Free things for children to do on a rainy day

“I’m bored! What can we do?”

When the weather is bad and you don’t have the money for expensive days out, what can you do to keep kids busy indoors?

Sometimes you need easy ideas for fun things for children to do without any cost, preparation or mess.

Here are some free activities kids can do at home on a rainy day which don’t take hours of planning or clearing up.

Mum & Dad makeover!
You’ll need to be brave for this one! Fling open your wardrobe doors or the dressing up box and let your children choose an outfit for themselves and you too! Go wild with accessories and, if you’re up for it, make up and nail varnish too! Of course this will have to completed with a photoshoot!

Skinflint cinema
Turn your living room into a home cinema by arranging chairs or beanbags in rows and closing the curtains. Encourage your child to make entry tickets or a film poster. Serve popcorn.  Older children might even like to write a review afterwards.

Newspaper basketball
Here’s a positive way to use up left over newspaper or annoying junk mail. Screw the paper into balls and throw them into an empty wastepaper basket. For older children try moving the bin further away or give higher points for hitting smaller targets such as a saucepans and bowls.

Cheat iced biscuits
If your kids like the idea of decorating cakes but get bored halfway through making them, try this shortcut cheat. Divide some runny icing into different bowls and add food colouring to get a choice of different colours. Arrange a selection of sweets, sprinkles and chocolate drops on a tray. Open a packet of plain biscuits and let the kids decorate them however their imagination dictates.

Pass the parcel
Everyone loves pass the parcel so why save it for parties? Choose inexpensive prizes – maybe a packet of raisins in the middle and stickers between the layers.  Let your child decorate some sheets of old newspaper and let them do the wrapping. If an older child is too cool to take part, put them in charge of the music.

Indoor picnic 
Whatever the weather is doing outside you can still have a picnic. Just spread a blanket on the living room floor and serve up a packed lunch!  Make it realistic by putting the sandwiches in boxes and pouring hot chocolate from a flask.

Water bubble fun
Fill a washing up bowl with water and put it on a towel to soak up spillages and stop it slipping around. Blow bubbles in the water with a paper drinking straw. You don’t even need washing up liquid! (This is a good game for the bath too!)

Treasure hunt
Hide some toys or sweets around your home when your child isn’t looking. Keep it simple for pre-schoolers and let them know if they are getting warmer or colder. Make up clues for older children to follow. Remember that kids love setting up treasure hunts too.

Camping sleepover
If it’s not a school night, how about inviting over a friend for some indoor camping? Hang an old sheet over a table or the backs of chairs to make a tent. Find a jungle or woodland soundtrack online. Snuggle up in sleeping bags, give them a torch and let the kids sleep there overnight! Don’t forget the midnight feast!


For more ideas on easy, inexpensive activities for kids to do indoors, try our blogs on cheap & easy things for kids to do at home and top ten ways to encourage kids to enjoy cooking. You might also like Unplugged! 100 free things for kids to do this summer,  and why you definitely need to take your child to the library.

But if you really just need to get out of the house, take a look at how to get kids active whatever the weather,  family-friendly science discovery centres near you and the rainy day ideas pages for your area: Cheshire, Manchester, Liverpool & Wirral, Flintshire & Wrexham


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