While computer games, the Wii and DVDs are a good standby on a rainy day, sometimes they are more trouble than they are worth, especially when they cause sibling squabbles and petty arguments.

So what can you do during the school holidays if it starts to rain and your budget will not stretch to yet another kids’ movie at the cinema?

Choose toys and games that your children can play with independently.

Teachers and children’s health professionals recommend that children need to learn to play happily on their own. Kids who need parents to play with them, or to be their referee when arguments start, miss out on the opportunity to develop self reliance.

Puzzles are a great way to develop independent play.

When choosing a puzzle, make sure you select one that is appropriate for your child’s age and level of skill.

Younger children have more success when their puzzles:

  • Contain large objects and distinct colours
  • Are based on a photograph with clear lines between objects
  • Are based on an educational theme or current favourite character.
  • Have obvious border pieces that can be connected first.

Older children might enjoy a more challenging puzzle that will take several days to complete – but don’t forget to set up this expectation at the start. Also, make sure the unfinished puzzle is stored in a safe place where younger siblings can’t spoil your older child’s efforts.

Choose games that have clear rules

Cooperative play is a skill that kids need to learn. It requires communication, collaboration and compromise – things that some adults even find difficult!

Board games are a great way to develop cooperative play skills.

An added benefit is that board games can also develop children’s thinking and learning skills.

There are hundreds of board games on the market and many have ‘junior’ versions suitable for children under the age of 10. Just make sure that you choose board games that are appropriate for your child’s age and interest.

Some games that encourage maths, problem solving and counting skills include:

  • Snakes and Ladders
  • Monopoly (and Junior Monopoly)
  • Chess
  • Trouble
  • Battleships
  • Mastermind

Games that encourage creative thinking, story telling and literacy include:

  • Scrabble Junior
  • Pictionary Junior
  • Boggle
  • Hilarious Headlines
  • Celebrity Head

Card games are another great standby for wet weather. They also have the advantage of being super portable, and so come in very handy in airports, waiting rooms or the homes of friends and relatives who don’t have children!

A regular pack of cards can be used for games like

  • Memory/Concentration
  • Go Fish
  • Rummy
  • Blackjack  (without the gambling, of course!!)

Other card games that are associated with superheroes like Pokeman and Bakugans are also engaging for imaginative boys, while old favourites like Uno can be played by the whole family.

Encourage your kids’ creativity

Wet winter days are a perfect time to develop your child’s imaginative and creative skills. Boys and girls love to have extended opportunities to build a world of their own and there are many ways that you can facilitate this.

Dress ups provide children of all ages with creative fun. You can purchase costumes representing fairies, princesses, superheroes and cowboys, or just have a box of shirts, ties, hats and jewellery that kids can experiment with. Add a mirror and your child’s role playing will hit new heights.

Construction toys like Lego, Meccano and Connex also help kids to become resourceful and inventive. In addition, these toys develop children’s fine motor skills, making them a great choice for kids of all ages.

Art and craft activities are another winner for a wet holiday. A simple easel combined with paints, textas, crayons and coloured pencils can provide children with hours of fun.

Waiting for the sun would make anyone weary, but with a bit of planning and some well chosen games, you and your children can survive wet holiday weather.

Have fun!

Do you have any to add? Use the comment form below to share your wet weather ideas with everyone!

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  • My sons all time favourite was (still us!) Monopoly. But oh my goodness were there huge arguments when we played it together.


  • My little one is enjoying Hungry Hippos at the moment.


  • A must have list if you have kids and school, holidays rolling around


  • Arghh, my son is home sick. Holidays start next week. I NEED these two days :/ Some good ideas here thanks.


  • Cool! This is interesting! Thank you for sharing this!


  • Or if all else fails go to Bunnings. Let them into the play area for a while to burn off energy. If you’re lucky they also have a café.

    • if you are lucky yours has a play area


  • thanks for the tips, some of the games are what i played with when i’m younger!


  • Thanks for sharing your helpful and interesting article ..school hols can be a bit of a brain drain at times.


  • Another hands on activity that successfully makes time fly on a wet weather day is cooking with my children- usually in particular baking! We stick to simple recipes, but with a balance of enough steps in the method to allow for every child to have a role/perform a step. Its great for their cross body co-ordination and hand /arm eye co-ordination and strength, reading and maths skills, understanding/interpretation of procedural texts and inportantly a sense of pride and achievement when they get to eat the good food that they’ve made themselves. Not to mention that it involves all our senses throughout the process and is suitable for all ages too! We all learn the life skills of problem solving, compromise, dispute resolution and hygiene with a healthy smattering of togetherness in a nice toasty warm and yummy smelling kitchen when its yuk outside!!!


  • All good ideas especially going through the toys as they always find ones they haven’t played with for awhile. Do some cooking with the children. Make up a tent inside and have a picnic. We made a cardboard house out of a large box and put a window and a door in it – they love to play and hide in it or use it as a make out shop. They can also decorate it with pictures or paintings etc.


  • UNO – My boys love it.


  • My eldest daughter loved junior scrabble and by the age of three she knew how to spell all the words on the board and so i contacted the makers of junior scrabble and asked if they had alternate boards that could be purchased with new words but they didnt. Miss 3 and I spent a day cutting out pictures from magazines and we made our own selection of new boards


  • Thanks for sharing this article and information; some good ideas to take on board for all school holidays and rainy days.


  • This article has been a life saver now our summer weather has taken a break and cabin fever has set in. Thanks MoMs!


  • also cleaning out their toy chest…they will re-discover many things and you can get rid of the broken toys and donate some too


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