Rainy Day Games

baby looking out a rainy window

It’s safe to say that all of Charlotte has been feeling the wrath of Mother Nature over the past 12-18 months, but those of us with small humans in the house have had it especially bad.  It’s not easy getting in and out of the car with kids in the rain, and it makes one more trip to the aquarium, science center, or play place even more daunting.  We’ve also long since exhausted our usual in-house activities – baking enough cookies to put the Keebler elves out of business, while coloring and painting enough to give Crayola a stock market boost.  We’re going stir crazy, to say the least, and we all need some fresh ideas to avoid a mutiny!  

Below are three activities that hopefully fit the bill. What I love about them is that they use common, inexpensive household items; require very little prep; and can be played by one or many children of various skill levels.  I’ve also provided some suggested variations to the standard game, but after playing them yourself, I think you’ll find that there are endless possibilities.  

Cotton Ball Races

What you need: 

(1) spoon per participant 

Cotton balls 

How to Play:  

Determine a starting and ending point, ideally in different rooms of the house. Children then race to transport the cotton balls, one at a time, on the spoon to the finish line. If a cotton ball falls off the spoon en route, the child must go back to the starting line and try again. To make the game more challenging for older children, add the requirement that they must compete by crawling and/or add obstacles to their path. Children can either race to move a set number of cotton balls to the finish line or race to see who can transport the most in a set amount of time. Single children can race against their previous best.  

If you have a group with mixed ages, you can also match older children with younger children and create teams of similar overall skill level to compete relay style.  


Marshmallow Races

What you need: 

(1) straw per participant 

Mini Marshmallows 

Masking or Painters Tape (Optional) 

How to Play: 

Clear off a large table. Have children stand on one side and use straws to blow the mini marshmallows off the other side of the table or past a finish line marked with tape. Again, children can either race to blow a set number of marshmallows across the table or race to see who can blow the most in a set amount of time. Single children can race against their previous best. 

This game is also a great party game! 

colorful straws in a glass

Letter Toss

What you need: 

Post-It Notes 

A soft, throwable object like a ball, beanbag, or ball of socks 

How to Play: 

Write the letters of the alphabet (either upper or lowercase) on the Post-Its, one letter per note.  Stick the Post-Its to a wall or door in random order. Have the children stand at a skill-level appropriate distance from the wall or door and take turns throwing the object at the letters. Children can try to hit every letter in order from A to Z, spell their name or other words, or caregivers can call out individual letters for the child to seek.  Alternatively, numbers can be used instead of letters, and children can practice counting or other math skills.   

child throwing ball of socks at door

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