Rainy day activities don’t have to be inside; send the kids OUTSIDE whenever they get the rainy day blues with the play ideas on this list of 21 fun things to do on a rainy day!
Here’s a list of rainy day activities for kids (and adults) with fun things to do on a rainy day inside and out to help you weather the storm. While indoor rain activities are fantastic, so is playing in the rain outside! The best part about this list of rain play ideas is that it is filled with several FREE rainy-day activities.
First, scroll down to see a list of a few classic indoor activities you can do at home, followed by several fun indoor attractions that make a great adventure destination for young and old alike on rainy days. Next, learn how to dress children appropriately for the rain, and get the kids outside with our massive list of fun things to do OUTSIDE for entertainment on rainy days. You may also like this list of winter art projects.
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 when kids get the rainy day “I’m bored, mom” blues is to get OUTSIDE! There are countless learning opportunities and fun ways to play outside in the rain. For example, a few outdoor activities we enjoy in the rain are making music, rain art, engaging the senses, practicing gross and fine motor skills, studying nature, and so much more!
Of course, you can do many other fun indoor rainy-day activities at home. Or go on several rainy day adventures to fun parks and other indoor attractions in your local city or town. So, here are the best indoor rainy-day play ideas below to get you started. A list of 21 outdoor rainy-day activities follows in the next section.
Classic Indoor Activities for a Rainy Day
Fun rainy day indoor activities to do at home:
- play board games like Monopoly,
- pop on a FREE yoga video for kids,
- have a dance party,
- fold paper airplanes,
- set up a tent in the living room,
- build an indoor obstacle course or fort,
- enjoy a movie marathon,
- bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies (or another family favorite),
- make slime,
- get out the play-dough and cookie cutters,
- or do arts and crafts on a rainy day.
Indoor attractions and adventure destinations for rainy days include:
- visiting a children’s museum, natural history museum, or art gallery,
- going to the arcade,
- heading to the local gym or indoor pool,
- hitting the bowling alley for a little friendly competition,
- playing laser tag,
- going to a trampoline park,
- riding around in bumper cars,
- heading to the skating rink,
- going to the library or a local bookstore,
- walking at an indoor mall,
- finding clues in an escape room,
- going to the movie theater or a stage show,
- and eating and enjoying arcade games and pinball at your favorite local pizza parlor.
Fun Ways to Play in the Rain Outside
Even though there are many fun places to go and things to do at home, we think getting outside for AT LEAST 15 minutes, even when it’s pouring, is a must! Playing outside in the rain is much more fun than you may think. Once you get out there, we think you will want to stay A LOT longer. We always do!
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 excellent rain gear, outdoor rainy-day activities were always one of our favorite things to do on a rainy day.
The Norwegians like to say, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes,” and I wholeheartedly agree! Besides, getting outside to play in the rain was much more fun than staying inside for weeks during the rainy months. Scroll down to find a list of the best rain gear for kids.
If you are wondering what to do on a rainy day or how to play in the rain, children from toddlers to preschoolers and kindergarteners 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 the list of screen-free rainy-day outdoor activities for kids on the list below our rain gear recommendations.
The Best Rain Gear for Kids
Proper rain gear is one of the most important things to make outdoor rainy-day activities fun for kids. This makes rain boots (try THESE or THESE) and a good rain jacket or a rain jacket and rain pants a must if you want 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 wet and muddy. Otherwise, rain boots will likely fill up with rainwater no matter what you do.
Best Rain Gear for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Alternatively, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and young school-aged children can wear 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 broader range of sizes. And, for a good laugh, try this super cute little ducky rain suit for toddlers!
Wear Breathable Base Layers
The likelihood of getting wet on a rainy day also makes it necessary to have children wear a breathable wool base layer top, a pair of wool pants, and, most importantly, wool socks to keep them feeling warm and dry. Children wearing a wool base layer 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. Getting wet in a heavy cotton sweatshirt will make you so cold–it would make anyone want to cry! 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, and this causes it to steal warmth away from the body on a rainy day. And that’s not what you want when cold and wet outside.
That’s why I’ve replaced most of the cotton in my wardrobe with some of the warmest and most comfortable wool on the planet. But if wool is unavailable, polyester fleece is the next best thing to wear on a rainy day. You might also like this list of my favorite must-haves for moms, teachers, and caregivers everywhere.
Outdoor 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! Use the rainy-day ideas below to get the kids outside to have fun in the rain!
There are several fun things you can do on a rainy day outdoors. While indoor rainy-day activities for kids are great, children need to get outside and move their bodies daily. When it rains, outdoor rainy-day activities make it fun to get outside and play.
There are many 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 follow provides 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! And when the sun is shining, you might enjoy this list of fun and educational shadow activities for kids.
