Indoor Rainy Day Activities for Preschoolers

Ah, rainy days. As much as we love the soothing sound of raindrops hitting the window and the smell of damp earth, they often come with the daunting task of keeping our little ones entertained indoors. Remember when they were newborns, and all they did was sleep, eat, and, well, the other thing we won’t get into right now. But, as they grow into their curious preschool years, you may find yourself standing by the window, watching the rain pour, and wondering, “How on Earth am I going to keep them engaged today?”

Now, before your mind wanders to the well-loved pastime of arts and crafts – yes, the one that involves as much cleaning up as it does playing – let’s explore beyond that. Don’t get me wrong, arts and crafts are wonderful and stimulate a lot of creativity. They’ve been my go-to more times than I can count. However, they’re just a fraction of the wide range of indoor rainy day activities for preschoolers.

Importance of Play for Preschoolers 

Play is a magical thing. It might look like your child is just having a blast, but there’s a whole lot more going on behind those giggles and the whirlwind of movement.

For preschoolers, play is their full-time job, and they are fully committed to it. It’s through this play that our tiny humans learn essential life skills, laying down the building blocks for their physical, cognitive, and emotional development.

Picture a group of preschoolers working together on a puzzle. They may struggle at the beginning, but once they start working together and trying different pieces, the puzzle gets completed quickly. This play activity enhanced their problem-solving skills and teamwork.

Physical play, for example, is more than just letting off steam. It fine-tunes their gross and fine motor skills. Remember the first time your child managed to stack those building blocks? Or the excitement in their eyes when they finally hopped on one foot without falling? Moments like these are all stepping stones in their physical development.

Cognitive development, too, is heavily influenced by play. Activities that involve problem-solving or require them to follow a set of rules, like puzzle-solving, sensory baskets, or a simple board game, sharpen their cognitive abilities. Their little brains soak up these experiences, laying the foundation for future learning.

Then there’s the emotional and social growth. Imaginative play, where they get to pretend to be a superhero, a doctor, or an astronaut, helps them understand the world around them. It’s during these games that they learn to empathize, share, and interact with others.

You see, the more varied the play, the richer the learning experience. Just like you wouldn’t eat the same meal every day, it’s important to mix things up in their playtime, too. Different activities will expose your preschooler to different kinds of skills, experiences, and learnings. So next time the skies open up, and you’re faced with a full day inside with your energetic little one, see it as an opportunity to bring in a little variety to their play routine. Trust me, your future self (and your child) will thank you.

Indoor Physical Activities for Rainy Days  

When the outside playground is out of bounds thanks to the rain, it’s time to transform the living room into a fun physical activity hub. Here are some of my favorite activities that we’ve done at home. Remember, the key is to have fun and stay safe!

Indoor Obstacle Course

Materials you’d typically find around the house can quickly become part of a thrilling indoor obstacle course. Think pillows, laundry baskets, hula hoops, even sticky tape can become a part of the fun.

Setting it up is a breeze, though it might require moving the furniture around a bit. You could create a path that requires your child to jump over pillows, crawl under tables, shimmy through a tunnel made from chairs and a blanket, and walk along a line of sticky tape.

Safety is key in this activity. Ensure the course is free of sharp objects, and the play area is far from breakable items. Soften the landing areas with extra cushions or rugs to prevent any minor mishaps.

Dance and Movement Activities

Nothing beats dancing like nobody’s watching, especially with your favorite little dance partner. Age-appropriate music is key here. Think songs with clear, simple lyrics, and a peppy beat.

To make it more interactive, play a game of “Freeze Dance”. Just play the music and encourage your child to dance, and when the music stops, everyone freezes. It’s a hoot!

Yoga for Preschoolers

If you’re looking for a calming yet physical activity, yoga is your answer. Yoga can help increase flexibility, balance, and coordination in your preschooler.

Start with simple poses like ‘Tree Pose’, ‘Downward Dog’, or ‘Butterfly Pose’. Make it more engaging by incorporating storytelling. For example, when doing the ‘Tree Pose’, you could narrate a story about a little seed growing into a tall, strong tree.

Remember, the goal is not perfect poses, but having fun and introducing your little one to a healthy practice. As you play and move around, these activities provide a great way to use up energy while being stuck indoors.

And as a bonus, you might even sneak in a bit of a workout for yourself. Win-win, I say!

Imaginative Play for Preschoolers on Rainy Days  

Once your preschooler (and possibly you) has burned off some energy with those physical activities, it’s time to slow things down a bit and shift gears towards imaginative play. These activities allow your child’s creativity to blossom, while encouraging cognitive and social skills.

