You know the feeling- you have big plans for the day- the park, the zoo, the beach or the pool. But the weather can put a stop to outdoor fun in an instant. These 25 activities for toddlers on rainy days will help you to entertain and connect with your toddler indoors. There are lots of ways you can have fun even when you can’t go outside.
Being stuck indoors can be a great way to connect with your toddler with crucial one on one time. It gives you a chance to focus on building things such as imagination, language, fine motor (e.g. pencil grip), and cognitive skills.
It can be all too tempting to rely on technology at these times. But there are lots of other activities you could do to benefit your toddler, too. Check out my guilt free look at screen time for toddlers for everything you need to know about toddlers and technology.
The activities are divided into the following sections, with 5 ideas in each section:
- Speech and language skills
- Fine motor skills
- Life skills
25 ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERS ON RAINY DAYS
5 ACTIVITIES TO BUILD SPEECH AND LANGUAGE SKILLS
1. READ TOGETHER
Reading is one of the easiest ways to spend time indoors. It’s also one of the most beneficial things you can do for your toddler’s speech and language development.
Reading can sound a little too much like hard work. But it doesn’t have to be! In fact, the more fun it is for your toddler, the more beneficial it will be for them. Try reading without any of the pressure. Just enjoy the book together and use it as a platform for a fun conversation.
Check out these simple tips to make reading with your kids educational and fun.
2. PLAY GAMES TO BUILD LANGUAGE
There are so many amazing and fun games that will build your toddler’s language. Most of them require almost no materials and can be done with what you have already in the house.
For example, you could play a barrier game, make a sound collage, or play ‘what’s my man missing.’ For examples and instructions on how to play these (and many more) speech and language games, check out my post on 15 easy exercises to boost language fast.
3. SING RHYMES TOGETHER
Nursery rhymes can seem a little dated and out of fashion, but they are still such a great tool for building your toddler’s language. Rhymes are fun, predictable, and have simple vocabulary. This makes them a great tool that will help get your toddler talking and expand their vocabulary. Why not use your rainy day to teach your toddler some rhymes and build their language?
Here are some of the most popular nursery rhymes. Although it can be tempting to simply play them on YouTube, your child will respond to your voice best. So, for maximum benefit, jump in and sing along!
4. PLAY WITH TOYS TOGETHER
Simply playing with toys is a brilliant way to develop your toddler’s language on a rainy day. Sit alongside them and comment on what is happening. Add in ideas and extend their play. In other words, get involved! Use it as a time for conversation.
Label the names of objects, the actions that are happening, descriptions of things (e.g. big small, noisy), and emotions.
As a general rule, use mostly sentences that are 1-2 words above what your toddler is currently saying. So, for example, if they say ‘car,’ you could say, ‘a fast car!’ If they say, ‘big cat’, you could say, ‘the big cat is sleeping.’
5. PRINT OFF FLASHCARDS
I’m not the biggest advocate for flashcards to build language. However, you can use them cleverly to make them into one of the best rainy day activities for your toddler. Make flashcards of actions (jumping, running, skipping), and descriptions (big, small, messy), as well as the names of things (animals, transport), and also locations (inside, behind, under).
To play with your flashcards, try:
- Putting paperclips on them and then ‘fishing’ them with a magnet tied to a pole.
- Sticking them around a dark room and letting your toddler find them with a flashlight.
- Posting them into a box or a face (empty cereal boxes are great for creating these).
Remember to name the word on the flashcard and use lots of repetition. Don’t question your toddler about the card- questions cause pressure and a shift of conversational power. Comments, in contrast, are natural and make it easy for your toddler to learn and remember these new words.
5 ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERS ON RAINY DAYS TO BUILD IMAGINATION
1. BUILD A FORT
One of the most fun activities for toddlers on rainy days is, undoubtedly, building a fort. I have such special memories of this from my own childhood. Use pegs, sheets, sofa cushions and anything else to hand, and help your toddler to create a secret place all for themselves.
Add a backstory to help their imagination get going. For example, are they a bear hibernating in winter? A rabbit in a warren?
2. MAKE A PUPPET SHOW
You can use sock puppets of finger puppets to get into character and tell a story.
But first have fun creating your sock puppet. This easy video shows you how.
