Staying inside with a busy toddler on a rainy day can be, well, exhausting. I think every mom has had those days where she is tired of trying to engage her little ones. My daughter has loads of energy and it helps if we are able to go out and expend some of that energy on outdoor activities. On rainy days, we can get antsy and impatient. Here are some easy toddler rainy day activities (easy to set up, not necessarily clear and neat!)
This is fun and easy to set up. Buy some cheap rice and divide into portions (depending on how many different colors you wish to have), add some paint and mix. Here’s a very simple recipe. My daughter loves to play with this rice and it keeps her engaged. It can be really messy (at least when she plays with it). If you have a very large plastic container, you can have her keep the rice inside while playing. I remember that when I was little my mom used to let my brother and I play with rice, although it was just plain white. We would use little cars and people in it and have loads of fun for hours.
There are so many options for an indoor art day. Paints, crayons, colored pencils, glitter glue, construction paper, pipe cleaners, etc.
My daughter especially loves painting. (I keep the paints out of reach to avoid large messes.) I have a big roll of butcher paper that I can cut pieces from and sometimes we paint with our fingers and sometimes with brushes.
I keep a box of 8 ½ x 11 printer paper in a spot where she can reach it near her crayons and colored pencils so she can color whenever she wants.
This is by far my daughter’s favorite activity. No matter what I’m doing she usually wants to help. I started with having her join me in the kitchen for meal prep. She loved watching me and I began by giving her simple things to help with (stirring, adding ingredients to bowls, taste-testing).
She also loves to help sewing (she uses her scissors to cut felt or paper or string). This can get messy, but I just have her stay in one spot so it’s easy to sweep up.
I let her press buttons on the printer if I need to use it.
I let her use the dustpan to sweep when I need it (I usually help a teeny bit).
Toddlers are capable of doing and helping with quite a bit. Yes, they will not do it “perfectly”, but there are a lot of opportunities for them to help as they can. This keeps them busy and gives them opportunities to learn and grow. She would happily follow me around and help all day long. I just try to make sure that I can give her something simple to do so she is included in my “grown-up” activity.
Play dough or Moon dough
I keep the play dough out of reach because she’s learning how to clean up after herself this way I can supervise the mess (to some extent). We have store-bought play dough, but here is a simple play dough recipe. Moon dough is another favorite. This one is very messy but she really enjoys playing with it. Here’s a simple moon dough recipe. I usually cut this one down to 1/8 of the recipe for a small amount. This provides more than enough for my daughter to have fun with. We play on our covered back porch or inside in a plastic container.
Rotating Toy Boxes
I have 2-3 smaller toy boxes in the storage closet with toys that I don’t keep out all the time. I bring them out on boring days or when she specifically asks for them. Since she doesn’t play with these often, the toys inside can hold her attention for quite some time. When I made the toy boxes, my goal was to rotate her toys regularly, but honestly, I’ve just kept those boxes in the closet and brought them out occasionally. It serves the same effect – she is excited to see the “new” toys and plays with them for a long time.
Rainy days don’t have to be boring or dreary. These easy toddlers rainy day activities can help you on days when you don’t know what to do with your busy little one. If you need some ideas of items to put in your rotating toy boxes check out my post about our favorite, inexpensive toddler toys. What are some of your favorite toddler rainy day activities?