Finding things for kids to do inside the house can be a challenge on rainy days! They always ask to do something fun but it’s hard to keep coming up with new ideas. This list of cute rainy day crafts and activities is a great source of fresh ideas for you to fall back on. I’ve done my best to find activities that are fun not only for the kids, but for the grown ups as well! (Because nothing is worse for your sanity than sitting at a table doing the same craft over and over and over again…)
For more information about each activity, and for the original source and/or tutorial, click on any of the photos below!
1. Roll the Dice!
Grab some cardboard, tape and some markers and create some physical activity dice. You can make them over sized so they’re fun for little ones to throw and roll. Simply write little activities on each side like ‘Jump up and down’ or ‘Hop on one leg’ and have fun challenging each other.
2. Long Reaching Monsters
Using wide craft sticks, a handful of brads, heavy duty cardboard and plenty of imagination, your little monsters can bring their inner monsters to life or to create a menagerie of crocodiles, giraffes, flamingos and ostriches!
3. DIY Finger Puppets
If you have kids in the house then chances are you have your fair share of dried out markers and random caps rolling around in your craft box. This little craft lets you do double duty since the first step is to clean out those boxes and collect those caps! Once you have them, you can make these super cute finger puppets which can be used to put on a play, mingle with small figures from other playsets or ….
4. Create Your Own Board Game
Making your own family board game can be a great way to teach kids about strategy, logic and design. They can create their own version of a classic like tic-tac-toe, checkers or Chutes & Ladders. Alternatively, you can help them create something unique.
5. Paper Bag Houses
You can also use those little figures – or others you have scattered around your house – with these cute paper bag houses. If you’re anything like me, you have a stash of bags in plenty of different sizes so you can make small cottages or huge buildings. Use washi tape, stickers, markers and craft sticks to complete each home and in no time you’ll have a whole little neighborhood.
6. I-Spy Jars
You know those little toys that you’re always finding behind the bookshelf, stuffed into pockets and scattered around the stairs at the crack of dawn? Round them up and use them to create one of these cute I Spy Jars. Fill the jar up with rice or beads until almost full then drop in a handful of small items. The kids can roll them around trying to spot different things and it’s also a great way to encourage little ones to learn colors and shapes.
7. Put a New Spin on Painting
Kids love to paint but cleaning up a million little brushes gets old fast. Change things up by opting for brush alternatives such as bubbles, old toothbrushes or even balloons as a way to get creative.
8. Rain Sticks
If you find the sound of rain more relaxing than noisy toys, have your kids make a rain stick so their active playing can at least calm your nerves! This craft requires plenty of adult help in the beginning but the decoration is all down to the kids. The sticks are plenty of fun and will keep your little crafters busy for hours.
9. Coffee Filter Butterflies
Using coffee filters to create butterfly wings is a kindergarten classic. The thinness of the filters lets the light come through if you hold them up against a light or window. Use clothespins for the body and you can attach a small magnet on the back so kids can use them on the fridge when you’re done.
10. Wax Paper Stained Glass
Another classic I used to love as a kid – and now enjoy again with my own kids – is wax paper stained glass. These little crafts come out amazingly vivid and they’re so easy to make. If you’re not quite ready to shave up a bunch of crayons, you can also make them out of tissue paper.
11. Indoor Bowling Set
Everyone loves to bowl and creating your own unique bowling set makes it even more fun. This monster set is durable and can be used for a long time, but sets made from recycled materials make it easy for kids to be involved beginning to end. Have them make a set based on their favorite games and movies such as Angry Birds or the minions from Despicable Me!
12. Lego Candy Dispenser
Let your little engineers and inventors go crazy with this super cute Lego Candy Dispenser. It’s a simple craft and kids can build on this basic model and add to it or use longer bricks along the back in order to connect several to each other.
13. Create a Fairy Garden
If you have a child who already collects small action figures or something similar, then this can be a lot of fun. Creating a fairy garden is as simple as finding a small container and creating a little environment. But don’t let its name make you feel boxed in. Fairy Gardens only need to be small scale, but they can reflect the personality of any little creature you like which means it could easily expands you child’s playset collection for small toy figures like Paw Patrol, Lego men or Weebles.
14. Tape Art
If you want to add a little flair to your kids’ abstract art technique, give this a try. Stretch a few pieces of good painter’s tape across the canvas before the start painting. When they’re done. Let it dry, pull off the tape and it adds a whole new dimension to the picture.
15. Watercolor Messages
This is a fun addition to games like Treasure Hunt, a Super Spy game or can be used just on its own. Write a message or draw a simple picture with a white crayon then let your kids reveal the secret message by painting over it with watercolors.
16. Painting on Wet Glue
Painting on wet glue creates a vibrant sun catcher which can be hung on windows once the rain is gone. These are easy to create and don’t actually require any paint – food coloring makes the colors really POP.
17. Make a Home for Displaced Earthworms
Once the rain tapers off, earthworms are everywhere. If you have little ones with a love of nature, make those little wigglers a home where your kids can observe them for a few days or even a few weeks. It’s not hard to do and kids will learn pet centered responsibility as the habitats need to be sprayed with water every few days and the worms need to be fed.
18. Emotive Toilet Paper Dolls
This craft puts a new spin on the classic toilet paper roll dolls by letting them have a wide range of emotions. You can use toilet paper rolls along with wrapping paper rolls or any other slightly smaller cardboard tube.
The ultimate rainy day treat for kids is being able to watch a movie. Sure, they could all sprawl out on the couch and floor, but making cardboard cars turns that movie into a drive-in experience. These cute cars will be large so have a plan on where to store them once the movie is over, but making them first may wear your little ones out enough so that YOU can relax during the movie too.
20. Build a Story
Let kids create their own story by attaching random words onto Lego, MegaBlock or Duplo block with some washi or masking tape (for easy removal later). This helps boost kids’ creativity and encourages them to get silly. Bonus points if you have them draw an accompanying picture to go along with their story!
21. Dough Magnets
Kids love playing with magnets on the fridge and these let them create ones of their very own. These cute little guys are sweet enough to be given away as gifts but kids can also create magnets all their own.
22. DIY Puppets
The bendable puppets are a lot of fun for little ones who want to put on a show. You can bend and move them by hand or attach pieces of string to turn them into makeshift marionettes.
This rainy day idea is perfect for kids of all ages. Little ones can make simple puzzles with large pieces and older kids can make more challenging puzzles. You can make these out of family pictures, cereal boxes or a piece of original art. There’s even a way to turn them into magnets so the kids can play with them on the fridge.
24. Mess Free Finger Painting
Finger painting is always a hit in our house, but I hate feeling like I have to play Paint Police and stand around with paper towels or rags ready to sweep up spills right away. If you feel the same way, this trick will be a godsend. Just squirt a few blobs of finger paint into a large Ziploc back, press the air out then lets kids squish, swirl and smash to their heart’s content.
When it’s nasty and wet outside, chances are your little ones can name about a million other places they wish they were instead. Channel that imagination into making dioramas that show a place they’d rather be or even a scene from their favorite video game. They can make dioramas out of shoeboxes, empty containers or even jars. You can also use this project to finally solve the problem of how to store all the keepsakes your family keeps from vacations. If you’re feeling really adventurous you can still turn them into snow globes but swap out the plastic snowflakes for glitter or other plastic confetti.
You could just sit your kids down in front of the TV all afternoon. But it’s so much more fun to get them to do something creative! All it takes is a little bit of planning, and that rainy afternoon will be over in no time!