Written by Alice Zsembery


And just like that we are into June and approaching another set of school holidays!

Unlike those distant summer days, the winter school holidays can bring with them a new challenge: entertaining the kids (predominantly) indoors without the house being destroyed, one brick at a time.

And whilst there are some amazing indoor venues that you can visit, the reality is that time and money is finite, and inevitably there will be times where a day at home is in order.

For these days, there are a variety of activities that you can do around the house to occupy the kids, without spending a cent (and they don’t just involve crafts).

So here, it is, 5 rainy day play activities for pre-schoolers and young primary aged kids from my book Real Kids, Real Play that keep them active:


  1. Hold a Dance Party

Find some high intensity music and get those bodies moving. Bonus points for a dark room and disco lights (or torches wrapped in cellophane for a DIY effect).

If you are looking for some fun song ideas that won’t drive you insane, check out my Top 20 kid-appropriate adult songs here.


  1. Make a Sheet Cubby House

An oldie but a goody… Simply drape a bedsheet over the table and let their creativity roam. If you can spare an old sheet, then why not cut a slit in for a door and a few holes for windows?

And if you grab the teddies out…. You can have yourself a teddy bears picnic.

  1. Create a car ramp

All you need is a piece of cardboard sloped from a chair and you have hours of entertainment.

For some additional STEM learning, older children may like to explore how variables (slope of ramp, size of car, etc) affect how fast they go down the ramp.


  1. Potato Walk

Get ready for some laughs with this family activity.

Simply put a potato between your legs and race from the start line to a bucket on the finish line and try to drop it into a bucket, then come back and get another and repeat. If the potato is dropped along the way, or if hands are used, return to the starting line and try again.

The person to transfer all their potatoes first, wins.


  1. Animal Charades

Place pictures of a variety of animals into a container. Then, take turns at picking out an animal from the container and acting it out for the audience to guess.

For younger children, forget about the traditional charade rules and let them use noises to convey their animal.

For an extension to the activity, why not try professions (think chef, policeman, acrobat, gardener)?


And…if you are looking for more ideas for activities to engage your children around the house, be sure to check out our resources here.


Happy playing!


You may also like to read:

Top Tips for Happy Travelling with Kids

How to Beat the Back to School Blues

Let your kids be bored these holidays.