Rainy days can often put a damper on outdoor plans and leave kids feeling restless and bored. With a little creativity and planning, though (and maybe some comfy kids’ pajama sets), rainy days can be transformed into fun opportunities for kids to engage in unusual activities. To pick the perfect rainy-day activities, though, we have to understand what makes rainy-day activities so different.
Your Child’s Brain on a Rainy Day
Rainy days can have different effects on our brains and overall moods, but generally, rainy weather will impact:
- Serotonin Levels. A lack of sunlight can contribute to changes in serotonin levels, which may influence your child’s mood. Some children may feel a sense of calmness and relaxation, while others may experience lower energy levels or even sadness.
- Melatonin Production. The gloomier environment on rainy days can lead to an increase in the production of melatonin, signaling to our brains that it’s time to wind down and, in turn, making us feel sleepier than usual.
- Creativity and Focus. The cozy and introspective atmosphere created by rainy weather can enhance concentration and inspire creativity, allowing us to easier engage in activities that require deep thought.
- Sensory Experience. Rainy weather provides a unique sensory experience for children. The sound of rain, the feel of raindrops and the smell of petrichor can stimulate your children’s senses and contribute to their overall sensory development.
- Social Interactions. Some kids may feel inclined to stay indoors and seek comfort and companionship during rainy days. This can lead to increased opportunities for social bonding and, of course, family fun.
Indoor Treasure Hunt
Written clues on small pieces of paper hidden throughout the house is the baseline for any good at-home treasure hunt, but you can always amplify the fun by taking a different approach to your clues. From here, the treasure can easily be customized to suit the kid or upcoming activities as well, and can be anything from small toys to treats. This is an activity that will not only keep kids entertained but will encourage problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
Arts and Crafts
Rainy days provide the perfect opportunity to foster your kid’s creativity with arts and crafts. Set up a designated craft area with as many different art supplies as possible (or a good batch of themed art supplies for a specific type of project), and let their imaginations run wild. As they create sculptures, draw pictures, make collages or even design sailboats to take outside and try in the puddles, they’ll also be developing their fine motor skills.
Bring the adventure of camping indoors! Set up a makeshift campsite using blankets, pillows, chairs and anything else their heart desires. Let them build their own forts, or even pitch a real tent if possible. After they embrace their creativity and construction skills to set up camp, have the family throw on a set of matching family pajamas and enjoy indoor camping activities like telling stories, reading books with flashlights or playing board games.
Baking and Cooking
Rainy days are an excellent opportunity to introduce kids to the joys of baking and cooking. Just be sure to choose a simple recipe that they can participate in, such as cookies, cupcakes or pizzas. Let them do as much as possible, from measuring ingredients to decorating the finished product. This will be a great way to teach children about following instructions, time management, measuring and experimenting with different flavors. As if that wasn’t enough, the promise of a tasty treat works perfectly when combined with the next idea on our list.
On a rainy day, snuggling up on the couch and having a movie marathon can be a delightful way to spend time indoors. Let kids choose their favorite movies or introduce them to classic family films. No matter what you watch, just be sure to prepare some popcorn and snacks, dim the lights and create a cozy atmosphere however you can to really make your movie marathon a magical event and everlasting memory. Consider getting something on-theme and cozy like Disney pajamas or blankets that correlate with your movie choices, and encourage discussion and questions about the movies to enhance their critical-thinking skills.
Engage kids in exciting and educational science experiments. Conduct simple experiments using household items such as making a volcano using baking soda and vinegar, creating slime using glue and borax or exploring surface tension with water and soap. No matter what you decide to do, these experiments will not only provide a hands-on learning experience for your kids, but will also foster a sense of curiosity and wonder about the world around them.
Board Games and Puzzles
Dust off those old board games and puzzles from the closet and bring them out if only on rainy days. Gather the family and spend quality time playing quirky and classic games. These games provide an excellent opportunity for family bonding and friendly competition and promote problem-solving skills in possibly the most enjoyable way.
Reading and Storytelling
Encourage your kids to develop a love for reading by creating a cozy reading nook with cushions, blankets and a selection of books. Let them choose their favorite stories or explore new genres — and make it extra tempting on rainy days by adding a new book and making their favorite snack to sit down with. If they are too young to read, you can always read aloud to them and engage them in the storytelling process early. After all, reading stimulates imagination, improves vocabulary and develops higher-level language skills.
Rainy days don’t have to mean a lack of physical activity! Create an exciting indoor exercise routine for kids to burn off energy by setting up obstacle courses using cushions, hula hoops, cones and whatever else you can get your hands on, following dance or yoga videos designed for kids or even getting them to help you with certain chores.
Virtual Museum or Zoo Tours
Take advantage of the digital world by embarking on virtual museum or zoo tours. Many museums and zoos offer virtual experiences that allow kids to explore and learn about art, history, animals and more from the comfort of their homes — and rainy days feel like just the right occasion to embrace the opportunity.
Don’t Forget to Get Out in the Rain!
Rainy days don’t have to be dull and uninspiring for kids. The next time the rain pours, embrace these indoor adventures that are sure to suit the mood, or make the best of the rain and embark on an adventure that you can only do when it’s wet out. From mesmerizing wet-weather chalk painting to splashing in puddles, the rain offers a special activity for everyone.