The 10 Best Free Or Cheap Bad Weather Activities For Kids

My family lives on the northeast coast, so rain, snow, sleet and hail are sadly all too familiar to us. Now with my growing family, finding ways to keep everyone entertained when there is bad weather has become an ongoing activity as we are ultimately looking for cheap bad weather activities for kids that do not involve watching TV all day.  After all, on bad weather days, it’s not like we can go outside and do outdoor activities, which is what this blog is usually devoted to.

The cheap bad weather activities for kids listed below are five easy ways to spend a couple of hours that will not break your bank account.

1. Writing letters to loved ones

Yes! I am talking about good ol’ fashioned snail mail. Taking the time to handwrite notes to friends and family is a great way to spend a couple of hours as a family, for little kids it can teach them how to communicate and for your older children, it is a perfect way to practice spelling and grammar. The bonus with writing letters is that you also have an activity of walking to the mailbox when the weather becomes a bit nicer out. This is my favorite cheap bad weather activity for kids as it also brings joy to those receiving the mail.

bad weather stuff to do for children

2. Collect items for donation

Collecting items for donations is an excellent cheap bad weather activity for kids because you are contributing to your community and those less fortunate, teaching your children how to share and the importance of kindness. Plus, you are tidying up your home. 

The idea here is simple, get a big bag or box and have each child go through their toys and closets and set aside some gently used items that they would like to donate to other children. This also gives parents a chance to select some of their own items as well. You can also consider writing a note to accompany the items you are donating – an additional activity to add.

3. Coloring on the walls

I know you may read this and think I am crazy, but for all of the times you tell your children they CANNOT draw on the walls, why not set up a system so that on awful weather days they get to do something a little special? This is a perfect cheap bad weather activity for kids.  

Below is a link to a paper roll that works great (and saves your walls) and will get you hours and hours of indoor fun for a low cost! All you do is cut off large pieces, and then you tape them overlappingly to one another (use masking tape to spare your walls) to ensure that no actual wall is exposed. Another excellent cheap bad weather activity for kids!

Brown Craft Paper
  • ✅ Your Sustainable Choice - Our 100% recycled kraft wrapping paper meets your needs while staying kind to the planet. It’s made of a material that’s both recycled and recyclable. Plus, it decomposes naturally. Better alternative of plastic bubble wrap, foam cushioning and shrink wrapping.
  • ✅ Thick & Durable - Proudly made in the USA, our 40lb industrial-grade recycled kraft wrapping paper does not rip or tear easily. Feel free to use it for projects and crafts that require durable paper. Comes in size 17.75 inches wide and 100 feet long roll, best fit to 18" paper roll dispenser/cutter.
  • ✅ All-In-One Art & Packaging Roll - Our kraft paper is unwaxed and uncoated. Not the butcher type, it can be used for crafts, gift wrapping, packing items, protecting floors and as a box filler or liner. Must have in your packing, boxing, moving and shipping supplies.
  • ✅ Huge Supply To Meet Your Needs - Measuring 100 feet long and 17.75 inches in width, our kraft paper roll provides a near endless bulk supply of packing paper for moving, protecting fragile items, storing your belongings securely, best alternative to newsprint paper sheets and construction paper for arts and crafts brown paper.
  • ✅ 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed - Your satisfaction is our top priority. We also practice fair trade. If you are not happy with our shipping paper, just let us know and we’ll send you a refund right away. Money Back Guarantee!

4. Kitchen helper

Designate your child as your sous-chef and kitchen helper for the day. This will require a bit of patience from mom and dad but involve your child in the preparation and clean-up of all the family meals for the day. If your child is still very small, you can simply bring their highchair into the kitchen and dictate to them what you are working on. If your child is a bit older, that is a bonus as they can help with mixing and rinsing dishes. This is a great and cheap bad weather activity for kids. Here is a great apron to bring out on these bad weather days to make this activity extra special:

5. Water fun

Typically, in our house, bath time occurs each night after dinner and before bed as a way to wind down and prepare for sleep. That said, it is also a great mid-day activity if you are looking for a cheap bad weather activity for kids. Depending on the age of your child, you can add in some bubble bath, or even just some Tupperware or toys and turn bath time on its head. The novelty of changing the time of bath time alone is exciting and add in the fact that the sole purpose is fun vs cleanliness, this is sure to be a hit and is an ideal cheap bad weather activity for kids. Here is a great bath toy set:

Bath Beats
  • Create music, beats and sounds In and out of the bath
  • Includes 1 dingray xylophone, 1 octodrum rhythm toy and 2 starfish shakers
  • Perfect for gifting -- and engaging young Musical minds
  • Upgrade your toddler's bath routine with creative play
  • Durable, rust-resistant construction; great for boys and girls 12 months and up

6. Making a movie

bad weather kids things to do

While this activity may be better suited to slightly older kids, making a home movie is a neat and cheap bad weather activity for children. All you need is a phone to capture the video, and you can designate a variety of roles to family members such as director, scriptwriter, actors etc. To edit the movie, you can use the video editing software that exists on most smartphones, like Clips or iMovie on Apple devices, or leverage the video technology you have on your computer, like Microsoft Movie Maker on PCs. 

7. Drawing

Drawing is an often-overlooked cheap rainy day weather activity for kids. It works for all age groups, and if you have a smaller child, and do not want to collect any more colouring books, you can simply draw shapes or an image yourself on blank paper and have the child colour it in. If you are interested in some colouring books here is a great outer space option:

Space Coloring Book
  • Lab, Activity (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 03/19/2019 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

8. Fort building

Fort Building is a classic cheap snow-day activity for kids. I recommend adding some excitement to this by designating one area of your home as the fort command centre and bringing in as many pillows, couch cushions etc. into this area so that the children have a lot of options to choose from to build their fort. Once the fort has been built, consider serving lunch or a snack inside – this increases activity time and is sure to bring extra laughs and fun.

9. Hop scotch at home

Hopscotch at home is another simple and cheap bad weather activity that takes an outdoor classic and makes it more fun simply because you are changing things up indoors. To play hopscotch at home, all you need is a roll of scotch tape to simply create a hopscotch outline, the same way you would with chalk on the sidewalk. Tape is a key for this cheap bad weather activity because the kids will not slip the same way that they would if you laid out a path with paper.

10. Dance contest

A dance contest works better if you have multiple children, but if not it is a great cheap bad weather activity for parents to get some activity too. The way it works is have you children select their favorite song, and come up with a routine, and then you can host a contest for the winner – the prize being some sweet treat you have in the house – or even some time to watch their favorite show. This is a great cheap activity for bad weather because similar to hopscotch at home, it will tire your little ones out. Check out other fun kids activities that use music on our blog post here.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, and if you are looking to get dirty, check out VeryWellFamily’s ideas for rainy day outdoor activities for kids.

Drop a comment below if you have any other ideas for bad weather activities indoors!

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