Written by Dawn, staff member, Sackville Public Library
Originally published June 2020, updated March 2023.
It’s raining, it’s pouring, and the children say it’s boring! Here are some easy ideas for playing inside and keeping your kids active and entertained (no technology required). They are easy to do with everyday items found around your home. We hope your family enjoys trying them out. Let the fun times begin!
1. Indoor race track
Do your children have a lot of little vehicles in need of a new race way? Grab your masking or painter’s tape and create two parallel lines for super cool race track, opens a new window that goes over and around and down your furniture and floors! You could also use a wider tape and draw the dash line down the center of the highway. Get ready, get set, go!
2. Laser obstacle course
If you have some yarn, string, or streamers on hand, you can create this amazing active obstacle course, opens a new window. Simply zig zag the yarn back and forth through chairs, tables, hallway walls, securing with painter's tape. When the course is ready, have your kids test their stealth spy skills going over and through the “laser” course, trying not to touch. Bonus points if you use red yarn.
3. Paper plate ring toss
Paper plates and an empty paper towel roll are the only supplies needed for this fun and easy ring toss game, opens a new window. Cut out the center of the plates to make rings, and have the kids colour and decorate them. Make the stand with the cardboard roll taped to another plate as a base. Have kids stand back at different distances and toss the rings onto the holder. Toddlers can sit and stack the rings on the holder as a stacking game, too.
4. Scavenger hunt
It's easy to create an indoor finding game. Write up a scavenger-hunt-style list of items your child has to find all over the house, grab a box or bag for them to fill, and check off the list when found. Here's an example to get you started:
For older children, consider making up riddles where the answers are clues to finding things. Reward for completing the hunt and cleaning up could be as simple as a favourite snack.
Be prepared for lots of silliness and laughter when you play a classic game of charades, opens a new window. Try a theme, such as book and movie titles, favourite characters, songs, or animals. Take turns acting them out, without making any sounds, and get the others to guess. The first person to guess the word or phrase gets a point. The person with the most points at the end is the winner. One option is to have everyone write down some suggestions on small pieces of paper, mix them up in a basket/bowl, and take turns picking one to act out.
6. Blanket fort
Toys, books, and games are much more enjoyable when you’re under a blanket fort. On the next rainy day, help the kids build their own super-fun-fort with chairs and cushions covered with a blankets and sheets. Snacks taste yummier in the fort, too.
7. Balloon tennis
Kids love balloons, and they're great for indoor gross motor play. If you have a fly swatter, hair brush, or small racket, you've got all the makings of balloon tennis, opens a new window—an affordable activity for kids when they need to get their wiggles out.
8. Bed sheet parachute
At the Library, we know that kids love parachute games, opens a new window. Don’t have a parachute at home? No need to worry, just grab a full-size bed sheet and let the games begin! Stretch out the sheet, grab onto the sides, and toss soft plush toys up and down and shake them all about.
If you lift the sheet up high then duck in under the sheet on the way back down with it pulled behind you, it looks like a mushroom.
Have someone sit in the middle of the sheet, and walk slowly around them holding the sheet and wrapping them up (do not go higher than the neck for safety). Then, pull fast to see them spin when they unwrap!
9. Put on a puppet show or a play
Have your kids create and perform a puppet show, play, or fashion show. Let them know what they can use to make costumes, puppets and props—and consider filming the final production for a sweet keepsake. Our very own, Agnes, has a great blog post about making your own puppet theatre, and also shared a video about making your own dragon puppet!
10. Write a letter or make a card
Everyone loves to receive a letter or card in the mail, as it is quite rare these days! Use stamps, glitter, marker, or paints to create a personal letter, picture, or card to send to grandparents, family, or friends. This activity is great for having older children practice their handwriting. Consider having your children make a card of thanks for our essential workers for our Library Gallery of Thanks.
For more rainy day activities, take a look at this list of 50 ideas, opens a new window. Don't see your favourite rainy day activity listed? Share it with us in the comments.