Things to Do With Kids on Rainy Days in Charleston


One of the many plus sides of living in Charleston is that we have weather that can, for the most part, be enjoyed year round. The downside though is that it tends to rain quite a bit in the lowcountry. When the weather is less than perfect, there are many options for keeping kids busy on a rainy day, either by braving the elements or staying cozy and dry indoors.

Rainy Day Things to Do with Kids in Charleston

Alfred Wainwright said it best, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”  While I agree with that, I have a feeling Al never experienced a New  England winter, but he is right. In recent years I’ve been inspired by Peppa Pig and have come to be more receptive to the idea of jumping up and down in muddy puddles and playing in the rain! All you need are the right clothes, proper footwear, and a positive attitude!

Getting out in and observing nature is one of our favorite ways to spend time together. We can splash through the muddy backyard and identify mushrooms that have sprouted under our trees, measure the rainfall with a backyard rain gauge and chase leaves as they float down water streams.

Another fun way to enjoy the rain is to get together with friends and hit up a kid-friendly hike. If you need help finding friends and kiddos in the area to hike with, consider seeking out your village of local Charleston families.

If you want to get out of the house but not necessarily play in nature, there are many indoor play areas in Charleston to visit as well. Our family enjoys the many museums downtown as well as a few lesser-known free fun spots downtown like the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History at the College of Charleston

Indoor Rainy Day Activities for Kids

Sometimes though, the last thing we want to do is gather the kids, bundle them up, search high and low for that other rain boot especially in a torrential downpour.

By having sensory bins or activity trays ready to go at a moments notice, I’m able to head off any temper tantrums or potential meltdowns before they escalate. I purchase bins and trays ahead of time and store activities in zip-top bags that stay tucked away in a back closet.

Some ideas we’ve used in the past include hands-on storytelling activities like the Three Little Pigs activity tray. The concept of ‘strewing’ is also one unschooling homeschoolers use to introduce new ideas or themes like this Eric Carle Preschool Unit that I set out for my son to explore at his own pace.

Strewing just means collecting random (or themed) items that may be interesting to your child of different sizes, textures, and types and arranging them or organizing them in an attractive way so as to pique interest. The idea is to set out materials and just walk away, wait and observe.

Embrace the Messes and Make Some Memories 

As a younger mom, several years ago I was averse to all manner of mess and clutter. Rarely would I let my children help me cook, and if they did, I hovered over them as they cracked eggs into a bowl or interrupted as they tried to knead the dough.

In my ahem…. advanced maternal age, I’ve learned to relax and have been a lot better about letting the messes go while focusing on the memory-making with my seven-year-old. There’s something about realizing they won’t stay little forever that changes a mom. (In my case, that realization occurred when my oldest approached legal drinking age).

Baking is another great way to keep little hands busy, teach mathematics through measuring, and of course enjoying and sharing the fruits of your labor!

One of our favorite recipes, especially when it’s rainy and dreary out is to read the book Sunbread, a sweet book by Elisa Kleven that chronicles a baker wishing to bring warmth and goodness to the cold, dreary winter weather that has enveloped the town. We also bake our own version of the bright, warm and sunny treat!

Making Sunbread on a Rainy Day

Of course, there’s nothing better than making a blanket fort and snuggling up with a good book, creating indoor S’mores, going on a scavenger hunt around the house or spending time crafting, coloring, and creating.

Inclement weather sometimes forces us to slow down, think outside the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives and spend time making memories and strengthening bonds. Worst case though, if you can’t find anything to do on a rainy day, making slime is always a hit! (sarcasm)

Looking for some more activities to do with kids? Don’t forget to check out Free (or Cheap) Things to do with Kids around Charleston!