Rainy Day Fun, Budget-Style

Rainy DayWhile the thought of a rainy day for some conjures up hours of guilty pleasure wrapped up with a book, or a chance to get a jump start on around-the-house projects, those with children often see the walls closing in around them on wet days.  With summer vacation only weeks away (and for some has already started), there will no doubt be a few days of inclement weather here and there. Here are a few budget-friendly tips to entertain your youngsters, despite the weather.

Discount Movies

A number of theatres offer discounted movies in the morning or for special events. When you are checking the weather forecast, it is helpful to check area theatres out in advance as well, as special screening often fill up fast- especially on a rainy day!

Imagination Station

Rainy days are an excellent time to dive into the recesses of the imagination for hours of entertainment. Pull out play-doh and have a themed creative session.  Plan your own art gallery, complete with paintings, hanging and a planned gallery opening party. Pull out dress-up clothes and stage a show, with parts for everyone (even the grown-ups in the audience).


Libraries are an excellent spot (rainy day and otherwise) to while away the afternoon. It’s free, has comfy chairs, and has hours of potential entertainment spread across many shelves. Additionally, a number of libraries run reading clubs and special programs in the summer (mine hosts a “Block Party” where they bring out about a million buckets of Lego and have the kids build giant creations in groups).  Some libraries even have special play areas for small children.

Go Outside Anyways

Somehow, if your intention is to get wet, it doesn’t feel so bad. Dress in rain gear and attack the puddles.  Better yet, if it is warm outside, throw bathing suits on and race around in the raindrops.  Refreshing, and cheaper than swimming.


Even if you are no Betty Crocker, a rainy afternoon invites an excellent opportunity to bake some goodies. Involve the kids in the process (even the little ones) for things like measuring, cracking eggs (with supervision of course) and stirring. Make cookies or cupcakes that can be decorated afterwards, and set up an array of choices, like icing, small candies and fruit.

Bring the Outside In

Part of the disappointment of a rainy day is the loss of fun outdoor activity.  There is no reason that, at least for the afternoon, the outside can‘t come in. Pitch a tent in the living room (or build a fort) and have an indoor camping trip, complete with “campfire” snacks (Smores in the microwave), stories, songs and games.

Dollar Store

Give your youngsters a couple of dollars and take them to your local dollar store. Encourage them to shop thoroughly before arriving at their final purchase. This turns into an extended period of activity for a small amount of money.

Treasure Box

Collect discounted toys and items on sale throughout the year and collect them in a special box to bring out for just such occasions. Giving the kids a chance to unwrap a gift that is unexpected is not only fun, it is a great distraction from the gloomy weather.