When rain or cold weather keeps kids inside, it can be hard to keep everyone entertained. Of course, your city likely offers children's museums and exhibits, indoor play spaces, and kids' classes and activities where families can take shelter when bad weather arrives, but sometimes staying home can be just as much fun—if you know the right games.
Whatever the reason you're staying put, try one of these 50 indoor, boredom-busting games, crafts, and other things to do with kids to turn a rainy day into a memorable one.
Find more great indoor activities in our Boredom Busters Activities Guide and sign up for our FREE newsletters to get posts like this delivered to your inbox.
Kids can devour the treats they bake!
1. Bake without losing your sanity.
2. Whip up a batch of slime and challenge your young scientist to define its state of matter.
3. Let the kids raid your closet and put on a fashion show.
4. Cuddle up with a pile of books.
Have a magnetic tiles challenge. Photo by Sara Marentette
5. Build, create, and invent with STEM-inspired toys.
6. Play "Simon Says" or "Follow the Leader."
7. Grab a deck of cards and teach your kids the simple joys of Rummy, Spit, or Slapjack.
8. Gather the family to enjoy a story podcast.
9. Make your own instruments; then, lead a marching band parade through the living room.
10. Burn some energy with one of these 25 indoor exercise games.
Curl-up with popcorn and a movie or books.
11. Pop some kernels and watch a classic movie.
12. Try these imaginative DIY sensory games for the babies and tots.
13. Write letters (on actual paper with actual pens and pencils) to out-of-town relatives or friends.
14. Bake a mug cake.
15. Freeze Dance using a playlist inspired by these city-based kindie bands.
16. Do anything that involves bubble wrap.
Get decorating with this easy and delicious activity.
17. Buy pre-made frosting (and even cupcakes) and set up a cupcake decorating station with whatever candies, nuts, and sprinkles you have on hand.
18. Blow up some balloons, toss 'em in the air, and don't let them touch the ground, or grab some paddles for balloon tennis.
19. Learn to code.
20. Keep your heart rate up with Wii Fit or Xbox One games.
21. Make a marshmallow catapult and see who can catch the most in their mouth.
22. Tray these easy at-home crafts for preschoolers, or whip up a set of fairy wings for more imaginative play.
23. Have a tie-dye party, or opt for an easier tie-dye alternative (with built-in science lesson!).
24. Make a watercolor masterpiece.
25. Pull out the building blocks and Legos and create a mini city.
Set up science experiments and let kids come up up with their own too! Photo by Sara Marentette
26. Embrace your inner Einstein with cool science experiments.
27. Play "I Spy" or "21 Questions."
28. Make paper-bag puppets and put on a show.
29. Craft the easiest bird feeder ever.
Learn the Japanese art of paper folding. Photo via Bigstock
30. Become an origami master.
31. Grab some sheets and make a good old-fashioned fort. Perfect for playtime—and naptime!
32. Fill the kitchen sink with bath toys, give them a bottle of soap, and let them have at it.
Mixing, rolling, painting – salt-dough ornaments will keep kids busy for much of the day!
33. Bake simple salt-dough ornaments and then paint them into seasonal designs, such as Easter eggs, or use whatever cookie cutter shapes you have available.
34. Tackle a challenging puzzle as a family.
36. Explore NYC—in a book!
37. Challenge your brood to a game of charades.
38. Then find your voices with a karaoke concert.
39. Make your own granola bars.
40. Use hallways for classic games like "Red Light, Green Light" and "Leap Frog."
41. Decorate pinecones, paint flower pots, or make leaf art.
42. Go bowling at home.
Set up an obstacle course or gym mats and let kids burn off some energy. Photo by Sara Marentette
43. Build an indoor obstacle course!
44. Pillow fight—'nuff said.
45. Get all dressed up and host your own fancy tea party (be sure to invite the dolls and stuffed animals).
46. Crack open those activity books you have piled up.
47. Get everyone together for a family scavenger hunt.
48. Create colorful salt paintings.
49. Have an indoor "camp out" with sleeping bags, a tent, board games, and s'mores.
50. Cook dinner together.
Photos by Rose Gordon Sala except where noted.
This article first published in November 2008 but has since been updated.