Finding things to do to keep your kids entertained is not always easy. The five ideas on this list are perfect for keeping your kids busy but they also give you the chance to have fun with your kids. These five rainy day activities for kids of any age will entertain your kids while giving you the chance to spend enjoyable quality time together. Let’s dive in.
05: Age Appropriate Craft Products
Older kids probably aren’t into arts and crafts as much as younger kids but that doesn’t mean you can’t find craft projects that will actually appeal to them. It’s also important to try to find arts and crafts that will appeal to your kids based on what they’re interested in. Some good ideas include:
- Making purses out of old jeans.
- Decorating cell phones, iPods, laptops or netbooks.
- Jewelry making (works for the guys too if you choose the right kind of jewelry)
- Painting t-shirts or jeans.
There are a lot more crafts out there good for kids of all ages. I liked bead projects when I was a teenager and still enjoy making jewelry. I also made, and still make, a lot of my own clothes. It might be harder to sell older children on the idea of arts and crafts but if you gear projects towards the things they’re interested in, you’ll have a lot more success. Have a child that likes skateboarding? Encourage them to paint their deck. Fashion minded kids might also appreciate making their own jewelry, accessories and clothes and the internet is full of tutorials that will offer all sorts of projects that will help them do that. You can also buy supplies fairly inexpensively if you’re wiling to order them online. You might even be able to find what you need at local discount stores.
One of my favorite rainy day projects is decorating clothes. This one works for girls and boys of any age. Head down to your local discount store and look for fabric paint. If you can’t find it there, any craft shop should carry it. You can also buy it online. Once you have your fabric paint head to a second hand clothing store. Load up on t-shirts, tank tops, jeans, skirts, jackets, dresses, purses, shoes and whatever else you think your kids would like to decorate, making sure you’re getting things that will fit them. If you have a hot glue gun, rhinestones, studs and other embellishments can be a good idea as well. I bought a bunch of stainless steel studs online and put them on an old pair of sneakers to make them a little more exciting. Once you have your supplies, put them away in the closet for a rainy day then hand out an item of clothing to each child. Lay out the supplies and let them have fun. When they’re done, they’ll have a one-of-a-kind wardrobe piece that they made with their own two hands.
04: Make a Rainy Day Scrapbook
Scrapbooks are great. I adore scrapbooks. Nothing quite beats a scrapbook you’ve created with your entire family though and it’s not even all that expensive to do. Most of the supplies you’ll need can be found in discount stores, craft supply stores or department stores. To start, sit down with your special family mementos and have each of your children choose one memento. If you want to add a bit of a different twist, don’t just stick to family mementos, instead asking each child to choose a picture, poem, song lyric etc that they feel represents them. They’ll be using this to make their page for the scrapbook. Next, load everyone in the car and head to your local discount store. Give each child a set amount of money (each child should get the same amount of money – whatever you can afford) and tell them to pick out what they want to use for their scrapbook page. Pick up the card stock and basic materials on your own so the kids don’t have to spend their budgeted money on it. Once everyone has their items, head home and start scrapbooking. When each child is finished, put their page into your ‘Rainy Day Scrapbook’. This is something you can start when they’re young and continue to add to over time, giving you a beautiful memento to look back over one day – something they can pass down to their kids as they continue the tradition.
03: TV Show Marathon with Homemade Snacks
While too much television is a bad idea for kids and you shouldn’t rely on your television to babysit your kids, sitting down as a family and getting caught up in a few movies or a television show can be a great way to bond. My mother and I used to watch House M.D. together every week, even after I’d moved out. It was a great excuse for us to get together. You can have that with your kids too. Shows like American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, The Voice, The X Factor, America’s Got Talent and the like are a great option because everyone has the chance to choose their favorite contestant and root for them but you can choose another type of show as well. I watch Elementary, Chicago Fire, Person of Interest and Arrow with my husband every week. In general, I wouldn’t recommend going with sitcoms. You want to have something to talk about when a new episode is over and sitcoms don’t really offer that.
A rainy day is a great way to introduce your kids to a new show you might all be able to enjoy together. You can catch up on back episodes together and talk about where the show may be going. Talk about the characters and plot lines. Speculate about what plot twists might be coming. Talk about the actors and actresses. Make snacks together before you start watching. Nachos, potato chips, popcorn, fresh fruit with yogurt, fresh veggies with dip, tortilla chips with salsa – all great ideas for a television marathon. Let your kids pick what they’d like to snack on while you watch. Remember, you want this to be a pleasant time. Healthy food is great but it’s okay to let the kids have a treat every now and again.
