There are few things I love more than a rainy day. Maybe it's the English in me, or just the need to hunker down while it's gray and dreary outside, but I really look forward to a good downpour. Surprisingly, having children didn't squash this love. While it's so much easier to send kids outside on a sunny day to get out of your hair, there are so many rainy day activities and crafts that I can't help but relish all the sweet moments of sitting on the rug, putting together puzzles, or curling up in bed with a stack of our favorite picture books to while away the rainy hours.
Do I even have to mention the thrill of a puddle?
Even as a child, I preferred a rainy day. I used to sit on our front porch with a book as it stormed, and I very much remember the day my mom taught me how to make a paper boat and watch it sail down the streams on our street. Yahtzee will always have a connection to storms for me (thanks to the night my mom played about 11 games with us to keep my mind off of all the lightning), and the thrill of finding a puddle to jump into is still there, even though I'm 30.
Basically? Rainy days don't have to be a pain for parents. These influencers' kids have recommended their favorite rainy day craft or activity, so if you're looking for a way to make the gray weather work for you, they've got you covered. Even if you're not crafty. Even if you don't have the energy for a puzzle. There's something for everyone.
1. Carnival Games
If you haven't dived into the blog of Jennifer Perkins, mom and crafting extraordinaire, do it now. And then come back in a few hours after you've fallen in love with all of her bright ideas. It's no wonder that Jennifer's own children have some pretty original ideas for rainy day crafts and activities. Her 8-year-old son Baxter is currently "obsessed with carnival games," according to Jennifer, so she ordered red toss rings from Amazon and Baxter has been stockpiling bottles for his own game. He also loves lawn bowling, which can easily be brought inside if the weather's not cooperating. (Although lawn bowling in the rain sounds extra fun.)
2. Polymer Clay Creations
For Jennifer's 10-year-old daughter Tallulah, she uses her creativity to the max. "After taking a class this past spring, my new favorite hobby is making making kawaii-inspired polymer clay animals and all things rainbow," she tells Romper. Jennifer adds that Tallulah's newfound hobby also led her to create all of the DIY rainbow ornaments on Jennifer's Pride Month tree. (Yes, a Pride Month tree. It's beautiful.)
For the kiddo who loves to create and express themselves, Tallulah also recommends some journaling. "I love watching Moriah Elizabeth’s art journaling videos on YouTube and using her prompt books Create This Book 1 and Create This Book 2."
4. Playing An Instrument
There's no doubt that learning a musical instrument has major benefits for kids, and Tallulah is gaining all of them with her ukulele hobby. On a rainy day, Tallulah says she likes to look up ukulele tabs for "my favorite songs by Post Malone, Coldplay, and Chairlift."
5. Finger Knitting
And finally, Jennifer tells me that while Tallulah didn't mention it specifically, "there have been a lot of rainy day finger knit necklaces made around these parts." If your child can't be trusted with knitting needles (thinking of my own Alice), this might be the perfect craft for them.
6. Making Slime & Other Art Pieces
Rachel's other daughter, Ellie, has a different approach to a rainy day. A girl after my own heart, Ellie loves reading. Whether your kid is big enough to read on their own or not, a nice collection of board books can keep even the tiniest rainy day lover happy and satisfied.
8. Stringing Friendship Bracelets
But Ellie also has another rainy day activity: making string friendship bracelets. This can be such a great craft for kids, and it buys you a few minutes of alone time. For smaller kids, try bigger beads and thicker string, like yarn. If you're preparing for a rainy day, you could even head to a craft store to pick out some charms and beads — they are the perfect items to have in your craft drawer. And bonus? Experts suggest that crafting like this is a great tool to help kids develop.
Sherrica Sims and her family, including 10-year-old Miles and 8-year-old Tiffany, have a popular YouTube channel, Simply Sims, where they document all of their fun and adventures. But a rainy day doesn't require a whole lot of work for her kids. Sherrica tells me that Miles loves to pick up his hooks and crochet when the weather's not great for outdoor play. Crocheting for kids isn't as difficult as it sounds, and has some great benefits for kids like hand-eye coordination, math, and problem solving. (Ever missed a row when crocheting? Yeah, you get it.)
10. Making Earrings & Jewelry
For Sherrica's 8-year-old daughter Tiffany, she needs a steady cache of supplies. Tiffany loves making jewelry, especially earrings, on a rainy day, and honestly I don't know why I haven't thought of this craft for my own kid. My daughter's ears aren't pierced, but I'd love to rock an original pair of earrings from my own child.
11. DIY Lava Lamps
When you have a blog titled Creating Really Awesome Fun Things, of course your kids have some great rainy day ideas. Jamie of CRAFT tells me that her 5-year-old son Maxwell loves to make DIY lava lamps. My own kiddo and I have tried a variation of this craft, and it was a pretty big hit.
