little girl in bright yellow wellies jumping in a puddle

Don't Rain On Our Parade: Top Tips To Keep The Kids Entertained In Unpredictable Weather

Published: 28/07/2021
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Last week, we saw temperatures skyrocket in excess of 30 Celcius here in England, but despite the heatwave, we all know you can’t always rely on the British weather. Sure enough, just days after melting in the heat, we replaced our t-shirts for trench coats once again as the UK was drenched by thunderstorms. To make matters worse, the rest of the summer is going to be equally wild and unpredictable, according to the Met Office’s long range forecast. Just as schools have finished for the summer. Typical!

When it's pouring down outside, it’s sensible for kids to stay inside. But a bored child is a hyperactive child, and just one of those is enough to raise your blood pressure, let alone two or more! So you need a list of things to do when it's raining that will keep your little bundles of energy occupied.

Sure, you can stick on their favourite DVD if you’re desperate, but there are lots of creative and engaging indoor activities your children can enjoy that don’t involve staring at a screen - and that’s just what this blog is about! We’ve come up with a great list of things to do when it’s raining that both you and your kids will love - all of which are cleverly designed to engage their imagination and keep those thinking skills ticking over ready for the new school year. Who knows, maybe they’ll discover a whole hobby to keep them occupied until September!

Become a storyteller

story dice

What’s better than reading your child a story? Making one up yourselves! There are loads of collaborative storytelling games that are great fun to play when it's raining. The rules are simple. Grab a pen or pencil and a few pieces of writing paper. Sit the players around in a circle and write the first few sentences of a story. Then pass the paper along to the next person for them to continue the tale; the last person in the circle finishes the story off. Don’t reveal your parts or you’ll spoil the surprise!

You can take the same fun of making up stories on the spot and add the thrill of children’s toys with some storytelling dice. The most famous of these are Rory’s Story Cubes, made by Asmodee, but there are loads of other options available if none of their sets spark your imagination. You can even find online versions if you have a laptop or tablet handy.

Rather than having numbers on their surfaces, these special dice have stylised cartoon pictures on them. The idea is that you roll a set of dice and use the random images as inspiration for telling a story. Because each face of the dice can mean different things, the possibilities are limitless! For example, a simple arrow might symbolise a helpful guide pointing the character in the right direction, a magical weathervane could answer questions by spinning around, or a magic missile could be the hero’s only chance of slaying a frightening beast. These indoor activities will entertain your kids and help build their creativity and self-confidence. The next time it starts raining, turn to the power of stories!

Cook up a storm in the kitchen!

;ittle girl cooking cookies with her mum

Another great indoor activity to keep your kids entertained when the weather’s bad is home baking. Take charge in the kitchen for the tricky stuff while letting your little sous chefs sift flour and measure ingredients on kitchen scales.

The only issue with baking your own snacks is that many recipes contain a lot of fat and sugar. While they’re no doubt delicious, it’s not healthy to load your children up with lots of syrupy treats (and a mid-day sugar rush is the last thing you need when you’re cooped up indoors!), but there are a few tips and tricks you can use to make baked treats healthier.

One idea is to bake oatmeal cookies, as they need less butter and sugar to stay together. Homemade popcorn is surprisingly healthy when you don’t add extra sugar, and it’s pretty easy to get those kernels popping with a popcorn maker. Another great opportunity to make healthier homemade versions of favourite treats is ice lollies. 

With a set of ice lolly moulds, you can create all kinds of bespoke flavours! Chunks of fresh fruit and low-sugar squash will make sweet lollies that aren’t too sugary, but there are loads of flavour-packed ingredients you can try. To find out how to make your own, check out our blog on homemade ice lollies or browse our cookbook selection for a range of low-calorie recipes.

Battle boredom with board games

little girl admiring board game being played

While dusting off a board game may be seen as a parent’s last-ditch attempt to entertain the kids when the heavens fall, they by no means need to be boring! The trick to keeping board games fresh and fun-filled is to pick up ones that your kids have never played before. Yes, that does mean parting with your Monopoly board for now... But hey, at least that means you won’t have to deal with the tears and tantrums when you inevitably win! 

If you’re struggling with your search, why not look for something a little less conventional? There are lots of great board games out there from lesser-known brands like Steve Jackson Games and Fantasy Flight Games. These designers absolutely love board games, so they’re always coming up with new and interesting rules and scenarios to play with. 