Puppet Shows

Puppet shows can be an endless source of fun and laughter. To make simple puppets, all you need is some old socks, markers, and any craft materials you have on hand. The socks become the ‘body’, and the rest is up to your (and your child’s) imagination.

Once the puppets are ready, it’s time for the show. Guide a story initially, but allow your preschooler to take the reins eventually. You’ll be amazed by their storytelling prowess. Remember, the aim is to have fun, so don’t worry about the storyline making perfect sense.

Dress-up Play

Everyday objects around the house can transform into a treasure trove for dress-up play. Old clothes, hats, scarves, even kitchen utensils can double up as props.

You could suggest themed dress-up ideas like a tea party where everyone dresses up fancy, or a superhero day, or even an animal parade. The beauty of dress-up play is that it can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be.

Indoor Camping

family camping inside on a rainy day

Camping with a baby or toddler can be a real adventure. Once you move your camping inside, you can use sheets, blankets, chairs, and clothespins to create your very own campsite in the living room. Furnish the tent with comfy pillows, favorite toys, and maybe a flashlight.

You could ‘roast’ marshmallows on a pretend campfire, tell stories, or play shadow puppets with your flashlight. The camping ideas are endless, and your child will love the novelty of it all.

Play Store

Transform a corner of your living room into a mini marketplace. Using empty boxes from your pantry, your child can set up a grocery store, arranging items on shelves. Provide them with play money or make your own, and they can practice buying and selling items, enhancing their math skills and understanding of commerce.

Doctor’s Clinic

Using a toy doctor’s kit or even just some bandages and a thermometer, your preschooler can play doctor. Stuffed animals or family members can be the patients. This role-play helps them understand empathy and care.

Magic Show

With a little imagination, your preschooler can become a magician. Using household items, they can ‘perform’ tricks. A disappearing coin or a magic hat with a hidden toy can be the highlight. It’s all about the presentation and the thrill of the ‘magic’.

Post Office Play

Set up a mini post office at home. Your child can write letters, ‘stamp’ them, and deliver them to family members in the house. This activity encourages writing skills and understanding of communication.

As you immerse yourself in these imaginative play activities, you’ll notice something wonderful – you’re not just creating fun ways to keep your preschooler entertained, but you’re also making precious memories. And I think that’s what rainy days indoors should truly be about.

Indoor Educational Activities for Preschoolers

After the rush of physical activities and the creative exploration of imaginative play, you might be in the mood for something a little quieter, yet still engaging. Enter the world of educational activities! These can be wonderful opportunities for learning, cloaked in the guise of fun.

Science Experiments

Yes, science and preschoolers can go hand in hand! You’d be surprised how many age-appropriate, easy, and fun experiments you can do at home. Simple experiments like a baking soda and vinegar volcano or making homemade slime can captivate your preschooler.

However, safety comes first. Always supervise your child during these experiments, avoid using any harmful substances, and remind your child not to put any materials in their mouth.

Storytime and Reading Activities

Ah, the joy of delving into a good book! Reading to your child is not only a lovely bonding activity, but it’s also fantastic for their cognitive development. Pick age-appropriate books that are rich in pictures and have simple, engaging stories.

To make reading more interactive, you can involve your child by asking questions about the story, the characters, and what they think might happen next. You can also encourage them to retell the story in their own words.

Puzzles and Board Games

Puzzles and board games are perfect for quiet time and can keep your preschooler engaged while stimulating their problem-solving skills. Simple jigsaw puzzles, memory games, or age-appropriate board games like “Candy Land” can do the trick.

Transform these activities into a learning experience by engaging your child in conversation during the game, encouraging them to think strategically and teaching them about winning and losing graciously.

With these educational activities, your rainy day can transform into a day filled with discoveries, learning, and most importantly, lots of fun. It’s all about turning those indoor hours into adventures, and trust me, your little one will love every minute!

Rainy Day Arts and Crafts for Preschoolers

As I mentioned before, rainy day arts and crafts can be a great way to keep your preschooler entertained. But since we’ve already covered this topic quite a bit, let’s delve deeper into a few more diverse and engaging crafts that require minimal supervision and offer maximum fun.

Salt Dough Sculptures

One of my personal favorites, salt dough, is versatile, safe, and super easy to make. Plus, it can keep your little one entertained for hours. The recipe is simple – half a cup of salt, half a cup of water, and a cup of flour. Mix these together until a dough forms, and voila, you have your homemade playdough!