12. Shaving Cream Shower
But Jamie's 3-year-old daughter Mila has an even simpler activity: a shaving cream shower. "By shower, I really just mean a few bowls of shaving cream and measuring cups while she sits on the floor of the shower! I’ve never written about that idea, but it’s a favorite around these parts," Jamie tells me. OK, this is legit genius.
13. Cardboard Box City
Susie, Chief of Keeping Small Children Occupied over at Busy Toddler, has three kiddos and plenty of ideas for rainy days. I mean, anyone who has three children is bound to have good advice. For her 4-year-old Kate, the best rainy day activity is simple: "We make a big city on a box. We use trains and blocks and animals and roads. We make it with all the toys. It's so big." Susie explains it as simply as Kate, and says it's all about opening a cardboard box and building a city using favorite toys. "This entertains them for HOURS," she tells me. Oh, major win then.
Susie's 6-year-old Sam has a pretty effortless idea, too. "I like doing art on rainy days and we get everything out. We make really beautiful things with all the supplies." Oof, my heart. Obviously everyone knows how important art and creative expression is for a kid, but I find that it's my favorite way to decorate a house, too. Make all the art, kids.
15. Sensory Bins
For Susie's 2-year-old son Matt, "his favorite rainy day jam is a sensory bin, but his pull quote would just be him screaming the word 'RICE! RICE!' really loud." Susie tells me Matt and his "beloved sensory bin" are besties. Sensory bins are pretty genius, especially since they can be set up so quickly and keep kids occupied for-ev-er. What more could you want on a rainy day?
16. Jumping In Puddles
Beau Coffron, the creative guy behind Lunchbox Dad, has three kiddos with their own ideas about the best way to spend a rainy day. But the universal choice? Just go jump in the puddles. Beau tells me all of his kids love puddle jumping and honestly, it really is the best way to occupy a kid on a rainy day (and also wear them the heck out). Just be wary of really bad weather. Puddle jumping while it's raining is best for drizzles and non-stormy rain.
When it comes to inside activities, however, Beau's 12-year-old daughter Abby "loves to be in the kitchen to work on baking a recipe like cookies or cupcakes." I mean, my oldest is 4 and I'm not really anxious for her to grow up too fast, but a kid who will make the whole family baked goods on a rainy day sounds pretty legit.
18. LEGO Building Contest
For Beau's 9-year-old Zachary, LEGO building is taken a step further by turning it into a contest. "We dump out a bucket of blocks and create together and build things like cars and race them down the hallway." He says they also love building creative mini-figures and making up back stories for them.
19. Making Books
For 5-year-old Michael, Beau says he loves to paint and "have his creations stapled together to make books." I love this idea so much. My own daughter loves painting and creating, but giving her a purpose, like to make a book, would probably keep her on the hobby a little bit longer than usual.
20. Perler Beads
And when books aren't on the rainy day plan? Beau says 5-year-old Michael can "spend hours making Perler bead designs!" Perler beads are the cute colorful beads that can be fused together (do you remember these?), and are pretty cheap on Amazon. Bonus: their little creations can then become part of their imaginative play.
21. Cooking Vegan Treats
Christine Michel Carter is a writer, speaker, and marketing consultant who knows exactly what brands are looking for when it comes to targeting the "mom" demographic. So it makes sense that her two children, 8-year-old Maya and 4-year-old West, would have limitless creativity, too. When a rainy day washes out (literally) any fun outdoor plans, Carter tells Romper that her two kids love to "spend all day in the kitchen. West loves to cook vegan spaghetti and noodles on the stove, and because West has an egg allergy, Maya has also mastered making vegan cupcakes for him."
22. Pouring In Cups
Beverly Adams is the fashionista and creator behind her lifestyle blog, The Beverly Adams, and is mom to a sweet little guy. When I ask her about his favorite rainy day craft or activity, she tells me that at 2 years old, he really loves being outside with his water table, so when rain strikes, she has to get creative. "I always try to pay attention to activities he loves, and one of those is pouring liquid from one cup to another. I usually put down a stack of towels in the kitchen and create a pouring station in the kitchen using a plastic tote and some cups. He loves it and it keeps him busy for at least 45 minutes." Genius.
23. Playing "Mommy" With Siblings
Brenda Stearns, of the wildly popular Instagram @she_plusfive, knows a thing or two about keeping children occupied. I mean, she has five of them. But things don't have to get complicated. She tells Romper that her 8-year-old Victoria loves to play mommies with her 3-year-old sister Vanessa and their collection of baby dolls. I mean, what better level of pretend is there? (And when you see them acting out something with their babies that you do with them? Oh, swoon.)
24. Reading About A Feminist
OK, so maybe "reading about a feminist" wasn't the exact quote, but it works here. Another vote for dragging out the crayons comes from Brenda's 6-year-old daughter Veronica, but she also loves reading on a rainy day. It doesn't get much more simple than that, but the value and benefits behind everyone knows that drawing, coloring, and reading are immeasurable. Especially if they're reading about a heroine literally everyone can get behind.
