While the Arkansas farmers are rejoicing at the spring rains, the April showers can be a real bummer for littles. They’ve been couped up all winter, and now it’s warm out, but you know, there’s that whole lighting thing. Being trapped inside is a recipe for chaos if you don’t have a plan! Be prepared this storm season with a slew of rainy-day games up your sleeve. We’ve gathered tons of fun indoor games for the whole family that will keep your bored crew entertained until the sun reappears (which in Arkansas could be about two minutes). Let’s get to it!

Fascinating and Fun Indoor Games for Rainy Days!

We’ve divided out our rainy-day games by age to help you find what fits your crew best. All families are different, so we’ve chosen a wide variety of games from educational to outright silly. They won’t all be your cup of tea, but skim through and find one that fits your vibe. Just don’t be afraid to branch out! Sometimes kids are unpredictable, and their new favorite game may be one you never suspected. Be open-minded, and give it a shot. If your crew doesn’t gravitate to it, pick another and try again!

Rainy-Day Games for Preschoolers

Fun indoor games for small children should focus on gross motor skills, fine motor skill development, and sensory play. These littles have a pretty short attention span, so you’ll want to keep them moving. They’re unlikely to do well (or learn well) with sitting games. Here are a few great options to keep your little kids moving and maybe teach them a thing or two at the same time!

1. Decade Dance Party

Teach your kids about the music and fashion of a specific decade with a themed dance party. You can help them create a decade-appropriate costume, make a Spotify playlist, and learn an appropriate dance from a YouTube tutorial. You’ll keep them busy all day, and they’ll have something to show the rest of the family when they get home in the evening.

2. Indoor Scavenger Hunt

Create your own educational scavenger hunt, or purchase a pre-made hunt from a company that specializes in hunts for kids. Let’s Roam has a huge array of indoor scavenger hunts for kids of all ages. They’re super fun, and most have an educational bend too!

3. Classic Musical Chairs

It’s unlikely that your preschooler has ever been exposed to the classic party game that was likely a staple in your childhood. It’s easy to set up, fun to play, and they love the music and movement. It also works on spatial awareness, listening skills, and balance. It’s an easy win!

4. The Floor is Lava

It seems every small kid stumbles upon this game naturally at one time or another. It’s even more fun if mom and dad play along! Set up a few chairs, pillows, bean bags, or cushions to hop to and from. See how long you can stay out of the lava! It keeps the kids entertained and works on gross motor skills too.

5. Simple Science

Fun science experiments aren’t just for big kids. Preschoolers love to dump one thing into another, and you can keep them entertained easily with a few clear jars and some colored water. Use food dye to color the water with primary colors. As you mix them, you can teach basic color theory as you watch the change occur right before their eyes! There are millions of fun science activities out there for preschoolers that don’t cost anything and provide hours of entertainment like these from We Are Teachers.

6. Window Seal Gardening

Get those little fingers dirty by creating your own window seal garden. You can plant some small veggies or make it easy with a premade herb garden kit! There are some very cute and organic kits available on Amazon for about $20.

7. Bucket Toss

We’re taking it back to the days of Bozo with this one! Line up a few buckets (or whatever containers you have about). Make a starting line with some masking tape. The game is simple. They will stand with their toes on the line and toss ping pong balls into the buckets, starting with the closest and moving farther away. If you want, you can put a little prize in the bottom of each bucket for them to collect as they achieve their goal.

8. Indoor Obstacle Course

Obstacle courses are long-time favorite indoor games. They were a staple for indoor recess when I was a kid, and they’re still tons of fun for today’s littles. To extend the excitement and work on creativity, have your kid help you build the obstacle course. Let their little brains run wild with ideas, and then test them out!

9. Hidden ABC’s

Get up in the morning (or use nap time) to hide lettered card stock or flashcards all over your home. Have your child look for the letters and place them in a line on the floor as they find them. If they know their ABCs already, have them try to put the letters in the correct order.

10. Domino Trail

Preschoolers love to build things and then tear them down and do it all again. That’s why Domino Trails are a perfect time-passer. Not only does building the trail work on their fine motor skills, but they can make creative shapes, and it’s so exciting every time they fall over!

11. Cup Pyramid

Working on the same premises (without all the tiny dominos on the floor), a cup game also works on fine motor skills and fulfills that little boy need to crash things. Give your little one a series of plastic cups and show them how to stack them in a pyramid. Then, encourage them to think of creative ways to knock the tower down.

12. Hallway Bowling

Set up your cups at the end of the hallway, and use a soft soccer ball or stuffed ball to do a little hallway bowling!

13. Don’t Let It Fall

Blow up a balloon, or a few, and see how long you can keep them in the air. It’s simple, but it keeps kids moving… and usually giggling the entire time too!

