14 Fun Things to Do on a Rainy Day
When the forecast is grim, whether it’s thunderstorms or a blizzard, cabin fever can set in fast. You can curl up with a great book or binge-watch an entire season of something, but, let’s face it, sometimes you want different, fun things to do at home. And if you have kids, you’re going to need a loooong menu of options.
These ideas are good for families, groups of friends or roommates, or kids on their own (hallelujah!). There are relaxing activities—because when do you ever get the time to relax?—plus delicious ideas for eating and drinking. We’ve got games that require nothing more than your imagination. And for parents: entertaining projects for the kids that don’t involve video games (although one does involve mini marshmallows).
So, forget about the soccer tournament that’s going to have to be rescheduled, ignore the yard work you were planning to do, put on your coziest pajamas, and pick one of these things to do at home. Embrace the day as time to recharge and reconnect with people you love. And don’t worry. The sun will (probably) come out tomorrow.
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Have an Indoor Treasure Hunt
Children in the house? Keep their rainy day lively with a treasure hunt. Make one set of clues for every player (try rhyming the clues for fun), with each clue leading to the next one and, finally, to the treasure. Seal them in envelopes marked with a clue number (i.e., 2/7, or “two of seven”); this will help the treasure hunters keep track. Whoever solves the clues first and finds the treasure—a small toy, an IOU for a movie, maybe a cache of coins (regular or chocolate)—is the winner. Or have your kids play as a team to solve the clues and uncover the treasure together.
Make Your Own Bubble Bath
One of the best rainy day activities for adults is to slip into a soothing bath laced with your own moisturizing soap blend. In a clean container, mix together ½ cup mild liquid hand or body soap, 1 tablespoon sugar or honey, and 1 egg white. Pour the entire mixture under the running water as you draw your bath. Honey is a natural humectant, which will attract and retain moisture in your skin. The egg white helps create stronger, longer-lasting bubbles, for a nice, fluffy bath. For extra-dry skin, consider adding a tablespoon of light oil, such as almond or light sesame. (Another surprising bath booster? Vinegar.)
What to Do on a Rainy Day: Create a Family Recipe Book
If you've got some keen little chefs on your hands and are wondering what to do on a rainy day, the perfect activity might just be to make a family recipe book. Here are the details:
What You Need
- Unlined journal
- Recipe cards (the more sauce-splattered, the better)
- Wine or Champagne labels
- Photos from family meals
- Photo corners
- Shimmery alphabet stickers (available at crafts stores)
What to Do
- Color-copy all recipe cards, photos, and labels if you want to preserve the originals or make more than one gift book.
- Compile the memorabilia by time period, holiday, or any other theme that inspires you.
- Affix the items horizontally in the journal. Use photo corners for pictures and recipe cards and adhesive for labels and clippings.
- Stick a title on the front of the journal with alphabet stickers (using a ruler helps), and finish off with a ribbon.
Camp in the Great Indoors
While camping may not be your first thought when you think of things to do inside, who says tents have to stay outside? If you have a pop-up or small dome tent, it’s easy to set up camp for your kids indoors. If not, you can create tents by draping sheets over the couch. Make them comfy with airbeds, pillows, and sleeping bags, then follow through with an indoor picnic to be eaten “under canvas.”
Invent a (No-Batteries) Game
Anne Libera, artistic associate at the Second City Training Center, recommends the following play-anywhere, no-props-needed, rainy day activities.
One-word story: Starting with “Once upon a time,” go around the room and have each person add a single word to the story. Tip: Decide on a genre in advance―fairy tale, ghost story, etc.―and go from there.
Improvised poetry: One person says a line of poetry, and the next must say a line that rhymes with it, and so on. Let kids say the first line; it’s up to you to find the rhyme.
Yes, and…monster! Invent an imaginary monster, with each person adding a new characteristic to the first person’s monster description. Every new idea has to start with an enthusiastic, “Yes, and…” and build on what has already been described.
Deep-Condition Your Hair
What better time than when you're stuck inside on a rainy day to pamper yourself a little? You’ve been wanting to give your hair a deep treatment but just haven’t been able to get to the drugstore or salon. Walk over to the fridge to find your solution: mayonnaise. Starting at the scalp, coat strands with ½ cup mayo. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. (For more at-home how-tos, see DIY Beauty Treatments and Fashion Fixes.)
