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  • Writer's pictureAlison Wimmer

Rainy Day?

Another Fun Ideas List

Create a treasure basket- add to it

Make art on the window with dry erase markers

Create a story box to retell a favorite story

Use a salad spinner to create some spin art

Paint the bottoms of different objects and use them as stamps. Print with broccoli, peppers, spaghetti, toy cars, muffin tins, cardboard tubes, egg cartons or cookie cutters

Make salt dough and use it to create hand and footprints, ornaments, leaf prints or letters

Use stickers to tell stories or make quick artwork

Use wool to wrap around cardboard shapes, introduce weaving or make a birds nest

Set some toys in jello and dig them out, simply play and explore with it, freeze and defrost it

Play with shaving cream, stir in colors …

Freeze some toys in ice and try and have a race to see who can excavate them the quickest

Construct paper tube chutes out of old paper towel rolls for dropping beans and pom poms

Go on a color hunt and make a giant rainbow collage

Turn a box into a town and draw roads and buildings inside, or turn it into a train track with a station

Set up a role play coffee shop, shoe shop, doctor’s surgery, hospital, post office, library

Practice writing letters and numbers in salt

Use handprints or your hand to measure things

Make catchers from milk jugs and play with a ball

Set up a reading tent and read a pile of books together

Freeze some rice for cool sensory play on a hot day

Paint a table top with chalkboard paint then draw on it, make train tracks and create a city

Make a rainstick

Use shells to create your own fossils in salt dough

Make a pirate map, a treasure chest from a cardboard box, a sandy pirate island and go on adventures

Experiment with magnets

Scrape forks or combs through paint

Make a rain gauge

Paint with fly swatters

Blow paint through a straw

Make wrapping paper and gift tags

Celebrate with a pretend play party

Put paper all over the floor and have a huge doodling session

Make a leaf or flower crown

Thread a rainbow pasta necklace

Paint bubble wrap and use it to make pictures

Crush chalk to make paint

Use household objects to make music

Have an impromptu tea party

Plant a little garden in a garden pot

Paint with cotton balls

Decorate a flower pot and plant seeds

Create land art with natural materials found on a walk

Paint in the bath or on the windows with colored shaving cream

Play with real cooking equipment and dried beans

Cut potatoes to make shapes and then print them in paint

Make glitter sidewalk/ pavement paints for outdoor artwork

Create an ocean in a bottle

Change the color of flowers in a science experiment

Set up a pretend animal hospital to encourage imagination and compassion. Give out pretend medicine, bandages, and take temperatures.

Make your daughters pretend make-up by using old containers and nail polish. She can practice playing beauty shop with her friends and her dolls.

Grab your toy cash register and fake money and set up a pretend grocery store. This is a fun game to play and also throws in a little math practice as well.

An ode to Doc McStuffins: take care of those old worn out teddy bears by setting up a pretend veterinarian’s office.

Learn all about recycling by setting up a pretend recycling center. Get scraps of paper and other recyclable materials and let them sort into different bins.

Make a pretend doctor kit with items found in your medicine cabinets and bandage up old toys that need a little TLC.

Pretend to be a gardener and dig in the dirt and plant fake flowers.

What could be more fun than pretending to be a mom? Let them come up with ways to pretend to be a mom for an afternoon.

For the young ones!!

Action songs

Repeat action songs with your baby often so they can learn words and actions. Makeup songs about the things you or your baby are doing throughout your day - 'I am walking, You are bouncing'.

Sand Play

If you don't have a sandbox at home, create one out of an old tire filled with sand. Your baby can explore the feeling of sand between their fingers and toes, and experience the different temperatures and textures of wet and dry sand. Give your baby small containers such as butter containers with holes pierced in the bottom to make a sieve, or cut open milk bottles to dig the sand with.

What's that smell?

Put some cotton balls in small containers the size of 35mm film canisters, and drop a small amount of different smelly substances into each container. You could use perfume, mint leaves, vanilla essence, spices such as cloves, cinnamon or ginger, or vinegar. Attach the lids securely and poke a small hole in the lid so they can be smelled. Sit your child on your lap and let them smell each one while talking about how they use their nose to smell, and simple terms to describe the smell.

Stacking and nesting

Use plastic cups from the kitchen or different sized boxes to make towers, or nest them inside each other.


Provide your child with paper and crayons for some scribbling fun. You may have some masterpieces that can be framed for your walls!

18 - 24 months

Body Parts

It is fun to learn body parts through songs. Sing about, point to and use different body parts in songs like Heads and Shoulders, If You're Happy and You Know It.


Make a scrapbook of objects, and pictures of objects and people that your child knows. You can stick these into a book or slip them into a photo album.


Encourage your child to play dress-up by providing a full-length mirror and an assortment of old clothes such as hats, scarves, and shoes.

Make play dough

Give your child things to stick in play dough (paddle-pop sticks, straws etc), things to pound with (like a toy mallet), and things to make impressions with (jar lids, cookie cutters, or bottle caps).

