Just because the weather calls for rain, your day doesn't need to be dreary, too. From free museums to indoor playgrounds to tasty treat spots, here are 25 ways to keep kids active and entertained when showers put a damper on outdoor plans. For even more things to do, check out our indoor fun guide; and don't forget to keep tabs on our events calendar, which is packed with plenty of fun activities—inside and out—for every day of the week.
1. Rainy days don't have to cost a fortune! Give your wallet a break and drop into one of these free play areas!
2. Jump off all the wiggles and giggles at a trampoline park. From special story book toddler times for the littlest jumpers to glow nights and obstacle courses for the older kiddos, there's something for all ages.
3. Don't feel like cooking? Treat the fam to a meal out and save a buck while doing it. From hibachi to pizza there tons of places where your kiddies can dine for free.
4. If you're looking to entertain older kiddos, challenge them to an escape room adventure. Most are appropriate for kids ages 7 and up.
5. You may not want to get wet outside, but you can still make a splash indoors at one of these awesome indoor water parks! Some are a quick drive from Boston and offer drop-in day rates, while others can be a fun night away from home.
6. Boston has no shortage of libraries. Take your bookworms to browse the stacks and find some new books to curl up with. The public libraries all offer super fun kids' activities and many even have play spaces.
7. Go on a doughnut crawl! From sprinkles and frosting to doughnut ice cream sandwiches, Boston has super tasty shops.
8. Bring your newly purchased donuts or grab some popcorn, and catch a flick at one of these kid-friendly theaters. Many offer special baby- and tot-friendly showings.
9. For little adventurers, a rainy day is the perfect time to take on an obstacle courses or go rock climbing. If you think rock climbing is only for the older kiddos, think again. Some locations will let climbers as young as 3 tackle the structures!
10. Throw the bumpers up and hit the lanes for an afternoon of bowling. Try some classic candlepin for younger kids (the balls are smaller and lighter) or go for some out of this world fun at cosmic bowling.
Bowling, go-kart racing, laser tag, and an arcade keep kids busy. Photo courtesy of Apex Entertainment
11. For the indecisive, head to New England's biggest entertainment center, Apex Entertainment Center, where there is something for everyone. Here you can go bowling, ride go-karts, hit an obstacle course, play laser tag.. the list goes on.
12. Or just stay home and get crafty! If you want to be awarded "Best Parent Ever" you can even make homemade slime.
13. You may not want to stroll through the park on a rainy day, but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying a little greenery. Visit one of these indoor gardens to enjoy beautiful flowers, visit with butterflies and more. Both the Tropical Forest and Bird World at Franklin Park Zoo are indoors, so you can even head to the zoo on a rainy day.
14. Go for a spin on blades or wheels. Many indoor ice skating rinks are open year round or swap your ice skates in for roller skates. Roller World in Saugus has a special beginners rink for fist timers.
15. If nothing catches your eye at the movies, grab tickets to a puppet show instead: in Brookline, there's an ever-changing lineup of shows for kids 3 and up.
16. A rainy day is the perfect time for little yogis to channel their inner Zen. With two Boston locations, Coolidge Yoga offers lots of yoga classes designed for kids with fun music, silly poses, and creative themes.
Unleash your creativity! Photo courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
17. Skip making a mess at home and take your crafty kids to a studio instead. Your little artists can paint pottery, work on an art project, or drop-in to a kids workshop at the Museum of Fine Arts.
18. For thinkers and tinkerers, these maker spaces offer drop-in projects with an engineering twist.
19. Get up close with sea creatures at the touch tank in the New England Aquarium. Rainy days can be busy so purchase your tickets ahead of time to skip the long lines.
20. Got a budding scientist on your hands? Try conducting some fun experiments at home. The best part? You don't need to plan in advance or brave the rain for a trip to the store. These experiments can all be done with household stuff you probably already have on hand.
21. If Legos are your kid's passion, a visit to Legoland is must! There are rides, an indoor playground, a 4-D movie, and of course... tons of Legos to play with! Check Groupon before purchasing tickets, they often have discounts.
22. Try out a new indoor playground. We all have our go to spots, but visiting a new location is sure to keep your kiddies playing for hours. Escape the city and head North of Boston for even more options.
23. Looking to play indoors but with more variety? Pay a visit to the Boston Children's Museum where your kids can play with bubbles, build in the construction zone, and let their imaginations run wild. If you've visited here recently, consider a trip out of the city to visit the Acton Discovery Museum or Peabody's brand new pop up museum, CuriousCity.
24. Visit with the dinosaurs at the Museum of Science. If you've got younger kiddos in tow, consider starting at the Discovery Center for some interactive fun.
25. Skip the crowded play gyms and get moving at home: Jumping jacks, "animal" races, and a round of freeze dance are the recipe for afternoon naps or guilt-free, cozy movie time.