Bake Up Some Chocolate-Chip Cookies
Nothing cures rainy day blues like a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies. Dunk them in milk or eat ’em (practically) right out of the oven—a surefire way to happily weather the storm. Now, if you and your family fancy other varieties, that’s no problem: We have 19 additional classic cookie recipes to choose from.
Organize Your Own Film Festival
One of the most fun things to do inside is to queue up some classics, old (Singin’ in the Rain) and new (Toy Story 3). Let the kids add a few favorites—even mix in last week’s American Idol on DVR for variety—and have a marathon screening. Keep a cozy throw on hand to snuggle under, a big bowl of popcorn to dip into, and settle in to enjoy the show(s).
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Hold a Mini-Marshmallow Popping Contest
Rainy weather might look a little bleak out your window, but the day can still feel sunny with fun things to do inside–like a mini-marshmallow popping contest!
What You Need
- utility knife
- rubber bands
- tape (transparent, duct, masking, or colored)
- gift wrap or decorative paper
- kraft paper
- balloon, uninflated (1 per popper)
- paper cup, bottom cut off (1 per popper)
- mini marshmallows
What to Do
- Knot the end of the balloon, then snip off ½ inch from the top.
- Stretch the balloon over the cutoff end of the cup so that the knot is in the center. (You’ll need to hold the balloon in place when you “pop,” or secure it with a rubber band for little hands.)
- Place a mini marshmallow into the cup so it fits snugly in the knotted center of the balloon. While aiming the cup away from you (and others), pull the knot back, release, and send the marshmallow soaring. See who can pop marshmallows the farthest or get the most into a bowl that’s a few feet away.
Host a “Tea” Party
One of the most classic things to do indoors with kids is to throw a tea party. Dress up in fancy duds, set the table with the good china, and put on your most formal manners (remember, extend your pinkie and sip politely). On the menu: tea (for you), juice or cocoa (for your children), and easy egg or chicken salad tea sandwiches in fun shapes, courtesy of cookie cutters. Let your kids decide the guest list—and which of their favorite dolls or furry friends are on it.
Pamper Yourself With a Skin-Softening Salve
Do a little spa therapy next time you need a soothing rainy day activity, and whip up a homemade scrub (this one comes courtesy of New York City makeup artist Gucci Westman): Grind about two cups of oatmeal, a natural skin soother; add a few handfuls each of coffee grinds and brown sugar. Then stir in three or four spoonfuls of skin-nourishing honey, ginger, and Noni extract (find it at health-food stores or even Noni products at Sephora). Before storing the batch in the refrigerator, Westman scoops out enough for a week into a jar, which she keeps in her shower, using it daily. “It smells lovely, and it’s gentle,” she says. “When my skin feels really dry, I add olive oil, too.”
Map Out a City on Paper
Got a roll of kids’ craft or butcher paper? Roll a long piece down a hallway, use painter’s tape (or heavy books) to secure the corners and edges, and let your kids draw a metropolis. Make roads, bridges, cul de sacs, and neighborhoods. Include lakes, playgrounds, schools, hospitals, shops, and restaurants. Or use Legos and blocks to construct buildings along the way. Kids can drive toy cars along the roads and make believe a day in the life of imaginary characters. Paper accidentally got ripped in one spot? Earthquake! And when the kids are finished playing this rainy day activity, crumple up the paper and toss it in the recycling bin.
Brush up on Your Mixology
Is your signature drink a glass of red wine? Are you intimidated by cocktail shakers and coupe glasses? Do you wonder what the heck bitters are? (We do too.) Use an afternoon inside to master the art of the classic drink—we’re talking "Mad Men" era cocktails here—that you can serve at your next dinner party or pour for yourself after a tough day at work. Once you know the basics, you can alter the recipes to suit your taste. So grab some snacks—no one needs to drink Manhattans or martinis on an empty stomach—read up on the difference between bourbon and rye, and try one one or more of these classic cocktail recipes.
Plan a Vacation! For Real!
Ok, you may be stuck at home hiding from the rain, but you can still dream of a warm, seaside resort or gorgeous mountain escape. Even better: You can make a game out of it for an exciting and fun rainy day activity. A rainy day activity, in fact, that’s a tiny bit educational (shhh, don’t tell the kids). Look at a map—of the world, if you can actually swing an international vacation, or of the US—and let kids pick a location they’d like to visit. Have them research how to get there, where to stay, and what to do. They can create a budget based on plane tickets or house rental costs, make a plan of what sites to hit or local foods to try, and then sell their ideas to the rest of the family. At the very least, everyone will learn a little bit about a new city or country. At best, you may figure out your next family adventure.
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