Spring is here in Chicagoland, which means we’ll be seeing warmer weather, longer days, and budding flowers! With that, we can’t ignore the old adage that reminds us “April showers bring May flowers.” What can you do to get through some of those tough rainy days when the seconds seem to tick by slower than usual?
Kidlist has you covered! You’ll find a mix of rainy day activities for kids that will keep your little ones entertained; from fun things to do at home to adventures at indoor locations, we are here to help you and your kids make fun rainy day memories together!
Out-and-About Indoor Entertainment
1. Try out an indoor playground.
Bringing your kids to a park on a nice day is sure to spark joy, but when the rain gets in the way of your plans, there are plenty of local indoor playgrounds to choose from. Our Kidlist community recently voted on a list of the 10 best indoor playgrounds, which are sure to be crowd pleasers.
2. Have a lunch date.
The western suburbs have so many awesome, kid-friendly restaurants to try out. Some of them even offer deals where kids eat free!
3. Jump off energy at a trampoline park.
When your kids start really bouncing off the walls at home, it may be time to try a different approach and go to a place where jumping around is encouraged! Trampoline and inflatable parks are a guaranteed way to ensure a quiet car ride home.
4. Visit the library.
With thousands of books, toys, and activities, libraries are always a safe bet for having a fun time with your kids. While your local library is the most convenient, getting to explore other libraries is a great way to spend a rainy day.
5. Explore a museum.
Chicagoland is known its many museums, which can entertain kids for several hours. Check out these local museums for inspiration.
6. Check out your local park district community center.
If your town has a park district community center and you haven’t checked it out yet, a rainy day is the perfect opportunity to do so. Many of them have indoor playgrounds, pools, or open gym times. While there are discounts for residents, park districts are open to non-residents, as well.
7. Get the wiggles out at open gym.
Are you in need of an opportunity to let your kids bounce, jump, and climb, but not in the mood for a trampoline park? A gymnastics open gym may be just what you’re looking for! We have compiled a list of open gyms to make your search easier.
8. Take in a show together.
We’re lucky to have many live theater options in the area. Check out our guide to local theater performances to see what shows are currently in production.
9. Splash into an indoor swimming pool.
Swimming outside on a hot summer day is the best, but what can you do on a rainy spring day? Head to an indoor pool, of course! There’s no need to apply sunscreen, and you’ll score major points with your kids, too.
10. Go to the grocery store.
Taking little ones shopping can be overwhelming, but it can also be a great way to teach them about spending and give them some ownership of the process. Head to a store and have your kids help you pick out what’s on your list. If your store has a self-checkout lane, let your child scan and bag the items. It’s the ultimate experience for them! If dealing with carts and umbrellas on a rainy day is a no-go for you, take advantage of the many stores that offer curbside pick-up options instead.
11. Build an epic fort.
Pick a room in your house, gather blankets and pillows, and create an epic fort. If you have battery-powered candles or flashlights, add those to the inside of the fort, along with books or toys, to make some unforgettable memories.
12. Make cardboard creations.
If you have boxes laying around, put them to use! Grab markers, scissors, stickers, and any other craft supplies you have. Some creation ideas include rocket ships, houses, or giant cardboard trains, but the possibilities are endless. If you’ve been saving up paper towel or toilet paper rolls, make a pom-pom or marble run with them.
13. Experiment with candy science.
When I first realized that adding water to coated candies (like Skittles or M&Ms) made for a cute and simple experiment, my mind was blown. Line up the candies in a circle near the outer edge of a plate. Gently add warm water and watch to see what happens to the colors. Give your kids toothpicks to mix up the colors, too!
14. Bake up a storm.
Baking is a great way to work together with your kids, fill your kitchen with yummy smells, and have a delicious end product that’s sure to make everyone smile. Bonus: if you have a store-bought cake mix on hand, you can bake cupcakes and turn it into a celebration… your daughter scored a goal in her soccer game? Time to celebrate! Your son rocked his math test? Celebrate! Your baby slept through the night? You get the idea!
15. Exercise together.
If your kids are bouncing off the walls and leaving the house isn’t in the cards, find an exercise video on YouTube. If you search for “Family Workouts,” you’ll find a variety of videos that are sure to fit your needs. From interval training to dance to “would you rather” workouts, the options are endless.
16. Play a board game.
On a rainy day, board games are anything but boring! Whether your kids are into Candyland or Battleship, they’ll use their critical thinking skills while having fun. If you don’t have any board games, grab a deck of cards and play War!
17. Have an indoor scavenger hunt.
Make a list of items that you want your kids to find around the house, then set the timer to see who can find them the fastest. Set the timer again to see who can return the items to where they found them first. If your kids are too young to read, draw pictures instead of writing. Take turns creating the lists and being the hunters.
18. Indulge in ice cream sundaes.
Even when the weather’s rainy, ice cream has a special way of brightening up a day. See what you have in your freezer and add sprinkles, syrup, bananas, or whatever other fun toppings are available. If you’d rather go out, check out these local ice cream spots.
19. Jump in the puddles.
Nothing else captures the joy of springtime like a child’s squeal when they jump in puddles after it has rained. Pull out your kids’ rain boots and umbrellas, head outside, and watch the magic unfold. Don’t forget your camera!
20. Create an indoor obstacle course to play Floor Is Lava.
This classic game inspires kids (and their parents!) to find creative ways to get from one place to another without stepping on the floor. Challenge your kids’ creativity and see how they rise to the task.
21. Go swimming in your bathtub.
On a day when you’re stuck inside, you may feel like you need a “reset” button. Fill up your bathtub, have your kids put on their swimsuits, and let them play! There are plenty of extra ways to jazz up this activity. Complete a “sink or float” experiment, have a “toy wash,” or use bath crayons to create a (washable) masterpiece.
22. Watch a movie.
For rainy day activities, movie marathons rank very high! There is nothing quite like grabbing some snacks, getting out your coziest blankets, and snuggling up on the couch together to watch a movie.
23. Tackle Spring Cleaning
While this option may not sound the most exciting, a rainy day sure beats missing out on a sunny one to tackle some cleaning! If you have little ones, pick one area or room of your house and give everyone a specific job. If you’re ready to swap out winter and spring clothes for your kids, turn the activity into a fashion show of their warm-weather gear, complete with a catwalk and commentary.
24. Read together.
Grab your favorite books, find a comfy spot, and let your imaginations run wild as you read. For more fun, turn out the lights and read using a flashlight or fake candles.
25. Get creative.
Channel your inner artist. Whether you draw, color, or paint, using some energy to get your creative juices flowing will be a great decision. If your kids want to draw but don’t know where to start, the YouTube channel Art for Kids Hub has tutorials for all ages. Many local libraries also have subscriptions to Creativebug, which has tutorials for crafts of all kinds. As an added perk, you may end up with some new fridge artwork when you’re finished!
If your kids are older and you’re struggling to get them off their devices, check out this fun guide for teens and tweens that’s full of ideas of ways to keep them engaged! And for even more ideas of great things to do in Chicago’s western suburbs, visit our indoor activities page.