When you're stuck at home with the kids on a rainy day, the hours can seem to drag. What you need is a list of the best rainy day activities that don't require plastics, disposable items, or oil-based materials — so we've put together a list of fun, environmentally kind indoor things to do with your little ones.
Many of these environmentally kind activities can be done with little to no prep. So, are you ready to nix the rainy day boredom? Keep your kids entertained and learning with these engaging environmentally friendly crafts:
1. Create a Garden in a Jar
While gardening in the rain may not be ideal, you can still work on an indoor garden.
Creating a garden in a jar is a fun activity that brings greenery into your home. Perfect for your child's bedside table or even your dining room table, terrariums are beautiful. All you need are a few simple supplies that you may already have at home.
- A jar (a mason jar works!)
- Pebbles or stones
- Peat moss
- Potting soil
- Moss, succulents, ferns, etc.
Prepare your jar by putting the items in it in order: pebbles, peat moss, and about an inch of soil. Then, add decorations such as pretty stones, sticks, or even painted rocks (see activity 3). Finally, add your plants and put the lid on the jar. For best results, place the jar in a place where it will get sun for a few hours each day. To maintain your jar garden, simply spray it with water every few weeks, or when there is no condensation in the jar.
Need plants? You can responsibly harvest moss yourself, or pick up succulents and ferns from your local nursery.
2. Make a Recycled Sculpture
One of the best environmentally kind things to do on a rainy day is to use recycled materials. So, pull out the recycling bin, cardboard boxes, and craft supplies such as glue, paint, markers, yarn, and tape. Challenge your children to make a robot, piggy bank, animal, or even recreate a famous building with the recycled materials and craft supplies.
To get started, work with your child to make the basic structure. Then, encourage them to decorate by adding eyes, ears, and other details. Aluminum foil can add some interesting texture and shine, while yarn is great for creating hair. Buttons, fabrics, and bottle caps can also be fun details to add.
3. Paint Stones
As far as environmentally friendly crafts go, this is a fairly easy one to set up and enjoy. For this craft, you’ll need smooth river stones and environmentally kind acrylic paints. Before you get started, be sure to put out some newspaper down to avoid making too much of a mess.
To get stones, you can collect them on walks, in your own yard or garden, or purchase them in a local landscaping shop.
Here are some ideas for painting stones:
- Paint names or words on the stones
- Make story rocks by painting animals to act as characters
- Make weather-themed rocks (sun, moon, rainbow, clouds, etc.)
- Make tic-tac-toe pieces. You can make the board out of recycled cardboard or wood.
Once your stones are dry, use them as paperweights, magnets, garden decorations, or make up stories using them as visuals.
4. Make a Fort
If your children are antsy and need fun things to do when it’s raining, you can’t go wrong with building a fort. Some good supplies for building a fort include clothespins, string, blankets, chairs, and pillows. Start by hanging a string between two dining room chairs. Then, hang blankets over the string, using clothespins to hold them in place. Secure the blankets on the floor with pillows, clothespins, or even stacks of books. Once you’ve built a fort, you can read books, tell stories, or even enjoy a snack inside it.
Alternatively, make the fort part of a game that takes children throughout the house. It’s easy for children to get cabin fever on rainy days. You might play “Going on a Bear Hunt” and have the fort serve as the bear’s cave at the end of the story! Or pretend you’re on a long journey in the wilderness and end your adventure in the fort.
5. Paint with Rain
Take advantage of the rainy day by using it in your crafting. This activity is perfect for toddlers, as the focus is mostly on the process of creating the art.
All you need for this activity is thick watercolor paper and water-soluble paints or markers. If you’re looking for an environmentally kind paint option, try this Eco Kids finger paint.
Give your child the chance to draw or paint all over the paper. Even scribbles will do! Once your child is finished, put the paper on a tray and set it outside in the rain. You can let it out for as long as you’d like. However, the longer the artwork is in the rain, the more the colors will blend and they may even become washed out.
For more details on this activity, check out this PickleBums post.
6. Make Newspaper Envelopes
Need even more things to do inside? Try this fun newspaper envelope craft that uses recycled materials and craft items you have around the house.
If your child is too young to do the folding part of the craft, you can do that part ahead of time and let your child decorate the envelopes. For decorating, use scraps of construction paper, markers, stamps, stencils, and crayons. Even toddlers often really enjoy using glue.
Pro Tip: Cut out different shapes using construction paper. Then, squirt out some glue (old lids are perfect for this) and let your toddler use their finger to apply glue to the construction paper and paste the shapes onto the envelope. Alternatively, give your toddler a Q-tip for applying the glue.
For an extension on this activity, have your child draw a picture or make a card to go in the envelope. Then, send the letter to a family member or friend.
7. Make Your Own Playdough
Homemade playdough skips factories, artificial dyes, and plastic tubs, making it one of the best environmentally kind activities to enjoy on rainy days.
First, mix 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, and 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar together in a pot. Then, pour in 1.5 cups of boiling water and 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook over medium heat while stirring constantly until the playdough is thick. Add in environmentally responsible food coloring if desired. Another nice touch can be to add a few drops of essential oil such as mint, lavender, or lemon for scent.
Once the playdough is made, pull out some cookie cutters and have fun playing together!
With these 7 things to do on a rainy day in your back pocket, you can say goodbye to whining and boredom. Instead, you'll be wishing for even more rainy days ahead!