Your preschooler can use this dough to create anything their heart desires – from cute little animals to miniature bowls or unique jewelry. Just remember to bake the creations at a low temperature for a couple of hours to harden them.

Collage Creation

A collage can be a great way for your preschooler to express their creativity. You’ll need materials like old magazines, newspapers, colored papers, and a glue stick.

You can propose a theme to guide the activity – it could be something as simple as a color, an animal, or even a place. Then, your child can find and cut out images corresponding to the theme and stick them onto a piece of paper to create their unique collage. It’s a wonderful way to develop their fine motor skills and sense of aesthetics.

Nature Impressions

For this craft, take a walk with your preschooler and collect leaves, flowers, or even twigs. Once back home, place these items under a sheet of paper and have your child color over them with crayons. The impressions left behind create a beautiful and natural piece of art.

Paper Plate Masks

Using paper plates as a base, your child can craft masks of their favorite animals, characters, or even abstract designs. Provide them with paint, markers, yarn for hair, and other craft supplies to let their imagination run wild.

Beaded Necklaces

With some string and beads, your preschooler can design their own jewelry. This activity not only boosts creativity but also helps in refining their fine motor skills as they thread each bead.

Handprint Art

Using non-toxic paint, let your child dip their hand in and make prints on paper. These handprints can be turned into animals, flowers, or even just colorful patterns. It’s a fun and tactile way to create memories.

These arts and crafts activities offer just the right amount of creativity without becoming too messy or overwhelming. And the best part is, you’ll end up with beautiful little mementos of your special rainy day together.

Snack Preparation 

Preparing snacks together is not just about taming those little tummies; it’s also an opportunity to learn, have fun, and make memories. Here are some ideas on how to make the most of this culinary adventure with your preschooler.

Simple and Healthy Snack Recipes

Consider simple recipes that involve assembling more than actual cooking. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Fruit Kabobs: Made with cut-up fruits and cheese on a skewer, these are colorful and enticing.
  • Ants on a Log: Celery sticks filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins make for a crunchy and delightful snack.
  • Yogurt Parfaits: Layer yogurt, granola, and fruits in a cup for a sweet and healthy treat.
  • Mini Sandwiches: Using cookie cutters, let your preschooler shape bread slices and fill them with spreads like cream cheese, jam, or even hummus.
  • Smoothie Bowls: Blend together fruits, yogurt, and a splash of milk. Pour into a bowl and let your child decorate the top with sliced fruits, nuts, or seeds.
  • Veggie Faces: Lay out slices of cucumber, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, and bell pepper strips. Encourage your child to create fun faces on a plate using these veggies.

The key here is to keep things simple, fun, and involve your preschooler in every step.

The Importance of Adult Supervision

While it’s a great idea to involve kids in the kitchen, adult supervision is critical. Ensure that they’re away from hot surfaces, sharp objects, and raw food. Their tasks should be age-appropriate like washing fruits, stirring ingredients, or assembling the snacks.

Learning Opportunities During Snack Preparation

Snack preparation is ripe with opportunities for your preschooler to learn. You can talk about the importance of eating healthy foods, where the food comes from, or even touch upon math concepts (like half, one-third) while measuring ingredients.

Cultural Exploration Through Food

Introduce your child to snacks from different cultures. Make simple dishes like guacamole, hummus, or even rice balls. Discuss the origins of these foods and the cultures they come from, turning snack time into a mini geography lesson.

These are perfect opportunities to bond with your child, help them learn, and create precious memories, all while keeping them entertained and engaged. It’s the indoor equivalent of making hay while the sun shines, and it’s every bit as rewarding.

Incorporating Educational Apps or Digital Tools into Rainy Day Activities

Isn’t it great that we have so many educational apps and digital tools at our fingertips? It’s like having a little treasure trove of learning for our preschoolers! When used with a sprinkle of care and a dash of moderation, these tools can unlock a world of fun and knowledge.

Educational Apps

There are countless apps designed specifically for preschoolers that focus on everything from basic math and reading skills to science and art. Apps like “Endless Alphabet,” “Toca Kitchen,” and “PBS Kids Games” are not only educational but also fun.

  • Interactive E-books: Digital storybooks can make reading more interactive and engaging. With features like voice narration and animated illustrations, they can enhance the storytelling experience.
  • Virtual Field Trips: Websites and apps offer virtual tours of museums, zoos, and historical sites, allowing your child to explore the world from the comfort of your home.

