girl playing with bubbles on an overcast day

4 cheap rainy day activities for kids

It rains a lot on the West Coast during the fall and winter months. As the parent of a very energetic toddler whose enthusiasm cannot be contained within a condo, I’ve developed a knack for finding affordable, fun and creative rainy day activities in the Lower Mainland for kids (not to mention moms, dads and guardians, too!) Here are four cheap things to do with kids on rainy days:

1. Libraries

A hall filled with stacks of books in a Library

There is a community library somewhere near you. Pop into the branch or check out their website for information about activities for kids, such as puppet shows, story times or sing-a-longs. Last winter I took my son Miles to a Vancouver Public Library singing group that was exclusively for dads and their infants. Though it was a bit awkward at first, it was an awesome (and free) community building experience.

2. Community centres and neighbourhood houses

Community pools have great rates for family swims, which are often scheduled on weekend mornings. Community centres offer inexpensive drop-in activities like gymnastics, story time, and “open gym,” which is basically a noisy free-for-all of balls, slides, ride-on-toys and big foam blocks. My family spends around five hours a week at our local neighbourhood house, which probably yields one of the greatest collection of toys in the Lower Mainland and definitely offers supportive conversations and helpful parenting tips from the staff and other parents. These community hubs are hidden gems for families, so start googling for the one closest to you and learn more about their activities, along with any membership or drop-in fees.

3. Kid-friendly cafes

Three Inexpensive Rainy Day Activities for Kids (4 of 4)

I’m lucky to live in East Vancouver and there are a few cafes in my neighbourhood that cater to parents with young kids. What this means is that while you sip your coffee and nibble on a croissant your child can create a culinary masterpiece in the play kitchen or bang away on busy boards!

4. Puddles!!!

rainy-day-activities-for-kids-03

When I asked Facebook for ideas about inexpensive, kid-friendly rainy day activities, the most common response was: “put on their boots and a muddy buddy and go jumping in puddles!” This is great advice and I guarantee that jumping in a puddle with your child will bring a smile to your face. It may even reduce some stress.

Bonus ideas

  • PLANES! Take the SkyTrain to YVR and watch the planes.
  • PINTEREST! Search “rainy day activities” on Pinterest and turn your condo into a craft shop. Craft shops also offer classes and many of them cost less than $10.
  • PLANTS! Walk in the woods and smile at the big trees that stop most of the raindrops from soaking you.
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