Rainy Day Ideas for Toddlers
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Rainy Day Ideas for Toddlers
When the weather calls for rain (or very cold), I know it is time to get creative. Spending all day indoors with two very active toddlers is a challenge. Here are some of my go-to ways to keep my toddlers—and myself—happily occupied on rainy days.
We live in a multi-story building with many places to visit. We can get mail, take out the recycling or climb the stairs—all while avoiding the inclement weather. You may not have an identical set-up, but are there places you can visit that are not usually available for play? What about a laundry room, parent bedroom, or the garage? The trick is to focus on the journey, not the destination. If you get excited, your toddlers will jump onto the hype. Then extend the “travel time” with a playful twist:
- Pick an animal: Hop like a bunny. Waddle like a duck. Slither like a snake. Animal noises optional, especially if you are in public spaces like our mailroom (oops!).
- Add Some Tricks: Walk backward only. Hop on one foot. Take HUGE steps. Or tiny steps. You can tailor to different motor skill development levels.
- Take a Ride: Should you take a train? A plane? Hop in a car? If each child has a ride-on, trike, or scooter, you can add a whole new travel play element. Take tickets, follow traffic signals, and let them enjoy driving the toy.
- Pack it up: If you have backpacks, shopping bags, or a ride-on with storage like our Busy Buggy, you can spend A LOT of time packing essentials. When my boys and I “pack” for an imaginary trip, they bring pants and oranges. I have no idea why those two items; it cracks me up every time.
You Do You
You probably already realized that toddlers are fascinated by anything you do. This is a huge opportunity: what do you want and need to do? If you involve your toddler, the time can be fun AND productive. Major win on a rainy day.
- Namaste: Since I love yoga and rarely have a chance to flow, DIY mommy and me yoga is one of my go-to activities. My little guys will take a full 10 minutes to drag my yoga mat out and set it up. Then we try a few basic poses (tree is a fave) and practice deep breaths. They LOVE it, and I can get some stretching in.
- Bac-Um!: For some reason, my kids are obsessed with the vacuum (or, as they say, BAC-UMMMMMMMM!). They each hold a real vacuum attachment so they can “vacuum” on their own while I actually clean. My biggest challenge is managing their sobs when I put the vacuum away, but a clean-ish house is worth it.
- Laundry: To keep our endless laundry moving, I enlist little helpers. They can carry the laundry basket and load up the washer. It is not the most efficient process (one of my little guys pauses to snuggle all the dirty clothes, yuck!), but on a long, rainy day I count that as a good thing!
Sometimes the whole family needs some quiet time. Story time is always great, but when you cannot handle the 22nd round of the same book, creativity and imagination come to the rescue.
- Edible Arts & Crafts: Art projects are one of my all-time favorite activities. My boys still stick everything in their mouths, so I’ve gotten creative with the supplies. I found non-toxic pure beeswax crayons that work as well as traditional ones. Food coloring in vanilla pudding or yogurt works as finger “paint” (remember to take a photo rather than hang on your fridge—these can get gross quickly!).
- Fixing Things: My boys saw me use a screwdriver once, and they’ve loved fixing ever since. If you don’t have toy tools, use kitchen utensils—toddlers will happily hammer away with a spatula! You can even set-up an auto repair shop under your kitchen counter. Let your toddler drive up in their cool car then turn it upside down to fix!
Bring the Outside In
No matter how many creative activities you suggest, at some point, little kids NEED to move. If you are stuck inside, what toys or activities can you bring in from the outside? This is easiest if you have space: an open basement or garage works best (you can pull out your cars for playtime). Still, we make this work in a cozy city condo. We fit toy sports equipment and kids’ vehicles, both of which make indoor, active play possible.
- Sports Dance Party: It is amazing how much a little music and movement can lift a mood. I pick some of MY favorite tunes, and my energy is infectious. We've been listening to Jock Jams playlists while we play basketball in our living room. My boys don’t notice the amazing throw-back, but they love my excitement!
- Learn to Ride: Toddler tricycles fit surprisingly well in our small space. My boys are learning to pedal every time we are stuck inside. It is perfect for mastering coordination in a controlled, calm setting. They will be ready to ride when the weather is nice again!
- Tape instead of Chalk: Painter’s tape is the ultimate indoor replacement for chalk. You can “draw” with the tape without ruining your floors! Create obstacle courses, roads for toy cars, and even full hopscotch.
How do you keep your kids occupied on a rainy day? Have you ever ended up having a blast while stuck inside? We’d love to see your best indoor fun moments—tag #radioflyer on social media to share!