1. Sing and dance in the rain.
Who doesn’t love singing in the rain? Like Gene Kelly, get outside to sing and dance in the rain. “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 she loves to take outside to swim in the rain. It is cute to watch it swim around in deep enough puddles. Give it a try!
3. Catch raindrops on your tongue.
Sometimes, the simple pleasures in life are the best, and catching raindrops on your tongue is one of them. Invite children to catch raindrops and sprinkles 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 tongues! 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. Making mud pies is a fun outdoor rainy-day activity for kids. Children love to play with mud on a rainy day. The earth gets nice and soft when it rains, so it’s easy to dig. And it’s fun to decorate 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, touch, taste, etc. Record your observations in your Nature Journal.
Take this educational rainy day idea 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 an excellent educational rainy-day activity for homeschoolers!
7. Build a dam.
Use stones, rocks, mud, sandbags, or other natural items to create a dam wherever water flows. Building a dam is a fun and educational STEM activity for kids.
When building a dam, please ensure you don’t hurt the area’s inhabitants, the natural landscape, or the surrounding ecology. Never block off an entire waterway, and please ensure the water flows back downstream or into the creek or river before you leave.
8. Race leaves or boats in rain gutters and creeks.
Making and racing toy boats is another great rainy-day STEM activity. Racing leaves or boats down a rushing stream or creek–or in overflowing gutters is a perfect place for this fun rainy-day activity for kids. 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 how much it rained. Measuring the amount of 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 a DIY rain gauge by securing a ruler to the inside of a clear plastic cup or mason jar, or you can purchase one by clicking the first link. 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 outside in the rain to watch what happens. Hop over to 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 outside.
For another fun rainy day activity, grab a waterproof camera for kids and head outside to take pictures in the rain. Taking pictures of friends and family playing outside without worrying about your camera getting wet is fun.
It’s also fun to photograph nature in the rain. Everything looks so lovely with drops of rain on it when photographed. And today, my husband and I love and use our iPhones because they are now waterproof!
12. Go on a nature walk.
Going for a nature walk in the rain is one of my favorite activities. 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 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 like playing on the beach on a warm, rainy day.
Related: Go on a Nature Hunt
13. Create an invitation to play in the rain outside.
Another fun thing to do in the rain is to set up 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 try it.
14. Declare an outdoor water-fun war.
Whoever said water soakers and water balloons were only for hot days? A water war in the rain is a great way to get the kids outside to burn off excess energy. Especially if they’ve been cooped up for a while. Gear up, and get out there! (Ensure they pick up the water balloon pieces when they’re done to help care for planet Earth.)
15. Paint with mud and nature.
Painting with silty mud is one of my daughter’s favorite things to do in the rain (creek or lakeside). She calls them her mudder-nature paintings, pronounced like mother nature–lol. 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.
Playing in the sandbox is a fun rainy-day activity. The rain makes it super easy to mold the play sand in whatever way you choose. Just make sure you remove clothing before entering the house, if 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 pleasant sound when raindrops hit it. If you don’t mind it getting a little wet, you can put out a xylophone and enjoy the sound of rain music, “Tip, tip, tap, tap, 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 a see-through rainstick.
18. Bodyboard down small grassy hills.
This was one of my favorite rainy day activities when I lived on the rainy island of Kauai, Hawaii. It must rain a lot to do this activity because the ground must be completely saturated with water to work. Grab a bodyboard and make for the hills! Think of it like tobogganing in the rain!
19. Feel the soggy earth.
If it’s not too cold, kick off your rain shoes and feel the soggy earth under your feet. This is a fantastic outdoor rainy-day 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 might see a rainbow! Learn more about rainbows HERE.
21. Jump in puddles.
Last but certainly not least, everyone’s favorite rainy day activity – jumping in puddles! I like to save this rainy day activity for last because even with proper gear on, you can get very, very 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 outside 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.
After having fun outside in the rain, go inside for a warm bath, some hot tea or cocoa, and a big bowl of popcorn. Next, curl up on the couch with a soft wool throw blanket, light a fire in the fireplace (if you have one), and enjoy the sweet comfort of how great it feels to be warm and dry after a day of fun in the rain.
Once warm and dry, play a fun board game with the whole family, make paper airplanes, pop in a free yoga video, or scroll down and try some of the art and craft ideas for a rainy day on the list below.
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 the rainy-day arts, crafts, and painting ideas on the list 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 for Kids
Bucket Lists of Fun Activities and Things to Do
For more fun ideas, check out our seasonal bucket lists. They are filled with several 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
If you Enjoy Things to do in the Rain, You Might Also Like
- Household Rhythms: The Power of Routine in the Home
- 10 Tips for a Safe Bonfire with Kids
- Get Outside and Connect
- Book-Inspired Rainbow Science Activities
- Fun Gratitude Activities and Crafts for Kids
- Outdoor Learning and Nature Activities for Kids!