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Indoor activities during the rain to keep kids busy and happy

Learning meets fun: What to do when it's raining and children are bored

For children who like to play outside (and who doesn’t?!), a rainy day can hamper their plans. You might be wondering how to keep them occupied. And you might be frantically planning out activities for bored kids — those that are limited indoors, at least. But don’t worry! Even inside, there are still lots of ways to have fun. Check out some of the following indoor activities during the rain, and adjust them to suit your family’s needs.

Child and parents playing hide-and-seek in their living room
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Sensory play that uses everyday items to boost brain development

Exploring the world through the senses is an important part of child development. There are numerous ways you can encourage sensory play in your household. The possibilities are endless when it comes to appropriate materials. From kneading dough to placing their hands in a bowl of uncooked rice to wafting scents of extracts, many foods are a great choice to explore with the senses. Sensory bins can be created (and later modified) according to a theme, such as desert ecology or animals on a farm. But whatever you choose to place in a sensory bin, be mindful of potential choking hazards.

A group of kids dressed up in costumes
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Fashion show for your little designers to stretch their creativity

For a fun home fashion show, let children select clothing of theirs and yours to conjure up wild outfits as they please. Playing music and taking photos while kids walk down the runway really reinforces that fashion show vibe. This activity can also be a way to practice colors: Lay out clothes of different hues and ask children to make certain combinations. Alternatively, kids can make mock outfits of their favorite characters. Regardless of whether you pick a theme for the fashion show or not, it doesn’t have to be a contest!

Parents with children playing a board game
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Game day to encourage teamwork and problem solving

An entire day of activities can easily be taken up by games. Hand games can be more complex than you think. Ever heard of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock? If you have board games on hand, pull those out and let siblings play together. For an individual activity, have children work on a jigsaw puzzle. The floor helps children learn to balance, and charades exercises word retrieval skills. An indoor scavenger hunt is arguably a game, as is hide-and-seek. Card games to try include slapjack, go fish, war, rummy, bridge, and solitaire. Games can enhance various skills while being entertaining at the same time.

A family gathered around the computer booking a trip
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Virtual field trips — oh the places you’ll go… online!

You can see much of the world from the comfort of your own home. Thanks to the power of the webcam and live streams, recordings of animals and landmarks are widely available. Zoos and aquariums often stream live video of specific exhibits, while some institutions have published exclusive behind-the-scenes footage. Virtual planetariums exist, which allow you to explore the night sky and learn about stars and other celestial bodies. There are even entire museums available to peruse in an interactive or video format, such as the Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Dad and daughter using toy experiment tools

Science experiments that spark your children’s curiosity and sense of wonder

You and your children can do many home experiments with everyday foods and chemicals. Combine cornstarch and water to make Oobleck, which is an example of a non-Newtonian fluid and is also fun to play with. Use food coloring, dish soap, and milk to demonstrate the concepts of polarity and solubility. Or, look up a recipe to make ice cream in a bag. Layer different liquids, like honey, milk, and orange juice to see density at play. Write in invisible ink with lemon juice and reveal the message with a flame. This and numerous other science activities are educational and enjoyable!

You don’t have to let a rainy day rain on your parade — and you can remind your kids of that. Many household objects are more versatile than they initially seem. Hopefully, our ideas have inspired you on how your children can stay busy on a rainy day.

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