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10 Rainy Day Unplugged Activities to Keep Kids Off Screens

“Disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other.” – Rosemary Wixom

The holiday break, a time when all the family are together and the kids are underfoot. Problem is, it’s well and truly winter now. The months of spring – and sunshine – are still a few months away so you won’t be reaching for that thermostat anytime soon.

When it’s cold, wintery and wet, and it seems that the rain is constantly falling in a foggy drizzle, the threat to my washing machine from freezing, slushy mud means the kid’s staying indoors. Slippers, dressing gowns, warm showers and hot chocolate are what’s called for.


Rainy day Unplugged Activities

Don’t get me wrong, I know how important outdoor active play is. If you’re seeking active outdoor pursuits, check out 101 UNPLUGGED ACTIVITY IDEAS FOR YOUNG KIDS AND TWEENS. But there is a time and place for pyjama down days. For family-together-because-it’s-miserable-outside days. And if you can make them screen free, then you’re on to a real winner! So, here are our top 10 rainy day unplugged activities for young kids and tweens.


RELATED: Wish your kids would reach for a book or paintbrush over screens?

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#1 Once Upon a Time

“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” – Dr Seuss

There’s nothing like a good book. But while studies have shown that reading for pleasure can boost academic achievement, in a tech-obsessed world, fewer kids are are doing so. But by helping to nurture a love of books at home, you can help reverse this worrying trend while providing a gift that will enrich their personal and professional lives for life.

Just 30 minutes a day can make all the difference. And it’s a great family activity too! Choose a book and read aloud to the family. Or take it in turns. For more tips on reading, check out BOOKS AND BEYOND – DON’T LET YOUR RELUCTANT READER MISS OUT.

#2 Check Mate

“Just one game they said and started to play – that was yesterday.” – Chinese Proverb

Top 10 Unplugged Rainy-Day Activities for Tweens | Habyts

An old family favourite but yet another activity losing out as child’s play goes digital. But taking time out to play board games is the perfect excuse to bring the family together. And playing them is a great way to train and stimulate young brains outside the classroom.


So when tempting kids off screens, suggest a family board game session. They’ve been shown to significantly boost kids maths skills and critical thinking. For some great board games to play, check out 7 BRAIN-BOOSTING BOARD GAMES FOR KIDS.

#3 Indoor-Active

“Happiness is a stage of activity.” – Aristotle

Just because it’s miserable out doesn’t mean you can’t be active inside. There are plenty of indoor-active activities to try! All you need is a little clear floor space and some imagination.

How about challenging your kids with a string “laser” obstacle course or bottle skittles? What about crush cups or balloon ping-pong? Your child could burn 200 calories an hour and improve coordination and reaction times too. For more indoor-active ideas, click here.

#4 Get Crafty

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.” – Elder Uchtdorf

Top 10 Unplugged Rainy-Day Activities for Tweens | Habyts

Arts and crafts are a rewarding way to pass the time on a cold winter day. The perfect outlet for imagination and self-expression, they boost self-esteem, bilateral coordination and help relieve stress too.

It’s a great way for your child to turn their hand to making something unique and special. And for kids with an entrepreneurial spirit, have them craft things they can sell! What’s more, art and crafts are a great excuse for a little inter-family competition. So rather than reach for the tablet, hand them a paintbrush. For more great arts and craft ideas, click here.

#5 Whizz, Bang, Pop

“The important thing is to never stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

Kids are inherently curious about the world in which they live, yet many are reluctant to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) later in life. These skills are in great demand, so kindling their passion in these subjects now will help ensure better grades at school, but also healthy career prospects when they graduate.

And while studies show just talking to your kids about STEM subjects can boost grades by 12%, you can take things up a notch with some kitchen-based wacky science experiments!

They could make a simple electromagnet, super oozy slime, a balloon hovercraft or their very own breathing machine, all the while boosting their mastery of STEM subjects and how the universe works. There really is no better excuse to get messy on a rainy day!

#6 Put on a show

“I don’t give concerts. I put on a show.” – Liberace

Top 10 Unplugged Rainy-Day Activities for Tweens | Habyts

When it’s miserable out and everyone is cooped up in, have the kids put on a show. Most kids love to the opportunity to be the centre of attention or show you the latest song or piece they’ve mastered in music class. Besides, it will boost their confidence, exercise their imagination and help with coordination.

If they’re musically talented, this could perform a concert or recital (just go easy on recorder). Or they could put on a play using finger puppets or themselves! Use everyday items as props or make your own! Every family member could take turns to put on a performance!

#7 Start a Project

“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” – Czech Proverb

It’s all too easy to put things off, especially when it’s outside your comfort zone. But cold, damp winter days are the perfect opportunity to try something new! So when they’re housebound, give the kids a gentle nudge to take up a new project.

It could be learning to prepare a meal from start to finish. Or something creative like a photography project. What about rearranging their bedroom or building a homework station? Whatever project they choose, they’ll be learning invaluable life skills.

#8 Unmake it

“People would rather replace than work on fixing things.” – Unknown

Top 10 Unplugged Rainy-Day Activities for Tweens | Habyts

There is no better way to learn how stuff works than by taking it apart! Not only will this help satisfy their curiosity, but teach your kids hands-on practical skills too!

Things with moving parts work best, like old telephones, computer mice or keyboards. But your child’s safety is paramount, so avoid items with batteries or those containing glass. And for old electrical appliances, remove the plug, so they’re not tempted to plug it in.

Be on a constant lookout for old gadgets and objects your kids can dissect. And keep a stockpile of worn out or old items for a rainy day. If your child can’t reconstruct or fix it, keep the spares for inventing or tinkering! You could even use them to make a sculpture or collage.

#9 Put Others First

“Charity begins at home.” – Terence

Teaching kids to be charitable is rewarding for parent and child alike. Not only does it help give your child a sense of empowerment but it teaches your child about community and the importance of giving back. And while the internet makes it possible to be charitable from the comfort of our sofas, it’s easier for kids to grasp the concept of charity when they get stuck in!

Every child has his or her favourite toy or food. But other, less fortunate kids, don’t. So use your snow/rain/pyjama day to hunt for old toys, clothes and food items to donate. And for the entrepreneurial child, have them organise a garage or car boot sale. You could even encourage them to donate a small amount of their pocket money too!

#10 Household Chores

“If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulder.” – Abigail Buren

Top 10 Unplugged Rainy-Day Activities for Tweens | Habyts

Chores aren’t the most exciting screen-free activities but they are an essential life skill. Doing chores demonstrates mature judgement, resolve and encourages responsibility, independence and seeing things through. So, if your child complains they’ve bored, give them a chore!

Have them complete a chore from start to finish like the laundry from linen basket to drying rack. Or prepare a meal, set the table, and wash up after. And as a reward for doing a good deed, suggest another activity from this list.

So, there you have it! 10 rainy day unplugged activities to liven up any snow/rain/pyjama day.

What’s your favourite rainy day unplugged activities? Is it in the list above?

And if you think we’ve leftout any rainy day unplugged activities, let us know in the comments.

RELATED: Want to motivate your kids to treat screen time as a privilege?

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