Top 21 rainy day activities for kids

If Dr Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat is anything to go by, then wet weather days bring out a lot of mischief. When the whole family is cooped up indoors, it is better to have an action plan! Whether you make your own fun at home or brave an outing, here are our top 21 rainy day activities for kids.

Keep an eye out – our guide to rainy day activities with teens is out shortly!

Staying In

Have a movie day

There’s something special about cosying up on the couch to the pitter patter of rain. Pick your favourite family flick, picnic on some popcorn and enjoy the treat of watching a movie in daylight.

Read more: best activities to keep the kids entertained at home

Building a pillow fort

An old favourite, but for good reason! Pick your location – living room, bedroom, kitchen – and get building! You’ll need old cardboard boxes, couches, sheets and pillows. Bonus points for fairy lights and more pillow fort décor.

Learn some origami

A quick Google search will turn up hundreds of origami designs, from the simple to the intricate. Challenge yourself to make a paper crane, or a chatterbox. If it turns into a paper plane flying competition, even better!

Tokyo with kids
Origami is a great activity to do with kids. Picture: Shutterstock

Make a batch of playdough

Flour, salt, cream of tartar, water, oil and food colouring. That’s all you need to make your own playdough! Kitchen implements, from cookie cutters to forks, make great construction tools.

Start your own worm farm

Adopt some wriggly pets and do your bit to reduce your household waste. Pop your worm farm in a shady spot and feed the little critters your food scraps. Click here to learn more about making a worm farm.

Cook pizza from scratch

Cooking together is a lovely way to spend time as a family. Try getting everyone in on the act and make pizza from go to woah. Start with the dough, then everyone can choose their own favourite toppings.

Get those hands dirty! Enjoy time in the kitchen together. Credit: Shutterstock

Make a Stop-Motion film

Gone are the days of making a stick figure animation in the corner of a notebook. Use your homemade playdough or some LEGO figurines to produce an action blockbuster – simply by taking a series of photos and stringing them together. Try the StopMotion app.

Erupt a volcano

The ultimate science experiment… what happens when you mix red food colouring, bicarbonate soda and vinegar? Your very own Mount Vesuvius!

Get your garden gumboots on

The best of all rainy day activities for kids is surely splashing in puddles. You don’t have to stray far. Head out with your gumboots into your back yard.

Heading Out

Go to a library

Your local library will do. In fact, it probably already runs great kids’ programs and reading times for pre-schoolers. If you’re looking for something fancier, try your state library. The State Libraries of South Australia, Victoria and NSW have impressive reading rooms and often host art or history exhibitions.

Swim at an indoor aquatic centre

During those big, summer downpours when everything gets hot and sweaty, splashing at the local pool is one of our favourite rainy day activities for kids. Adelaide Aquatic Centre and Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre are two of our top indoor picks. They have the added bonus of excellent accessible facilities and pool hoists.

With slides, pools, and a huge water adventure playground, Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre is the perfect place to cool off! Credit: Family Travel

Make some art

Get your hands dirty at a pottery wheel or get crafty with some scissors and glue. Check out hands-on workshops or drop-in activities at local art centres such as Bendigo Pottery. Or go straight for the big hitters, such as the Kids and Family Programs at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Let loose with LEGO

Sure, building LEGO cities seems like a rainy day activity you’d do at home. Why not venture out to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Melbourne? Or arrange a school holiday workshop with Bricks 4 Kidz?

Bowl them over

Go all-out retro and head out for a game or two of ten-pin bowling. The ultimate rainy day activity, it can be paired with arcade games or laser tag. Strike Bowling is a popular chain found around Australia.

Putt it here

Indoor mini golf is a blast. Add the glow in the dark factor, and you’re guaranteed some good family fun. Holey Moley operates in most capital cities. You can also try Jungle Golf Glow in the Dark in Griffith, ACT. Or go virtual and enjoy the 3D mini golf and VR at Fremantle’s Glowing Rooms.

Tour historic sites

You might need a raincoat for the outdoor bits, but otherwise a visit to colonial ruins or wartime architecture is perfect in wet weather. Hobart has plenty to offer up, including the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site and Port Arthur Historic Site. At the opposite end of the country, Darwin still has oil storage tunnels left over from WWII.

Port Arthur
Port Arthur in Tasmania. Picture: Shutterstock

Or head to a museum

Whether it covers natural history… The Melbourne Museum is famously child-oriented, and Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum is known for being hands-on. Go science mad and experimental at Canberra’s Questacon or watch turtles hatch at the Queensland Museum.

Click here to read about top venues offering Social Stories for kids with sensory needs.

Cave in to a cave tour

Nature’s own shelter will keep you dry and warm. You’ll also learn a lot about geology and wildlife! Jump on a glow worm cave tour in Mount Tambourine, Queensland. Or delve into the Jenolan Caves in the NSW Blue Mountains or Buchan Caves in Victoria. A bit further afield, check out the Tunnel Creek caves along the Gibb River Road.

Cool dark caverns will be welcome relief from high temperatures. Credit: Louise Ball

Bounce back

You won’t be able to wipe the smile off your faces at a trampolining centre. Flip Out has destinations all around the country, as does Bounce Back.

Read more: top 5 trampolining venues in Sydney.

All aboard a heritage train

Curl through misty mountains on a scenic ride aboard a heritage steam train. The Puffing Billy chuffs through the Dandenong Ranges, just east of Melbourne, for a 1.5-hour-long journey through lush greenery. In Queensland, jump on the Kuranda Scenic Railway or Mary Valley Rattler in Gympie.

Keep your eyes peeled for weird and wonderful marine life. Credit: Family Travel

Dive under the sea at an aquarium

Zoos might be a no-go as they are more exposed to the elements, but aquariums are largely indoors. SEA LIFE Aquariums have venues in Sydney, Melbourne and the Sunshine Coast.

Are you a family of teens? You can also read our rainy day activities for teens guide soon.

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