Rainy Day Activities for Families - 11 Great Ideas

Published Feb 12, 2021
Rainy Day Activities for Families - 11 Great Ideas

As a mom, sometimes I welcome a rainy day. It’s an excuse to slow down, stay home, and rest. Then other times, after days and days of rain, I feel I might pull my hair out. I imagine escaping to someplace sunny and warm - by myself.

Depending on where you live in the country, these winter months most likely greet you with consecutive rainy, possibly even snowy, days. They might leave you feeling lethargic, irritated, apathetic, or even sad. Many rainy days I find myself sitting in this place. However, one of my goals for the new year is to be present in my life. As my children grow bigger each year, this has become an ache of my heart.

Certainly, I am present physically in my life. But when I say I want to be more present, I mean emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I feel the need to squeeze out all I can from time in an effort to make it last a little longer - to savor it, enjoy it, and embrace it. This includes days that may seem less than ideal - like rainy days.

Feature Image Credit: @Getty/Catherine Falls Commercial

Rainy Days: The Perfect Opportunity to Practice Presence 

Rainy Days: The Perfect Opportunity to Practice Presence 

Rainy days where you are trapped in your house, discontent, are a perfect opportunity to practice presence - a presence with your family but also God’s presence. "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11). When I am in God's presence there is life, joy, and pleasure - even in the rain.

The way I practice God’s presence is to thank Him throughout the day for the simple things I may otherwise take for granted or even resent. I accept each day, each season, as God’s provision for me, and I see it as a gift from Him.

The way I practice presence with my family is to engage with them. This first starts with getting off my phone. As more and more research comes out about the negative effects of technology on our minds, relationships, and bodies, it’s important we try to limit it as much as possible.

Below is a list of eleven activities to do as a family on a rainy day. These eleven activities will require you to be present with the people in your family. They also offer an opportunity to experience God's presence, recognizing His gifts in the small and ordinary:

1. Play Board Games

1. Play Board Games

Possibly a lost pastime, board games create a fun environment of healthy competition. Memories of laughing, jumping, and even yelling remind me of my childhood playing board games. Board games are available for any age child, and they’re beneficial for children’s mental and social development.

Some of my family’s favorite board games are Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Checkers, Scrabble, Monopoly,

2. Bake a New Dessert

Baking sounds easy in theory, but for most of us, it’s a fun challenge with tasty rewards. How many cookbooks and recipe boxes do we have that we never open? Rainy days are a great time to look through them and meet the challenge of baking a new dessert.

My deceased mom was a wonderful baker. It is important for me to teach my children how to her special recipes that have become traditions. Rainy days are a great opportunity to practice.

3. Put Together a Jigsaw Puzzle

Who loves the challenge of putting together a 500 or 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle? Jigsaw puzzles are excellent for children’s development. They strengthen fine motor skills, concentration, patience, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking. Jigsaw puzzles naturally calm us even though they are mentally taxing.

Jigsaw puzzles are great for working together as a family. It’s an activity you can leave and come back to throughout the day or several days.

4. Take a Walk in the Rain

Nothing makes my children happier than to play in the rain. I remember one time coming home to see my husband sitting on the front porch as my children jumped and played in the rain-filled ditch in the front yard. They were soaking wet and covered in mud, but they were living their best lives as little girls. I admit, there is a difference between cold rain and warm, summer rain, but if the temperature allows, consider taking a walk in the rain. Put on your galoshes, splash in puddles, and listen to the squeals of delight.

6. Complete a Craft

6. Complete a Craft

Most children love crafts, but In the busyness of school and life, there isn’t much time to do them anymore. A stock of craft supplies opens the door for creativity on rainy days.

One idea is to simply put all the craft supplies on the table and tell the kids to create whatever they wish. It’s fun to see what their minds come up with. Another idea is to make cards for family and friends for the next holiday coming up. For example, Valentine cards, Christmas cards, or maybe even a birthday card for each person to give them on their birthday that year. And of course, Pinterest has a plethora of craft ideas.

6. Do A Science Experiment

My children are notorious for asking me questions that I don’t know the answers - especially questions about how something works or why is reacts the way it does. Simple science experiments allow children to find the answers to some of their questions themselves.

A quick search on Pinterest will give you endless science experiments to do as a family. Most of them only require common household products.

7. Clean Out Closets

Cleaning out closets isn’t much fun, I admit, but it is a good use of time on a rainy day. One way to give the chore purpose is to designate who to give the unwanted clothes, shoes, and toys. Maybe it’s a mom of little ones who could use hand-me-down clothing. Maybe it’s a non-profit organization in your community that serve the homeless population. Or possibly it’s a non-profit boutique that helps adoptive and foster parents.

Hopefully, the excitement of giving their possessions to people in need will motivate our children to participate.

8. Take a Nap

8. Take a Nap

It’s hard nowadays to justify a nap. Even though the experts tell us how beneficial naps are for our bodies, we still feel guilty when taking one. This is especially true when it’s warm and sunny outside. But on a rainy day, there should be no guilt! It’s the perfect time to cuddle up with your family and take a nap.

I admit my favorite place to nap in the bed, under the covers. However, to make it more interesting on a rainy day consider making a pallet on the floor, getting out the air mattress, or if it’s cold, napping in front of a warm fireplace.

9. Read a New Book

Recently my four-year-old and I climbed up on my bed for a Sunday afternoon rest. She had her stacks of books, and I had mine. Now I admit, it was not a rainy day, but it was the perfect day of relaxation.

As we laid there she “read” her books as I read mine. Then after a while, I read her books to her. We both eventually fell asleep. Then, since I woke up before her, I continued to read until she woke up.

I believe one of the reasons God made rainy days was for lots and lots of reading! It’s the perfect opportunity to catch up on books you’ve been wanting to read or even reading a chapter book aloud to your children.

10. Look at Old Photographs

“Tell me a story, mama!” My children say this to me often. They want to hear about what life was like before they were born. They ask what I did as a child, where I lived, and what telephones looked like! Then, they want to see pictures. Since old photo albums are not easily accessible in our house, I find myself often telling them that it will have to be another day - there’s just not enough time.

Rainy days are the perfect time to take out the photo albums and look at old photographs. Pictures of past relatives, weddings, births, and even baby pictures of your children are fun for everyone to reminisce over. And they make for the best stories.

Image Credit: ©Getty/Mladen Zivkovic

11. Watch a Movie

11. Watch a Movie

I saved this one for last because it’s usually our first go-to. Am I right? I would be lying if told you I’m not guilty of making watching movies the primary activity on rainy days. However, it’s a good idea for all of us to think outside the box and do the other suggestions above before skipping straight to the movies.

Recently, however, when we have watched movies, I have been more intentional in introducing my children to movies that they would not ordinarily be exposed to. For example, classic movies or movies I watched as a kid. This made me feel a little better about watching a movie.

Some of our recent favorites have been The Sound of Music, Pollyanna, The Parent Trap, Swiss Family Robinson, and The Wizard of Oz. You can rent or buy any movie online. 

What are your favorite things to do as a family when it's rainy outside? 

Brenda Rodgers considers herself a “recovering single” after years as a single woman chasing after marriage instead of chasing after Jesus. Now her passion is to mentor young women to live purposefully and grow in their relationship with God and others. Brenda has been married for five years to a heart transplant hero and is the mom of a toddler girl miracle. She is also the author of the eBook Fall for Him: 25 Challenges from a Recovering Single. You can also read more on BrendaRodgers.com and follow her on Twitter.

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Originally published Sunday, 14 February 2021.