Snowy And Rainy Day Indoor Activities To Keep Your Kids Happy

colorful hands!

Photo credit: PraveenbenK via VisualHunt / CC BY

During the summer months it's easy to throw the kids out into the backyard and know they'll be happily occupied for hours. Once the winter draws in and the temperature plummets, it's a different story. Winter can seem never-ending, particularly if you have a houseful of children feeling cooped up and restless.

Have no fear! There are lots of entertaining things your kids can do indoors on those days when the weather is doing its best to make life complicated.


Here are suggestions for a variety of activities that should keep a smile on everyone's faces.

Some of them require your presence - a great opportunity to be with your kids doing something enjoyable, not just the usual routine stuff. With others, you can set the ball rolling, so to speak, and just leave them to it.

Depending on the ages of your children, you'll play a larger or smaller guiding role.

Baking in the Kitchen

decorated cookies

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The kitchen is a warm and cozy place to be when it's cold or raining outside. There are lots of simple recipes that even little ones could manage (with a helping hand).

Sweet things always go down well, and cookies and cupcakes offer lots of scope for creative decorating.

Bread could be good too. Not only do children love getting their hands into something squidgy, the enticing aroma of baking bread is hard to beat!

Click here for the recipe in the video. There are countless bread recipes, but many involve leaving the dough to prove, so it's a long time from start to finish. This one is nice and simple, so ideal for kids - and by all accounts tasty too!

Cooking - particularly following a recipe - is a great way for kids to have fun using their weighing, measuring and math skills, and show how important they are in everyday life.

Once everything is out of the oven, decorated and looking awesome, what could be better than a special picnic in an indoor fort hideaway (see Build an Indoor Fort below).

Treasure and Scavenger Hunts

This requires some planning on your part, but who doesn't love a treasure hunt!

Beforehand, you'll have to think up the clues, write them on pieces of paper and hide them all over your home.

These can be as simple or cryptic as you like, depending on the ages of the children, and your ingenuity! One clue leads to the next, and ultimately to the "treasure" at the end.

Or you might prefer a Scavenger Hunt. Unlike a Treasure Hunt, which involves solving a clue at a time, leading step by step to an eventual single treasure, in a Scavenger Hunt, the participants find various objects, which are presented as a list at the beginning of the game. They can be dealt with in any order.

When found, the items can be crossed off the list. The kids write down on the list where they found the items. The winners get a prize. Here again, you can make the tasks simpler or more challenging, to suit the participants.

You may decide to give the non-winners some kind of consolation prize or treasure, that's up to you. It's the activity itself that gives the most enjoyment, but a little something for everyone keeps things sweet!

Hide And Seek

Yes, we all know this one, but it never loses its appeal. Best played in a home where there's plenty of space to hide.

There are lots of variations, but essentially the Seeker closes eyes and counts to an agreed number, say 100 (if they're too young to count that far alone, you'll be there to help), while everyone else hides in different places.

Then the Seeker goes looking for the others. Once found, they can either be "out" or can join in the search, depending on your particular rules. The last person to be found is the "winner" and is the Seeker next time around. Adjust these guidelines to suit your group.

Build an Indoor Fort

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Wondrous architectural structures can easily be created from any combination of chairs, tables, boxes, draped with blankets, towels or sheets and dusted with a bit of imagination. You could suggest a theme or leave the kids to their own devices.

Once built, the fort could be a starting point for another game (perhaps it's a castle or a space ship, or an underground cavern...). The possibilities are infinite.

A fort hideout could also be the ideal place for an indoor picnic, or to get together for group story-telling (see next activity below).

You'll find  more fab fort ideas in this post. Most are for outdoors but there are a few great indoor options.

Create a Story

This is a joint effort, where each child contributes in turn to make up a fantasy tale. The next person takes over from where that last person left off - like handing over the baton in a relay race.

If they really get into it, the developing story can keep going around the group for quite a while, probably becoming increasingly convoluted and bizarre! A lot depends on the ages and involvement of the participants.

You may want to decide on certain broad settings beforehand (eg mountain, desert, ice, forest, outer space,whatever). Or you may prefer to leave the whole thing wide open.

Either way, start them off with the first line, eg: "Once upon a time, on an island of ice, lived a ..." or "There once was a magician called..."

It's ideal if each child's contribution is open-ended (as in the examples above), as this allows more of a flow from one child to the next.

Depending on their ages, they might need more of your input initially to get the idea, but if they don't pick up on that, it really doesn't matter. The most important thing is to have fun, if it's a chore there's no point!

You could even record this and then transcribe it and print it out from your computer to make a story book or ebook they could keep.

To make it even better, the kids could illustrate their story.

You could then scan their drawings/paintings (if they're the right size to fit your scanner) and include them in the story book.

If an illustration is too big for the scanner, or it's a 3-D model, that's fine, you'll just have the originals on their own, with the separate printed story.

Let Them Entertain You!

This can include making up a play, organizing a set and costumes (it's a good idea to keep a fancy dress box of unwanted fabrics, clothes and other items for occasions like this). The preparation could keep your kids occupied for hours.

Concert or variety show. Can include singing, playing musical instruments, magic tricks, reading a poem - anything goes!

All this creative endeavor culminates in a real performance in front of an audience (you, of course, and any other family members!). Lots of excitement and entertainment for everyone!

They might even like to make programs to give to  the audience. This is an activity in itself, and could while away an extra hour or two. The programs will also make attractive keepsakes, and look good on the fridge!

Puppet Show

Similar to performing a play or giving a concert, but using puppets. For some children, this may be less intimidating.

Kids can use their own puppets, or could make some specially. There are all sorts of possibilities.

Board Games

You may already have your family favorites hidden away at the back of a closet. Rainy afternoons are a good time to bring them out.

There are lots of great board games out there, the ages and interests of your players will determine the best games to pick.

For children aged 8 and up, it sounds as if Carcassonne could be worth checking out. I haven't played it myself but it's recommended all over the place and has lots of excellent reviews on Amazon. Labyrinth (Ravensburger) likewise.

Monopoly can be a good choice, if it's one your kids enjoy.

If you have a set tucked away somewhere, fine, but if not, it's still widely available.

If you're lucky, a single game can last for a couple of hours, maybe more!

You can get an idea of the range of popular games here. (Filter on the left sidebar by age and number of players so it's less overwhelming.)

Lego etc

huge lego contruct

Photo credit: eilonwy77 via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

Lego is another oldie but goodie.

There are other excellent construction toys available too, of course.

All are great for winter days indoors and can keep kids imaginatively engaged for hours at a time.

They just need a nice big flat space that isn't on a main traffic route - somewhere a bit out of the way so the creation doesn't need to be prematurely dismantled. (The middle of the kitchen floor, for example, isn't ideal, or the dining table if it needs to be cleared for the next meal.)

Masking Tape Road Tracks

I love this idea. It can be as simple or extensive as your kids (and you!) like.

This excellent article explains everything - and it has some great pictures too.

It's very easy to get started with not a lot, but there's plenty of scope for invention, so players can always add more of whatever takes their fancy - that's part of the fun.

All that's needed is some masking tape (a goodly supply - you don't want to run short), small cars, or any other vehicles your kids have and want to use, and maybe a marker pen for road markings and signs (but that's not vital).

Masking tape is fantastically versatile. It won't damage your floor or upholstery, and peels off easily when the game is over.

The players could add miniature buildings - or make them from bricks, Lego, cardboard, whatever is to hand - to create a town or city. They could also add people and animals, even make their own cars.

The possibilities for creativity and enjoyment are endless. The only thing is, your sofa may become a mountain race track and your kids might want it to stay that way!

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