25 Things to Do with Kids on a Rainy Day in the Western Suburbs

It’s easy to run out of things to do with kids on a rainy day. That’s especially true in spring, when it’s a drag to be cooped up again after a long winter mostly indoors! This list of rainy-day fun around town (and at home) will help transform long, gloomy days into opportunities for cozy time together.

25 Things to Do with Kids on a Rainy Day in the Western Suburbs

  1. Go swimming anyway! Indoor pools with family swim times are a great way to enjoy the water even when it’s not sunny—and as an added bonus, your hair will already be wet when you dash through the rain to the car.
  2. Take the kids to an arcade, game room, or laser tag arena for a special day out.
  3. Plan a “random act of kindness” together, such as making a meal for someone who’s been sick or inviting over a child from their class who doesn’t seem to have many friends. It’s best if it’s their idea and something they’re excited about; kids often have really sweet ideas for things to do!
  4. Check out our round-up of places to go with a baby or toddler if you have a really little one. A couple of my personal favorites are Kidstreet at Grounds for Hope Cafe in Lisle, because it’s got rooms for every age group, and any Chick-fil-A, because they’ve got chicken sandwiches (oh, and small, tot-friendly play areas).
  5. Find places that bring the outdoors inside! Look up a nature center by you and see what activities are on their calendar, or try the indoor beach at a place like Kiddy Club in Aurora.
  6. Make a big deal out of a trip to the grocery store. Pick a meal to make, write the ingredient list together, and let your child put everything in the cart if they’re able while you check off the boxes. My two-year-old loves to “help” by throwing everything in the cart, which leads to squished bread and bruised apples, but it’s worth it! (I reserve the right to put eggs in myself.)
  7. Read our list of indoor fun for tweens for ideas that appeal to the not-quite-teen crowd. If you decide that today’s the day for indoor skydiving in Naperville, you’ll be a hero—but there are plenty of more low-key suggestions, too.
  8. Let kids who are already bouncing off the walls actually bounce off walls at a trampoline park or inflatables venue.
  9. …and if your kids are driving you up the wall, put that energy to good use at one of the local indoor rock climbing walls.
  10. Take a family trip to a local kid-friendly bowling alley! (My favorite part of bowling with kids? Bumpers for everyone. Even if they could theoretically go up and down.)
  11. Invite some friends over for an impromptu play-date, no matter whether your house is currently “clean enough” or not. Everyone’s usually itching for something to do a rainy day.
  12. Visit a children’s museum! We’ve got some great options near us, including the DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville, the Kohl Children’s Museum in Glenview, Wonder Works in Oak Park, and the Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn.
  13. Do a scavenger hunt at your local library. First, make a checklist together: Can you find a book with something green on the cover? By an author with the same first name as you? That you think someone in the family should read? Then, take them all home and spend time reading, with a mug of hot cocoa for everyone.
  14. For some reason, I only think about going ice skating in winter. But the ice skating rinks are there year-round!
  15. Find out if there are any events going on for kids today. Your local park district guide is a great resource, as is the Kidlist events calendar.
  16. Embrace the mess. Let your tots practice pouring and mixing oats, macaroni noodles, or dried beans on the kitchen floor.
  17. Scoop out (sorry) a local ice cream shop! Ice cream is just as sweet when it’s sprinkling (sorry again).
  18. Catch a movie at a local theater. Common Sense Media is a great resource for checking out the current options before you go.
  19. Have an indoor picnic with beach towels spread out on the kitchen floor—or better yet, turn the living room into a massive blanket fort!
  20. Open the garage, pull out some beach chairs, and watch the rain together.
  21. Go out to eat together! Our kids eat free list is a great spot for inspiration, as is our list of train restaurants.
  22. Call a local nursing home and see if they welcome visitors. Kids are great at bringing a smile to the residents’ faces—and vice versa! Older kids might enjoy interviewing them about their lives to write up a story.
  23. Choose a couple kid-friendly recipes to make together. Go for a healthy snack, or indulge in a treat like these oatmeal chocolate snack cakes. Anything that gets kids cooking is a win in my book!
  24. Is there anything cozier than browsing a locally owned bookstore together? Letting your child pick out one special book to take home can help foster their love of reading, especially if you read together.
  25. Upload some recent photos from your phone or camera and get prints from a place like Walgreens or CVS. Young kids may like to make a “family album” with a different family member on each page, while older kids can help scrapbook the photos with stickers, stencils, and notes about fun memories.
Tips for Visiting Blackberry Farm in Aurora (and 2021 Free Days!)

Our indoor activities page is a great resource for even more things to do with kids in Chicago’s western suburbs.

About the Author

Rachel Matuch
Rachel is a mom to two boys (ages 2 and 4) who "certainly has her hands full," as strangers in grocery stores tell her. She's doing her best to keep up and get comfortable with the mud pies and tree-climbing her kids love. In addition to writing and editing, Rachel frequently pillages the Naperville library, plays nerdy board games with her husband, and collapses into a tired heap at 8:30 p.m.

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