However, while these digital tools can be beneficial, it’s crucial to set boundaries:

  • Limit Screen Time: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one hour of screen time for children aged 2 to 5. Ensure that this time is spent on quality content.
  • Choose Age-Appropriate Content: Always review an app or digital tool before introducing it to your child. Ensure it’s age-appropriate, free from ads, and offers genuine educational value.
  • Interactive vs. Passive Screen Time: Encourage apps and games that require active participation rather than passive watching. This ensures a more meaningful digital experience.
  • Balance with Offline Activities: While digital tools can be a great addition to your indoor activity repertoire, they should complement, not replace, traditional play and learning.

Remember, the key is balance. In the right doses and with the right content, screen time can be both educational and entertaining. But always prioritize hands-on, interactive play to ensure holistic development for your preschooler.

Tips for Successful Indoor Play 

As we near the end of our journey through indoor rainy day activities, it’s time to share a few general tips that can make your indoor playtime more successful. These are some of the things I’ve learned over the years that help make these days smoother and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Keeping the Space Safe

Safety should always come first. This means removing breakable items from the play area, ensuring furniture and surfaces used for play are sturdy, and checking that there are no sharp corners or objects within reach. This way, your preschooler can freely enjoy the activities without risk of injury.

Setting Ground Rules

Before starting any activity, it’s essential to set some ground rules. These could be as simple as cleaning up after each activity, not running in the house, or using indoor voices. Clear rules help ensure safety and sanity, even amidst all the fun.

Varying Activities to Keep Interest

Preschoolers have a relatively short attention span, so it’s beneficial to have a variety of activities planned. Jumping from a physical activity to something quieter like reading or puzzles can help keep your little one interested and engaged. And remember, sometimes the simplest activities are the most enjoyable!

Setting a Specific Playtime Schedule

Having a structured playtime can help set expectations for your child. For instance, designate the morning for active play and the afternoon for quieter activities. This not only helps in managing energy levels but also gives your child something to look forward to.

Creating a Dedicated Play Space

Having a specific area in the house dedicated to play can make a world of difference. This space can be stocked with all the necessary supplies, toys, and crafts, ensuring everything is at arm’s reach. It also helps in containing the mess to one area!

Involving Your Child in Planning

Allow your preschooler to have a say in the day’s activities. This gives them a sense of ownership and makes them more invested in the playtime. Plus, they might come up with some creative ideas you hadn’t thought of!

Taking Breaks

It’s essential to incorporate short breaks between activities. This can be a snack break, a short story session, or even just some quiet time. It helps in recharging and transitioning smoothly from one activity to the next.

Using Timers

For activities that might be particularly engaging or messy, set a timer. This helps in managing time and also prepares your child for transitioning to the next activity.

I’ve found that successful indoor play is as much about planning and preparation as it is about flexibility and spontaneity. So while it’s great to have a stash of activities up your sleeve, it’s also important to go with the flow and let your child’s interests guide your day.

And there you have it – my guide to turning rainy days into indoor adventures. Here’s to laughing, playing, learning, and making countless memories together, even when the sun isn’t shining.


Some simple activities include building with blocks, coloring or drawing, playing dress-up, or having a dance party to their favorite songs.
Yes, there are many educational games like puzzles, board games that teach counting or letters, and interactive learning apps on tablets.
You can set up an indoor obstacle course, play Simon says, or have a balloon volleyball match.
Crafts like making paper plate masks, finger painting, or creating pasta necklaces are both safe and easy for young children.
Absolutely! Items like spoons for relay races, socks for sock puppets, or empty boxes for building can be repurposed for play.
You can create a cozy reading nook, use puppets to act out stories, or have your child draw a picture of their favorite part of the story.
Yes, preschoolers can help with tasks like stirring, pouring, and decorating cookies or cupcakes. Always ensure safety by supervising them closely.
You can have a sing-along session, play musical chairs, or let your child experiment with homemade musical instruments like pots and spoons.
Simple experiments like mixing baking soda and vinegar to see the reaction, or making a rainbow with a glass of water and a flashlight can be fun and educational.
It varies by child, but generally, 15-30 minutes is a good range for most activities. It's essential to be flexible and switch activities if they seem disinterested. Remember, the key is to keep activities fun and engaging, and always ensure safety first!
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Marianne, a mom of four, shares her journey from cloth diapers to parenting young adults on She offers practical advice, personal stories, and a supportive community. Join in as we navigate the beautiful wave of motherhood together!