Rainy Day Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Rain, rain, for the love of all things holy, GO AWAY! Come again…never. How does never sound?

Are you all as sick of the dang rain as I am right now? The kids have been cooped up for far too long and I fear if we all get stuck with nothing to do on one more rainy day, they may find my secret stash of the good candy I hide in the back of the pantry. Oh the horror!

With the safety of my Godiva on the line, I’ve compiled a list of rainy day activities to keep them occupied and out of my hiding spots. Take a look::

Painters Tape Roadway for your Toddlers and Preschoolers

Rainy Day Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

If your kids are anything like mine, they have about 8,624 tiny toy cars and trucks laying around the house; kill an easy hour or two by grabbing some painters tape and creating a roadway. We often cart out boxes to act as attached garages, construction site play sets for the roads to wind around, and occasionally even a a toy farmhouse for the trucks to visit on their routes. Don’t have any painters tape? No problem. A similar effect can be achieved with string or strips of construction paper. Just get inventive and have some fun!

Sensory Table

Rainy Day Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

The best advice anyone gave me at the beginning of the pandemic last year was to invest in a sensory table. It has become my two older boys’ absolute favorite way to keep themselves busy, and thus the table itself worth its weight in gold. I change it up every few days, bouncing back and forth between kinetic sand, bags of dried beans, rice, and water beads {pro tip:: if you’re using water beads, make a towel barrier around the table to keep the escapees contained. Those little suckers bounce}. Sometimes I get creative and make little “scenes” inside the table, and other days I just throw in some trucks and large cooking utensils, but either way, my kids love it. And for those of you mamas who aren’t interested in buying a table itself, the same effect can be achieved with a few plastic bins set on the kitchen table. Furthermore, Michaels and small businesses like Young, Wild and Friedman sell preassembled kits ready for hours of fun!

Build Your Own Zoo

Have your kids round up all their toy animals and create a mini zoo of their own. You can use shoe boxes, toy blocks, or even popsicle sticks to separate the animals into different enclosures. And hey, if their zoo has a few dragons and dinosaurs alongside the monkeys and zebras, well, who’s to stop them? 

Create Your Own Binoculars 

Got a few empty toilet paper rolls hanging around? Grab some construction paper, string and glue and get to work on a pair of DIY binoculars. Simply glue two toilet paper rolls together, punch holes on either side for the string, and then go to town decorating them.

Bowling with Blocks

Find your toddlers and preschoolers are getting a little wound up and on the verge of destroying your house? Have them channel that energy into destroying block towers instead. Step 1 – round up all their building blocks and help them construct a few towers of varying heights and shapes. Step 2 – give them a ball and let them go crazy trying to knock them over. Guaranteed shrieks of joy and hilarity. Added bonus, they can pass a good chunk of time rebuilding the towers in different configurations. Don’t worry if you don’t have any wooden blocks laying around. Simply use plastic cups, Tupperware or empty snack containers instead. 

Toy Carwash 

Rainy Day Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

If your kids are anything like mine, they’ve left at least 15 different toys outside in the rain the last few weeks, which are likely now caked with mud. Grab a few of your toddlers and preschoolers’ toy cars or trucks, some bubble bath or dish soap and a water table {or large storage container} and have yourself a toy carwash. My kids loved dunking their trucks into the suds, and of course splashing each other as much as possible. And hey, if it gets those little hands clean as well, all the better. 

ABC Search 

We’ve spent a lot of time practicing the ABCs with our two and four-year-old lately, and are always looking for new ways to keep things interesting. One fun game that both keeps toddlers and preschoolers occupied and counts as an educational activity is an alphabet search around the house. Go through each letter of the alphabet one by one and have the kids try to find an object corresponding with that letter. My boys think it’s hilarious to race around the house grabbing bananas for “B” or digging out an old yo-yo for “Y”. For our two-year-old I’ve found that it helps if he has the letter to look at, so grab some flashcards, magnetic letters, or simply draw out the alphabet on different pieces of construction paper before you get started. 

Treasure Hunt 

Let me just say, of all the rainy day activities, this one has been a household favorite since I was a child, and boy ever do my kids love it as well. Whenever they’re feeling a little stir crazy I grab some sticky notes and write out a bunch of clues, each one leading to the next. {For example, where does Mommy take her clothes when they need to be washed? Where does Daddy cook toast?} We run around the house finding all the clues, and the kids always know there will be some small surprise or treat at the end for incentive. 

Build a Spaceship 

Anyone else’s kids obsessed with Buzz Lightyear or outer space? One of the best rainy day activities I ever came across on Pinterest was to make a spaceship out of an old box. We grabbed the biggest one we could find, some duct tape and bunch of paint, and voila, ready for blastoff. My boys had the best time playing in their shuttle, planning missions to the Moon and visiting the “alie-wins”. 

Obstacle Course 

When my older two boys start trying to wrestle with one another and nearly take out my favorite planters, I know it’s time to do a high energy activity to get out their excess energy. That’s when I go around the house collecting empty laundry baskets, hula hoops, couch cushions, pool noodles, play tunnels, chairs, and anything else that looks interesting. Lay all the items out and create a fun and active obstacle course. Challenge your kids to jump from one item to the other, crawl under tables, and follow the course from room to room. It gets the wiggles out and makes for a fun afternoon of family frivolity. 

Blanket Fort

When all else fails, blanket forts. Seriously, if I ever need just ten minutes of peace and quiet, I haul out a bunch of sheets, blankets and pillows and construct a quick {or okay, sometimes slightly more elaborate} blanket fort. My kids will play quietly inside while I get ten minutes to myself to unload the dishwasher, make lunch, or just drink a cup of coffee and regain a shred of my sanity. 

I hope your toddlers and preschoolers enjoy these rainy day activities as much as mine do and it makes the rainy days pass just a little faster. And to all the mamas out there trying to keep their kids entertained during this long, hot summer, may the odds be ever in your favor. 


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Lauren M
Lauren M. is a native Houstonian who now lives one street over from the house where she grew up in Sugar Land. After a brief fling with Austin where she received her Bachelors Degree in English Lit from Southwestern University, she returned home to attempt to write the great American novel {or, you know, the next Harry Potter series}. A short while later a friend recruited her for a kickball league where she met a tall, handsome engineer who quite literally swept her off her feet. After tying the knot in 2014, they soon welcomed their first son Raleigh {October 2015}, and little brothers Renner {January 2018} and Rafe {September 2021}. When not chasing around her three crazy Texas tornados and reveling in the boy mom life, Lauren has discovered a newfound passion for photography and Photoshop, creating whimsical family portraits at @andwhetherpigshavewings on Instagram. You can also find her at @polyjuiceandpixiedust .


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