35 Rainy Day Activities for Kids to Give Gray Clouds a Silver Lining

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If your children are anything like my daughter (and myself) spring fever has arrived! That first sunny warm day has me yearning for the outdoors. However, Chicagoland spring also comes with plenty of rain. Rainy day activities for kids help keep away the blues when skies are gray!

Kidlist has you covered with a mix of fun things to do, from at-home activities to adventures at indoor locations. We’re here to help you and your kids make rainy day memories together!

Two young children splashing in a puddle for rainy day activities

Out-and-About Indoor Activities for Rainy Days

1. Try out an indoor playground.

Those rainy days seem to be the days we need to get our energy out the most. We are so lucky to have some amazing indoor playgrounds here locally! Our Kidlist community recently voted on a list of the 10 best indoor playgrounds, which are sure to be crowd pleasers. The Treehouse Play Cafe in Lake Zurich is one of the new additions to our list and one we’ve been wanting to check out on our next rainy day.

2. Have a lunch date.

Have a fun little day date with the family or even make it a lunch play-date! These extra-fun restaurants for kids are sure to bring out the big smiles. Some of our favorite local restaurants have offer deals where kids eat free, too. Or head to a fast food restaurant with a play place and let kids get their wiggles out, too; you’ll find a list at the end of our indoor playgrounds article.

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.

Snuggling up with a new book is one of my favorite rainy day activities. When you stop by the library to find a new read, check out their kid’s area. You can find some awesome activities and endless play opportunities. Rainy days are also great opportunities to explore other libraries nearby.

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. Check out a pet store.

Pet stores are the perfect size for those little feet to explore some animals. Check out the brightly colored fish or the fuzzy little friends. If your child is feeling brave, you may even see some slithering snakes and lizards!

11. Strike out the rain with some bowling.

11. Strike out the rain with bowling.

Grab some bowling shoes and have a friendly family game of bowling. Try bumpers or practice without them, bowling is perfect for any member of the family. Many of these local bowling alleys have pool, arcade games, and some great bites to eat.

12. Grab some donuts.

Rain or shine, donuts can fix all! When you are stuck inside, checking out some of our favorite local donut shops are sure to be a hit. Maybe try a new flavor, or go for your all time favorite. The best part is bringing home the leftovers!

13. Take a swing at indoor golf.

Grab a golf club and swing into some fun! Although there are many fun outdoor golf courses, there are some great local indoor mini golf courses to keep everyone excited! Check out PuttShack in Oakbrook for an upscale twist.

14. Drop by an art studio.

Unleash your child’s artistic side! Let those creative juices fly at an art class. Drawing, painting and creating is such a wonderful activity for those dreary days.

15. Skate into some fun!

When we think about ice skating, we think winter. But I am here to tell you, it is for rainy days too! Many rinks offer public skating hours.

At-Home Fun

16. 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.

17. 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, farms, 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.

18. 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!

19. 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!

20. 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. YouTube also has great children’s yoga videos with fun stories! Cosmic Kids is one of our favorites!

21. 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!

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. 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!

25. 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.

26. 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.

27. Host a movie day.

For rainy day activities, movie marathons rank very high! There is nothing quite like dimming the lights, grabbing some snacks, getting out your coziest blankets, and snuggling up on the couch together to watch a movie. We like to pretend we are in a movie theater!

28. 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. This is also great opportunity for kids to go through old toys and clothes they may want to donate to others.

29. 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. If you do not feel like reading one of your own books, write your own! You and your child can write together while they illustrate their own pages.

30. Play with play dough.

Roll up those sleeves and get to molding! You can use the classic Play-doh or you can make your own at home. I really like this no-cook version, but explore the internet for the best recipe for you!

31. Pizza party.

Lets face it, pizza is a great idea any day of the week. But when we are stuck inside, its even better. Make your own mini pizzas, make a veggie rainbow pizza all together or even call up your favorite pizza joint and order a slice of pie!

32. Create a tiny car wash.

All of those Hot-Wheels, tractors and trucks see a-lot of playing and its time for a wash! Set up a bucket of soapy water and use sponges and a tooth brush to clean those wheels!

33. Dance-off.

Dance the rainy blues away with your favorite songs. Dress up in some fancy clothes or a costume and break out those dance moves. I like to make a stage with blankets and make special posters and flyers. Find some props like a microphone and instruments. Don’t have any? Make your own!

34. Learn a new skill.

Take the time and learn something new together. We are so lucky that the internet and YouTube are at the tip of our fingers. Learn how to do manicures at home, learn how to to a hand-stand, learn how to bake, maybe its time to learn the piano or even tie your own shoes!

35. 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 this spring, check out our spring activity list.

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