Hiding places

Big places to hide are often popular with toddlers. If you or someone you know has a large cardboard box after having something delivered, turn it into a playhouse for your toddler to play and hide in. You can even make some slits in the cardboard to allow for opening windows and doors.

Simon Says

Action games keep toddlers busy while they are learning to move and follow directions. Simon says is a simple game where you use commands such as 'Simon says, clap your hands' and give time for your toddler to follow. Encourage your child when they follow correctly.

2 - 3 years

Walk and Stop

A great game for practicing listening skills! This can be played inside or outside and encourages children to try different ways of moving their bodies. Sing

You walk and you walk and you walk and you stop.

You walk and you walk and you walk and you stop.

You walk and you walk and you walk and you stop.

You walk and you walk and you walk and you stop.

When the children hear 'Stop!' they should freeze until the song starts again. Other movements can be sung in the song too, like skip, hop, run, dance, jump, or wriggle.

Making instruments

Hooters - cover end of a cardboard cylinder with paper with a hole poked through children can blow or sing through other end

Rhythm sticks - cut two 12” lengths of dowel for hitting together

Sandpaper blocks - cover two small timber off-cuts with sandpaper and rub together

Play your instruments along with your child's favorite song.

Simple Puzzle

Glue a picture from a magazine onto a sheet of cardboard, and cut the picture into a few pieces. Help your child to learn how to put the pieces back together again to make the picture.


Children at this age will appreciate the chance to draw with different materials, such as crayons, pencils, and felt-tip pens. They could also trace around objects such as round plastic cups, or leaves etc.

3 - 4 years

Word games

Make a routine activity fun - may be in the car or while cleaning - by playing word games with your child. Help them think of rhyming words, words to describe an object, beginning or ending sounds, or opposites.

Window art

On a gloomy rainy day, use window paints or wet chalk to decorate the windows. Colorful rainbows will brighten up the day, and will be easy to clean off later!

Potato Prints

Cut some potatoes in half, and then carve some simple shapes into the flat sides (such as a square, triangle, or a star for the more adventurous). Put out a wide, flat container with some different colored paints and some paper, for some wacky potato masterpieces.

String Magic

Dip a piece of yarn or string into glue and place it on construction paper in an interesting pattern. Let it dry overnight, then your child can color inside the spaces between the yarn to make an interesting design.

A Bear Hunt in the Park!

Children love to pretend, and this song will give them an opportunity to move around and explore the park or backyard. This can also be played sitting down with the actions in brackets.

Bear Hunt

Let's go on a bear hunt. (slap hands together)

I see a wheat field.

Can't go over it. Let's go through it. (brush hands together)

I see a bridge.

Can't go around it. Let's go over it. (slap hands together)

I see a lake.

Can't go over it, can't go under it, let's swim. (arms swimming)

I see a tree.

Can't go over it, can't go under it, let's go up it. (climb with arms)

I don't see any bears, (look around)

Let's go down.

I see a swamp.

Can't go over it, can't go under it, let's go through it. (pull hands up and down slowly)

I see a cave.

Can't go over it, can't go under it, let's go in. (slowly slap knees)

I see two eyes. I see two ears.

I see a nose. I see a mouth.

Yikes! It's a bear!!!

Let's get out of here. (reverse movements very fast)

Alphabet Fun

This is fun, but not always easy! Help your child to make the letters of the alphabet by using their body. This will help them learn the shapes of the letters, and move their body.


This activity can help your child to improve counting and fine motor skills. You can use a variety of objects for sorting and counting - buttons, rocks, or pasta. Pasta can be dyed with food coloring for color matching and counting.


Help your child fold paper planes, and have them decorate the planes brightly. Take the paper planes outside and see how far they can go.

4 - 5 years

Natural Object instruments

Go for a walk in a local park and collect natural objects to make sounds eg. Small branches, leaves, seedpods, and stones.

Musical Stories

Act out a musical story like 'There were 10 in the Bed' - place a blanket or rug on the floor and get children to lie in a line. Children roll off the blanket one by one til they have 'all rolled out'!

Sand Painting

Provide your child with colored or black paper, and cotton swabs or frayed sticks etc. for smearing glue onto the paper - then they can sprinkle sand onto the glue to make interesting patterns.

Branch Weaving

Explore outside for small branches and other objects like leaves, feathers, and bark. Children can wind brightly colored wool around the branch, and then weave other objects through the wool - even scraps of colored paper and cloth.

What Time is it, Mr. Wolf

For this game, you (the wolf) stand with your back to your child, with your child standing a few feet behind you. Your child says 'What time is it Mr. Wolf', to which you reply 'xx.. o'clock', with the time you say is the number of steps they take towards you. The child's aim is to get past you before you respond with 'Dinner time!', when you turn and chase your child!

Pretend Play

Kids love to pretend and can make use of a few simple objects to have a great time. You can inspire hours of fun inside or outside by providing various sized cardboard boxes, blankets, and sheets (great for making hideouts), hoops, or old dress-up clothes etc. If you're outside, you could use wooden boxes and packing crates, chairs and tables, or a short ladder etc. under careful supervision.

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