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The best rainy day activities for children

Our favourite ways to keep kids entertained during the winter months

four children outdoors in wet weather clothing
Esther Coombes
Esther CoombesContent Lead
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With the country currently battling Storm Ciaran, you may be on the hunt for some easy, low cost activities to keep children entertained on rainy days. Whether it's an arts and crafts or cookery day at home or some entertainment in the comfort of an indoor venue, we've rounded up some innovative activities to keep kids of all ages occupied throughout the colder months...

Take to the ice

Enjoy some festive fun whatever the weather at an indoor ice rink. If your children are still mastering their moves, the majestic Alexandra Palace in North London offers one week fast track courses for 5-15 year olds as well as an Ice Tots drop in for toddlers on Thursdays, or book your own tickets for spectators and skaters and add a seal, penguin or snowman skate aid to help them learn. Meanwhile, you can combine ice skating with bowling under one roof at Queens London, or try one of Planet Ice's 14 locations across the UK which also offer lessons, half term discos and Show Skate classes.

The Ice Rink at Ally Pally© Instagram
The Ice Rink at Ally Pally

Play scientist

Children will love the novelty of an at-home science experiment. The Rain Cloud in a Jar often proves a hit: simply fill cold water 3/4 of the way up in a jam jar, then add shaving cream to the top slowly to monitor it as it expands. Add a few drops of blue food colouring which will move through the foam to look like rain falling from a cloud. They could also make a DIY xylophone by filling old milk bottles up with differing amounts of water, grow an avocado plant from seed or plant, or grow their own grass or watercress head.

Be a star baker

Expand their culinary skills by making pizza dough and adding your own fresh toppings in the shape of a face (think ham, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, peppers and cheese), or by baking and icing cakes such as these fun Solar System themed ones by Dr Oetker. You could also challenge kids to a Mini Masterchef competition as they design their own three course menu to cook and then be scored by siblings or parents, to a budget set by you.

Enrich their screen time

It can be hard to separate kids from their devices, so if you're allocating them some downtime during a rainy day at home, try an app or game with an educational or creative element. My Talking Angela 2 is the free virtual pet game where players can customise the lovable cat's hair, makeup and fashion choices whilst scheduling activities for her life in the big city, from dancing and baking to martial arts.

Unleash their creativity as they design their own Talking Angela cat© My Talking Angela 2
Unleash their creativity as they customise their own Talking Angela cat

Sample their stand up

Budding comedians can write then perform their own sketch show for you and the rest of the family, creating paper tickets and making snacks for the interval along the way. Try this children's book to get them inspired. 

Get clued up

Escape Rooms have seen a rise in popularity, but they're not just for hen parties or work dos. ClueQuest offers access to two of its themed rooms in Islington, London for age 9 and above, and has 10 games available to buy and play at home for families of all ages. Simply choose your favourite, download and print the Mission Files (or order the Print and Post version to have the pack delivered to your door) then solve the puzzles from the comfort of your living room.

Try solving puzzles from ClueQuest's at-home packs© Instagram
Try solving puzzles from ClueQuest's at-home packs

Be the driving force

With locations in Wandsworth, Liverpool and Castleford, Gravity Max offers indoor electric go-karting with vibrant neon tracks as you speed down hills and past corners. A great activity for siblings or parents to share, those under the age of 10 can ride a dual kart alongside their co-driver aged 12 and over, or navigate their own junior kart if aged 8 and above.

Go for a spin at Gravity Max© Instagram
Go for a spin at Gravity Max

Tell Tales

Visit your local library or bookshop to discover new books together. Or join a Storytelling Session at Waterstones branches across the country, where authors and staff will read their favourite stories at themed and interactive sessions, which are free with no need to book.

Enjoy storytime together with Waterstones' free events© Waterstones
Enjoy storytime together at Waterstones' free events

Have designs on a new room

Encourage little ones to turn interior designer, as you redecorate their bedroom together. They could paint a mural with the help of masking tape and sample paint pots from a DIY store, add their own illustrations to a bookshelf or make a mirror using shells found on the beach and a glue gun.

Add a cheery rainbow to your child's bedroom wall© Photowall
Add a cheery rainbow to your child's bedroom wall

Strike a pose

Kids can get creative on their own photoshoot at The O2's Selfie Factory. The UK's first interactive Instagram-inspired funhouse, they'll find striking checkerboard backdrops, pop art furniture and fun props amongst the 13 themed rooms to bring their modelling – or photographer – dreams alive. 

Strike a pose on a mock tube carriage at London's Selfie Factory© Instagram
Strike a pose on a mock tube carriage at London's Selfie Factory

Make history

Encourage children to create their own scrapbook, making memories of a cherished Christmas or family holiday with Polaroids and drawings, or interview their grandparents about their own childhoods then record it all in a book with photos and sketches to match.

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