Rainy day activities don’t have to be inside, send the kids OUTSIDE with any of the play ideas in this collection of 21 fun things to do on a rainy day!
This list of rainy day activities for kids is filled with fun things to do on a rainy day. While indoor rain activities are fantastic, so is playing in the rain outside! The best part about this list of outdoor rain play ideas is that it is filled with FREE rainy day activities! Learn how to dress children properly for the rain and get the kids outside with this list of fun things to do in the rain. You may also like this list of winter art projects.
If you are wondering what to do on a rainy day or how to play in the rain, children from toddlers to teens love to get outside to explore the wet earth, jump in puddles, and play in the mud. Find MORE fun things to do in the rain outside with this fun list of screen-free rainy day activities for kids. Use any of the rainy day ideas listed below to get the kids outside to have fun in the rain!
Related: 15 Open-Ended Toys for Pretend Play
Best Things to do on a Rainy Day
One of the best things to do on a rainy day with kids is to get OUTSIDE! There are countless learning opportunities and fun ways to play outside in the rain. As an example, a few outdoor activities in the rain that we enjoy are; making music, rain art, engaging the senses, practicing gross motor and fine motor skills, studying nature, and so much more!
Of course, it’s also a lot of fun to play board games, pop on a FREE yoga video, design paper airplanes, use play-dough, and make arts and crafts on a rainy day. However, we think that getting outside for AT LEAST 15 minutes, even when it’s pouring, is a must! Once you get out there, we think you will want to stay A LOT longer. We always do!
Playing in the rain is fun! When I lived in Vancouver, BC, while attending graduate school (one of the world’s rainiest places), I worked as a nanny. The kids and I had a lot of fun bundling up in proper rain gear to get outside and play in the rain. Because we had great rain gear, outdoor rainy day activities were always our favorite things to do on a rainy day.
As the Swedes like to say, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes!” Besides, getting outside to play in the rain was much more fun than staying inside for weeks on end during the rainy months. Scroll down to find a list of the best rain gear for kids.
The Best Rain Gear for Kids
One of the most important things that you need to make rainy day activities fun for kids is proper rain gear. Rain boots (try THESE or THESE) and a good rain jacket or a rain jacket and rain pants are necessary to keep smiles big on a rainy day.
Waterproof rain pants with a bib and straps that wrap under rain boots are best when kids get really wet and muddy. Otherwise, rain boots are likely to fill up with rainwater no matter what you do.
Toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and young school-aged children also have the option of wearing a one-piece rain suit. If you are looking for a single zip one-piece rain suit for toddlers and older children, try THIS one, it comes in a wider range of sizes. And, for a good laugh, try this super cute little ducky rain suit for toddlers!
The likelihood of getting wet on a rainy day also makes it necessary to have children wear a breathable wool base layer top, pants, and, most importantly, wool socks to keep them feeling warm and dry. When children wear a wool base layer, they are less likely to complain about feeling cold–even when they get a little wet.
Whatever you do, don’t allow children to wear cotton in the rain. Have you ever heard the phrase cotton kills? I know it’s a bit overdramatic–but it’s true. Cotton absorbs moisture and gets weighed down so that it will steal warmth away from the body. Getting cold and wet in a heavy cotton sweatshirt would be enough to make anyone cry! If you can not find wool, polyester fleece is the next best thing to wear on a rainy day.
Rainy Day Activities for Kids: 21 Ways to Play in the Rain
Wondering what to do on a rainy day? Rainy day activities for toddlers don’t have to be inside; here is a list of 21 OUTDOOR rain activities for kids!
There is lots of stuff to do on a rainy day outdoors. While indoor rainy day activities for kids are great, children need to get outside and move their bodies every day. When it rains, outdoor rainy day activities make it fun to get outside and play.
There are a lot of fun ways to play in the rain and many educational opportunities that can be found outside on a rainy day. The list of rainy day play ideas that follows is an excellent source of screen-free activities for kids. Give any of these outdoor rainy day activities a try to get the kids outside learning and having fun!
1. Sing and Dance in the Rain
Who doesn’t love singing in the rain?