3. HAVE A TREASURE HUNT
A treasure hunt is a fun activity for a rainy day when you’re stuck in the house. The clues can be rhymes, words, or even just a picture. You can make it as easy or difficult as your toddler needs. And, of course, the prize at the end will be so motivating for your toddler as they figure out all the clues!
4. PLAY FANCY DRESS
A rainy day is the perfect time to pull out different clothes and costumes and play fancy dress. Help your child to dress up as a superhero or a chef, a doctor or a cat. Whatever it is, getting into a new role will help develop their imagination.
5. TELL A STORY
You don’t always need a book to tell a story. Why not tell your toddler a tailor-made story? Ask them what will happen at different points and take their suggestions on board to develop the story. For example, ‘uhoh… does he fall in? What do you think?’
5 ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERS ON RAINY DAYS THAT BUILD CREATIVITY
1. SET UP A CRAFT TABLE
You don’t have to have official supplies to set up a craft table. Grab anything you can find- scraps of paper or old magazines, empty loo rolls, cereal boxes and pringle tubes, and even some foods such as dry pasta.
If you want something simple why not make a collage or a decorated cardboard photo frame. Or trace around your toddler’s hands or leaves and let them decorate. The end product isn’t the point here, it’s the process of creating and experimenting with shapes, colours and imagination that matters here!
2. GET MUSICAL
Whether not you’re a ‘musical’ family, playing with music is one of the most fun activities for toddlers on those rainy days. You don’t need proper instruments, it’s all too easy to create your own. For example, string elastic bands across a shoebox for a basic banjo, use rice or peas in a tube for a maraca, and use saucepans or shoeboxes for a drum. If you really want to get into this, FeltMagnet gives 52 homemade musical instruments ideas that your toddler will love!
3. GET DANCING
Just because you’re stuck inside doesn’t mean you can’t get moving. Why not put on some music and get dancing? This is a fun rainy day activity that also promotes physical health and wellbeing.
Of course, to get the most from this activity, make sure that you’re dancing along too!
4. PLAN AN EVENT
One of the most fun rainy day activities for toddlers is to plan a big event or ‘party.’ For example, this could be a music performance or concert, a teddy bear’s picnic, or even just an indoor picnic.
Of course, it doesn’t have to actually be large scale. It’s more about how you build it up and get your toddler involved.
Design and deliver invitations (yes, even to other family members or teddy bears) telling them the time of the event and what to bring. Set up a room and make it special. Plan out a short schedule of events. Your toddler will love being involved in creating this event. This rainy day activity will help to boost their creativity, and, even better, it will build amazing childhood memories!
5. SHOW GRATITUDE IN CREATIVE WAYS
It’s never too early to start teaching your toddler to show gratitude. Understanding how to be grateful for the small things from an early age will set your toddler up for success. They will be able to appreciate the things they have in their life. Gratitude leads to a better sense of wellbeing, even in later life.
Why not develop gratitude as a rainy activity for your toddler?
You could help them to:
- Make thank you cards for something they’re grateful for.
- Craft small gifts for family members to show their love.
- Bake for a neighbour to say thank you.
- Draw a picture of something they enjoyed this week.
5 ACTIVITIES TO BUILD FINE MOTOR SKILLS
1. PASTA THREADING
Pasta threading is an easy activity that will develop your child’s fine motor skills. Simply stick paper straws into play dough and then show your toddler how to thread the dry pasta onto it.
2. MAKE BEADED NECKLACES
Again, threading beads onto a string is a nice easy rainy-day activity that will boost your child’s fine motor skills. Select the size of beads and string that will be best for your toddler. The smaller it is, the more fiddly and difficult it will be. You can also tape one end of the string onto the table to make it even easier.
Pick a selection of bright beads to make this an engaging and fun activity.
And, of course, don’t use beads if there is any risk that your toddler will attempt to put them in his mouth!!
3. COLOURING IN
Colouring in is such a simply activity, but it can be pretty unpopular with kids who prefer to get outside whenever they can. Why not take the opportunity of a rainy day to develop this skill? You will be laying the foundations for writing in later life!
Use thicker markers to make this easier. You can also colour in alongside your toddler to help them stay engaged for longer. Don’t worry too much about pen grip, just get them engaged and interested. When you can build enjoyment of an activity in your toddler then it will be much easier for them to learn and build on it further down the line.