25. Building & Stacking Blocks
My own 5-year-old has had the same sets of blocks since her first birthday, and she still loves playing with them. Apparently she's not alone because Brenda's 5-year-old Samuel also loves "building and stacking blocks." Whether you've got a future engineer on your hands or a kid that just likes to crash towers, this is the perfect rainy day activity and one the whole family can get involved in.
26. Snuggling With Mami
Brenda didn't leave out her 1-year-old son Benjamin either. On a rainy day that requires some relaxing and chilling, Benjamin loves snuggling up with Mami for milk and cuddles. I know, it doesn't sound like an "activity," but no matter how old your kiddos are, sometimes the best thing for their little imaginations and brains on a rainy day is to snuggle up and have a chat. I've had some great conversations with my daughter as we relax on the couch together, and I'm sure they've only fueled her imagination as she goes off to play later.
27. Playing With Built-In Friends
But really, Brenda says the biggest thing her children do on a rainy day is the simplest: they just play with each other. "They all love to play with each other, and most days (raining or not), they’re drawing, coloring, playing with dolls, wooden blocks, making puzzles, and eating all the snacks!" she tells me. I mean, same.
28. Wrestling A Giant Teddy Bear
Brent Almond, the Superdad behind Designer Daddy and Super Lunch Notes, has no shortage of creativity in his home and that imaginative wonder has obviously trickled down to his 9-year-old son Jon. "His favorite rainy day activity is wrestling his giant teddy bear. He’s had it since he was born, and it has functioned as a pillow, a cuddling/feeding pad, fort material, and now, sparring partner," Brent tells me. "Jon is an only child, and luckily has a vivid imagination — he and 'Beary' perform all manner of moves, maneuvers, and scenarios to provide tons of non-screen time, energy-expending activity!" That energy-expending part is key on a rainy day. What an excellent way to get the wiggles out.
29. Hosting A Pretend Baking Show
"I've never been great at playing on the floor with toys with my kids; instead, I have had them in the kitchen with me since they were toddlers," Christine Koh, founder and editor of Boston Mamas tells me. So when there's a rainy day keeping them inside, she and her 8-year-old Violet go hardcore. "We also love watching Kids Baking Championship and Master Chef Junior, so when Violet and I are making something together, we make believe we're on one of the shows and one of us pretends to be a judge and asks about the recipe being made, and the other person gives a detailed description and any information on what's going right or wrong in the kitchen. Violet and I took turns on this when we recently made this tennis-themed cherry pie (she punched out all of little tennis balls around the edge)." Um, so basically any chance to eat food could be turned into a game, right? Christine says the fun isn't just for her 8-year-old either. "And my 14-year-old Laurel? Well, she could legit be a contestant with her recent forays into challah and hand pies!" Hi, I'm going to Christine's house next time there's a rainy day.
30. Filming Baking Tutorials
"My daughter Harlow's favorite thing to do is bake on a rainy day. And when I say bake, I mean film a baking tutorial. She loves narrating what she is doing and making jokes as she goes. I think my 6-year-old wants a cooking show more than she wants to eat her finished product," Ilana Wiles, the personality and writer behind Mommy Shorts tells me about her own kid's favorite rainy day activity. "Honestly, I can't edit fast enough to keep up with her tutorials." And hey, snacks for everyone, right?
31. Coding Animations
And as for Wiles' 9-year-old daughter, she prefers something a little more digital. "She would love to play on her iPad all day when it rains, but I like to limit screen time. So we came to an agreement. I said she can have more time if she is creating something as opposed to just consuming. Now her favorite thing to do is code little animations on a desktop app called Scratch."
If you've never laughed until you peed a little at the @dontcallmemommy Instagram, you need to go check it out right now. While I wait on you, one-half of the comedic duo, Samantha Gutstadt, tells me that her soon-to-be 7-year-old Ryder has a bin of LEGOs that he loves to "free build" and get creative with. "He can do it for hours," she says. That kind of staying power with a toy? Pure magic. (Also, I really love LEGOs too and am so glad my own kid does.)
33. Imaginative Play
And finally, what rainy day is complete without a little imaginative play? Samantha says that her 5-year-old son Asher loves playing pretend. "We keep a bin of costumes, and in our playroom have a kitchen, a grill, and ice cream cart. Asher loves dropping into imaginative play and can spend so much time doing that! It’s his #1!" she tells me. There are few things more lovely to watch than your kids going into full-on pretend mode, right? And hey, maybe all of that pretend cooking means he can bake the whole family pies in a few years.
Just remember: whether you have a cardboard box, a bin of LEGOs, or some old scarves lying around, your kids can get fully invested into play whenever they want. A rainy day is the perfect way to let their imaginations run wild. Don't stress about it and don't try to push them in any direction — just see where their sweet little minds take them.