Keeping Littles Busy On Bad Weather Days

Anyone else get stir-crazy REAL quick when the weather changes? We’re not homebodies; we are typically out of the house from breakfast until lunch daily. When we take going outside out of the mix, things tend to get a little loco in my house (not to mention that the fighting goes through the ROOF). Through my four years of parenting, I’ve realized that it’s suuuuper easy to fall into the trap of “movie day!” a few too many days in a row and then the mom guilt creeps in. So, lucky for all of us, I’ve had to put my Pinterest-hat on a lot lately! To save you the time and legwork, here are our fave indoor activities for littles:

Mama AND toddler approved indoor activities (yup– these keep BOTH my kids entertained):

  • Dry erase boards and markers: Like coloring, only better, because it’s re-usable. )
  • Pretend birthday parties: Complete with pretend cakes (and of course, the song), presents (aka toys in a pile that we pretend to unwrap), and party games (like hide and seek and freeze tag!). This one can take time to plan, execute, and clean up… triple whammy!
  • Hop in the tub: I have to say, daytime baths have become a regular thing these days. If it’s a must-have as part of your nighttime routine, who’s stopping you from hopping in mid-day simply to play!? You can still bath later to get washed up. Plus, it give us more time together in the evenings if bath time is out of the way.
  • Sticky web with painter’s tape: Even better now that it’s Halloween time, but we use this all year long! Use balls of paper or cotton balls for an awesome indoor game!

sticky web

  • Indoor relay race/obstacle course: Use pillows, blankets, large books, jump ropes, couch cushions, cones, and whatever else your kiddo can come up with to create indoor obstacle courses! We clear out the coffee table and use the entire living room for this one. The best part is how flexible it is. Start out by setting it up yourself, then challenge the kids to set up their own!
  • The “floor is lava” game: Am I the only one who played this as a kid? We used to use the above mentioned obstacle course idea, but M likes to simply shout “THE FLOOR IS LAVA IN 3, 2, 1” and everyone has to race to find safety with both feet off the ground. Simple and surprisingly entertaining!

Cheap and simple racing track you can make

  • Indoor car/toy wash: Combine this one with the tub time, or switch it up. We lay out beach towels on the kitchen floor, fill up big Tupperware containers or bins with clean and soapy water, and go to town!
  • Bake something: There’s something about pulling a chair up to the counter (or a learning tower if you’re fancy) and getting your hands dirty with some cooking that makes little ones shriek with joy. Find a fav muffin, bread, or cookie and whip up a batch together! 
  • Shrinky Dinks: Holy throw back! I didn’t even know these still existed until I randomly stumbled upon some on Amazon (though I’ve since seen them at Hobby Lobby and Walmart). They’re adorable and will keep the kiddos entertained for a solid hour. 
  • Pom pom sort (simple or complex): This might be my favorite on the whooooole list because it’s SO versatile. You can set it up yourself or let your kiddo(s) help (awesome for incorporating teamwork and STEM into your project). You can keep it simple or make it complex. You can use tweezers/tongs for the pom poms or your hands. Sort by colors or just work on fine motor skills. LOVE LOVE LOVE this!
  • Dance party! The louder and sillier, the better. Let go of all your dance-insecurities and get moving! Disney Junior has a great Spotify playlist as does KIDZ Bop!
  • Board Games: Our current favorites are Connect 4, Go Fish!, Banagrams (we use it to identify letters and spell SIMPLE words together), UNO, and Memory matching games.
  • Art Time! Bust out the art supplies! Honestly, this is our go-to. Paint, color, and use stickers to fill the afternoon (and many, many sheets of paper, cardboard, or coloring books). You can find giant rolls of paper on Amazon (this one is our favorite) or at Walmart. This is great for taping up on a wall or laying out on the kitchen floor.

bathtub paint

  • Cardboard box decorating: If you’re like us, you get too many amazon boxes a week to count. Put them to use! Color them. Paint them. Decorate them with stickers. The bigger boxes? Hop right inside to contain little ones while they color!

cotton ball races

  • Creative stamp playdoh: Use whatever you have around the house to create an awesome sensory experience with playdoh! We like to grab wooden blocks, little figurines, alphabet magnets from the fridge, and cookie cutters. Super bonus: make your own playdough!
Image from Buggy and Buddy

Pro tips:

> buy a bunch of cheap table cloths (hello Dollar Store!) for easy craft protection and clean-up

> instead of tossing those old t-shirts, turn them into art smocks (remember art class in elementary school?!)

> C H I L L  O U T about messes. This one is clearly the hardest, but I promise, once your littles learn the rules and routines of craft time you’ll be golden.  Once it’s nap time (or rest time in my house #nonapclub), you can clean up the chaos in peace!

What are your favorite ways to enjoy time with your kids on rainy days? 


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