My favorite part about this rainy day activity is that it can really turn into a tradition – a chance to bond with your kids at least once a week. You can’t beat that quality family time and despite what you may think, it doesn’t stop when the show is over. You can talk about the show which will lead to talking about other things as well. Eventually, the real pleasure isn’t the snacking and the watching. It’s the family time. When the show ends for the season or goes off the air, you can still use that time to do something else – watch a movie, play a game or just sit around talking.
02: Fun Dinner and Dessert You Can Make Together
Proper nutrition is important, sure, but every now and then a treat isn’t going to hurt anyone. Bringing the kids into the kitchen to get your kids involved in making their own dinner is a great way to teach them how to cook and is also a great way to keep them entertained. Pizza is a great idea for this one but to avoid arguments over toppings, opt for mini pizzas so each child can make their own pizzas. Not very good at the whole making pizza dough thing? Buy pre-made dough and freeze it for when you need it. You can also buy boxed mixes that are easy to make. The sauces and toppings should be up to the kids though.
Is it more expensive to buy toppings for a pizza and a few different sauces? Yes, definitely but you can cut back on costs by buying a club pack of deli meats and by making your own pizza sauce. There are lots of great recipes online for all kinds of different pizza sauces you can make and freeze. Many times they use the same base for the sauce and the flavor is changed by using different spices. You can often make several different kinds of pizza sauce using the same basic ingredients.
As for the toppings, you obviously want to avoid anything your child is allergic to. Beyond that, the sky is the limit. Try shopping at farm markets if that is an option in your area. You’ll find fresh, delicious ingredients and may be able to negotiate a lower price on the things you want to buy. Frozen or canned toppings can also be a good option if you plan to buy the ingredients in advance and store them. Fresh vegetables won’t keep forever. If you have a little extra money though, load the kids in the car, give them a few dollars each and tell them to buy whatever toppings they want for their pizza. Anything left over after the pizza is made can be turned into a delicious and nutritious stir fry or salad.
Your kids aren’t pizza fans? There are lots of other things you can adapt this idea to fit. Waffles work wonderfully although the toppings might be a little more expensive. Nachos are also a great idea. Even hot dogs and hamburgers can work. Use your imagination. You might be surprised by what you can come up with.
As for dessert, stick with something classic – an ice cream sundae. This one definitely works best if you’re going to head to the grocery store for toppings for the main meal. Tell your kids to choose an ice cream flavor, a sauce (chocolate, strawberry etc) and two extra toppings (sprinkles, chocolate chips, cherries, whipped cream etc). Cupcakes can also work for this idea but you’ll have more success with this particular idea if you plan for it in advance.
01: Competitive Games with Real Prizes
Not all kids are into games and after a certain age, most kids aren’t interested in playing games with their parents. The introduction of a little bit of competition that could earn the winner a real prize they actually want can definitely change that. The prize doesn’t have to be much. Just something that your kids will actually want. Great prizes could include:
- iTunes gift certificates
- Amazon gift certificates
- A homemade coupon offering a dollar amount to be spent at your child’s favorite store
- A pass from chores for a week
You could also make the prize something more abstract. Plan to order in for dinner. The winner of the game gets to choose where you order from. If you choose to go with a physical prize such as a gift card, buy a few in advance. If money is tight, buy a gift certificate in a small amount when you get groceries and put them aside. Just make sure the certificate doesn’t have an expiry date. That way you don’t have to worry about coming up with money for a gift certificate at the last second.
For younger kids, you can go with smaller prizes. Coloring books and crayons or markers, a crafting kit, a new game or even just stickers and things of that nature. If you want to do game competitions on a regular basis, you may want to consider making a trophy the kids can compete for. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – just something they can put in their room. Again, this only really works for younger kids, unless your older kids are especially competitive.
The game you choose can really be anything where there is a clear winner in the end. Trivia is a lot of fun, especially if you stick to subjects your kids enjoy. This can also offer a chance to educate as you have fun. History, geography, science, math and English are just some of the subjects you can turn into a fun and educational trivia game. This is a great game for older kids and you might even be able to get them to study a little bit if the prizes you offer are something they really want.