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10 Free Indoor Activities to Occupy Your Child on a Wet Summer Day


With Summer now looming over us like a giant ball of hotness, we’re probably all looking forward to a nice mid-year break. Maybe you’ve got a holiday planned somewhere hot, or perhaps you’re trying a staycation to save a bit of cash?

Unless you’ve got the funds to book a six week holiday abroad though, you’re quite likely to also be wondering what to do to fill up the rest of the school break.

Worse still, what happens if the sunny weather we’ve been enjoying for the past few weeks turns out to BE the extent of our summer, and the usual hot months are a complete wash-out? In the UK, stranger things have happened after all.

So, with that in mind, I’ve put together a list of some of our favourite (free) indoor activities to occupy your kids while the schools are closed for the summer. Why not bookmark the list and save it for just such an emergency this summer!?

Make a marble run

Unless you’ve somehow managed to live in a household where toilet roll is a thing of the past, chances are you’ve got a few toilet / kitchen roll tubes hanging around, maybe even the odd larger cardboard tube from some wrapping paper. If you plan ahead you can save a load up and use them to make a 3D carboard marble run – either stuck to a spare wall or (for extra points) suspended from a low ceiling. Your kids will love the making just as much as the doing!

Clean out an old cupboard to make a den

This is a bit of a double-whammy, as if you think about it carefully you might manage to sneakily get the kids doing some tidying up at the same time. We recently emptied our under-stairs cupboard of a bunch of junk we’d been storing there, and the kids immediately claimed the new empty space as their own. Weirdly, they’ll happily keep it tidy too – even more so than their bedroom!

Get started on some Christmas crafts

I know it seems weird to be thinking about Christmas this early, but we’ve all got an elderly relative who’d simply LOVE a hand-made Christmas gift in Winter. But the trouble is, the Christmas season is usually so full of other fun activities, you probably barely remember to make one. So why not get ahead of the game and task the kids with making a home-made gift (or greetings cards) for Christmas? Chances are they’ll find it hilarious to be thinking about Christmas this early…!

Start your own vegetable garden

Even if it’s pouring with rain, the summer can be a great time to do a little gardening – and planting your own vegetable patch has the double benefit of teaching your kids some valuable lessons in gardening and horticulture. Grab a few appropriate seeds, find an empty corner of the garden and get your green fingers working. Ground vegetables like Potatoes and Onions are ideal for this time of year – maybe even a Pumpkin or two?

Make your own play dough

The classic problem with the playdough you buy from the shops is that all the colours end up as brown eventually. So why not get ahead of the game and create your own modelling dough from some flour and water, and have it be brown from the get-go? There are tonnes of recipes on the internet, so you’ve got no excuse to make your own.

Get to work on a writing project

There are some brilliant writing competitions around these days – the BBC’s own “500 words” springs to mind. Why not task your kids with starting their entry for the next contest, or at the very least get some practise in their creative writing in preparation? Watch a few films or read some classic books to get their imaginations kick-started if they need it.

Make your own treasure hunt

Treasure hunts are vastly under-rated when it comes to kids, and these days seem to have been relegated to an Easter-centric activity. Why not buck the trend and do a treasure hunt round the house in the middle of summer? Find a few prizes, write some fiendish clues and send your kids off on the hunt – chances are they’ll want to make one of their own as a follow-up activity!

 Try out some science experiments

A quick browse of YouTube will find your literally hundreds of easy science experiments you can try at home with your kids – we recently tried cleaning off a penny, making a bottle rocket, creating our own exploding volcano and making a magical floating grape – and that’s just four. Provided you’ve got a few simple stock cupboard ingredients, you’re bound to find a few you can try out at home.

Make a scrap-book of your summer plans

If your kids are anything like mine, the return to school in September will usually be accompanied by some homework involving sharing what they did over the summer. Whether it’s a diary or a scrap-book, most kids will forget this until right at the last minute – so why not think ahead and get started on that scrapbook early this year?

Henry Elliss is a digital marketer by day and a pun-loving, dad-blogging, photo-taking, Lego-making, beard-wearing, child-caring father of two and husband of one by day, night, weekend and every other moment. For more family adventures, reviews and parenting hints and tips, visit Henry’s Fatherhood blog at