30 Things to Do with Kids on a Rainy Day in the Western Suburbs (2023)

Spring showers may come our way, but the team here at Kidlist is ready to help you chase away those rainy day blues! If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s the resiliency and creativity of parents in making simple things exciting and new — not all of which require staying home, of course. Ready for a rainy day adventure? We got you. Here are 30 of our favorite ways to spend a rainy spring day.

30 Things to Do with Kids on a Rainy Day in the Western Suburbs (1)

25 Kid-Friendly Rainy Day
Activities in the Western Suburbs

1. Creative Ways to Enjoy Reading and Books

Time for a reading party! If your kids aren’t reading yet, pick a large handful of favorites and snuggle up to share them. Audiobooks are great, too — especially if you add a fine-motor activity to keep little hands busy while they listen, such as blocks, coloring, kinetic sand, etc. If your kids can read, have them read to one another – or play charades while trying to get the other one to guess what book they’re representing. Your local library can help with book selection, audiobooks, Playaways, and more — even streaming services!

2. Go to a Theater Performance

Experience the theatre — live and back in person! Our theater guide has some great options that are running now through the end of summer.

3. Have Camp Out at Home

Camp out in your house! Whether you recreate a tent with some chairs and a large sheet, or have a tent to use, the novelty of sleeping inside a tent is just as strong indoors as it is out of doors. Grab your flashlights, sleeping bags and pillows for a fun change of pace.

4. Immerse Yourself in a New Exhibit

The Chicago area has various immersive experiences to check out as well as new exhibits popping up all the time.

5. Make Art

Get out all your art supplies and create some masterpieces together. Or if you’re low on materials at home, there are loads of places locally that sell arts and crafts activity kits. Crayons and a coloring book (or free online coloring pages) can make a lovely, at-home art gallery.

6. Explore a Nature Center

No matter what mother nature has in store for us, you can stop in to one of our local nature centers where you can meet animals, learn about native plants, and so much more.

7. Cook Together

Browse through some old cookbooks and find a recipe that everyone wants to try. Level up: find something that uses ingredients you already have, or challenge your kids to reduce food waste by making a meal with the items in the fridge that need to be used ASAP. Any Food Network “Chopped” fans will get a kick out of this unique challenge.

8. Plant Seeds and Start a Garden

Get a head start on your garden and plant seeds together indoors. Annie has the best tips on everything gardening for the newbie gardener.

9. Serve Your Community Together

Community Service: do your village or city’s sanitation crew a favor and clean the storm drains nearest to your house. Many of the suburbs suffer from occasional flooding, and when it rains, all sorts of leaves and debris can wash downstream and block the street drains. It may sound strange, but it’s my kids’ favorite thing to do in the rain. They are so proud when they can clear a drain and help our neighborhood stay dry!

30 Things to Do with Kids on a Rainy Day in the Western Suburbs (2)

10. Go Bowling

Bowling is the perfect rainy day activity. There are lots of kid-friendly bowling alleys locally to choose from. Don’t forget to request bumpers for your littlest bowlers!

11. Get a Deal with Kids Eat Free

Rain or shine, we have to eat. You could visit an old favorite, or try out a new restaurant where the kids eat free. Mangia!

12. Swim at an Indoor Pool

Get wet on purpose: go swimming at an indoor pool with family swim times. It’s a fun way to burn off some energy and work on those strokes before summer arrives.

13. Games, Go-Karting, Laser Tag

There are tons of options to play laser tag, game at an arcade, go-kart, and more! Visit a local arcade, game room, entertainment center, or laser tag arena.

14. Head to a Neighborhood Toy Store or Bookstore

Support a local business and shop for some cool items at your neighborhood toy or bookstore! Many are still offering convenient curbside pick up.

15. Go Ice Skating

There are many ice skating rinks that are open year-round. A rainy day is the perfect day to lace up those ice skates and get some exercise.

16. Volunteer Together

Volunteer as a family! There are people in need all around us, so this is a wonderful way to show your kids the power of personal contributions and action.

17. Check Out a Local Event

Did you know the Kidlist events calendar is full of ideas for family fun every day? Your local park district is another great resource for events happening close to home.

18. Random Acts of Kindness

Use your rainy day as a “random act of kindness” day. There are some really great ideas here, or brainstorm with your kids to see what they come up with!

19. Have a Movie Marathon

Make a batch of popcorn and watch your favorite flicks back-to-back as a family. Level up: choose a movie that everyone knows and loves, and give everyone 30 minutes to dress as their favorite character from that movie… using only what you have in your house. Winner gets bragging rights until the next movie night!

20. Play and Enjoy Your Local Library

Libraries don’t just have books! Many of them have amazing play areas in their children’s department, along with movies, audiobooks, computer games, and more.

21. Make Dinner Special with a Theme

Select a few kid-friendly recipesto make together, or go all-out and plan a themed dinner night for the family. Your kids will love the chance to get creative in planning a dinner complete with games and attire centered around their interests! Level up: celebrate one family member at dinner, complete with a special plate for the celebrant, decorations in their favorite colors, serving their favorite food, and speeches from all family members to tell them how much they are loved and appreciated. (Word of warning: you’ll have to do this for all your kids eventually. Ha!)

22. Play, Slide, and Climb at a Play Place

Indoor play areas are made for rainy days. Block off an hour or two for the kids to run around and play, then come home, collapse, and watch the rain together.

23. Do a Kid-Friendly DIY Project

Try your hand at a DIY project. From homemade playdoh to a hand-knit blanket, there are all sorts of projects you can tackle with your kids for DIYers of all levels.

24. Go Rock Climbing

There are several places in the suburbs with climbing walls. They provide all the gear and you provide the perseversance and endurance!

25. Indoor Scavenger Hunt

Create a scavenger hunt at home. Have the kids search for various objects around the house, collecting as they go, with the some sort of fun prize waiting for them at the end!

26. Have a Game Day

From card/board games to charades to I-Spy to Minute to Win It, games are always fun on a rainy day. Level up: the family member with the most wins gets to choose the next meal out!

27. Go Out for a Unique Dessert

Have you seen the over-the-top milkshakes that ice cream shops and restaurants have come up with? They are mind blowing!

28. Work Out Together

Nearly every type of exercise has a free workout or two on the internet. In our family, nothing beats busting a move during a living room dance party. Level up: turn off the lights and dance with a flashlight – younger kids, especially, get a huge kick out of this. Perfect for a darker, gloomy day.

29. Create a Home Spa

Pamper the whole family with an at-home spa! Some relaxing music, a foot soak, and tasty refreshments make it extra special. Level up: let your kids paint YOUR fingernails and toenails, or do your makeup. It’s a recipe for endless giggles and there’s usually nothing done that you can’t wipe off with some soap and water.

30. Have a tween/teen at your house?

Our list of indoor fun for tweenshas all kids of inspiration to appeal to this crowd.

Check out our indoor activities page for even more things to do with kids in Chicago’s western suburbs.

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