14. Sensory Bins

When it’s time for some peace and quiet, sensory bins are a great option. Fill a few containers with beans, rice, sand, water, small figurines, or colored pebbles. You can bury items in the substance for your child to find, or just let them free play.

15. Creative Chores

When kids get older, this one becomes a drudge, but preschoolers generally love to help out around the house. Take advantage of it and let them wash those window seals! Wrap their feet in microfiber clothes and let them dust the floor as they pretend to ski. Learn your colors as you sort the dirty laundry. Have a race around the room as you wipe the baseboards. They’ll love it!

Rainy-Day Games for Grade Schoolers

As kids move into kindergarten, they can sit for a few more minutes, and you can add in reading, writing, or more intense science games. For some families, there will definitely be overlap in this group. This age has the most variance, so you may pull from the preschooler pool of games or from the tweens pile that we’ll get to in a minute. You may also consider inviting over some friends for fun indoor group activities with this age. We’ll still focus on fun physical games but with a little added thinking!

16. Giant Tic Tac Toe

If you’ve got a large floor space, build a giant Tic Tac Toe Board. You can use square pillows for Xs and paper plates for Os. The hallway also makes a great venue for giant hopscotch!

17. Classic Games

Grade schoolers generally like board games. Bust out some of the classics like Chutes and Ladders, Scrabble, Candyland, Sorry, or Catan! These games can teach great lessons too. I know I learned most of my money management skills from Monopoly.

18. Traditional Card Games

Card games are a great way to get them thinking and keep them still for an hour or so. Invest in some old-school games like Old Maid, Go Fish, Uno, or Phase 10 for the older kids.

19. Water Bottle Flip Competition

We don’t know why this is fun, but thanks to Dude Perfect, all our children are addicted to flipping water bottles. You might as well give in and join. See who can land the most flips on the dining table, a marked X on the floor, or on a small pedestal. Let your imagination run wild!

20. Dining Table Ping Pong

Table tennis is tons of fun with a group of kids. There are numerous game variations to play involving running, spinning, etc. You don’t need an official game table. You can use the dining room table or a long folding table. You just need some ping pong balls and something to use as paddles!

21. Paper Airplane Competition

Test your child’s engineering skills with a paper airplane-building competition. Talk about aerodynamics, and allow each child to build their own model. Then, test your creations with a distance flight down the hall.

22. Toothpick Bridge Test

With a little glue and a few boxes of toothpicks, you can build just about anything. Challenge your kids to build the strongest bridge they can. After it has dried, use paper clips and fishing weights to see whose bridge can bear the most weight!

23. Tie-Dye Day

Harking back to the days of Girl Scouts here, making tie-dye t-shirts is a craft that never goes out of style! You can buy tie-dye kits in any craft store, and YouTube has some easy-to-follow tutorials that will have you creating masterpieces in no time!

24. Jewelry Making

Leather, beads, hooks, and wire…they’re the tools of the jewelry crafting trade, and they’re pretty easy to come by in any art store. If you’ve got a creative kiddo or one that’s into fashion, put their creative juices to work making some fun jewelry. Who knows? They may even be able to sell some of their pieces and start learning some entrepreneurial skills.

25. Karaoke Competition

Crank up the tunes, and bust out your best vocals for a family karaoke competition. Extra points for acts with choreography or costumes!

26. Classic Video Game Tournament

Share fun vintage games with your kids with a Mario Cart Competition or a little Duck Hunt. The old games are the best games, and if you’re going to stand a chance at beating your kid, it’s gonna be at some Sega Sonic the Hedgehog.

27. Hula Hoop Competition

One of my favorite childhood memories is the exercise competitions my grandmother used to initiate when we stayed with her during summer break. As an adult, I now know she was just trying to get us active and outside, but it was fun, and it worked. She kept us busy for three hours one day by having us compete in a hula-hoop contest. I’ve tried it with my own nieces and nephews, and it still works! Jump ropes, Pogo Sticks, and handstands work too!

28. Limbo

Bust out the grass skirts and the Hawaiian music for a friendly competition of backbreaking limbo!

29. Makeovers

Use your rainy day to spruce up a bit! Bring out the makeup and curling iron. Get dressed up and fancy. Then, stage a little photo shoot, and send some pics to Mom or Dad at work!

30. Poetry Contest

Poetry is a lost art these days, but some kids are naturally good at it. Challenge them to write a poem that’s befitting their age. Set some parameters, requiring a haiku, sonnet, or Irish limerick!

31. Reading Rainbow

If you’ve got a kid who loves to read, then initiate a reading marathon. Challenge them to a certain number of words, chapters, or books for the day. At the end of the day, have them describe their favorite segment they read that day and why. Even better, have them present a scene from their reading with a fun reenactment.

