Ten mess-free rainy day activities for children of all ages

Ten mess-free rainy day activities for children of all ages

The weather is a shocker this weekend and, up and down the country, families are trying to figure out how to keep the kids entertained without being able to go anywhere.

For parents running out of ideas (and patience), here is a list of 12 things to do with your young kids at home while it rains outside.

1. Family board game session

Dust off the old classics and set up an afternoon of Monopoly, Pictionary or Scrabble. A good old game of cards or charades will be good family fun too.

2. Hold a photography competition

Hand them an old camera (or your phone if you’re feeling brave), write up a sheet of themes and launch your family’s inaugural photo competition. It’ll be a good workout for their creative brain, while satisfying their competitive spirit.

3. Indoor ring toss

Some outdoor games can easily be done inside with minimal mess or potential for disaster. Grab anything hoop-shaped and something for the hoop to go over and set up your own ring-toss competition. Got some bracelets and a big spoon?

4. Get outdoorsy indoors

Do a Kiwi Guardians activity at home and earn a medal. The Kiwi Guardians site, which usually rewards kids for exploring the New Zealand outdoors, has a few great activities to be done from home, which they can earn medals for. Map your backyard, create a nature journal or plant a seed, then submit the details and receive your medal in the post in a few days.

5. YouTube exercise videos for kids

Lay out the yoga mats and chill out to some Cosmic Kids Yoga.

6. Matinee with popcorn and a classic

You know those old movies you always think your kids should watch but you never seem to get around to watch with them? Today is the day! Choose a classic, make some popcorn and hot chocolate, close the curtains and settle down for a movie matinee under the blanket.

7. Zoom playdate

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is just because we are kept apart, it doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected. If you’ve young kids stuck at home, remember that pandemic lesson, message a fellow parent and set up a playdate on Zoom. You can sit nearby with a cup of tea and just watch your children interact with the others on the screen, knowing you’re also giving another parent a bit of a break.

8. Put on a show

Give your kids a theme and tell them to come up with a play to perform for the family. They have to come up with characters, a plot, some dialogue and then perform it for you. If you record it, you can always keep it as something to play at their 21st (for which they may or may not end up hating you).

9. Write a letter to someone you haven't seen in a while

Does a family member or friend have a birthday coming up? Get your kids to make them a card! Alternatively, sit down with them and get them to write a letter to their grandma, aunt, cousin or anyone they miss and haven’t seen in a while. This activity has the added bonus of warming the cockles of whoever ends up getting this letter or card in the post a few days later (the only downside is you have to remember to pop down to the post office tomorrow).

10. Camping in the great indoors

Okay, this is not exactly 100 per cent mess-free but it’s also not fun-free so it’s worth a shot for some cool memories. Get the camping gear going, set up a tent in the living room, fill it up with blankets and cushions and spend a day in the great indoors, chatting and playing as if you would if you were camping outside. If you have a fireplace or woodburner, you can even toast some marshmallows for added cuteness.

Stay strong, parents. The sun will shine again eventually.

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