Ten low effort activities for a rainy day (with a toddler and a preschooler)

Parenting and life

Whether it’s raining or you’ve a case of chicken pox, sometimes you can’t avoid a day or more spent indoors. 

It’s time to crack out the rainy day activities.

The evenings are getting noticeably darker and the days distinctly more miserable. The days of popping (haha, like I’ve popped anywhere in years) to the park in a t-shirt are over. It’s time for indoor pursuits such as soft play, and library visits.

However sometimes you are soft played out, and the library is only open a few days a week so in the meantime, here are some rainy day activities for toddlers and preschoolers which you can do at home to keep the kids amused and from taking chunks out of each other:

1) Bake sweet treats

Baking a cake is a “fun” way to spend an afternoon, even if the cleaning up is the pits. And you know, even if it isn’t fun, there’s cake at the end.

If your cooking is rubbish and/or you really can’t be bothered, pre-made cake mixes are a great way to get a toddler or preschooler baking up a storm in the kitchen.

Chocolate moulds or even a specialist kit like this one we reviewed can also provide a lot of mixing and pouring fun without the extensive washing up.

2) Den building

We reviewed this fantastic fort building kit but you don’t have to get in specialist equipment; bedsheets, airers and furniture make a fabulous tent.

If you don’t mind crumbs, a den picnic is always fun! If the kids get bored you can always hide in it yourself.

3) Water play

In the bath of course, I’m no fool. Once your children have got over the bath-hating stage, and are old enough that you don’t fear for their lives every time they get in, it can make a great way to pass some time.

A cheap waterproof tea set like this one can make for a brilliant game. The bath is also a great location for any kind of messy play.

4) Let them do your hair and make up

OK it might be a little painful, you’ll possibly need rubbing alcohol to get the make up off, but there is nothing that my children like more as an alternative to the Barbie Styling Head than assaulting me with a hairbrush.

5) Movie day

Get a duvet, some popcorn, and find something new on Netflix.

I quite like Moana, although I imagine after I’ve seen it 127 more times I might change my mind on that. It happened with Frozen.

6) Treasure hunt

As a kid I loved a treasure hunt. A proper code breaking clues type hunt might be little tricky when you have non-readers, but pictorial clues and simple maps leading to hidden toys work well.

My kids absolutely loved the Easter Egg hunt my sister put on for them; so much so that whenever we visit they still demand to play.

7) Lego

Now I’ll admit, I’m a mean mummy. I don’t get the Lego out unless it’s a special occasion, primarily because it’s a pain to tidy up and it hurts when you step on it.

However I have to admit it does keep the kids amused for a while and this will obviously increase the older they get; they’re still a little young for instructions.

Quite frankly when my husband was putting together his Millennium Falcon they were not good helpers. Putting down a blanket first for them to play on is probably a wise move.

Jigsaws also fall under this category; definitely best kept for a rainy day so that you don’t lose all the pieces outside.

8) Get the toy boxes out

Kids bored of aaaall the toys? One thing I learned when we were decluttering was that there is NOTHING as exciting as a toy that you’re just about to get rid of.

Dig right to the bottom of the toybox and find some treasures that have lain undiscovered for months.

Then pretend you’re going to put them in the bin. Instant excitement!

9) Play dress up!

We have quite an extensive collection of dressing up clothes, but even more fun than that is allowing them to raid your wardrobe.

10) Arts and crafts

King of the rainy day activities; usually I shy away (or run screaming) from arts, crafts and anything involving glitter but there is no denying that kids love to create (mess).

We’ve tried out a few fuss-free craft kits (like the mosaic jewellery box and Fuzzikins) which are fantastic to keep by for a rainy day.

If you are looking for something new and cheap, there are plenty of tutorials over on Pinterest for those that are that way inclined.

I am not, really, but my friend Emma wrote a great post on chicken-pox survival activities which you can find here. I quite fancy the idea of ‘messless painting’, although I can’t imagine the paint would stay inside that ziploc bag for long… I draw the line at making play doh though.

Pin for later!Rainy day? Here are some low-effort activities you can do at home to keep your toddler and preschooler amused and from taking chunks out of each other! Things to do indoors with a toddler and a preschooler.

Thanks to my friends Alice, Erica, Pat, Jenni, Emma, FaithAnna and Lisa who helped create this list of rainy day activities for toddlers and preschoolers.

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