Fun Game Ideas for Rainy Day Play

Wet weather day? Head outside anyway!

kids playing in the rain

Tim Hall / Digital Vision / Getty Images

For most families, a rainy day means being cooped up inside, quiet activities like watching movies, playing video games, making puzzles, or reading a book. But just because it's wet outside doesn't mean you have to spend your day indoors. With some creativity, you can turn a little rain into a lot of fun.

Staying Active on Rainy Days

Study after study has shown that kids do not get enough physical activity. A preschooler (a child between ages 3 and 5) needs to move around throughout the day to help develop growth, motor function, and cognitive skills. On a sunny day, it's easy to head outside for some active fun, but what about when the weather isn't so great?

Fun Rainy Day Games and Outdoor Activities

While you can certainly find plenty of games for inside play, if it's just raining, consider putting on your rain boots and raincoat and heading outside anyway. You can make the most out of the wet weather with these rainy day games that'll keep your preschooler—and you—happy, active, and engaged.

Focus on Physical Sensations

Make your rainy day all about sensory exploration. Catch raindrops on your tongue, hands, and feet. Blow bubbles and see who ho can make the biggest one? Or choose a visual activity, and bring out some washable paints and paper and let the rain make a masterpiece.

Choose Educational Activities

A rainy day is a great time to teach your kids about science and nature. Take a look at the earth: the dirt, the sand, the grass. How does the rain change these things? Go for a walk in your neighborhood and ask your child to tell you about how the rain makes things look different. You can also work in a math lesson by putting out a cup and measuring the rainfall. Let everyone guess how much they think will be in the cup by the time the rain stops.

A rainy day is also perfect for looking for worms as they move up to the surface of the earth. See how many you and your child can find. Look for animal tracks in the mud. Try to guess which animal made the tracks. Follow the rain when it falls on the ground. Where does it flow to? Down the street? To a drain? If there are puddles, toss rocks into them. Who can make the biggest ripple? What size rock makes the loudest sound? And don't forget to look for rainbows once the storm passes.

Don't Be Afraid to Get Silly

Kids love to make a mess and what better way to make a mess than by playing in the mud. Make mud pies or sandcastles, depending on your soil type. If you don't mind tearing up your yard a little, you can even let your preschooler slide in the wet grass. For those feeling adventurous set up a wet-weather obstacle course. (Be careful, it will be slippery!) Or try playing some of your preschooler's favorite sports. How does the rain change how the ball moves?

You can also embrace the wetness by turning on your sprinklers or setting up your kiddie pools to play in. If it's warm enough, go outside in your bathing suits and bring some bathtub crayons with you. Who can draw the silliest things on themselves? Listen to the rhythm that the rain makes and have a dance contest. Give a prize to the person who comes up with the silliest rain dance. And don't just jump in the puddles; skip, hop, run, gallop, or walk through them. Who can make the biggest splash?

Think of the silliest thing you can do and just go for it. If it's raining really hard, wash your hair. (This one is sure to make your preschooler laugh hard.) Pretend to be a wet-weather animal like a frog, duck, or fish. Or you can take some inspiration from Gene Kelly and sing in the rain. Pick songs that mention rain, from "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," "Rain, Rain Go Away," and "Umbrella."

Precautions for Playing Rainy Day Games

While you won't melt away in the rain, you do want to take precautions against hypothermia as you will cool down significantly if your clothes get wet, especially if there's wind. Be aware of signs of shivering, clumsiness, and confusion, and limit your time outside in wet clothes. Once inside, change into dry clothes and warm up.

Also, be alert to reduced visibility for traffic and take precautions, including wearing reflective clothing or blinking lights when you're walking or biking outside in the rain.

3 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Katzmarzyk PT, Denstel KD, Beals K, et al. Results From the United States of America's 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. J Phys Act Health. 2016;13(11 Suppl 2):S307-S313. doi:10.1123/jpah.2016-0321

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How much physical activity do children need?

  3. Gao Z, Chen S, Sun H, Wen X, Xiang P. Physical Activity in Children’s Health and CognitionBiomed Res Int. 2018;2018:1-4. doi:10.1155/2018/8542403

Additional Reading

By Amanda Rock
Amanda Rock, mom of three, has spent more than a decade of her professional career writing and editing for parents and children.