Rainy days can be great for play, whether you are outside splashing about in puddles or staying cosily inside.

Playing outside in the rain

Your child can play outside for longer if they have wellies and waterproof jackets or umbrellas. Some of the things they can explore outside on a rainy day are:

  • puddles
  • drips
  • streams
  • rainbows
  • reflections.

Finding dry places to play outside

It can feel quite special to be outside in a dry place when it’s raining – for example, in the shelter of a tree or a porch, under a bridge or even at a bus shelter. In places like this, your child can enjoy feeling close to the weather and hearing the sounds of drips and splashes.

Finding about wet things outside

Rainy days are the perfect opportunity for your child to discover things like:

  • how water makes puddles
  • how obstacles like stones change the flow of water
  • how to get across puddles and little streams of water without your feet getting wet.

Playing inside on a rainy day

Young children in particular are fascinated by the sight and sound of rain when they are watching it through a window.

Your child might be able to see things like:

  • drips running down the window
  • containers like jam jars filling up with water
  • people rushing by holding umbrellas
  • cars driving through big puddles.

Making rainy day art

A rainy day is a great time for your child to do creative things. You could suggest:

  • drawing rainy day pictures
  • making splashes of watery paint on a big sheet of paper and turning them into funny creatures and characters
  • blowing paint onto a big sheet of paper through a straw to make wiggly patterns
  • tearing up pieces of coloured paper to make umbrella or raindrop-shaped patterns.

Rainy day imaginative and creative play

It’s great to have ideas of things you can do together, but even when you’re stuck inside for a whole day, you don’t have to entertain your child all the time. It’s good for your child to come up with their own ideas of things to do.

Your child may start off by feeling bored. They may want your attention or a screen, but if you gently let them know that this is a chance for them to find something else to do for a while, they probably will. One way to help is to have a supply of simple household play materials they can play with – like cushions and pillows to make dens, old clothes for dressing up, art materials or books.

Doing nothing much sometimes – for example, looking out of the window or daydreaming – is an okay way for your child to spend time, too.

For other ideas of things your child can play inside, take a look at our play ideas and dens pages.