Alternatively, you can find board games that mix board-based strategy with physical fun, like Throw Throw Burrito and It’s Bananas. It can be hard to keep your kid’s attention - especially when they’re sat stagnant for hours staring at a board - so combining the action-packed physicality of sport with the competitive element of board games is a sure-fire way to keep even the most distractible little ones enthused!

Turn your living room into a campsite

girl sleeping in a comfy indoor tent

You wouldn’t think that camping could make a list of things to do when it’s raining, but it’s a brilliant way of reviving the summer holiday spirit indoors. You can approach indoor camping from two angles. The first is to use a tent you already own - smaller pop-up tents will work brilliantly for this.

Your other choice is for you and your children to make an improv indoor tent. It might sound like a challenge, but it’s easy to make a temporary teepee out of bedding and furniture. Arrange a couple of chairs in a rough triangle shape, then drape a duvet cover over them, then stack books or other weighty objects on the chairs to keep them in one place. Dining room chairs work best for this, but you can also use a coffee table (as long as there’s room underneath for your kids!).

To make your indoor campsite feel more like the real thing, add a few little extras. Use orange tissue paper and some old toilet roll tubes to make a ‘campfire’. Or, if you’ve got a gas hob, you can roast marshmallows over them on a set of wooden skewers and create ooey gooey s'mores indoors!

Become a mad scientist for a day

little girl building a meccano

This next idea is a perfect way of sneaking in some homework during the holidays! Particularly great if your little one is a budding biologist, promising physicist, or up-and-coming chemist, science kits combine education and entertainment to keep your little learners engaged for hours on end. 

Each science kit has loads of kid-friendly experiments that they can perform. Some are broad, like this Horrible Science Frightful First Experiments Kit, and explore every kind of science, while others focus on a specific discipline like astrophysics or biology. Most science kits need adult supervision for safety reasons, so you can have fun too as your kids’ lab assistant!

Another type of toy that falls into the science remit is building and construction toys. You’ve probably already got LEGO blocks lying around the house, and while these colourful bricks are amazing, there are other kids’ construction kits that offer more challenges and include actual mechanics and engineering problems to solve. Whether you choose science kits or engineering toys, you’re guaranteed a set of fun, educational indoor activities that will keep any little scientist occupied for hours!

Get crafty

bous building a cardboard dinosaur costume

Arts and crafts is one of the most flexible indoor activities for children and can keep them entertained for hours. Lots of manufacturers make arts and crafts supplies specifically for kids, which is a much better choice than getting products designed for adults, as craft supplies for grown-ups can contain toxic chemicals you don’t want on your kids fingers (and they’re a lot more expensive, too!).

Like board games, the trick here is to add as much variety to your kid’s arts and crafts box as possible. We’re talking about everything from paints to pens, beads to brushes, sand to sticker books, glue to glitter - and the rest! You could even add old pasta shells and string into the mix to create magnificent macaroni necklaces. The possibilities are endless!

Have a dance party

family having fun dancing around

Our final suggestion of things to do while it’s raining is a great way to get your kids active indoors. Dancing is a fun way of releasing pent-up energy - plus, of course, it should wear them out just enough to ensure you both get a good night’s sleep - sweet! 

The trick to making your kids want to dance is playing the music they love. If they have a favourite CD, let them repeat the tracks that they like the most. Even better is letting them be their own DJ. With a Bluetooth speaker, it’s easy to build a custom playlist from files on your computer or a streaming service. 

But why stop there? Up the ante and bring out the karaoke system! There are loads of karaoke CDs featuring family-friendly sing-along hits, but the unequivocal champion has got to be Disney (don’t pretend like you don’t know all the words already!). Microphones at the ready (and perhaps a pair of earplugs - we won’t tell if you don’t!) - let’s get this show on the road!

No more rainy day blues!

happy girl and mum stood by a rainy window

We hope these suggestions will keep your little monkeys off your back... at least for a while! While you’ll certainly need a handful of these easy indoor activities for rainy days, you’ll want to prepare yourself for when the sun makes a welcomed return. Or if, should we say...

Once you’ve stocked up on sunscreen, sunglasses and a nice wide brimmed hat, you’ll need inspiration for what to do in the great outdoors. Don’t worry, our blogs and buyer’s guides are packed with impressive ideas and terrific tips to lend a helping hand! Learn how to survive on a staycation, cross out your camping checklist, and get ready to make a splash with our wet ‘n’ wild water games. With OnBuy’s help, your summer is safe - whatever the weather!

The information in this blog is correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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