It’s that time of year again. The Sun has poked out from behind its usual wall of cloud for a few days, and we’ve prepped wonderful outdoor activities to keep our little ones occupied from half term until September. And then, of course, the rain has come, and we all remember that we live in the UK and this happens every year. Sadly, it’s time to dust off that list of indoor activities for kids. We’ve got you covered though, with this list of the all-time best things to do on a rainy day with children who are curious about science and nature.
1 Go to a science centre!
Wherever you are in the UK, there’s sure to be a science discovery centre nearby. Getting out of the house when it’s been raining solidly for several days is always a good idea, and when your usual haunts are inaccessibly muddy, a science centre will serve as a brilliant alternative to exploring rock pools and hunting for minibeasts. Science centres tend to offer giant, hands-on toys that are fun to play with and deliver sneaky learning. Your children will be happy for the chance to play somewhere new, and you can relax knowing that they are developing their analytical and investigatory skills while they do it.
Check out the Association for Science Discovery Centres to find out where your nearest rainy day activity centre is located here, or explore their map below.
2 Investigate the rain
While we’re developing our analytical skills, why not turn the negativity of a rainy day into an opportunity? Instead of asking what to do on a rainy day, ask what to do WITH a rainy day, and start investigating the weather with a homemade weather station. The met office has come up with some great ideas for setting one up in your back garden (read it here).
OK, we appreciate that going outside to set up a rain gauge is a little at odds with this list of “indoor activities”, but the real fun is making the gauge and gathering the data. Can you find a really crafty way to display the rainfall in your kitchen? Over time, perhaps your child will find patterns in the rainfall, temperature and windspeed.
3 Discover some galaxies and fossils!
The ultimate crowd-pleasing indoor activities for kids involve screen-time, education and doing something new and exciting. Zooniverse wraps all of those up in a neat bundle and throws in ‘helping to advance society’ for good measure. zooniverse.org/ is a portal to the scientific community, which invites ordinary citizens (including children) to help scientists to investigate the data they’ve gathered. There’s bound to be something among their 50+ projects to spark your child’s imagination, whether they fancy sifting through distant galaxies, counting wild elephants or looking for ancient fossils!
4 Look online for some science experiments
The Internet is teeming with ideas for science experiments you can try at home. Dabbling with science is an excellent way to spend a rainy day, because it’s so fun that you’re distracted from the pitter patter of raindrops, and you discover a myriad of new things with every experiment you try.
Check out our Pinterest page and Youtube channel for some inspiration!
5 Play with a science kit
Of course, looking up ideas for science activities online will mean collating a long shopping list and of all the things to do on a rainy day, trawling around supermarkets is probably not high on your list! Having a science kit prepared and ready to whip out as soon as the Sun disappears means there’s always indoor activities available at a moment’s notice.
Many science kits come with some of the things you need but expect you to gather the majority of the materials yourself. With a Letterbox Lab subscription, however, a new kit arrives every month complete with everything but the kitchen sink, and you can save it for the inevitable rainy days of that month. Over time you build up a marvellous collection of lab goodies and buckets of ideas for further exploration. Letterbox Lab brings you indoor activities so good, you forget about the rain altogether.