Rainy days can be hard on young kids. They are cooped up inside and tend to get a little bored- and sometimes whiny!
So what can you do? Try out one of these indoor toddler activities to beat the boredom, get some energy out, and fill the day with fun activities, crafts, and play!
19 Indoor Toddler Activities for Rainy Day Fun!
You can’t go wrong with homemade playdough for kids of any age! This activty alone can give HOURS of entertainment for toddlers on a rainy day.
Give them additional toys and supplies to play with to make the activity even more fun and last longer. In addition to standard cookie cutters and rolling pins, give your toddler some rubber stamps, golf tees, toothpicks, or toy animals to use with their creations.
If you have an old Mr. Potato Head hanging around- those pieces are also a great addition to playdough play!
Here’s my favorite homemade playdough recipe.
Pipe Cleaners and a Colander
Weaving is fun for kids of any age, but toddlers need a little help with their fine motor skills. Pipe cleaners are easier to thread than a piece of string or yarn and a colander gives them a large 3-d surface to weave in and out of.
This is the perfect indoor toddler activity and will keep them quiet and occupied on any rainy afternoon!
Pouring is a great rainy day toddler activity and it is great for teaching independent life skills.
Give you toddler a small pitcher or jar and a small cup- the fancier the better!
Fill the pitcher about half way with water and let them pour and drink! (Tip: Set them up over a plastic tray and give them a sponge for spills!)
If you don’t want to use water, you can also give them dry goods like rice or beans for them to pour back and forth between 2 pitchers.
Hammer Golf Tees
Hammering was one of my kids’ most favorite indoor activities when they were little. Manning a real hammer can be challenge for toddlers, but if you set them up with a toy hammer (I love the wood ones!) and some golf tees they can can go to town and work on the small motor skills they need to master.
What are they hammering in to? If you have young toddlers you can let them hammer into very soft things like clay, play dough, floral foam, or a box with holes already punched.
If your toddler has good small motor control already you can give them the hammer, a pile of tees, and a large cardboard box to practice on.
Alternatively- get out a box of cereal and let them hammer it to dust, like this Smashing Fruit Loops Activity!
If it’s raining outside and too wet to play in the sand a sensory tub is the next best thing!
Sensory tubs can be filled with just about anything and based on any theme imaginable. My kids LOVED a tub filled with dry corn with lots of scoops and trucks added in. Rice is another great filler for a tub. You can create themed tubs based on things like fall, holidays, insects, and more. Here’s a list of sensory bin fillers to get you started.
Or get get out some water beads for tons of sensory fun- here’s a few water bead activities to get you started!
Contact Paper Collage
This was a HUGE favorite when my oldest 2 kids were toddlers and it makes for a great rainy day activity for both young and older toddlers.
Simply cut a sheet of contact paper and remove the backing so you have a very sticky sheet. Tape it to a table, sticky side up in front of your toddler.
Then let them create! You can give them squares of cut up paper, sequins, rice, glitter, anything small!
When they are done, cut a second piece of contact paper to sandwich their work of art in between. Hang it in a window like a sun catcher!
Painting with things that aren’t paint brushes is a ton of fun for toddlers! Marbles are a favorite when it comes to painting.
All you need is liquid tempera paint in various colors, marbles, and a box big enough to hold a piece of paper.
Drop paint covered marbles into the box and tip it back and forth to make multicolored lines and designs!
Hot Wheels Painting
I’ve got 5 boys- and about a million hot wheels cars. They love to bring their cars into just about any activity, so painting with them is no different!
Similar to marble painting, all you need is some cars and truck (the more different the wheels the better!), paint, and a box or tray.
Drive the cars through the paint and then on the paper to make all sorts of tracks!
We have a ton of red solo cups in a big box upstairs. They are perfect for building with!
You can stack them into all sorts of towers or buildings- we’ve tried to recreate the Eiffel Towel and the Coliseum out of cups (learning through play at it’s best!)
You can also create building challenges out of the cups. Or try to reach your ceiling.
This is a great rainy day activity for the whole family, and I know that toddlers will love to knock them down!
Busy Bags are small, fun activities that are placed in bags (or bins) that can be easily pulled out for a self-contained independent activity.
They are the perfect indoor activity for toddlers- because sometimes when it’s rainy outside and small kids are cooped up indoors they tend to get a little whiny. And I don’t know about you, but I hate whiny!
So if there’s a lull in activity- and your child is acting whiny, clingy, or bored- whip out of these special bags and let them play.
Here’s a How-To Post on Making Busy Bags, plus lots of ideas.
Egg beaters and Soap Suds
I’ve written about my soap and water sensory play OUTSIDE, but it is easily altered to make the perfect indoor toddler activity.
Simply fill up your kitchen sink part way with water and add some dish soap. Then hand your toddler an egg beater (or whisk) and the them beat the soap into suds to play with.
Let them wash their toys and play as much as they want!
Build a Fort
Kids of ALL ages love making forts. Hey- I still enjoy making them as an adult! So next time it’s pouring outside build a fort out of:
A fan and a sheet
Table chairs and blankets
And then let them eat a snack, dinner, watch a movie, or take a nap in the fort!
Recycled Hallway Bowling
Bowling is a fun, large motor indoor activity for toddlers. And it’s basically free to do!
Raid your recycling bin for bottles and cartons that can be knocked down and find a ball.
Set the bottles at one end the of hall and let your toddler bowl their ball down the hall and try to knock them down!
Magnets are magical to toddlers and so much fun to explore. And setting up a magnet box to explore is so easy! All you need is:
Various magnets- different sizes and stregths
Metal objects such as screws, washers, keys, nuts and bolts, etc.
And a box or tray to place them on. (I like using a metal tray so that they can build with the magnets on the tray!)
Colored Water Transfer
Water is fun to play with any time when you are a toddler- but it’s even more fun when it’s in different colors!
Using small dropper bottles adds a new interest level and it’s great for fine motor skill development.
All you need is dropper bottles, small bowls, water, and food coloring!
It’s a great way to explore color mixing and how the primary colors mix to make new colors!
Color a Box
Toddlers love to color but they are not always reliable about WHERE they color. This is why I love large boxes!
Find a large cardboard box- big enough for your child to sit inside of with room to spare. If you have an appliance box even better!
Give them their crayons or markers and let them color! Anywhere on the box. If you have a young toddler, he will most likely be stuck in the box so you won’t have to worry about coloring on walls or furniture.
Then turn the box into a cave, or house, or fort!
Paint with Water
Painting with water may seem boring, but it’s really not.
Painting with water is fun because- it’s like magic! You paint and as the water dries your drawing goes away.
It’s great for parents because water won’t stain or hurt anything!
Threading is a great skill for toddlers, and using colorful cereal makes is so much more fun and interesting. You can use pipe cleaners and turn your threaded cereal into bracelets!
Done threading? Here are more Fruit Loop Activities to do with your toddler!
Arts and Crafts
Art projects and crafts are the perfect indoor toddler activity for yucky rainy days! There are countless projects you can to with you toddler and they will love the process and showing off the finished product!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
If you are looking for more toddler activities, check out these 11 Free or Frugal Sensory Activities for Toddlers