I am an expert on rain. I live in Oregon, USA, where it rains almost 50 inches a year in my town. If you live in a rainy place, you know that you can’t curl up on the couch every day it rains. Life must go on, and it can be fun.
Since it rains here for several months of the year, my family has adjusted to life with near-constant precipitation. However, some days are so rainy and gloomy that we have to stay inside. On those days, it’s smart to plan some fun activities to do together. Introducing my top 10 rainy day activities for families:
Spend a good part of the day watching movies together. There are several movies from my childhood I know my kids haven’t seen yet, and I’d love to share them. Movie musicals, kid-friendly action adventures and comedies are all good choices. Popcorn and treats are required!
Many television networks have food-based competition shows. Reenact your favorite, like Cupcake Wars, Chopped or Iron Chef, as a family. Split up into teams and raid the cupboards. Choose a commentator and at least one judge. Make awards and enjoy eating each other’s creations. Be sure to clean up the mess together when you’re all done.
Artist in residence
Sift through your art and craft supplies and make some original artwork. I always have a few blank canvases on hand for my children who love to paint. Raid the recycling bin for interesting containers and make a sculpture or model. There are many fun recipes for homemade play dough. Make a batch, get out the cookie cutters and have fun. If you make edible dough, it can be snack time as well as play time.
Nerf gun war
We’ve collected several Nerf guns over the years. When it’s raining and we can’t run around outside, we get them out and have an all-house war! It’s all in fun, and there are more laughs than tears. If you think a battle might be too intense for your family, make targets and tape them on the walls. If you don’t have Nerf guns, have a marshmallow war or make paper airplanes to fly at targets.
Epic hide and seek
Hide and seek is fun to play, even if you’re over the age of 30. It gets your heart pumping, teaches kids about counting and patience and promotes creativity as you look for places to hide and people who are hiding. Our youngest daughter is so small that she fits in unique places. I love to play with her and find where she’s hidden. If you’re tired of the classic version, try sardines, where one person hides and others join in hiding as they find him. The last person to find the sardines is the next one to choose the hiding spot.
My family loves to read. On a rainy day, we turn the fire on and gather in the living room with blankets and pillows for a reading session. Naps are optional, but often happen. When we’re done, we have popcorn and hot cocoa for a snack.
There’s something about a rainy day that makes you want to stay in your pajamas and crawl back in bed. When my husband and I try to do that, we are often met with four kids who want to join us for snuggles. Usually snuggling turns into tickling, and before long I hop out of bed and sneak into my daughter’s instead. Everyone feels happier and more loved when we play this game.
Your turn to choose
The hours can pass slowly if you’re stuck inside. Let each family member choose an activity to do for a set period of time, like 30 minutes. My 10-year-old might choose building with Legos, while my 6-year-old would pick playing restaurant. Time will pass quickly if you stay busy, and this idea helps everyone feel involved.
We love to dance! We have a few dance video games to play together, or we just put on our favorite tunes and bust a move. Dad’s dance moves might be stuck in the ‘90s, but it’s always fun to see him dance along. Let family members choose their favorite songs as you party. If it’s dark outside, turn off the lights and grab flashlights, glow sticks or finger lights to make your dance party even more fun. You might be surprised by the workout you get — an added bonus!
Pulling out old family photo albums and movies is a great way to pass a rainy day. My kids love seeing photos of when they were little. Videos make them laugh as we reminisce together. We also show them photos and videos of parents, grandparents and extended family members. This activity is fun, and it brings families closer together.
If you endure many rainy days, you’ll recognize the importance of keeping your kids moving. Check out these exercise ideas you can do as a family. The sun will shine again, but until it does, make the most of a rainy day by enjoying some fun activities with your family.
Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.