15 rainy day activities – that cost nothing!

KIDS’ ZONE: Being cooped up, kids can get irritable fast. Add in the cost of taking them to the cinema, soft play or on a day trip somewhere, and all of a sudden you’re feeling trapped. Don’t! All you need is to get creative, and hopefully the prospect of being indoors for the day will actually come to excite them (or at least not terrify you!).

Build a fort

Drape a large sheet over a table or over chairs to create a secret fort, then set up cushions inside to make sure you’re suitably comfy while you act out the game. Fill the ‘tent’ with toys, books and blankets and a flashlight. You can also make indoor obstacle courses by moving away bulky furniture, using cushions to pad the ground and boxes to climb over.

Organise a treasure hunt

Channel your child’s inner pirate and draw up a map and clues for them to find treats or mundane household items. You can even take pictures of the hidden items and put them in different locations around the house with more hints and tips for the next step. Older children might be able for more cryptic clues, while young toddlers could be given some helping hints.

Become a TV star

Use old cameras, or your mobile phone and prepare comedy shows, X Factor-type competitions or silly TV ads. Let kids come up with the script and you can participate with the sound effects/audience participation/judging, etc. Sit back and watch them take centre stage!

Bake up a storm

Every child loves getting their hands busy in the kitchen, particularly if the end result is a delicious treat they too can enjoy. It doesn’t need to be anything show-stopping, some simple cookies or buns are ideal. If you involve your child in the preparation and decoration, they will be so proud of their involvement – plus, who doesn’t love a delicious treat?

Giant marbles

Gather a selection of ping pong balls, tennis balls, soft balls, footballs and even a big exercise ball and allow children to play a giant game of marbles.

Play dress up

Even if you don’t have a designated dress up or costume box, let them pretend to be you or another family member in old cast offs. Toilet paper mummifying is also an option. You can then organise a mini photo shoot encouraging them to stay in character or create a play or film.

Sing your heart out

If you have a games console with a karaoke game, it’s time to get singing! Otherwise just turn up the radio, iPod or music channels and get them to sing along – they could even dress up as their favourite popstar for extra fun.

Sculpting

Take a new bar of soap and a blunt enough table knife and encourage children to carve their initials, stick figures and animals.

Write a story

Get your kids brainstorming and come up with a simple idea for a story book or magazine. Children have the most active imaginations and you will be amazed at what they can come up with. Have crayons and colouring pencils at hand so they can decorate the pages and use a stapler or ribbon to bind together.

Paper planes/origami

For children old enough, instructions for basic origami can be found online and you can amaze your kids for hours by creating paper flowers and animals. Likewise, recycle scrap paper and build a fleet of paper airplanes which kids can launch and race.

Tie dying

Again, for older children, take some old clothes such as plain, light coloured t-shirts or shorts, wrap them up in rubber bands and leave to soak in a basin of dye for a new lease of life. Once soaked, remove the clothes from the dye, carefully remove the rubber bands and leave the item to dry. Unique, fashion creation in minutes!

Take a trip to the library

If you live near enough to a library, consider bringing your kids and getting a supply of books to keep them occupied for the day. Check online to see if your library hosts any kids groups, activities or classes that would be suitable too.

Arts and crafts

From painting to model-making, children love to express themselves through arts and crafts. Gather together old household items like egg cartons, cleaned yoghurt pots and cereal boxes and let your kids’ creativity take over!

Design a family tree

Making a family tree is a rainy day project that you can also get involved in. Not only is it fun for kids, they are also learning about their heritage and history, and you could find out some interesting facts in your research.

Let them entertain you

If you have a large cardboard box, prop it up on a table and cut out a screen at the front. Children can either be news readers or tv presenters, or use their toys to stage a puppet show.

Top tips

Consider creating a rainy day toy bin and keep it out of sight so that your kids will be playing with things they mightn’t have seen in months.

Remember, there is no such thing as a bored child! Those who say they are, simply haven’t exercised the part of the brain that requires them to use their imagination. If all else fails, make a rule that children who say they are bored will have to help out with the housework!

What are your favourite or reliable rainy day activities? Leave a comment below to let us know.

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