Get outside to sing and dance in the rain just like Gene Kelly. “I’m singing in the rain, I’m singing in the rain! What a glorious feeling I’m happy again!”
Don’t forget your umbrella to get yourself in the mood.
2. Play with Water Toys in Puddles
Get the kids outside playing in the rain with some of their favorite pool or bath toys. Bath toys are fun for kids to dip in puddles and play with outside on a rainy day.
My daughter has a robot fish bath toy that she loves to take outside to go swimming in the rain. It really is cute to watch it swim around in puddles that are deep enough.
3. Catch Rain Drops on Your Tounge
Sometimes the simple pleasures are the best. Invite children to catch raindrops on their tongues for this fun rainy day activity. I’ve never met any kids playing in the rain who haven’t loved trying to catch raindrops on their tongue! And, while they are at it–ask children to count how many raindrops they catch.
4. Rescue Worms
The lifeguard in me loves this activity. Whenever you see a worm in a puddle place it back on the earth. Once the rain stops and the earth is dry, rescue the worms by taking them out of puddles, and off the sidewalk or street, and placing them back in the moist earth. Only hold on to worms for as long as you need to move them. Worms will die if held for too long. For more about worms see Investigate Worms.
5. Make Mud Pies in the Rain
Children love to play in the mud on rainy days. A super fun way to play with mud on a rainy day is to make mud pies. The earth gets nice and soft when it rains so that it’s easy to dig. Don’t forget to decorate your mud pies with flowers, leaves, sticks, rocks, etc. Check out Mud Pie Nature Art for more ideas!
Related: 15 Ways to Raise a Helper
Fun Things to do in the Rain: Rainy Day STEM Activities
6. Become a Scientist and Use Your Senses
Take a few moments to observe the rain. Notice everything about it–the sights, sounds, smells, feel, taste, etc. Record your observations in your Nature Journal.
Take this educational rainy day idea even further at home or in the classroom with creative storytelling or writing. Once you go inside ask your children to write or tell a story using the information they discovered and experienced in the rain. Ask them to practice using sensory language and feeling words to express themselves. This is a great educational rainy day activity for homeschoolers!
7. Build a Dam
Use stones, rocks, mud, sandbags, or anything else you have to create a dam wherever water is flowing. Building a dam is a fun and educational STEM activity for kids.
When building a dam, make sure you don’t hurt the area’s inhabitants or the surrounding ecology. Never block off an entire waterway, and please make sure the water is flowing normally before you leave.
8. Race Leaves or Boats in Rain Gutters and Creeks
Making and racing toy boats is another fantastic rainy day STEM activity. Racing leaves or boats down a rushing stream or creek–or in overflowing gutters is always fun. If you’re looking for a quick and easy popsicle stick boat that children can make–click the link. The peg doll on top is super cute, but optional.
9. Measure the Rain
Children love to measure the amount that it rained. Measuring rainfall, and taking rainfall measurements over time, is a fun rainy day STEM activity for kids. How much did it rain in an hour? In a day? In a week? Or, all year?
You can make your own rain gauge by securing a ruler to the inside of a clear plastic cup or clear mason jar, or you can purchase one. Keep a rain journal to check your measurements against those in your local newspaper or favorite weather website.
10. Make Rain Art on a Rainy Day
Making rain art is a fun rainy day activity for kids. Use markers to draw on paper, then put your drawings out in the rain to watch what happens. Hop over to have a look at Rainbow Rainy Day Art for more information.
Awesome Rainy Day Activities: More Fun Ways to Play in the Rain Outside
11. Take Pictures
For another fun rainy day activity, grab a waterproof camera for kids, and head outside to take pictures in the rain. It’s fun to take pictures of friends and family playing outside without worrying about your camera getting wet.
It’s also fun to photograph nature in the rain. Everything looks so lovely with drops of rain on it when photographed. My husband and I love and use THIS waterproof camera.
12. Go for a Nature Walk
Going for a nature walk is one of my favorite things to do in the rain. When I lived in Vancouver, BC, (one of the rainiest cities in the world) my Southern California family often asked if I got SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) from all the rain.
Going for nature walks in the proper rain gear was all I needed to keep the dreary wearies away. Today I share this rainy day activity with my daughter, who loves it as much as I do.