32. Skills Teaching

Skill-building indoor games are one of the best ways to pass a rainy day with purpose. A day indoors is the perfect time to learn about balancing a checkbook, creating a budget, car maintenance, basic first aid, good manners, or self-defense. Learn about etiquette by setting a formal table. For older kids, have them hop on Canva and use a template to create a resume or college application. Teach comparison shopping by having them search for a needed item on several websites. The options are endless.

Rainy-Day Games for Tweens and Teens

As kids get older, getting them to play traditional recess games is gonna be a little tough and not appropriate. You’ll need to adjust your tactics! Focus on fun indoor games that have practical life applications. Just keep it lighthearted. The last thing they want to do is feel like they’re at school on their day off.

33. Online Cooking Class

Hop onto an online cooking forum like Cozymeal and let your teen learn to cook from an expert chef. Not only do they learn a new skill, but you get a family dinner out of the deal too!

34. Virtual Museum Tour

Since the pandemic, most of the world’s great museums have created virtual tours. Your teen can gaze on the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, hang out in any of the Smithsonian institutions, or wander The British Museum. It’s a great way to learn about the culture and history of the world from your own couch!

35. AI Drawing

If your kid loves to draw or create, encourage them to experiment with some of the new virtual art software. Canva, WOMBO, NightCafe, and Dall-E are just some of the free AI art generators out there.

36. 80s Movie Marathon

Introduce your kids to the Brat Pack and all the glorious 80s teen movies. Weird Science, Adventures in Babysitting, Back to the Future, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, Flashdance…the list goes on!

37. Yoga Day

The teen years can be stressful. Encourage them to let off a little steam with a day of stretching and yoga. Just beware, some of the yoga instructors online dive deep into the Eastern spiritual aspect of yoga, which may or may not be a concern for you. You might want to watch through and find an instructor you like before encouraging your teen to engage.

38. Masterclass

It’s during the teen years that your child starts to explore their own interests, and those may be areas that you know nothing about. Encourage them to learn from the masters with classes taught by professionals in the field. Forums like Masterclass and Skillshare offer professionally taught courses in just about every arena you can imagine!

39. Design Extravaganza

Got a fashion lover on your hands? Give them a roll of duct tape, scissors, and three black Hefty bags, and challenge them to produce a couture look. Once finished, they can show off their creation with a little runway show!

40. Get Twisted

There’s nothing funnier than watching a group of awkward pre-teens play Twister. It’s fun for them, and it’s hilarious for the spectator (you)!

41. Vision Boards

At this point in their lives, teens are starting to contemplate their future. It’s a great time to teach tactics for organizing their dreams and working towards goals. Vision boards are a fantastic way to do that! Creating a visual display of their current goals provides a daily reminder to keep working towards their vision and helps them organize their sometimes roving thoughts into an action plan!

42. Scrapbooks

High school is the perfect time to create a scrapbook. Scroll through their phone and pick out some favorite pictures together. Gather any awards or certificates they’ve earned. Have them peruse their mind vault for important or fun memories, and then head for the arts and crafts store. Pick out a cute scrapbook and some fun papers and get started creating a book that will hold all their high school memories.

43. Memory Lane

Along that same vein, the older teen years are an ideal time to teach your kid about your family heritage. Pull out your own high school photo album or yearbook. Show them their baby books or pictures of your wedding. Talk about family members who have passed on or about important memories you have from their childhoods. They’ll eat it up, and it lets your teen get a glimpse of who you were before being their parent. In the coming years, your relationship will transform from one of parent/child to friend, and this is a good way to begin building that aspect of your relationship.

A Few Rainy Day Adventures Outside the House

Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up. You could brave the droplets and find a fun way to spend the day outside your home. It’s a great chance to work on your bowling game, soak up a few stories at the public library, visit a local museum, or take a handicrafts class. You could go get your nails done, do an escape room, visit an art gallery, or test your skills at the skating rink. Take your littles to the police station or firehouse for a tour. Have a scavenger hunt while grocery shopping, or use the day to visit the elderly at your local nursing home.

Fun Indoor Games for the Win!

We hope you enjoyed this mega list of fun indoor games for kids! When stuck at home, it’s easy to get in a rut. Finding fun rainy-day games takes effort and planning, but honestly, it’s way less stressful than dealing with the chaos that ensues when kids get bored.

Grab a few of these games and prep them beforehand. Keep them in a closet or the laundry room, ready to go when that sudden rainstorm hits! With a little preparation, you can avoid days spent in front of a screen and the dreaded “I’m bored,” filling your days with fun and fulfilling activities that the whole family will love!

For more rainy day activities, check out our list of “The Best Arkansas Museums for a Cultural Family Fun Day!”

We are blessed to live in a state that offers so much adventure! If you’re looking for new ways to entertain your crew, check out “Exploring the Natural State: 60+ Fun Attractions in Arkansas” for some fresh ideas!

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Get our Monthly Educational Activity Guides to Traveling Arkansas