.

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