When I lived on the island of Kauai, (another one of the rainiest places in the world) I often just wore my bikini to go for a run on the beach on a rainy day. And, the weather was warm enough most of the year to enjoy the rain without a single item of rain gear as long as you didn’t mind getting a little wet.
With that said, if you ever have the chance to go for a run or a walk on a warm day in the rain on the beach–do it. It’s an experience not to be missed! And, don’t forget to build a sandcastle and go for a swim with the kids while you are at it! There is nothing quite like playing on the beach on a warm rainy day.
Related: Go on a Nature Hunt
13. Create an Invitation to Play
Another fun thing to do in the rain is to set up and an invitation to play. Just like we create invitations to play inside, we can also create an invitation to play outside in the rain. Set up a rainy day play activity and invite the kids to give it a try.
14. Have a Water War
Having a water war in the rain is a great way to get the kids outside to burn off some excess energy. Especially if they’ve been cooped up for a while. Gear up, and get out there!
15. Paint with Mud
Painting with mud is one of my daughter’s favorite things to do in the rain. Grab a stick or some leaves and dip them in the mud. Then paint your driveway or sidewalk with the mud and watch it melt away in the rain.
16. Play in the Sandbox
Just make sure you remove clothing before going into the house, if at all possible. Rain and sand make for quite a mess!
17. Make Rain Music
Put out pots, pans, bowls, tin foil, or anything else you think might make a nice sound when raindrops hit it. You can even put out a xylophone as long as you don’t mind it getting wet. Enjoy the sound of rain music, “Tip, tip, tap, tip, tap, ting!”
Or, create the sound of rain with a DIY rainstick made from recycled and naturally sourced materials. Click the link to learn how to make your own see-through rainstick.
18. Body Board Down Small Grassy Hills
This was one of my favorite rainy day activities when I lived on the rainy island of Kauai, HI. It needs to rain a lot to do this activity because the ground has to be totally saturated with water for it to work.
Grab a body-board and make for the hills! Think of it like tobogganing in the rain!
19. Feel the Soggy Earth
If it’s not too cold out, kick off your rain shoes and feel the soggy earth under your feet. This is a wonderful activity for sensory development.
20. Go on a Rainbow Hunt
If you can see the sun peeking through the clouds on a rainy day, go outside and turn your back to the sun to look for rainbows in the sky. Or, head out on a rainbow hunt with the sun behind you and pay attention, you just might see a rainbow! Learn more about rainbows HERE.
21. Jump in Puddles
Last, but not least, everyone’s favorite rainy day activity–jump in puddles!
I like to save this rainy day activity for last because even with proper gear on, you can get really wet.
What to do on a Rainy Day: The Best Rainy Day Activities for Kids
Rainy day activities don’t have to be inside, send the kids outside to play in the rain… There are lots of fun things to do on a rainy day!
We hope you enjoy these rainy day activities for kids and fun ways to play in the rain outside as much as we do!
When you’re all done having fun outside in the rain, go inside for a warm bath and some hot tea or cocoa.
Curl up with a soft wool throw blanket, light a fire in the fireplace (if you have one) and enjoy how great it feels to be warm and dry after a day of fun in the rain.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
Best Rainy Day Art and Craft Activities for Kids
Creating arts and crafts is another fun thing to do on a rainy day. Try any of the art projects for kids listed below the next time it rains in your neighborhood.
- Fingerprint Art Ideas for Kids
- Best Winter Art Projects for Kids
- Christmas Art Projects for Kids
- Flower Art Projects
- Fingerprint Art Magnets
- Easter Art Ideas for Kids
- Nature Crafts and Art Activities
- Best Fall Art Projects
- Fall Nature Craft Ideas
- Halloween Art Ideas Kids Will LOVE
Bucket Lists of Fun Activities and Things to do
For more fun ideas check out our seasonal bucket lists. They are filled with a lot of fun indoor and outdoor activities that children will love!
- Autumn Bucket List of Fun Fall Activities
- Winter Bucket List of Fun Spring Activities to do with Kids
- Spring Bucket List of Fun Activities
- Summer Bucket List of Activities for Kids