Indoor activities for a gloomy day

Hand with umbrella in the rain.
Hand with umbrella in the rain.

Indoor activities for a gloomy day

by Courtney Woodruff
Stripes Europe

I wasn’t surprised when I opened the blinds to reveal another wet, gray morning. Dark skies and drizzling rain for what felt like the thousandth morning in a row. Instead of sighing and giving in to the aches and pains of cabin fever like I’d done so many times before, I was bound and determined to stir up a little bit of adventure for my family. What is there to do when you can’t take another “I’m bored!” from your kiddos on a gloomy day? Give one of these six indoor activities a try!

Let loose at an indoor playground.

When the kiddos won’t stop scaling the furniture, it’s time to head to a place where it’s okay to jump, scream and climb. Parents kick back and relax with a warm beverage while kids run wild and free in a safe, warm environment. Family favorites in the Kaiserslautern area are Yabadoo, Kinder Spiel & Spaß Fabrik, and World of Fun Zweibrücken, but we’ve found them in cities we’ve visited all over Europe.

At home alternative: Get creative and assemble an obstacle course from the items you have around the house, or have the kids race back and forth down a hallway until they begin to wind down.

Explore the world from a cozy corner in a library.
The local library is our favorite place to go when we’re itching for adventure, but we’re stuck at home on a rainy day instead. Scour the shelves for stories about exciting journeys, or encourage each child to pick out a book about a place they’d like to visit. Then, find a comfortable spot in the library to read, imagine and dream as you turn the pages.

At home alternative: Use bedsheets, blankets and pillows to construct your own library fort. Bring in a stack of your favorite books, flashlights and a tray of snacks to nibble on while you read.

Challenge your crew to a bowling match.

Feeling competitive? Pay a visit to your local military installation’s bowling center, and enjoy a game or two… or three. Check to see when the facility offers regular discounts, and mark it on your calendar for a future gloomy day activity.

At home alternative: Create your own “Minute to Win It” tournament (check out these great ideas on Birthday Party Ideas for Kids), or turn on some fun music and have a board game marathon.

Learn something new at a museum.

No matter where you are in Europe, you’re never far from a fascinating gallery or treasury. Research what’s going on at the museums in your area to find an exhibition that peaks your interests. Colorful paintings, dinosaur bones and historical artifacts have a wonderful way of capturing imaginations and brightening gloomy days.

At home alternative: If you’re not feeling up to hitting a local museum, grab your computer or laptop and snuggle up for a virtual tour of one of the world’s most treasured museums, like Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History or Paris’ Musée du Louvre.

Splash around at an aquatic center.
Dreaming of a sunny day on the beach? Grab your towels, and indulge yourself in a visit to one of Europe’s awesome indoor pools. We love swimming a gloomy day away without having to worry about leaving with nasty sunburns.
At home alternative: Put the kids in their bathing suits, fill the tub with water, bubbles and plenty of toys, and add in something out of the ordinary (like shaving cream and paintbrushes, kitchen utensils or balloons). Lay down a few towels, and let them splash to their hearts’ content.

Catch the latest flick.

There’s something nostalgic about spending a rainy day at the movies with friends. Invite a few of your favorite companions to join you for a spontaneous get-together at the local movie theater. Splurge on treats, and choose a film that is sure to uplift your spirits.
At home alternative: Make plenty of popcorn, create a comfy spot in front of the TV with lots of blankets and pillows, and share one of your favorite childhood movies with your kids.

Note: Businesses have varying regulations. This can include mandatory mask-wearing, a limited number of guests and online reservations. Check each businesses' website or call them before visiting. 

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