Rainy day activities: What to do with the kids when it’s raining

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  • The weather’s bad and the kids are bored, fed up and unhappy. So how do you keep your children happy and entertained?

    We all know that the weather in the UK is impossible to predict, so doing stuff as a family outside can be tricky to plan.

    If you’re stuck inside with the kids, let us help you find some great wet weather family activities and keep everyone happy…

    1. Play a game

    It doesn’t matter how many computer games or gaming consoles they have, the old-fashioned toys are often the best. Why not dig out some jigsaw puzzles, encourage them to read for a change, or play a board game together?

    Board games, especially, make it easy for everyone to join in and are great for building up tension and getting their brains working. If that sounds too much like hard work, try some basic card games, like Snap or Patience, or try dominos or dice.

    2. Get crafting!

    If you get your kids to do activities with their hands as well as their brains, they’re far more likely to get into it.

    Not only will this be fun, but it should also help their creativity and hopefully keep them busy for a couple of hours. We have loads of kids’ crafts to choose from but one of our all time favourites is the little chap above. This friendly-looking paper dino is easily put together with a couple of loo roll tubes and a plate – genius!

    3. Bake a cake

    Everyone loves cakes and encouraging your kids to help you make one of their favourites should be lots of fun.

    Not only will you be teaching them the art of cakemaking, 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. And if you don’t have the ingredients for a sponge cake in, then don’t fear. The lovely pink cake above is made from ice cream and SO easy to put together.

    4. Visit a museum or gallery

    The image of museums, galleries or old buildings being dull and boring is disappearing, as more and more fun exhibitions and events take place all over the country – perfect as a day out for the whole family.

    Even if you’re not that interested, you might find that taking your kids along will make you see places in a different light. Paintings and historical artefacts look totally different to kids and you may discover interests you never knew they had.

    And don’t forget, during the school holidays most places put on special events specifically to attract families like yours.

    5. Make play dough

    If you’ve got little kids then there’s nothing nicer than an afternoon making play dough, and what could be better than making your own?

    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.

    6. Go swimming

    If you’re going to get wet, why not do it in a fun way rather than walking through the rain.

    Remember that most kids only swim during school lessons, so going to the local pool or leisure centre with mum and dad will be a fun activity in itself.

    Many pools also have wave machines, slides and fountains, so it’s not just about ploughing up and down lanes, and many sports centres have separate pools specially for kids and will provide floats, balls and other water toys.

    You’ll also get the chance to see how well they’re doing with their swimming, build up their confidence in the water, maybe give them some tips and, most of all, have fun as a whole family.

    7. Have a DVD day

    Make the afternoon into a bit of a home cinema event. Get your kids to suggest a favourite film and you also pick a family movie that you can all watch together. You can find some great kids’ films on Netflix.

    To make it more special, close the curtains and turn off the lights, as if you’re in a proper cinema. And make sure you organise snacks and whip up some non-alcoholic cocktails that everyone can enjoy.

    Now all you need to do is all get comfy on the sofa, beanbags and cushion and settle down for an afternoon of fun.

    8. 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.

    New! Organise an egg hunt party.

    9. Go for a walk

    Let’s face it, the weather’s rotten a lot 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 then just go for it.

    You could simply head for the local park and enjoy the fact that there won’t be that many other people there, or why not drive to a local wood or wildlife area.

    When it’s wet a lot of bugs come out which most kids love to inspect. Worms and snails love the rain, for example, and you could take along some jam jars and collect the most interesting ones

    10. Do some painting

    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 stamp onto paper. In fact, any veggies will do – the vegetable printing example above is made with celery.

    Another idea is to draw faces on a sponge and then cut the features out and use it as a stamp, just like the potato. Great fun!

    11. Dressing up

    Kids love to dress up and it can make 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.