17 Fun Things to Do on a Rainy Day at Home

Stuck inside? Use the time to try something new.

hand holding red teapot and roses and teacups on a green background
Photo: Getty Images

Stormy weather doesn't have to stop the fun. Even if your outdoor plans have been canceled, you can still find plenty of fun rainy day activities to do at home.

Keep this list of what to do on a rainy day in your pocket for the next drizzly (or snowy) afternoon—it has plenty of inspiration, from relaxing self-care ideas to games to play with the kids.

01 of 17

Create an At-Home Restaurant Menu

young girl on the kitchen counter smiling while mom cooks
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Combine meal prep with a fun activity for the kids. Start by asking your kids to help you open up your very own at-home restaurant. Get them involved in planning what meals they want to eat for the days or week ahead and then have them come up with a creative name for the restaurant and each dish on the menu. Finally, put those ideas down on paper (or a chalkboard), adding fun designs or food illustrations. Bonus points if you can get the kids to help out with the kitchen operations, too.

02 of 17

Mend Old Clothes

woman's hands sewing a button on a blouse
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Do you have a stack of old clothes you've been meaning to mend but never have? A day spent indoors is the perfect opportunity to go through your closet and pull out all the items that need repairs. Grab your emergency sewing kit and start patching up those holes, snags, or frayed ends.

03 of 17

Have an Indoor Treasure Hunt

treasure hunt
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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.

04 of 17

Make Your Own Bubble Bath

Bubble Bath Rainy Day At Home

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? Apple cider vinegar.)

05 of 17

Create a Family Recipe Book

What to Do on a Rainy Day: Make a Family Recipe Book
Christopher Baker

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
  • Adhesive
  • Photo corners
  • Ruler
  • Shimmery alphabet stickers (available at crafts stores)
  • Ribbon

What to Do

  1. Color copy all recipe cards, photos, and labels if you want to preserve the originals or make more than one gift book.
  2. Compile the memorabilia by time period, holiday, or any other theme that inspires you.
  3. Affix the items horizontally in the journal. Use photo corners for pictures and recipe cards and adhesive for labels and clippings.
  4. Stick a title on the front of the journal with alphabet stickers (using a ruler helps), and finish off with a ribbon.
06 of 17

Camp in the Great Indoors

Two Kids indoor camping in a tent
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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 plenty of airbeds, pillows, and sleeping bags, then follow through with an indoor picnic to be eaten "under canvas." (Don't forget the indoor s'mores!)

07 of 17

Invent a (No-Batteries) Game

Indoor Party Games

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.

08 of 17

Deep Condition Your Hair

Woman washing her hair
Peter LaMastro

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.

09 of 17

Bake Up Some Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft With Crisp Edges
Andrew McCaul/Getty Images

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 20 additional classic cookie recipes to choose from.

10 of 17

Organize Your Own Film Festival

Fun Things to Do Inside: Film Festival
Kathryn Barnard

One of the most fun things to do inside is to queue up some classics, old (Singin' in the Rain) and new (Peter Rabbit 2). Let the kids add a few favorites—even mix in a few episodes of your latest binge—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).

11 of 17

Hold a Mini-Marshmallow Popping Contest

Fun Things To Do Inside on Rainy Days: Mini Marshmallow Popper
Jim Cooper

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

  • scissors
  • utility knife
  • markers
  • ruler
  • rubber bands
  • glue
  • 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

  1. Knot the end of the balloon, then snip off ½ inch from the top.
  2. Stretch the balloon over the cut-off 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.)
  3. 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.
12 of 17

Host a "Tea" Party

Things to Do Indoors With Kids: Throw a Tea Party
Burcu Avsar

One of the most classic things to do on a rainy day at home 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.

13 of 17

Pamper Yourself With a Skin-Softening Salve

Fun Rainy Day Activities: Pamper Yourself
Ericka McConnell

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 and ginger. 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."

14 of 17

Map Out a City on Paper

Kids Drawing Play City on a Rainy Day
Christopher Hopefitch/Getty Images

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.

15 of 17

Brush up on Your Mixology

wine spritzers with fruit garnish
Getty Images

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 or more of these classic cocktail recipes.

16 of 17

Plan a Vacation! For Real!

Pushpins in a map
Tjanze/Getty Images

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 U.S., 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.

If you'd rather make your time indoors feel more like a staycation, here are eight ideas to transform your home.

17 of 17

Host a Video Game Tournament

Father and Son Playing Video Games on a Rainy Day
Tom Werner/Getty Images

Get out the gaming system, pick a few favorite games, (go with the classics like PAC-MAN, or opt for some new ones!), and play to win.

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