4. INTRODUCE YOUR TODDLER TO DIY
There are some fantastic DIY ideas and activities for toddlers that provide ideal activities for a rainy day. Play tools are usually made of plastic and easy to manipulate for toddlers. You can purchase these or you can make your own. All you need is a handful of golf tees and a toy wooden hammer to get your toddler started with hammering.
This is an activity that will require your supervision but that your toddler is sure to absolutely adore.
5. MAKE PLAY DOUGH
Play dough is a super fun rainy day activity that will really help your child’s fine motor skills to develop. Moreover, it’s so exciting and motivating for kids! You can make your own play dough in no time at all and you can add colours and even glitter to make it even more attractive to your toddler.
To get the most from this activity, I’d recommend playing alongside your toddler and coaching them on specific skills such as rolling the dough into a ball, making a sausage shape, squashing it, and cutting it. Use specific language and demonstrate- encourage them to copy you.
Your toddler will progress in no time at all!
5 ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERS ON RAINY DAYS TO BUILD LIFE SKILLS
1. BAKE TOGETHER
It’s never too early to teach your child to bake- and the activity involves much more than you might think!
Not only are they learning about food including food safety and food preparation, they are also learning how to follow a recipe, all the vocabulary involved in the kitchen, and maybe even how to clean up (if you’re lucky!)
Here are some great recipes for kids to get you started.
2. PLAY SHOP
Playing shop is a lot of fun and also an essential life skill for kids. Set up a little shop using either real or toy food, objects and coins. Help your toddler understand the idea of choosing something to buy and then paying money for it. Play alongside your toddler so you can model the scripts.
For example, ‘hello, I’d like to buy a banana, please.’ ‘How much does it cost?’ ‘Here you go.’ ‘Thank you! Bye!’
Take turns being the shop-keeper and the customer.
3. CLEAN SOMETHING TOGETHER
Pick something easy to clean and enlist your toddler to help you. Maybe it’s just picking up the toys, or maybe it’s sweeping the floor. Whatever it is, make sure you give a job that your toddler can do successfully. Keep it short- put on some music and make it fun, and maybe even line up a treat for afterwards. You’ll be surprised how much your toddler enjoys feeling like a ‘grown up’ and being involved in something. They’ll also love the quality time with you!
4. ROLE PLAY A SITUATION
Role-playing a tricky situation is one of the most useful rainy day activities you can do for your toddler. It might be role playing a life skill such as ‘sharing’, or ‘asking for help.’ Enlist the help of a teddy or puppet to help your child see what they can say and how they could act in a situation. Role plays are extremely powerful and can help your child to learn new behaviours very easily.
It’s also a great idea to teach a skill when your child is calm. This makes it much easier to learn that trying to teach them something in a moment when they’re already frustrated, upset or have lost their temper. You could also role play breathing, and other calm down strategies. Get them to practice it, too. Then, the next time they need this skill, simply remind them of what they practiced and encourage them to try out the skills in real life.
But remember- this will take a lot of practice, repetition, patience and prompting. It’s one step at a time!
5. BACK-CHAIN A SIMPLE SKILL
Trying out back-chaining is another way to use a rainy day to teach your toddler a new skill.
But what is back-chaining?
Basically, back-chaining means teaching a new skill by letting your toddler do just the final step. Then, when they’ve mastered this, the final two steps. It’s about working from the the back of a process. This lets them experience the success of ‘completing’ something.
For example, if you are teaching them to dress themselves, you could back-chain the routine by letting them simply slip on their shoes. Then, their socks and shoes. And then, when they can do this, teach them to do their trousers, socks and shoes.
This is a nice way to break a task down, build confidence, independence, and overall make it much less daunting for your toddler to learn. And what better time to try it out than on a rainy day?
AND THAT’S IT
I hope you enjoyed these activities for toddlers on rainy days. Although the rain is frustrating, there is so much you can do to promote your toddler’s learning and development and, above all, have fun- all while in the great indoors!
You might also enjoy:
- How Play Promotes Child Development: An Ultimate Guide for Parents
- 15 Easy Speech Delay Exercises for Your Toddler to Boost Language Fast!
- 5 Powerful Ways to Improve Your Child’s Vocabulary
- 9 Smart Strategies for Dealing With Tantrums in Toddlers
- 5 Little Known Tips to Teach Your Toddler to Read
- The Ultimate Guide to Help Your Child Speak Clearly
- 5 Surprising Skills to Build Before You Teach Your Toddler the Alphabet
Thanks for reading!